“He that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”
From the parable of the talents we learn the Lord wants us to increase our talents. Perhaps some modern examples of those who increase their talents to become ruler[s] over many things,” are entrepreneurs.
On Monday October 1, 2012 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. I attended the 2012 BYU E-Week kickoff event in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium. It was wonderful. I tried to talk with as many people as I could. One of the main speakers, John Richards talked about some of the successful entrepreneurs who came from BYU.
Some successful BYU entrepreneurs
- Jonathan Coon- created 1-800-Contacts that sold for $900 million.
- Josh James and John Pestana- created Omniture that sold to Adobe for about $1.8 billion.
- Brant Walker- created Superoots USA.
- Adam Edmunds- created Allegiance.
- Jason Richardson- Started Puj baby products, such as the baby bath that fits in a sink.
- Reed Quinn- Produced KT Tape- an athletic tape.
After introducing past successful BYU entrepreneurs, John Richards interviewed the three main speakers at the E-week kickoff: Dave Bateman, Garrett Gee and Mick Hagan.
Message: Gain technical skills in college. College is the best time to start up a business. Four of five businesses fail because the founder does not have technical expertise necessary. It is common to have tech guys, but few are both tech and business guys. You can get business ideas by identifying where people feel pain and taking away that pain.
Other: Dave Bateman grew up in Loma, Montana with six brothers and sisters. He dropped out of college after a few years at BYU. He won $25,000 by winning the BYU Business Plan Competition and $50,000 from Fortune Magazine’s Business Plan Competition. Dave appeared on the cover of Fortune Magazine.
Accomplishments: Garrett Gee created the Scan mobile app. The Scan app was downloaded about 2,000 times during it’s first day in the App store, and about 10 million downloads in the first year and 20 million downloads by the second year.
Message: Do what you love. The only thing that would be harder than working as hard as he is, would be to have to do a career in something you’re not passionate about. Although starting your own business takes a lot of work and time- it’s worth it. Seek technical skills.
Other: Garrett Gee dropped out of BYU after a few semesters. He gained his technical skills by doing freelance logo and website design work. Garrett grew up in Alpine, Utah.
Accomplishments: Mick Hagan created a social network and recruiting website called Zinch.com. The website allows high school students to create their own profiles and get recruited by schools they otherwise may not have been able to enter. Zinch.com has over four million registered users and 80 employees. Zinch.com was recently sold for about $45 million to Chegg. Now Mick has started another business called Undrip.
Message: Make something you would want for yourself. Gain programming skills while you are young. Your relationships can be stressed when you are starting a business. While you are single, swing for the fences. When you are married it can be hard to balance work and family life. Both work and family life and wonderful. Be involved with groups and activities- you will get ideas that may change your life (Mick came upon the idea for Zinch.com while attending a dance club at Princeton and talking with friends about the inadequacies of the school admissions process).
Other: Mick Hagan lived in the house of his wife’s uncle, foreclosed a house, maxed out credit cards and had lots of bills throughout his entrepreneurial endeavors. Mick has two children. Mick grew up building websites- such as a geocities blog about all sorts of things (I think he said it was called “MicksPimpologicalBiosphere”). Mick attended Provo High growing up and made it into Princeton by making a really nice portfolio/resume.
Mick attended Princeton for one year and then dropped out. When Mick was young, he and his brothers went around one summer taking out BYU students’ trash for 25 cents, until they raised enough money to buy a Super Nintendo.
“I love creating something out of nothing. I love building value. It’s what I’m most passionate about. I’ll be doing it until the day I die. I love start ups.”
I loved the BYU Kickoff Event. After the event was over, I stay for about an hour and a half talking with students about my ideas. I also had the chance to talk with Dave, Garrett and Mick. They all seemed really nice. They were all very willing to talk about ideas, answer questions and give out their email addresses for further communication.
I love talking with people about their dreams. I especially love talking to entrepreneurs who already have a business project started. I met some students working on apps, videos, etc.