Archive for 'startup camp'


Internships at startups: an alternative to MBAs

Posted on 05. Feb, 2014 by in blog, Classes, Colearn, Coworking, Funding, San Francisco, SOMA, startup camp, Startups

Don’t waste your money doing an MBA.
Get an internship instead.

Wanna be an entrepreneur? It takes more than just passion and desire. You need real skills to succeed, but where do you get them? A surprising number of people think that they should do an MBA. I don’t blame them. After all, universities invest a significant amount of effort convincing potential students that getting an MBA is a good idea. The cruel reality, though, is that MBA programs tend to be terrible at teaching entrepreneurship and, in particular, tech entrepreneurship. They are slow, expensive, include too much theory and not enough practice, and, more importantly, they are taught by people that have not been entrepreneurs themselves. Fortunately, there is a better alternative: Internships at tech startups. Here is why:

MBAs are about enterprise-level management while internships can be about entrepreneurship. The skills required to manage and be part of a 5,000 person company are different than the skills required to start and grow a company. In fact, enterprise-level management techniques may negatively affect the chances of success of your future startups. For example, using balance scorecards[1] and KPIs may be great for companies in advanced stages of growth, but they are an overkill for startups at the MVP stage.

Internships provide more hands-on knowledge than MBAs. While an MBA program will teach you a lot of theory, an internship will allow you to learn [a fraction of] that theory put to practice, plus many more techniques that are not taught in MBAs.

Internships are faster than MBAs. An MBA program lasts between one and two years. In contrast, you can do two or four internships in just one year. Don’t have a year? No problem. If you’re a fast learner, interning for six months may be enough.

Internships are less expensive than MBAs. Top MBA programs cost more than $100,000[2], not including living expenses. Internships cost 0. In fact, if you’re lucky, you may get a paid internship. This means that instead of you paying to learn, you’ll get paid to learn!

Assuming you want to do an internship already, these are some factors to keep in mind:

Intern at a startup with a team of less than 50 people. In a team of less than 50 you’re likely to interact with the founders and managers making important decisions. You’ll learn a lot from them. Also, you’re likely to get exposure to many different areas of the business. In larger teams, you are likely to interact with low-level managers that joined the company later in the game and are not likely to be too entrepreneurial. Also, you may have to focus in just one area of the business, missing out on the big picture.

Intern at a startup that is making money and growing. When revenue and growth are achieved, you have a company with a real business model. You want to learn how they got there. Don’t join a startup without a business model, a startup that is not making money, or a startup that is not growing, even if they have raised capital. Such companies may only teach you how to raise capital to subsidize the operation of a company, which is not sustainable. In fact, I recommend giving higher priority to bootstrapped companies.

Intern at a startup that is located in a tech innovation hub. You’ll be able to attend plenty of networking events and meetups. The people you’ll meet may change your life. I’ve met most of my co-founders at networking events. If in the US, I suggest startups in the Bay Area, New York City, and Boston. After all, it’s not only what you know, but who you know.

Visas are not necessarily an issue. Depending on your nationality and the country of the startup, it may be technically illegal for you to work there. Fortunately, some startups won’t care. Give the company the option to get paid in your country of origin as if you were an overseas contractor.

If possible, join a startup founded by a serial entrepreneur. Serial entrepreneurs, specially successful ones, have “been there and done that” several times. They are the equivalent of teachers with PhDs. These companies are more likely to follow successful, structured techniques that you will find useful in your future endeavors.

Target startups that don’t offer internships. Although some startups proactively look for interns, some don’t have the time do so. Find startups that you like and cold-email their founders. Messages like “Hey Joe. I’m willing to work for you for free just to learn from your wisdom” are very likely to grab the attention of the recipient. Even if only 10% of them reply, that’s still a good conversion rate!

A final word: Getting an MBA is a good way of telling others that you like to follow the crowd.
Tech entrepreneurship is about innovation. Innovation means disruption. Innovation is doing things that others don’t dare to do.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_scorecard
[2] http://poetsandquants.com/2011/01/08/how-much-does-a-top-mba-degree-cost/

 

tumblr_la71ah37Tg1qbnnljo1_500Alex Torrenegra-

Founder and CEO of Bunny Inc. (VoiceBunny, Voice123, BunnyCast) and Torrenegra Labs. Techie, activist, investor, offroader.

 

Silicon Valley Code Camp 2013

Posted on 04. Aug, 2013 by in blog, Classes, Code Camp, Colearn, Coworking, Designers, Developers, Local News, San Francisco, San Jose, SOMA, startup camp, Startups, SVCC, Tech Clinics

This code camp though is not a “one day and your done” code camp. On the contrary, this FREE code camp is unique in that is it lasts ALL WEEKEND. That’s right; you have 2 days to make it out to this FREE event. The Silicon Valley Code Camp will be held this Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 and this Sunday October 4th, 2009 at Foothill College in Los Altos, CA.

There is slated to be 150 sessions at this year’s code camp covering over 75+ topics. Add to that there are already over 1,200 people registered for this year’s code camp. So if you live or will be in the Silicon Valley area and are interested in networking with other developers and learning new skills (and in this tough economy, who isn’t?), then you should make it out to the Silicon Valley Code Camp.

 

For more information, please visit: http://www.siliconvalley-codecamp.com

 

Strategy Intern @ Mingle Media

Posted on 05. Jun, 2013 by in blog, Coworking, Designers, Developers, San Francisco, SOMA, startup camp, Startups

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic strategy intern who really embraces new challenges.

Our strategy department is responsible for identifying the opportunities in digital for our clients through understanding people and how digital technology affects their behavior, delivering strategies that move people closer to our client’s brand, and helping to develop creative solutions that meet the needs of both our clients and their consumers. The department relies on creative thinkers with a healthy obsession with digital technology, who are driven to discover what makes people tick.

The Strategy department at Mingle consists of designers, digital strategists, data analysts, UX specialists, and community managers and you’ll be given the chance to learn from all of them. However, you’ll really get to develop your skills and experience when you get to work with wider agency and take ownership of your own projects.

You’ll need to be a fast learner, who’s prepared to work across a range of work and embrace new challenges on a daily basis.

You must be interested in:

  • Digital technology, social media, and platforms
  • Getting under the skin of brands and consumers

Skills we’d love to see:

  • A combination of analytical skills, curiosity, and a strong interest in people
  • Experience with Lean UX, and Lean Startup Methodologies
  • Super brownie points if you can code in HTML/CSS
  • Written communication skills
  • Ability to construct and deliver presentations quickly
  • Competent numeracy skills and ability to work with large amounts of data
  • Able to work as part of team
  • Ability simplify and pull out key insights from large amounts of data and research
  • Ability to work under pressure

 

Start Date: July 1, 2013

Duration:  2 months

How to apply:  Please send your CV and tell us in no more than 250 words why you should be our next intern. Applicants who submit creative videos will be given preference.

We offer you a great environment to work with passionate people in a dynamic and highly successful agency.

Mingle Media is an equal opportunity employer who encourages diversity! Send your resumes to careers@minglemedia.co


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