How not to Venture...

Alright, the NVC is kind of a big deal around here...well given that it's Chicago and entrepreneurship, its a surprisingly big deal.

The reason I think it is the deal that it is, is (look ma..3 is's) the fantastic job the Polsky Center does of both organizing and marketing it. Now, as I look back upon what will have been my MBA education, what stands out is the suprising lack of what are the traditional "entrepreneurship" classes out here at the GSB. I mean didn't I come here wanting to be an entrepreneur? Then why did I just keep finding other classes more interesting? This guilted me into doing at least something entrepreneurial-ish before leaving here.

Anyway, the entry form and initial "feasibility summary" (an introduction to the idea and some business model analysis) for the New Venture Challenge was due yesterday.
Now, fortunately for anyone considering entering the competition next year, you can learn a lot from my experience over the last weekend. Basically DO NOT do any of the following while preparing your entry for the NVC.
  • Do not decide the weekend before the applications are due (Monday 10am) that it would be cool to enter the NVC. There will be people entering with businesses that are actually profitable right now.
  • Do not leave it till Saturday night to pick which of the two ideas you're playing around with you will write up for the NVC.
  • Do not let the Sunday that you will spend writing your feasibility summary be Superbowl Sunday.
  • Do not actually believe that walking around HPC taking in the atmosphere will actually help you with writing a plan in anyway.
  • Do not leave it till 8pm that night to start typing in the text of your feasibility summary, because all you had till then are the section headings.
  • Do not start watching a surprisingly decent Hindi movie on YouTube (more on this later)
  • Do not fall asleep at 3am and then wake up at 6am and decide that you're an idiot.
  • Do not let the time between 7:30am and 10am on Monday morning be the most productive part of your entire day. You will marvel at the amazing stuff that you're writing up, but that's only the adrenaline in action.
  • Do not submit the application an hour late, though if you're lucky you'll just be smiled at a lot like I was, by the very nice lady who was compiling the entries.:)
  • Do not them immediately go to the Ratner center and play basketball for 2 hours in your half-asleep, half-tired, all-messed up state.
  • Do not hang out late at the HPC to get to a Rueda class
  • Do not cue downloads of your favorite TV show as you leave for home and then seriously expect to get any work done that day.
Sigh, I finally just mustered the courage to proof the summary I submitted; a couple of typos because of the rush, but the content isn't bad. I feel a little guilty, because I actually think the idea is pretty awesome and the thing that'll end up winning in the end is probably not going to be...more practical, more profitable, more evolved and well...more real perhaps....but definitely not as awesome.:)
I have my doubts about if I'll make the next round. I think the idea definitely deserves it, but I'm not sure my presentation/analysis/prep (they like to see evolved teams and not just one person) will take it there. I might find some time to work on putting a prototype together anyway though.

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