LaunchU 2018: The RunDown
I mentioned in my previous post that I was a part of the 2018 LaunchU bootcamp. It was exhaustion and inspiration all jam-packed into a bite-sized two weeks. From 9am to 9pm we were discussing our ideas, scribbling notes, listening to entrepreneurs who’ve “made it,” and planning out our businesses that were, for many of us at that point in time, purely hypothetical.
It would be impossible for me to write out everything that happened during those two weeks, but here are some of my memorable takeaways from the experience:
Day 2: We learned about finance and accounting basics. There are three important financial aspects that are crucial to businesses: The income statement, a balance sheet, and cash flow. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnRnUrwriOM)
Common mistakes when handling the financials of a business:
-Underestimate cash needs/ lack enough funding.
-Not doing the homework of figuring out the financial projections and not having a conservative estimate.
-Leaving a paying job too soon to work on a startup (you won’t be able to pay yourself right off the bat)
-Keep detailed records of EVERYTHING.
-Try to account when you have no idea how to account. (AKA Not asking for help when you need it)
Day 4: Talk from an executive of United Way about building a team
The five dysfunctions of a team (formed as a pyramid, starting from the bottom to the top): Absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.
Instead, he outlined for us the building blocks of a truly cohesive team behavior:
Trust: Confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good. Conflict: People are willing to go into conflict about things that are important to them. When we see a conflict in other people, we can discover what is important to them. Commitment and attention to results: This is what makes up the meat of the project/ company/ idea. Leadership: a fairly developed sense of self-worth and commitment, but also, listen and be respectful.
**Also, I also just learned that companies (even non-profits) have a board of directors (trustees) that are independent of the CEO and founders.
Day 7: We learn about legal protection of ideas
-Getting a patent on your design, allows you to have 20 years of patent protection (utilitarian patent). It is much harder to patent software currently.
-Design patent = non-functional, ornamental, novel, not-obvious. Contrast this with a utilitarian patent.
-Once you make a public disclosure, you have one year to patent it, or ELSE, you are frozen out of US and international patents.
-The difference between patents and trademarks. Just by being a product in commerce, it already has trademark rights. A patent gives you real protection, but is harder to obtain.
More to come about what I’ve learned in LaunchU + the future of Bobalin!