Mentor Assessment #2:
Date: March 21, 2016
Topic: Tech Entrepreneurship
The following Mentor Assessment (#2) details the encountering with my mentor Jon Kendall in the mentor meeting on March 21, 2017. I came prepared to discuss one thing with Jon, that is his view on college as a tech entrepreneur. Overall, he provided great insights about college from his personal experience.
Today, Jon and I discussed three things. Bootstrapping a startup from beginning to end (from the business perspective of funding to finding and employing tech specialists), my product proposal, and Frisco development.
Firstly, regarding bootstrapping: Jon mentioned several things are needed at the beginning: e.g. DBA and website. He also said not to hire employees until you have a business (when people starts to pay you), as you can easily get into a budget deficit without a flow of income at first. Also, he emphasized the significance of getting a credit card now to build up credit and use that in the future to leverage credit limits.
On the other hand, Jon gave me some tips to get clients for free. Such as going to free networking meetups:
- Go early (15 min before) and stay late
- Take their cards, connect on LinkedIn, send an email (with personal touch e.g. commenting on their outfit, what they said during the conversation, )
- Follow up: list of contacts, potential, actions was taken, notes on when to follow up
- Meet up: Starbucks and meet in person (when do you want to get started on it)
He also stated that his primary role as the CEO is not only the face of the company but also being a salesman to get clients. His tips on becoming a better salesperson include listening to podcasts from Brian Tracy and Zig Ziggler. And his tips on getting financial advice include learning from Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.
Secondly, we reviewed my product proposal and timeline.
Regarding the effect of my product proposal: the apparent effect of completing my original product for Osky Blue and Jon will be beneficial for all his company’s clients regarding presenting their services and products boosting the amount of organic traffic to their site. Further, the increasing business opportunities at Osky Blue signifies my potential impact to reach a large variety of clients anywhere from professional pest control service to real-estate investors, thus gaining exposure to various professional business fields while serving these local businesses.
Furthermore, I asked Jon about the upcoming Frisco Style Magazine’s project and how he got the project. He told me that Chris Johnson, the Founder of the magazine had known him for 3 or 4 years to know him well as a friend and business partner for him to take on this project. He emphasized the importance of establishing networks.
Also, I brought up the ISM Final Presentation Night for Centennial High School at Heritage High School on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017. He mentioned that I should send him invitation during April, as he will be gone the beginning of May for a city development conference in NY.
I raised curiosity to that event and asked him to explain more. He mentioned that he was on the board of the Frisco’s planning and zoning program. So, I asked about his outlook on how Frisco will be like in the future. Jon envisioned that Frisco in the next 10 to 15 years would be a metropolis, comparable to Fort Worth.
Currently, Frisco’s top priorities include attracting a Fortune 50 company to stay and build a university. Frisco is a strong candidate for Fortune 50 companies as it offers enough land for them to build their campus and host tens of thousands of employees to stay with adequate housing. And because of Frisco’s well-branded school district, it is an attractive and welcoming environment for more and more families to stay and raise their kids. Jon told me it’s very likely in the next three years that Frisco can bring in a Fortune 50 company. On the flip side, I was curious why Frisco wants to build a university. Jon told me because the demographics of Frisco consist of mainly wealthy people, the new businesses such as restaurants and retail stores need minimum wage works, and a university can fill that labor gap by supplying college students to those businesses. I thought that was a sharp point that Frisco is trying to address so far in advance.
Regarding the growth of Frisco, I asked Jon whether it has reached its climax. Jon told me it would plateau in about two years. I wondered why Frisco is growing so far compare to its neighbors, Jon said it’s because firstly, it’s a natural progress of urban sprawl and that cities closer to Dallas are already fully developed. Secondly, while every other city spent its available tax money, Frisco had extra money to spend. For example, DART was negotiating with suburban cities for them to receive one cent less from their total tax support and DART will build a commuter train to Plano. Plano agreed, but Frisco didn’t. This decision had cost Plano close to a billion dollars, and now Frisco has a billion more dollar than Plano to spend on different things. Which, for example, Frisco brought in the Cowboys because of the available funding to invest in them. Now the Cowboys will bring in so much more in return with its tax money paid to the Frisco government and plentiful businesses willing to settle in right next to it. This process has a multiplier effect and ultimately generates an active growth cycle.
So meanwhile the most productive investments an individual can make are buying a house and making Frisco connections. Regarding housing, Jon specified that houses pricing around $200,000 to $350,000 are the best investments, as finding affordable housing Frisco will be harder and more complicated ( once an affordable house is on the market, it will be gone quickly). Plus, it will very likely increase to $300,000 and $400,000. On the other hand houses above that price will be less competitive as the more money the buyer has, the more options likewise, thus more expensive homes won’t be as competitive on the market. In addition, investing in your network in Frisco will be incredibly important. So far, Frisco is still rather small and has a tight-knit community of everyone (i.e. businesses, politicians) knowing each other. But with an increase in business opportunities, the value of knowing people will likewise increase, especially it will be harder to network when Frisco really blows up. This sparked some ideas for planning my future ahead.
Implementation of Lessons Learned and Reflections:
The three top tasks that I can do right now is to get a credit card (preferably from Chase because of their high reward programs), download podcasts from the salesman and financial advisors mentioned above and listen to them while driving or when I am free, and reconsider my college direction for college by factoring more in.
Regarding college, my goal is to become a nomadic, serial entrepreneur who travels the world and start something with other talents worldwide. But Jon’s mentioning of Frisco’s incredible potential for growth has made me paused little from favoring SP Jain as my college for the next four years. Also, I just received an offer from Watson University, which is a degree-granting 2-year incubator in Colorado with a niche focus on entrepreneurship. This option is particularly appealing because it is the middle ground between UT Dallas and SP Jain. Furthermore, I can quickly come back from Colorado every summer to build my network and explore internship opportunities in Frisco. Also, I feel like it’s the option that will push me outside of my comfort zone as a self-starter and establish a strong bond with other like-minded and motivated individuals. And lastly, it’s saving two years of my time (as opposed to attending a four-year university) by avoiding courses that are unrelated to what I really want to do in the future. But then again, either college options I have currently, I am happy with and it’s quite hard to decide.