So you have the most brilliant and revolutionary idea, but you don’t know how to execute? Or maybe you’re interested in working for a start-up, and want to learn more about what it’s like? Perhaps you don’t know what you want to do, and you just want to dip your feet in and explore (that’s me!).
This semester I enrolled in the 1-unit Entrepreneur Speaker Series Decal, led by Class of 2015 Business Major Navgeet King Zed (King). I came into the class without any expectations nor life-changing business idea – my goal was simply to show up, listen, and absorb any words of wisdom from the speakers that may come in handy when I do have some direction in my life. And so far, it’s been a great time!
The word load isn’t crazy either – we read an article about entrepreneurship each week and write a short response. We show up to each class and listen attentively. And there’s just one final – no midterms, no group projects, just a one-hour in-class commitment each week to listen to entrepreneurs describe their struggles, sacrifices, and successes.
I caught up recently with King to ask him a few questions about himself and the course, for those students who are interested in taking this class in the future:
Q: What inspired you to start this class?
A: The entrepreneurial bug bit me when I was still very young and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ventures. I have always had a love for teaching and when I thought about teaching a DeCal, I naturally thought of entrepreneurship.
I thought about what makes an successful entrepreneur an entrepreneur and it occurred to me that the common thread in entrepreneurship are hurdles, rejection, failure. I also realized that what separates a successful entrepreneur from others is the recovery.
I wanted to teach a class that allowed students access to entrepreneurs stories about their struggles and failures so that they could be better prepared for their own entrepreneurial journey.
Q: How do you find the speakers?
A: I found most of my speakers through my network by talking to
to friends and connecting through LinkedIn and Twitter.
Q: Have you had a favorite speaker so far?
A: I have liked all of the speakers so far and don’t have a favorite.
Q: You stream each speaker online on entrepreneurspeakerseries.com. How did you go about doing that?
A: This class was unexpectedly popular and I received nearly 150 applications for a 30 person class. That’s nearly 5 applications per seat.
I wanted to make sure that the students who couldn’t be in class physically had access to the great speakers, so I reached out to Google to sponsor my class.
I reached out to Google through the Google Campus Ambassador program. I connected to the Student Ambassador.
They were very receptive to the idea and sponsored the class with equipment that allowed us to live-stream the class and make the recordings available for anyone in the world.
Q: Overall, what has it been like to teach a DeCal?
A: It’s been fun, interesting, educational and a lot of work. I have learned a lot not only from the speakers but also from my interactions with the students. However, things such as booking speakers, assigning and correcting homework, etc. have been more work than I had originally imagined.
Q: Will you be offering this class next semester?
A: Yes, I will and I am working on getting a whole new group of speakers. The time and date are still to be determined.
Q: Based on what you’ve learned this first time around, do you think you’ll do anything differently next semester?
A: Yes, I am incorporating more interactive time for the students where the students get to talk about their entrepreneurial journey, goals and future.
Q: Is there anything else you would like me to ask you, or that you would like to talk about?
A: I would like to talk about our final speaker, Robert Stephens, the founder of Geek Squad (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek_Squad) on December 1st.
We have had an impressive line of speakers this semester and are finishing the semester off with an entrepreneur whose business impacts thousands of people each day. He grew his idea from a venture and made it big enough to get bought by Best Buy then worked for Best Buy. So, he’s experienced entrepreneurship and the struggles and hurdles of entrepreneurship both from the start-up perspective and from within a large corporation. Entrepreneurship within a corporation is often called “interpreneurship” and he will be a great addition to the lineup and be able to give us unparalleled insights to the journey that is entrepreneurship.
And there you have it, everyone! For those of you who are interested in taking the Entrepreneur Speaker Series Decal next semester, you can find more information here: http://www.decal.org/courses/3444
Additionally, if you are interested in listening to any of the past speakers, all of them are online and available to anyone in the world to listen to or watch! You can check it out here: http://www.entrepreneurspeakerseries.com/
Thanks for reading!