I had an opportunity to interact with studentpreneurs from over 12 best universities in California this weekend at Next Generation Summit organized by University of California, Santa Barbara. It is fascinating to see “let’s work together” attitude of college entrepreneurs; besides college sports rivalries, we have everything in common. The goal is to create value.
I had great chance to speak about entrepreneurship & innovation at the summit as well. Instead of focusing on intense slides & quotes; I decided to keep my session very interactive by sharing my story as an Indian immigrant, failure in academics & about life as an evolving entrepreneur. I am very impressed by great innovative ideas people shared during the session.
As most of my audience consisted of students from Southern California universities; I am not shocked to know that students are facing the same problem that I had to go through to find techincal cofounders to work on ideas during college. As I learned over the years that hackathons are the best place to meet people and develop ideas into hacks or prototypes. I want to encourage non-tech college entrepreneurs to exhaust themselves into hackathons and hustling.
In fact, it’s sad that our universities don’t put enough efforts to bring science/engineering & business students together. They live in two different worlds. Imagine, if one course runs as an incubator program throughout college and selectively enrolls respective students in this entrepreneurship course. It will be a great initiative to create a top network of college talent and getting them together to do great things. If done right, every single university will have a potential to create Harvard & Stanford entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I understand that most California universities are facing economic hardships; but instead of massively spend on administration, they should invest in their own entrepreneur students. When students gather around subject-experts & professors; instead of talking about textbook problems, they will discuss real world problems and their solutions.
Until then for non-tech college entrepreneurs, hackathons & traveling is the best way to find a great team. Hangout with people who are smarter than you, because smart people know other smart people. Build your brand and network. Get the fuck out of your comfort zone & create value. This life is only 1% finished.