LAUNCH! Magazine Issue One
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SUMMER 2011 | PREMIERE ISSUE NO. 1 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 1
LAUNCH!PREMIERE ISSUE | SUMMER 2011 | bschool .pepperd ine .edu/s tudentb log
RULES YOU MUST KNOW!
15X PROCESSZUBIN MEHTA | TIM KIM | BRETT
FISHER & STEPHEN YEOH SAMEER GUPTA
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Systematically Developing EntrepreneursBy LARRY COX
The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity recently found that within the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area, 470 of every 100,000 adults started a business in each month of 2009 – more
than the national average of 340. Aspiring entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking assistance, and universities and entrepreneur support organizations across the nation are increasingly mobilizing to meet this growing demand.
Business schools in particular are developing more stand-alone entrepreneur-ship programs and degree concentrations that focus on helping students bring their ideas to life. Entrepreneur organizations are creating more workshops, boot camps, and networking events designed to coach nascent entrepreneurs and offer peer-to-peer guidance throughout the start-up process. All of these efforts are well intended, but could be more effective.
Learning How to Uncover New Commercialization
Opportunities for Existing IP 4ENTREPRENEURS
Zubin Mehta 6Tim Kim 8Brett Fisher and Stephen Yeoh 10Sameer Gupta 12
10 Entrepreneurship Rules You Must Know! 14
ON THE COVER
Gina Warren (MBA ‘11) won the grand prize at the 2011
Pepperdine University Business Plan Competition Finals.
Judges connected with her proposal for Memoir Studios, a
service that would allow families to capture and record the
memoirs of elder members and then packages their stories into
a personalized, professionally crafted keepsake book. Gina’s
Memoir Studios previously took first place in Pepperdine
University’s inaugural Fast Pitch Competition, part of the
summit Entrepreneur’s Journey.
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If I have a bone to pick, it’s with the fact that most entrepreneurship programs focus too heavily and too quickly on the production of business plans. They typ-ically begin by presenting an outline of “the elements of a business plan” and conclude with students submitting well-written, 25-page, spiral bound road maps to entrepreneurial success – complete with fi nancials and colored charts. In twenty years as an entrepreneurship educator, I have taught my share of business planning courses and read my share of beautifully crafted plans. How-ever, I must now admit (to my shame) that most of the plans I helped construct over the years were built around really bad business ideas – only a few of which actually resulted in a startup. Consequently, out of frustration over my lack of impact, I was forced to rethink what I do in the classroom.
I concluded that entrepreneurship is, at its core, a creative activity. It follows, then, that entrepreneurship education should focus primarily on fostering greater creativity in generating interesting and plausible solutions to market problems; all this before requiring students to jump into the implementation of the fi rst idea that occurs to them.
Creating an environment where entrepreneurs can utilize creative problem solving to test new ideas and bring them to market will ensure that our coun-try remains competitive in the global marketplace. Educational programs are advancing entrepreneurship as one piece of this monumental effort. Working directly with aspiring business owners, educators are encouraging innovation and helping students fi nd a personally compelling venture idea with large mar-ket potential, all of which will create new jobs and lead to sustained economic growth.
Dr. Larry Cox is an associate professor of entrepreneurship and director of the entrepreneurship program at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Busi-ness and Management.
LAUNCH! Magazine celebrates the creativity, dedica-tion to responsible business practice and entrepreneurial spirit of students and alumni at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. These principles are fundamental to the mission that the school and its faculty have embraced and actively advanced for more than 40 years.
PUBLISHED BY GRAZIADIO SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT
© 2011 PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY
DEAN:LINDA A. LIVINGSTONE, PH.D.
PUBLISHING EDITOR:Dianne King
EDITOR: F. Douglass Gore III
EDITORIAL ASSISTANCE:Jaime Quigley
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY:Leroy Hamilton
ADVISOR:Larry Cox, Ph.D.
4 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | PREMIERE ISSUE NO. 1 | SUMMER 20114 4 444 | | LALALALAUNUNUNUNCHCHC ! ! MAMAGAAAAAAAAAAAAGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGAAAAAZIZZIZIZZIZIZZZZZIZZZZIZZZZ NENENENENENENENENENENEEEENENEENENEENEEENENENENENEENEEEENENENEENENEEEEE | |||||| PRPRPRPRPRPRPPPRPPRPRPRPPPRPPRPRPRPPRPPPPPPPP EEEEEEEEEEMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME IEEEREREREREE II IISSSSSSSSSSSSUEUEUEEUEEUEEE N N NOO.O.O.. 11 1 1 | | || SS SSUMUMUUMUMMEMEMEMEMEMEERRRRRR R 220202020201111
Learning How to Uncover New Commercialization Opportunities for Existing IPBy AMY BIEMILLER
Scientists explore phenomena in order to determine why something occurs. Business people explore options to determine how to meet a specifi c need. By melding the “how”
and the “why,” Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management has developed a measureable process for uncovering commercialization opportunities for existing intellectual property.
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Named the 15x Process by its creator Larry Cox, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and director of the School’s entrepreneurship program, the process was designed to develop 15 times as many new revenue streams from a single existing patent.
“The process is like a prism,” explains Cox. “Instead of narrowly focusing on one technology to meet one need, we want to scatter multiple opportunities across a fi eld of inquiry in order to discover new applications. This process is not about developing a business plan. Rather it is about solving problems.”
15X’s fi rst proving ground united research scientists from University of California, Santa Barbara with Pepperdine MBAs in an intense two-month trial run.
Beginning in February, the MBAs and scientists met and were matched as teams by John Shearer, the School’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “The team dynamic was of utmost importance in getting this project to work well,” Shearer says. “It was important for me to understand the personal motivation for each of the participants, as well as to consider their professional and academic experience before matching them in teams,” he adds.
Once matched, the teams used the 15X Process to collaborate and delve into existing intellectual property designed for a specifi c purpose in order to identify additional market opportunities to generate new revenue. Each team’s goal was to have 15 solid opportunities ready to pitch to an audience of private venture capitalists and entrepreneurs at an inaugural presentation event on April 1.
“The teams presented a total of 135 new ideas, so our success surpassed our original expectations,” says Mike Sims, executive offi cer, Corporate and External Relations at the School. “We proved that collaboration between scientists and MBAs have a far-reaching economic impact. And we helped UCSB uncover many new commercial applications.”
The teams developed innovative solutions by uncovering new ways to apply known technology to meet needs in the marketplace. One team took zinc oxide thin fi lm processing to another level by matching it with smart window technology to reduce heat loss. Another applied fast and accurate nanoparticle analysis technology to the cosmetics industry for safer and
more enhanced products. “Team Calamari” discovered a use for organic epoxy based on the chemistry of squid beaks in composite manufacturing resulting in joining without wear. A fourth team applied a unique software program designed to measure and correct visual distortion due to macular degeneration to the design of drugstore kiosks for the visually-impaired. The winning team’s idea was equally as creative: replace silicon packaging in commercial electronics with titanium cooling technology to safeguard the tech components from heat damage.
“The event garnered great input from the judges as well as the audience,” says Sims. “The teams were pressed to defend the feasibility of the new commercialization opportunities, defi ne their markets, analyze costs and ex-plain the science behind the innovations.”
Grasping the science was one of the biggest challenges for the teams’ MBAs says Evangelos Magiatis, a member of the event’s winning team. “It was challenging to understand seven years of data behind the technology in only two months,” he says. “But this was a great ’rubber hitting the road’ experience working with bright people, real products and real life problems and processes.”
“Our MBAs on each team did a great job, especially considering most of them took this project on while preparing for fi nals, writing their strategy papers and for many, working full time,” says Sims.
Now that the process is proven, the School is considering how to develop the initiative further.
“We are exploring how to match the 15X Process with commercial entities now, in order to help them identify new revenue streams for their existing intellectual property,” says Sims. “We’ve also started to enhance the university model further by reaching out to other research schools and MBA programs.”In addition, the School is assisting in the creation of an early stage venture fund – the First Wave Accelerator – to leverage 15X-generated opportunities.
The School gratefully acknowledges the support of Red Plane Enterprises and Santa Barbara
Bank & Trust as sponsors of the fi rst 15X Process event. For more information about the 15X
Process, please contact Mike Sims at 310.506.7406.
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Zubin Mehta Company Name: Global Wave
Company URL: www.globalwavegroup.com
Location: Aliso Viejo, CA and India
Mission: Help fi nancial institutions
better manage risk and grow
Business Idea: Lending and risk management
Target Customer: Banks, credit unions, fi nance
companies and community
development fi nance
Year Founded: 2007
Avg. Annual Revenue: Confi dential
No. of Employees: 14
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To Zubin Mehta (E.M.B.A., ’06), an experienced banking professional, it only made sense that technology solutions for fi nancial institutions should be implemented by individuals with deep experience in how
those institutions work. But a lack of such professionals served to jettison him from commercial lending to entrepreneurship in order to fi ll that need. That, in turn, inspired him to develop a technology solution that delivers intuitive simplicity to some of banking’s greatest problems.
“In today’s competitive and risk-managed business lending environment, fi -nancial institutions are faced with increasing pressure to ensure credit quality as well as to balance and grow loan portfolios in order to stay competitive in the marketplace,” he explains. “Banks are also challenged with managing and maintaining multiple silo technology platforms that do not communicate with each other.”
His intimate understanding of these challenges drove him to establish Global Wave, a company that has developed a technology solution that readily defi nes a simple business model: leverage a complete understanding about the credit process in order to successfully deliver optimum solutions. “Our product, Credit Track, breaks down the silo technology platforms common in banks and allows bankers to manage their entire loan process within a single, user friendly application,” he says.
Now that Global Wave is four years old, Mehta is working to meet a new challenge: serve an increasing client base. “We have been fortunate enough to grow despite the economy and our particular market,” he says. “The biggest challenge for us now is recruiting talented people that have both a banking and a software sales and services background.”
Even after four years, Mehta is still pleasantly surprised by his decision to leave the corporate environment for entrepreneurship.
“I worked in the corporate world for 18 years before becoming an entrepre-neur. I wasn’t planning on becoming an entrepreneur until my last year at Pepperdine during my M.B.A., when I decided that my skills would be better utilized to help banks solve risk management challenges that they all face,” he says.
His time spent at Pepperdine had a big infl uence on the development of his company. “It was at Pepperdine that I met other classmates who, today, are my business partners. In addition, the ‘wave’ in the company name is a tribute to the school’s mascot,” he adds.
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Tim KimCompany Name: Flynn Acquisitions, DBA TrustyMAX Tools
Company URL: www.go2socket.com
Location: Chatsworth, CA
Mission: First, to honor God in all aspects of the business and then to have the GO-2 Socket become a common item in every do-it-yourselfer’s toolbox.
Business Idea: One hand tool that can replace up to 25 different sockets and effectively work on rusty and worn out nuts or bolts.
Target Customer: Do-it-yourself consumers.
Year Founded: 2010
Avg. Annual Revenue: Confi dential
Number of Employees: 15+ (Outsourced / Contracted)
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In one short year, Tim Kim (MBA ’10) has ridden the roller coaster of entrepreneurship, experiencing the thrill of dizzying heights and the disappointment of languid valleys. It’s a ride he had not expected to take
the year before.
“Being an entrepreneur has been an unexpected privilege,” says Kim. “If I had to pick the best candidate for an entrepreneur from my fellow classmates, I would’ve chosen so many others before considering myself for the role.”
While fi nishing his MBA studies, Kim learned that his engineer father and nurse mother had been struggling fi nancially due to the recession. He also learned that his father had developed, but never marketed, a hand tool that had remarkable utility for the average do-it-yourselfer.
“A few months before graduating with my MBA, I was led to set aside my own professional aspirations and use the education I’d been given to help my family,” he says.
He got to work crafting a business plan to market his father’s invention and entered the 2010 Pepperdine University Business Plan Competition. There, his plan for the GO-2 Socket – a hand tool that can replace up to 25 different sockets and effectively work on rusty and worn out nuts or bolts – was judged by the entrepreneurial elite including Neil Clark Warren of e-Harmony and Susanna Kass of eBay. While up against tough competition, his plan demonstrated high market potential and was awarded the top prize.
With a business plan, prize money and fi nancial backing from investors, Kim initiated production and marketing, working with vendors in California, Oregon, Florida and China to get the GO-2 Socket to market.
“So many classes and so many professors all did their part to help me decide to go forward with this venture,” says Kim. “There is no doubt in my mind that if I had gone to any other business school, the market would not have the GO-2 Socket because there would be no Flynn Acquisitions to take it there.”
But even the best laid plans can be threatened, and Kim ran into a major challenge early in product roll out.
“When our factory took longer than expected to deliver inventory and we were unable to air our infomercial during the Christmas season, I had to tell the very people who believed in me this disappointing news,” he says. “I felt like I’d failed them. Thankfully, they took it well.”
That particular low point has been outweighed, Kim explains, by consistent support from other entrepreneurs.
“Since I started this business, I’ve been repeatedly amazed by the kindness of strangers. So many veterans of this industry have become mentors to me and have selfl essly given me wisdom, direction and encouragement. This has been an immeasurable blessing to our efforts,” he says.
While Flynn Acquisitions is well on its way to achieving the mission to have a GO-2 Socket in every do-it-yourselfer’s toolbox, entrepreneurship has a deeper personal benefi t for Kim.
“Entrepreneurship has deepened my faith,” he says. “There’s so little I can control and there are so many ways to fail. Time after time, internal mistakes and external diffi culties have challenged our existence, yet things always seem to resolve and progress. I can’t take the credit for any of that. This is the most uncertain time in my life and still, I’ve been able to fi nd peace.”
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Brett Fisher and Stephen Yeoh
Company Name: Learn It By Ear
Company URL: www.learnitbyear.com
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Mission: Make learning more effective and productive
Business Idea: Audio on-demand access to study material
Target Customer: MBA and adult learners, especially those who prefer auditory
Year Founded: 2010
Avg. Annual Revenue: Confi dential
Number of Employees: 17
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Two study partners who struggled to retain complex legal defi nitions necessary for their MBA in entrepreneurship and fi nance turned their conundrum into a commercial enterprise – and have met a need for a
segment of adult learners who have traditionally been marginalized.
Brett Fisher (FEMBA ’11) and Stephen Yeoh (FEMBA ’11) formed Learn It By Ear, a joint venture that takes study fl ashcards to the next level. Their concept replaces sight learning with aural leaning via MP3 audio sound cards to help students taking foundational college-level courses learn and retain defi nition-dense subject matter. It’s a concept and a product that is exciting to both the founders and consumers.
“We both love solving problems that require we think outside the box and not be constrained by traditional boundaries,” says Yeoh. “With Learn It By Ear we have created a paradigm change in audio products and study aids.”
“What gets me excited is that we have received overwhelming positive response from customers with who have learning disabilities and those who are avid audio learners and are seeking a product that specifi cally will meet their need for an alternative learning format,” says Fisher.
The struggle that prompted the two entrepreneurs to launch Learn It By Ear had its genesis in the business law class they took, taught by Larry Bumgardner. “It was an extraordinarily challenging and stimulating class that pushed us to work very hard,” says Yeoh. The class requirements pushed the two study partners to create paper fl ashcards and then record audio fl ashcards so they could study even during their commutes. “After the class, we went back and professionally recorded and re-wrote all the material so it could be used by any student taking business law at any university,” says Fisher.
The company now offers study material for business law and Independent School Entrance Exam verbal reasoning, all produced in audio format using memorable characters and music. The production method helps students learn and retain key concepts and defi nitions that are critical to being able to apply their knowledge in analysis, implementation and decision making in the business world.
The concept is a game-changer for the audio market, which presents an interesting challenge to the two entrepreneurs. “When consumers fi rst hear what we do, they think they understand what we offer, but automatically assume something they are familiar with - an audio book,” says Yeoh. “We need to carefully develop the description of what we provide. It’s not an au-dio book, a book on tape or anything along those lines.”
Both Fisher and Yeoh have a natural bent for entrepreneurship. “I’ve always had an instinct to ask, ‘Is this the best way this can be accomplished?’ If I was really passionate about the challenge, I’d dive into fi guring out a better solution,” says Fisher.
Yeoh discovered that his ennui in the various jobs he has held prior to this venture was really pointing him to entrepreneurship. “It should have been apparent to me early on. I’ve had jobs for most of my working life but always felt something was missing,” he says. “As a result, I was constantly dabbling in something. In one of my entrepreneur classes at Pepperdine, we went through a discovery process to see if we would be comfortable being an entrepreneur and then it hit me - that’s where I belong - in the challenging creative space of entrepreneurs.”
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Sameer Gupta Company Name: Jobonomics.com
Company URL: www.jobonomics.com
Location: Irvine, CA
Mission: Empower job seekers with the
tools and knowledge to
stand out and get noticed by
Business Idea: Apply the same technology
that recruiters and job sites use
to locate and hire candidates to
craft attention-getting resumes.
Target Customer: Professionals in a job search
Year Founded: 2010
Avg. Annual Revenue: Confi dential
Number of Employees: 5
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Sameer Gupta (M.B.A., ’09) had no idea that helping his friends —and friends-of-friends — fi ne-tune their resumes would put him on the course of entrepreneurship. He had never considered turning his
ability to get others hired into a successful business venture.
“I have always been interested in business but I never considered myself an entrepreneur,” says Gupta, who had completed his master’s degree in Software Engineering when he took the Entrepreneurship Program. “Taking Professor Larry Cox’s class not only taught me how to be successful in business, it ignited a passion for entrepreneurship that I never knew I had.”
Armed with a strong understanding of the technology that recruiters and job sites use to locate and hire candidates, Gupta synthesized his experience in editing and crafting resumes for friends into a viable business he named Jobonomics. “We use tools and expertise to help people diagnose and fi x what’s wrong with their resumes,” he says.
Early in the genesis of Jobonomics, Gupta and his team learned that most job seekers are not skilled in fi ne tuning and focusing their resumes on specifi c job opportunities. “We started holding free resume workshops at local institutions to educate job seekers,” he explains. Giving away expertise
proved useful in strengthening the business. “At these workshops we picked up some valuable attitudes and perceptions of job seekers and applied that knowledge to our overall communication strategy for the organization. The results have been great!”
Starting his own business has benefi tted Gupta in many ways. “I believe that there is something special about starting and running a business you are passionate about. Being part of the foundation of a company and its overall success is gratifying,” he says. “Being my own boss is a positive thing for me and my family.”
Gupta is quick to encourage other would-be entrepreneurs to think out of the box when it comes to developing a career. “I envisioned retiring as an engineer,” he says. “My advice for other students interested in entrepreneurship is not to be close minded about new ideas. Any idea can be worked on and built upon to create a successful business. If you stop dreaming you will be stuck at ‘Friendster’ or ‘MySpace’ stage and never get to ‘Facebook’ stage.”
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10Entreprenuership Rules You Must Know!
By VIKAS KHANNA, PKE MBA Candidate 2011
If there is one person out there who knows the rules of engagement for a new start up, it’s Reid Hoffman. He’s the co-founder of LinkedIn – the original business social media site that has become a part of our daily digital lives; which, incidentally, has also recently fi led to go public. In addition, Reid is a partner at Greylock so he’s intimately familiar with both the
entrepreneurial and venture rules of success. Recently, I was able to hear Reid speak to his rules for building companies and thought it would be great information to share.
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Rule #1: Look for disruptive change.
If you are about to start on a new venture, ask yourself: What is becoming possible or necessary that was not possible before? Is a new product or service able to take over an existing market or create a new market?
When I co-founded LinkedIn, the tech industry was in a deep depression. I looked at all the opportunities created by the Internet and had the idea that eventually everyone would need a professional profi le online. The disruption was that people were able to directly reach the best candidates rather than hoping for responses from a listing in the paper or an ad on a Web site.
Rule #2: Aim big.
Regardless of whether a start-up is targeting a big idea or a small one, it will still require the same amount of blood, sweat and tears—so aim big!
What is “big?”
It is a new product or service that creates or dominates a signifi cant market.
Rule #3: Build a network to magnify your company.
People tend to think that behind every great start-up is a single entrepreneur with a whiz-bang idea. The reality is great companies are built by a number of people with talent who are surrounded by amplifying networks. The most successful entrepreneurs bring in advisors, investors, collaborators and early customer relationships.
Rule #4: Plan for good luck and bad luck.
You should always assume you will have both good luck and bad luck with your new company.
Good luck is not as simple as “it worked out.” Rather, this is when you discover a great opportunity and can quickly shift to go after it.
Bad luck is what happens when your fi rst idea doesn’t work. It doesn’t mean failure; it means you need to pursue plan B.
Rule #5: Maintain fl exible persistence.
Very often entrepreneurs are given confl icting advice: “Be persistent! Stay committed to your vision!” or “Pivot on key data! Know when to change!” The challenge is to follow them both, but know which advice is most appropriate for which situation. You must know how to maintain fl exible persistence.
Rule #6: Launch early enough that you are embarrassed by your fi rst product release.
With my fi rst startup, Socialnet.com, it took us nine months to launch the fi rst product. That was a disastrous mistake.
We wanted to have all the detailed functionality right away, including social controls so people could decide to connect or not with the people in their networks. We wanted everyone to “Ooh!” and “Aaah!” about how terrifi c the product was.
We wasted a bunch of time and it put us months behind on more important problems that needed to be solved, such as how to get our product in the hands of millions of people. From that I learned, if you are not embarrassed by your fi rst release, you’ve launched too late!
Reid Hoffman’s Ten Entrepreneurship Rules For Building Massive Companies
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Rule #7: Aspire, but don’t drink your own Kool-Aid.
Target excellence, but be very careful about blind trust or belief in your theories.
It is important to launch as early as you can in order to learn how your customers use your product or service. It is equally important to identify metrics that tell you if your aspirations and vision are on target. You should also get feedback from your network in order to iterate or pivot on the target, the product and/or the service.
In other words, maintain your aspiration but always look for good perspective on how you are doing. It is very easy for creative innovators to get caught up in their own story rather than learning where they should be headed.
Rule #8: Having a great product is important but having great product distribution is more important.
I meet many entrepreneurs who think the best product is the most important thing and that the best product should always win.
What many people fail to realize is that without great distribution, the product dies. How will you get your product in the hands of millions or hundreds of millions of people?
Rule #9: Pay close attention to culture and hires from the very beginning.
Your fi rst hires set your culture, so make them good ones. These fi rst people hire the next people and so on.
The old wisdom was that you needed people with a decade more of experience in your start-up. The things a smart person learned a decade ago won’t help you now – you’re doing things that have never been done before, and the world and the competitive landscape are changing at hyper speeds. What you really need are people who can learn fast.
Rule #10: Rules of entrepreneurship are guidelines, not laws of nature.
Do not pay too much attention to rules set by other people. Entre-preneurs are inventors. They are successful when they make some-thing work for the very fi rst time. Sometimes in order to make some-thing work, you will drive over the guardrail of one of these rules.
Entrepreneurs sometimes just make new rules.
Vikas Khanna is founder and managing director at Zooovee Ventures, an an-gel investment and business adviisory fi rm.
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Join UsLaunch! U: Unleashing Your Inner EntrepreneurJuly 21 - West Los Angeles Graduate CampusLearn about the skills and processes needed to gen-erate an innovative business idea. Dr. Larry Cox, as-sociate professor of entrepreneurship and award-winning educator and entrepreneur, will introduce a unique approach to the creative problem-solving process. A brief information sesson on the new M.S. in Entrepreneurship program will follow.
Jobs Direct USAJuly 22 - Four Points by Sheraton - Los Angeles International AirportLos Angeles Career Expo presented by Jobs Direc-tUSA.com
New Graduate & Alumni ReceptionAugust 11 - Hotel Maya, Long BeachRecoonnect with former classmates, develop new business relationships, make new friends, and cel-ebrate the new Grazidio graduates of 2011 at the elegant Hotel Maya
i2O: Entrepreneur’s JourneySeptember 23 - Biltmore Hotel, Los AngelesInnovate to own. Start(up) something new.
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