Archive for August, 2009

Dingman Day -5 Weekend is around :-)

August 26th, 2009 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

By Neha Gupta

It was great to talk to two great EIRs today.

It was more of a discussion though, the EIRs presented some tips and broad questions and then listened to each person’s ideas and the plans for executing those ideas. Everyone’s ideas have been evolving since the first day and are getting better & more focused day by day.

The important questions the EIRs told the young entrepreneurs to ask about their company/idea/product are:

Who do we serve?

What do we provide?

How do we provide it?

I was bit surprised when John asked the question that “how many people are ready to pay more for products which lead to social good”? Almost everyone raised his or her hands.

We also did some interesting case studies about how some businesses did better and were able to run successfully.

Southwest Airlines:

  • Used lesser-used airports just outside of high traffic & important hubs, hence could be cheaper.
  • Employees are more important than customers


  • Trendy Design and high performance


  • Introduced a new paradigm in laundry. Earlier, it was the women who did most of the laundry, now the manufacturers advertised laundry as a chore for men and introduced huge laundry machines to be put into the garage, which men could operate, and this could in turn save a lot of time for women. The idea was a big hit J

Dingman Day – Day 4

August 26th, 2009 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

By Neha Gupta

I could not attend the business plan session due to my summer job but Alla was gracious enough me hand me all the printouts about the session. It is said that making the right business plan is the first step towards a successful business.For me business plan is a document in which you not only detail your product/ idea alone but you bring the bigger picture into your vision. It handles questions like how does your product fit into the market, does it have any value addition in the market, etc. It is the first thing to prepare when you go to meet your VCs and hence requires special attention. Professor Baum gave a really nice presentation about how to make a good business plan ( my friends told me that).

We also got some publicity tips from the PR of the Smith School of Business. She told us how to contact journalists who might be interested in writing about our respective companies and what to speak and what not to speak in an interview. All the big people are taking out time for us and its just great to hear the experiences of everyone.


Dingman Jumpstart – Day 3

August 26th, 2009 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

By Neha Gupta

I still have to finish some stuff for my summer job and have to visit the office time and again which keeps me on my toes. Today’s agenda was “Assessment” of idea and Mr.Brian Taff, VP, Name Media, gave us tips about how to assess our ideas.

Among Mr.Taff’s pearls of wisdoms, I liked his anecdote the best about how he sold his espresso machines to the restaurants. There was a lot to learn from it. When he wanted to sell espresso machines to the restaurants, there was not a market looking for product but there was a product looking for market.

Below are some of the ways in which he sold his machines:

  • He tried to convince the restaurant owners that there was a huge profit margin after in selling the espresso’s to the customers. Each espresso costs about 65 cents but is sold for 3.95$ which was a huge margin.
  • He also told he restaurateurs that costumers were looking for a different type of dessert and espresso can be the answer.
  • Each $ 3.95 would increase the check size and thus can lead to an increase in the tip for the waiters.
  • Customers would spend more time at the restaurant while sipping coffee and hence may order more.

The greatest part of the Jumpstart program is its discussions where everyone participates. The senior executives, the VCs, the professors all come down to the level of students when they talk. I m also pretty impressed with my class, I don’t know whose ideas will flourish and become real business but I wish luck to all of them.


Dingman Jumpstart Day 2

August 20th, 2009 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

by Neha Gupta

Today was the second day at Dingman and I was late today also.

Driving from Gaithersburg early morning at 8:00 is not a cake walk but my efforts were well paid off at the end of the day.

Mr.Epstein gave a great talk today about entrepreneurship and shared his wealth of experiences.

He tried to ignite our minds to think like entrepreneurs, look for small opportunities in life and do something instead of wasting time waiting for one big opportunity.

I really liked the ideas the threw at us.

1)      Community owned bakery : Community owned bakery is a great idea in today’s economic crisis. It will help people looking for an additional source of income and will benefit everyone. I have a sweet tooth which makes me biased towards this idea.

2)      Short –term rental- It is also one of the unexplored areas I feel with a lot of potential. Me and my husband were thinking about renting a house beside a beach for summer but couldn’t do so since very little information was available about the houses. If there is a company which we can hire to do the sanity checks for us, I think a lot of people will be ready to pay for it.

3)      Green equipment of military : US military has a budget for 450 Billion $.Green and low carbon footprint equipments have become a necessity, hence are an area of opportunity.

Among the take-homes of today’s session were:

1)      Read Wall-Street Journal once a week to know about the economic world.

2)      Don’t think that your first idea will be a hit, you might need to try several before success.”Rise after a fall and keep going”.

3)      Profit margin is very important in a business; no business can survive without a good margin.

I also enjoyed the session with Ms.Corey and Mr.Epstein. They  like my idea. Its Nirmal’s (my husband)

and my dream project.

Hope it works!!

Looking forward to meet with the EIRs tomorrow.


Dingman Jumpstart Day 1- Jump Higher & Higher

August 20th, 2009 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

by Neha Gupta

Being a researcher, I come up with number of ideas every day, but most of them are abandoned by the end of the day. I joined the Dingman Jumpstart hoping to find a platform to convert my ideas into real business. After attending today’s session, I realized that it’s not only important to have an idea but also to pursue it with full heart and mind. I got an opportunity to meet with other talented fellows who have great ideas.  I really liked everyone’s enthusiasm and their willingness to take the road less traveled. Everyone shared their ideas with each other and looked for prospective partners. Sharing ideas with people makes you think harder and better and also provides with good critiques.

Mr. Epstein made us realize the importance of looking for ideas and market trends.

Jon Dugan, COO Goozex, also spent considerable amount of time inspiring the participants.

Some take-homes from Jon’s presentation are (according to me):

  • Make your business different from others.
  • Never put your eggs in one basket. Make your consumers, advertisers, sponsors as diversified as possible.
  • If you are in a customer driven business, then customer is always right.
  • Very well know the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
  • When you hire/look for partners for a start-up, more than skill-set look for passion.
  • Don’t count nickel and dime with your partner and be very honest.
  • Product give-aways are always helpful to entice customers and make them addicted to your application.

I enjoyed the Potbelly sandwich and drinks 🙂

Thanks to Alla for organizing this:-)

Way to go Dingman !! I m looking forward to tomorrow’s session.