Technology is an ever-advancing realm full of cutting edge ideas and entrepreneurs, but how does one become an inventor in such chaotic times? Does one need a certain skill set, or knowledge of business to succeed in the world of business and technology?
Startup companies seem to be popping up all over the place, but what techniques and knowledge can help make a company the best? According to Dr. Merrick Furst, a distinguished professor in the school of Computer Science, entrepreneurship incorporates more than just one set of skills, and, most of the time, involves risk.
A startup company is one that begins from scratch—if it is started with the correct people and skill set, the profit outweighs the risk.
“I would encourage students who wish to start a business to begin by working for a newly established startup company. Working in such an environment allows individuals to learn their strengths and weaknesses in business as well as their likes and dislikes. Then, when they feel confident with their abilities, they should jump right in and get started with their own company.” Furst said.
“How do you recognize if you are an entrepreneur? Well, it’s just the way you are,” Furst said.
Furst, in conjunction with others, has founded or assisted in founding seven companies including the well known company Damballa.
“The most important thing to learn as an entrepreneur is not a specific skill set, although that is very important, but to recognize a need and learn how to fill it. The only way to start a business is to see an area where there is a need and make a product that is marketable.” Furst said. “Three key ingredients to a successful company are correct founders, marketable ideas and staying cheap.”
One is never too young to recognize the need for a product or improvement. An entrepreneur begins as soon as he or she is able.Many students at Tech show this capability and have even begun to explore the world of business and technology. Sometimes, the field of entrepreneurship does not simply include startup companies, but the ability to invent individual products such as video games or other products. Chris Sumsky, a Digital Media graduate student and Ryan Oliveria, a CM alumnus worked with a few others to produce a game called “Token Master,” an iPhone puzzle game. The invention of this game led to the foundation of a company called Crystal Fish Entertainment.
“We wanted to make a game. It started with four of us, and we put together a team, and it took us about four months to finish Token Master. The inspiration was to make something that is totally ours and not for a class. After making the game we decided we could actually do this for a living and we decided to become incorporated.” Sumsky said. Their inspiration was followed with success with their game selling over five hundred copies. They aspire to do even better with the games they sell in the future.
“After making the first game, we learned about our market base and now understand how to appeal to our target audience,” Oliveria said. “We want to make a whole new genre, and we all really want this company to get off the ground. I see myself sitting in the office of Crystal Fish Entertainment producing these games for a living in the future.”
Both Sumsky and Oliveria agree that the skills learned at Tech were invaluable to the production and startup of their company.
“I think the most valuable thing that Tech taught me is time management and team management. Both skills are invaluable in a work setting,” Sumsky said.
Therefore, for students who aspire to be entrepreneurs, now is the time to get started.