Program for Entrepreneurs

For the P4E Kickoff

Questions about the Presentation on Saturday of the Kickoff

1) What’s the purpose of presentation on Saturday?

The purpose of the presentation on Saturday is to get feedback from the Advisory Committee (and to find teammates).Let us, the Advisory Committee, know:1) What you’re working on2) Why it’s compellingE.g. “I have great social networking site, it’s for people who run triathlons.”  “I have a great medical device that solves this terrible and costly problem.” “I have a social venture that will change the way people will donate” As you know, we’ve been directing you to get to a single idea. The reason is if you don’t get to one idea soon, you won’t be able to do enough work to get through the selection process and be accepted between July and October.  You can’t push a bunch of ideas, you will have spread yourself too thin and won’t have sufficiently made progress.That being said, there may be reasons why you haven’t been able to get down to one idea.  That’s ok.  Explain 2 ideas (or even 3) and we can help you on Saturday.

2) Will investors still attend or will our audience consist of classmates and faculty/staff? 

Yes, a couple investors

3) Also, in our past email correspondence with classmates and faculty members, we have remained somewhat vague about our idea.

Say things that are non-confidential.  That being said, there is a school of thought that says that if you can’t state your advantage and it still be an advantage for you, then it may not be much of an advantage.

4) Is there a dress code for Saturday?

No dress code.  I tend to go business casual, but students can dress how they would like.

5) My spouse is interested in entrepreneurship, can I bring him/her?

If he/she is not enrolled, then no.

6) Can I obtain my DukeCard?

Yes, you can obtain your DukeCard (which gives you access to the building after hours and on Saturday).  We have sent a list of the students that may participate in the program to the DukeCard office.

7) Where can I park?

Your parking passes are not active until August 1st.  Duke Parking is an aggressive ticketer. We will give you a parking pass for Friday – suggest you park in the Visitor Lot on Science Drive (immediately across from Fuqua).  As for Saturday, parking is free.  Again, suggest you park in the Visitor Lot on Science Drive.

8) What are we doing for food?

Mostly on your own, except for Saturday lunch.

9) It appears that another student and I are both interested in leading the efforts on this project.  What are the implications of this as far as designating a leader for the project, forming a team, and finding an advisor prior to October?  Should I be looking to conduct these steps independent of the other student’s efforts if I believe I can form a stronger team, or will Saturday’s presentations provide clarity on who will ultimately lead the projects, prior to October when we need to have these other tasks completed?

There can be more then one lead student, so if you can work together, great.

If not, then at this point, we will let both efforts proceed, assuming the idea submitter is ok working with both.  Over the next few months, it will become clearer who will become the lead student(s), partly through preference of the idea submitter, preference of the advisory group, and the momentum of the lead student to attract a strong team. Conduct your efforts independent of the other student.

Saturday may provide some clarity, but it may not (particularly in the case where you and the other student are equally capable of leading the effort).

We are ok with this ambiguity because, to some degree, this is a real world situation, where different groups compete to lead a given project.

10) Can we attempt to recruit team members from Fuqua that are not on the roster of P4E participants who might better fill gaps in expertise?  Obviously, the P4E folks would be the first options, but many will be focusing on their own projects, and I think there may be some folks in the HSM program, in particular, and Fuqua, in general, that could really help this project, even though they are not currently a part of P4E.  Could they be brought into the P4E program at this point as supporting team members for a project?

Absolutely you can recruit other Fuqua team members.  In addition, you can recruit team members from other schools at Duke.  A modest directory of Fuqua students is available and the same is true for Undergraduates.  Finding Graduate or Professional students could be very helpful, we do not have directories for them at this point.

I would estimate that there are probably 10 or so P4E students that have not attached to a project, so there are probably more that are available than one might think.

Yes, they can be brought into P4E.  Subject to approval from Jon Fjeld, and more importantly, their willingness to follow your lead.

11) What’s the process by which people who have dedicated their time to projects that aren’t selected by October can find another team, if the team selection process is supposed to be completed prior to the selection of final projects in October?

The process is not formalized.  Team leaders have final say who is on their team and who is not. We don’t force matches between potential team members.

And to clarify, the “team selection process” is ongoing.  Obviously a stronger team will make for a stronger case during the selection process between July and October.  However, we expect the teams to evolve over time with the addition (and possible subtraction) of team members.


Questions after the Presentation on July 25th

1) How many team members could get the course credit in each project?

At this point there is no maximum.  There is a minimum of 1-2 additional team members (2-3 total team members) by the time you enroll in the first course in the sequence.

2) Jon said undergraduate students can also join and get course credit, are there any restrictions about the schools or majors of these undergraduates?

The details are being worked out, but it looks like they can get credit via Economics or the Markets and Management Certificate.   It is unclear whether this restricts the schools or majors of the undergraduates

3) What is the name and code of this course? I heard Jon mentioned “…opportunity evaluation”, but failed to catch the exact name, sorry!

All of the P4E courses are Strategy 491.  The first one is called “Opportunity Evaluation”.  The information is in the Introducing the Program for Entrepreneurs.

4)  I have spoken with two second year students about their podcast idea.  I find the idea interesting and would like to work on a software or technology start-up.  

They seem to have spent a good bit of time last year working on the market analysis of a potential product.  My main concern is how this project would fit into P4E considering the first class of Term 2 is about opportunity evaluation and they have conducted a lot of the market research already.  That being said, I’m sure there is still work left to do, especially around technical feasibility and best strategies for consumer adoption.

My guess is that their market research may not be rigorous. Have you seen what they’ve written up? Perhaps it is more rigorous than I imagine, but my guess is it’s not.  How many customers have they spoken to? How about potential partners in the industry?

If their market research is mostly looking up secondary research / market research studies, as opposed to primary research, then there is probably a fair amount to do.  That’s just a guess.

5) Also, since a P4E project needs a first year lead student, I’m not sure how this project would fit into the program.  It sounds like to me that Sanjay and Adam are interested in continuing their work on the project and are looking for additional people in a support role. 

So, by being the “lead student”, you would be the first year committed to this project and committed to sticking it out for two years (all things working out). It doesn’t mean you are necessarily the “leader”, just as an MBA student that matches with a technical inventor (like a doctor at Duke) would not be the leader that project (ultimately the doctor, who has worked on it for longer, would make the choices).  Hope that distinction makes sense.

Therefore, your analysis with the two second year students might want to center around whether they are willing to consider adding you onto their team and keeping the project in the Program should everything go well this first year. In other words, when they graduate, assuming they have full-time jobs, are they ok with you staying on this project. Or if, you are all fortunate and land funding before they graduate, are they open to you being on their team (with some sort of equity stake).