Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

With both parents owning small businesses, I grew up in a family where entrepreneurship is practiced on a daily basis, and where life and business are intricately intertwined. I spent my teenage years working in all facets of the family business from packing boxes in the warehouse, to assisting at tradeshows, providing support at front-end customer facing events.

In college, my business and technology classes heightened my interest in the mechanics of running a business. In the summer of 2013, I started working on a business idea centered on predictive analytics that could leverage personal data combined with historical web data to help a person make better life choices. I traveled to the most competitive technology hub, Silicon Valley, to pitch my idea at a SAP sponsored start-up weekend competition. These competitions are similar to a 54 hour marathon in which you pitch an idea, assemble a team, build a prototype application and present to a panel comprised of business leaders and venture capitalists.

Another technologist who traveled to the event from Australia pitched a data analytics business model centered on master data management. Together, we formed a team that included a developer and a user interface designer. Our business idea centered on a cloud-based application that could combine machine learning and enterprise search to streamline data integrity issues across an enterprise with the goal being a single version of business critical data. With over 25 teams competing, we built a demo prototype that leveraged a rules-based engine and linguistics to find both exact and fuzzy logic master data.

The experience confirmed the power of a team working with a defined purpose. Each person added something to the team which enabled us to strategically tackle a problem in a resourceful and persistent manner. While we did not win the competition, we created strong working friendships and a greater appreciation for building business models using a Lean software methodology.