Category Archives: Inspirational

Notes, Insights and Takeaways of an aspiring college entrepreneur from CS 183: How to start a Startup by Sam Altman

Everything that you’ll be reading in this document are notes taken down from CS183 which is a Stanford course being taught by the President of YCombinator Sam Altman. Moreover, I will be injecting a few of my own insights and insights of other people from my discussion group.

The first UPenn class session was held at the First Round Capital

The first UPenn class session was held at the First Round Capital

As an aspiring entrepreneur and avid journalist, I’ve decided to take notes, write about the experience and the different discussions points from this class and publish it to the public. I hope that people can find these notes and insights as a way to either learn more about the class and entrepreneurship (some people might not have enough time to watch the lecture) or as a way to start discussions about this growing startup culture.

I will be starting out all my posts with 4-6 key takeaways, the overall experience and then the full notes along with discussion points raised in my group.

The lectures for this course are being recorded and are posted on Youtube. You can find the lectures here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxIJaCMEptJjxmmQgGFsnCg

You can read more about the reason behind the class here: http://www.newsweek.com/y-combinator-teach-stanford-class-available-online-271275

Interestingly, a lot of Universities from all over the world (even all the way back in the Philippines! Shout-out to Jaime Young who is leading the ASES Philippines discussion group for this class!) have decided to start discussion groups and turn it into an actual class where students discuss the content of what is taught afterwards. The University of Pennsylvania recently had its first class lecture video showing on September 25, 2014.

6 Key takeaways:

  1. “You should never start a startup for the sake of doing so.”
  2. “The best companies are always mission oriented.”
  3. “Build something that a few users really really love.”
  4. “Recruit your first set of users by hand/manually and ask for feedback.”
  5. “The life of an entrepreneur isn’t as easy and glamorous as what media portrays it to be.”
  6. “The best reason to start a startup is because YOU CAN’T NOT DO IT.

The Overall Experience

More than the lecture, which I could’ve just watched online in my dorm room, what I really enjoyed from the first session was the community participating in this class. Everyone was just so passionate about startups and entrepreneurship and was eager to learn more. Everyone was really looking deep into the ideas discussed and questioning whether one practice is better than the other. It was honestly really refreshing being in this environment, bouncing off ideas and opinions with one another and simply meeting new people with similar interests and new insights. Definitely can’t wait for the next session! Continue reading

Advertisements

Re-engineering Journalism at Stanford

Repost from my Philippine Daily Inquirer Article: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/162227/reengineering-journalism-at-stanford

“What I think people should take away from Silicon Valley is a great sense of openness, optimism, a sense of possibility, a willingness to try and to learn by doing and a willingness to experiment. Don’t be afraid to fail and I think that’s a really important lesson to take away from Silicon Valley.” – John Temple, former managing editor of the Washington Post

With the JSK Director

With the JSK Director

Each year, around 20 journalists are chosen to become John S. Knight Fellows. The Knight Fellows take on the challenge of pushing boundaries and creating products that will help improve the quality of information reaching the public!

By taking advantage of the different classes and opportunities in both Stanford and Silicon Valley, the Knight fellows are able to explore a variety of fields and be exposed to new ways of approaching journalism.

When I found out that these fellows would be presenting their yearlong projects in an event called, “Re-engineering Journalism”, I knew I couldn’t miss this chance to attend an evening of innovation!

Re-engineering Journalism

In the past few years, technology has changed the way we consume information. A lot of people now get their news from social media platforms on their smartphones and on a go. As a result, journalism has continued to evolve. Continue reading

The Heart at Play Foundation: Healing Through Dance

Repost from my Philippine Daily Inquirer Article: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/160701/special-people-can-dance-too

“It takes a special kind of heart takes a special kind of heart, a renewed sense of purpose and hope, our innovative spirit and strong affirmation that no child should be left behind.”

Volunteering at THP is about becoming part of a family

Volunteering at THP is about becoming part of a family

It was three years ago when Dance specialist Ana Rivera, along with her daughters Therese and Patricia, founded The Heart at Play (THP) Foundation, which provides Dance Movement Therapy to special needs children and adults.

Ana obtained a degree in Special education and pioneered the unique Dance Movement Therapy program, which uses a scientific and very systematic step-by-step approach to helping these children. While Therese and Patricia have been dancing all throughout their life, and have even competed in international dance competitions.

With a desire to share the extreme feeling of joy they experience from dancing, Therese and Patricia have been encouraging their peers, fellow dancers and friends to volunteer and help out at THP, quickly turning THP into a youth movement. Students from ICA, Xavier, Ateneo and other high schools and universities have come to volunteer and be part of the THP family.

“As Filipino dancers we know in our hearts that every moment we spend on that stage, under the limelight and in front of a crowd, we lift it all up to Him. What better way of paying it forward than by sharing what we love the most, which is dance,” stated Therese in her Facebook post, inviting her dancer friends to volunteer at THP. Continue reading

What I Learned From the Wharton Business Plan Competition

What I Learned From the Wharton Business Plan Competition

When I found out that I would be visiting UPenn a month ago, I immediately went straight to Google and searched for possible events I could attend. And there it was the Wharton Business Plan Competition was being held on May 1 in the Huntsman Hall at the University of Pennsylvania. After sorting out a few scheduling details with my dad, it was set; I would be able to attend the event.

I'll be back in the Huntsman Hall next year!!

I’ll be back in the Huntsman Hall next year!!

And so when the day finally arrived, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Going through the website of the Wharton Business Plan Competition, the finalists seemed to have some really promising ideas. Moments later, there I was sitting in the auditorium listening to the speakers.

At first, it didn’t feel quite right. The auditorium was packed with graduate students and people who looked like they had a backpack full of experience with them already. But I quickly realized that this is it. This is what the business world looks like. This is what I’ve been dreaming of in the past year. This is where I want to be.

When the presentations started, I was honestly a bit overwhelmed by all the data, credentials and what the businesses have done already. But this is the beauty in these events; as an incoming college freshman, it was an invaluable learning experience for me and a preview of the world I’ll hopefully be able to enter one day.

Building a well-rounded team

When the team leaders started introducing their team members and the people who have helped them in the process, you could really see that every member had a unique skillset that really contributed to the team. The winning team Slidejoy boasted students who have gotten multiple degrees from both Wharton and Stanford. But more importantly, they all had a set of important tasks.

The winning team of the Wharton Business Plan Competition, SlideJoy

The winning team of the Wharton Business Plan Competition, SlideJoy

Importance of Networking

During the breaks and networking sessions, you could really see people go at it, discuss ideas, share thoughts and exchange business cards. And true enough, when the presentations resumed, I suddenly started seeing how important this aspect was as the teams presented their current client bases and how they were able to get them to jump in their start-up ventures.

I even got to sit beside this founder and CEO who told me why he was there, and it was quite simple, “I’m here to build connections, network and at the same time, scout for talent.” Continue reading

Businesses That Caught My Eye in the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals

Businesses that caught my eye in the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals

Just recently, I attended the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals. Every one of the finalists’ business ideas was all really amazing but there were three businesses in particular that really caught my eye. These were SlideJoy, Identified Technologies and AdmitSee – all for very different reasons.

SlideJoy giving their elevator pitch to the audience! ---"Knowledge is the muscle of Business" ---

SlideJoy giving their elevator pitch to the audience! —“Knowledge is the muscle of Business” —

SlideJoy — “You get paid to view ads”

Whenever we see ads popping out in websites or our smartphones, we never really click them. And during the times we do, it’s probably by accident. This is the problem alot of companies face in trying to promote their products. Enter SlideJoy and their very creative solution to this problem — pay people to view these ads.

This is what SlideJoy was pushing for, and it was probably one of the reasons why they ended up winning the entire competition. I mean, they just basically went against all odds and created an application that pays you to click on ads?? Talk about innovation! If I had an Android phone, I’d make sure to get this app!

SlideJoy - "You get paid to view ads!"

SlideJoy – “You get paid to view ads!”

Find out more on how you can get paid for swiping on the advertisments on your lock-screen by checking out their website at: https://www.getslidejoy.com/about and don’t forget to start downloading SlideJoy!! Continue reading

8 Tips for Students Looking to Apply Abroad (From an applicant who just went through the process)

Looking back at the past year and what I went through during the application process, I can say that CAMP Philippines and my CAMP mentor really helped me in myriad of ways that I will forever be thankful for.

A few days ago, I got a chance to visit my CAMP mentor Chris Dee who is currently a junior at Yale. At one point, we ended up exchanging notes on the application process, synthesizing my experience (what worked well for me), talking about what CAMP has done for all the mentees and underclassmen and just going over the rising college-abroad scene in the Philippines and our role as “Illustrados.”

(CAMP has a super duper helpful guide for people interested in studying abroad (all the essentials are here): http://www.campphilippines.org/uploads/1/2/3/6/12362897/_camp_college_app_guide.pdf

With my CAMP mentor in the Yale, New Haven campus

With my CAMP mentor in the Yale, New Haven campus

I still remember going through the process like it was yesterday. The college application process was an experience in itself, filled with countless of highs and lows. And in between all those were valuable lessons I learned that I wish to share with you guys as you go through the process yourselves!

Top 8 Tips for Students Looking to Apply Abroad

  1. Enjoy the Process; Treat it like a Game –As you start thinking about applying abroad, it’s inevitable that you will become busier than ever. To add to your academics and countless of meetings already, you will have to study for the SATs, write your essays and find ways to stand-out and boost your application.

Since you will go through it anyway, might as well stay positive and enjoy the process. The best way to do this is really treating the college application process like a (video) game with you trying to improve his score (SAT score?) and finding ways to make it to the next level! And besides, believe it or not, some of your best memories will come from the fact that you’re applying abroad!

An extremely helpful SAT guide: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/sat-preparation/955109-silverturtle-s-guide-to-sat-and-admissions-success.html Continue reading

Khan Academy: A Free World Class Education – Salman Khan@Stanford

It was always a dream of mine to visit Stanford University and after visiting Stanford today, I now have much bigger dreams when it comes to education – Thanks to Mr. Salman Khan.

I could’ve visited Stanford University on another day but I decided to visit today because there was a speaker I didn’t want to miss. Through the Stanford events page, I found out that, you guessed it right, Mr. Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy would be speaking on campus for the Stanford’s DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Series. I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity, and I’m glad I didn’t because his talk was worth every minute!

“For the next 10, 15 years, this thing called education, we can make it much more equal, we can make it more like water, a fundamental human right.”

Khan Academy has changed the lives of students from all over the world

Khan Academy has changed the lives of students from all over the world


Mr. Salman Khan didn’t only keep the talk entertaining by dropping jokes and puns here and there, but he also kept the audience on board by using powerful stories, anecdotes, lessons and real-life experiences that left us all inspired.

(The video will be soon uploaded at the Stanford website: http://events.stanford.edu/events/433/43305/ and http://etl.stanford.edu/)

How it started

Mr. Salman Khan started his speech by talking about the journey of Khan Academy and how it all started. He went way back to the moment where he encountered a simple problem that he wanted to solve. This problem was his cousin having a hard time in math. Continue reading