Monday, January 22, 2018

Guest Speaker Erik Hanberg

This was our first guest speaker for the quarter. Erik came in to talk about what it was like to live the "Entrepreneur's Life". It was a good first talk. I appreciated him coming in to talk about his life and how he got to where he is. It wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I think that's a good thing.

Personally, my favorite part was when he explained the writing he did. As he showed us, it doesn't pay for his life, but I was happy to see that he was actually making money off of it. I enjoy doing writing in my free time, but I never really thought it was a possibility to sell my work. I wish he was able to go into more detail what his writing process was. But I guess it's fine considering it's a entrepreneurship class, not a writing class.

I went into class Thursday thinking Erik would be coming in to tell us about starting businesses in the technology world. It was disappointing that that wasn't what he was there for, but it's good that we started with someone that didn't come from that background. As we've heard from Mr. Fry about his past students, some never even go into a CS job despite having the education for it.

While it was wasn't what I expected, I'm glad we had the discussion.

Connor Lundberg

Monday, January 15, 2018

What are 3 of my business ideas?

Local Web Development for Small Businesses

As a college student with no luck scoring an internship, I've been really stressed out about how I'm going to show prospective employers I have the experience necessary to work successfully for their organization. Not only that, but I would like to have some way to make money on the side as well as gain valuable industry experience to use when going out into the job market.

An idea I had would be to start doing web development for local businesses in my area. Being a college student, the bar is set pretty low for me anyways in terms of what I can produce. With that in mind, my plan would be to go to various small businesses in my home town after identifying areas of their websites that need improvement and come to an agreement for updating it or adding specific features to make the site cleaner or easier to use.

Coming back to the fact that I'm a college student, I wouldn't have enough time to do larger scale projects like rebuilding entire websites but small things like setting up a basic news letter to be sent out to registered customers about upcoming sales or creating an ordering system for products (not to purchase, but simply create orders for items) would be simple enough that I could do it in my spare time.

Because these would be small projects created by a college student in their spare time, it would be low cost and low risk. If it doesn't work the way they expected it to do, they've lost a tenth of what they would have paid otherwise.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Alerts

Let me set the scene for you.

You're driving on the highway. There's only one lane and the car in front of you has had their left blinker on for the last 10 minutes. What do you do? Flash your lights? Honk? Pray they finally look down at their dashboard and end this torment? Wouldn't it be so much easier if you could just press a button and send them an alert telling them their blinker is on?

Introducing CarTalk! I've been thinking about this product for a while. Stemming from a deep loathing for drivers who go 5-under every damn time, this would be a system used with your Personal Assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Cortona. CarTalk would work by sending a message to the car via Bluetooth and the receiving driver will be told that an alert was sent to them. If they choose to accept, the message will be played to them.

The best way to do this would be to first integrate it with the newer smart cars. By going to the manufacturers of the vehicles and implementing into the cars themselves, it would make it more accessible to the consumers, rather than using an app.

High School Odd Jobs

Besides working as a Grader for the Data Structures course at UWT, I've had an ongoing side job as a dog sitter for various families across the Hood Canal. I started doing it in high school for my aunt and uncle, and through word-of-mouth I've gotten around ten different clients that I've worked for. Now that I'm coming to the end of my time in Washington, those same families are going to need someone to take over for me. However, It can be hard to find a reliable individual that you pay to live in your house and care for your animals.

The business idea is to create a website that keeps a catalog of registered high school students who are willing to take care of your place while you're away. Considering that this type of work is usually in line with what a high school student is capable of doing, this would be an excellent way to give exposure to up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking to expand their personal brand through clients that aren't family.

When clicking on an available student, you'll be able to see a description of their experience, reviews of their work, and any other tidbits they decide to include about themselves. After choosing your student, you would simply set a meeting with the individual to learn more about them in person. If they're what you're looking for then you can set the time frame in which you'll be gone, along with how much the payment is, and any special instructions the student might need to know before looking after your home and furry loved ones.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What do I want to get out of this class?

What do I want to get out of this class?

It's a simple question, but difficult to answer, at least for me. I primarily took this course because there wasn't anything else interesting to take for my last quarter that I haven't done already. But I also have an urge to go out and my own and try to start a company myself. Which is why I'm here. To better understand the business side of the tech industry and how I could use it to make something of my own.

I've never had much of a mind for business. I had taken some Intro to Business type of courses in the past at other schools, but they never seemed to peak my curiosity that much. It wasn't until last summer that I really started to think more about my future and what I wanted to do with my life after graduation.

I've known I wanted to be a Software Developer for a long time, that much I'm sure of. I have other big hobbies like writing and wrestling, but there's something about coding that gets my heart racing. The feeling of finally solving a hair-pulling bug is the best thing in the world. It's like a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders and you're proud of yourself, because you were able to solve it. Through all the desperation and hopelessness that's been screaming at you in the back of your mind when coming against a deadline, being able to fix that one problem and see the screen light up with the correct solution is unlike any feeling I've had before.

But that's beside the point of the question. The reason I bring this up is so you know why I'm here to learn about Computer Science, and how passionate I am about it. I've always wanted to get out into the real world and test my mettle in the industry.

At the end of last Spring quarter, my then-girlfriend came home from a study abroad trip in London. Shortly after she came back, I proposed. It was a hectic few weeks once that was done. I had to find a job during the summer in order to save up money for our move to New York City after I graduate (that's where her Master's program is), our wedding, and tuition for my last two quarters. Fortunately, I was able to find work for a concrete planter manufacturing company as a laborer. I didn't like it very much, but it gave me what I needed. It was the most tiring job I've ever had, didn't pay very much, and I worked long hours. All in all, it wasn't a pleasant experience. But that's just what you have to do sometimes.

The thing about it though was it was a local business. There was the owner (who had the company in his family for years), my manager, and myself. They were both alright to work with, but what left such a mark on me was how much freedom they had. It was inspiring to sit and listen to the owner talk about the process of running his business, the experiences he and his dad had to go through in order to get that place up and running. He told me stories of the business's ups and downs. How he's had to deal with sleazy competitors copying his techniques in order to steal his customers. What he did to get those customers back. Other investments he's made. Properties he was able to afford because of how well the company was doing.

It was my favorite part of the job. There was so much freedom to it. Because I didn't like the job very much, I kept thinking how much better it would have been to be the person running the show. I know that comes with its own hurdles, but it seemed a lot more exciting than from where I was standing. The grass is always greener I guess.

It sparked a curiosity in me to go out and try my hand at building a business. Whether I'm successful or not, only time will tell.

To finish up with my answer to the question, I want to learn how to get a business started. I know I'm taking the wrong degree if I want to really know the ins and outs of the company world, but my biggest concern for the future is how to even get something going in the first place. Who do I have to know? How do I get the money to begin development? What product am I going to make? How do I convince someone to believe in my vision for this organization and support me financially? How does marketing even work? What can I do to make my solution stand out from the competition. That's a lot to figure out in one quarter, but I'm hoping to be able to answer at least some of those as I go through this class.

Connor Lundberg