Loyola Marymount University Entrepreneurship Analysis

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  1. Your professor takes you to a 5th grade classroom to give a guest lecture on venture capital. Summarize how you would teach the students about this type of investing in entrepreneurship so that they will understand how venture capital started in the US, the impact it has on society, who all are involved in the process, investor strategies/risk profiles, and what types of companies are best suited for venture capital.

In the circumstance of lecturing a 5th grade class on venture capitalism I would prepare and deliver a comprehensive yet simplistic overview of the history and importance of it. I would begin by summarizing the  incredible history of it all and the implications of how venture capitalists were responsible for many large corporations today. Then I would elaborate about the societal impact that venture capitalism has regarding improving the quality of life for millions and even billions of people globally. I would continue by addressing who is involved in this process. Finally I would provide a simplistic analysis of investor strategies and risk profiles as well as the types of companies best suited for venture capital. With the student’s age in mind I would prepare a lecture that delivers the essential knowledge about venture capitalism while sparking their creativity.

More specifically, I would begin by conducting a hands on experiment to show the students what venture capitalists do at a simple level. I would say to a little student named Tyler “imagine that you have a great idea to sell precut bananas during lunch and students would actually buy it. Now since you don’t have access to any money but I have $5 to buy bananas to begin but I want 10% of the profits. Would you take this deal?” This would show the students hands on what venture capitalists do. Then I would highlight the beginning of it all in the 1960s and trace its development throughout time. I would reference well-known companies such as Apple, Intel,Genentech, Cisco, Atari, Tandem, and others. I would use these companies as the basis to show them how society benefits from the combination of great ideas and the necessary resources to get those ideas out there. I would briefly teach them about Steve Jobs and also teach them about ethics, assuming it is another Jesuit school. I would show them all parties involved by using Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Arthur Rock to show them a circumstance of how it all goes together.

To teach them about investor strategies and risk profiles I would start by explaining that all investments are subject to risk. Furthermore the risk can vary because of the performance of financial markets and because of the activities of investment managers. Economic conditions, government policy, the environment, technology, and interest rate changes can all affect return on investment. I would let them know that venture capitalists only pursue ideas that have minimal risk. They expect a high return on investment and sometimes it can be similar to gambling. Lastly I would distinguish between growth and defensive assets. Growth assets usually have the potential to make more in the long run but the risk is higher over the short term. On the other hand defensive assets provide less of a return and some examples are cash, fixed interest and mortgages. To finish my lecture I would explain that businesses with viability in the market are sought out by venture capitalists. An innovative product or service must be presented to a venture capitalist where they evaluate it. Even though there are many brilliant people in the world not everyone can do an elevator pitch or a marketing plan which may win over a venture capitalist. If a venture capitalist determines that it will be successful and will have a high return because of the greatness of the idea and the execution then they will invest. Overall my lecture to the 5th grade class would cover the aforementioned details in a simplified way for the students.

  1. We had several guest speakers this semester. Pick two speakers that you have not previously written about in an essay and compare and contrast their message that was delivered in their talks. While each speaker offered helpful advice, some of this advice contradicted other speakers. After you compare and contrast the two speakers, discuss any disagreement you have with the methods/approaches or general advice of any of our speakers (including your professor!)

The two guest speakers that I will be comparing and contrasting are  Cameron Kashini and Alex Capecelatro. Cameron Kashini is the Founder of CoLoft and a Startup Weekend Facilitator. Ms. Kashini provided a very informative analysis of the lean startup approach and her experiences using it with Coloft. She failed to incorporate the lean startup methodology for her first venture and learned from it. She also stressed the importance of establishing viable connections with important and influential people. Alex Capecelatro spoke to us about his career which began with working as a research scientist for the government. He dropped out of high school to do so and it led to a promising career with many twists and turns for the better. Overall both Cameron Kashini and Alex Capecelatro as guest speakers shared similar viewpoints but also contradicted each other to a certain extent.

Cameron establishes viable connections all over the world because of her job as a Startup Facilitator. She stressed the importance of not meeting as many people as possible but instead connecting with a select few of influential people and focus on building rapport with them. Alex on the other hand believes that you should make as many connections as possible and then “hack them” for your advantage. This difference in selective connections instead of as many connections as possible differentiates the two. They both see the importance of using connections to your advantage as a similarity. Alex taught us of the importance of using leverage to take your career to the next level. He leveraged what he did in the past to gain better and better positions until he was unstoppable. Overall Cameron and Alex taught us the importance of connections and had slightly different viewpoints as to strategy.

One of the only disagreements I had with the advice of the speakers was Alex’s discussion about hacking our connections. After past friends attempting to “hack” me and ask for free marketing promotion I realize the possible problems with this. Some friendships could be compromised if one is “hacking” as many as possible. I side more with Cameron on this matter because I believe finding certain people and working on a long lasting relationship is the first step. Once a real relationship is established then if your relationship is typically that of business nature then I feel it is fine to leverage connections. In conclusion I disagree with hacking a lot of our connections because of tampered relationships; I believe that only business relationships with rapport involved can be “hacked”.

  1. You are attending a cocktail party with some Silicon Beach entrepreneurs and they are challenging you on your decision to major in Entrepreneurship, specifically with how business planning is a waste of time. Describe three solid points that they will probably make to support their critique. After considering their argument, can/how will you argue in support of business planning and more importantly defend your educational decision to study entrepreneurship at LMU?

At a cocktail party if Silicon Beach entrepreneurs were challenging me on my decision to major in entrepreneurship I would rebut their arguments. With that said there would be three solid points that would support their critique. I would imagine their first point would be that majoring in entrepreneurship is pointless because paying a college for a credential that does not help with getting a job is a waste of time. Their second point would probably be that there is an abundance of free information online about starting a business and paying a college to teach you is a waste of money. Their third point would probably address the notion that there is a difference between theory and practical application and planning a business does not even remotely gauge its feasibility in the real world. With the three points argued by my fellow Silicon Beach entrepreneurs in mind I intend on refuting their claims and defend business planning as well as my educational decision to choose this as my major.

The argument that it is pointless to get a credential in the form of a degree in entrepreneurship is invalid in my opinion. Getting a degree in entrepreneurship is much more comprehensive than this argument claims. Entrepreneurship majors not only develop the necessary effectual skills to innovate but they also develop managerial and quantitative skills. The comprehensive curriculum of an entrepreneurship student allows students to not only innovate but to also support their ideologies with causal reasoning. The financial and managerial side to the major allows an entrepreneurship student to become skilled in the multi-functional subject of business. Furthermore companies are actually looking for entrepreneurship students. Intrapreneurs innovate within companies; even Google looks for individuals with effectual skills. Also entrepreneurship majors can get into marketing, consulting, and even become a business analyst. In reference to their first point I would argue that this is not true and anyone who argues this is thinking in an overly simplistic way.

Their second point of arguing that there is an abundance of free information online about starting a business and studying it in college is worthless is also invalid. I would argue that although there are guides such as Forbes Guide to a Lean Startup the value of studying entrepreneurship in college is huge. Reading overly simplified guides only scratch the surface of what an entrepreneurship student learns in college. Free online resources can only teach an individual so much. Developing quantitative skills, managerial skills, social skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills, and effectual skills coincide with being an entrepreneurship major. Any individual who does not attend college and starts their business may not have the aforementioned skills and developing them takes a college setting. Also there is huge value in being in the safety of college when pitching ideas, learning, and launching a business allows for a safety net alone. Overall their second point of arguing that you can learn everything you need to be an entrepreneur online is invalid and shows their lack of a frame of reference.

The argument that there is a difference between theory and practical application is true in many cases however business planning is extremely beneficial because it minimizes risk and allows for informed judgement. Business plans should be living documents that adapt as more market research and feedback comes in. The scientific method of validating a hypothesis has huge implications for businesses. Without a business plan and verifying one’s value proposition through hypothesis testing is very risky. Some individuals have obviously been successful without a business plan however overall I see the value in it. Verifying if one’s hypothesis is correct while testing the market allows individuals to incorporate the lean startup approach. Being an entrepreneurship major allows individuals to acquire the tools needed to minimize risk and maximize the chance that their business will be successful.

Overall through defending three arguments against majoring in entrepreneurship it has allowed me to verify what I am doing in this program. I am developing effectual and causal skills which will be invaluable to my career as a business man. The aforementioned rebuttals show that most critiques about the major are based on inaccurate assumptions about the depth of the curriculum. This analysis benefited me very much and I am more confident than ever to be an entrepreneurship major.