3 Day Startup

I was on the review panel for 3 Day Startup, an entrepreneurial experience for students here at UT Austin. It is co-organized by one of my PhD students, Thomas Finsterbusch, and I have worked with several of the other 44 students who participated. They had a good mix of technical, business, and communication experience. They also included graduate students and undergraduates. Last night they pitched 4 ideas to the panel. I thought all the ideas were interesting, but each one would have its own particular challenges in coming to market. While some may complain that doing a startup in 3 days is not realistic, I don't think that's the point. The point is that it was exactly like a large startup, but in minuature. It gives students a real sense of the psychology of startups. I do think that running something like this over a longer period of time would give the students more time to reflect and also to learn new styles of working, when they find that their first attempt doesn't work. But either way, direct experience of starting a business is not something you can get from book learning or studying cases. You have to live it.

1 comment:

Thomas Finsterbusch said...

Yes. We always emphasize the range of results that we expect from 3DS.

In the worst case, our participants spend an intense weekend with smart and passionate people working on a real prototype, and it's a unique networking opportunity. Where else do you see law students hammering out a business plan with MBAs whilst Computer Science PhDs investigate the technical feasibility?.

In the best case, the group actually converges on an idea they feel strongly about, and they want to take the company forward. Here, the next milestones are entering student competitions such as Idea2Product or MootCorp to continue refining their product.

Obviously no one expects the company to be cash flow positive by the end of Day 3, that would just be silly. Rather, this weekend is about taking the first tiny steps on a long road towards building something people (or businesses) love.