When I first read Steve Blank’s article, Sometimes It Pays to be a Jerk, about a test he ran to filter students from his startup course, I said to myself, “Huh, that’s an elegant result.” But after some thinking, I realized that 3DS has been implementing participant filters in our programs all along, and we’ve experienced these findings as well. For a standard 3DS program, we layer in numerous mini-tests that filter out weak or unmotivated participants: interviewing applicants, asking them direct questions about their interests and availability, running pre-program bootcamps, and expecting participants to do some work before their program. These barriers help us cut out the participants that may not be invested enough in the process, which allows us to focus on those who are dedicated to being there.
3 Day Startup works with students from all over the globe to help them kickstart their startup ideas into viable companies. During SXSW, 3DS hosted a pitch workshop for students from the University of Tokyo. The purpose of the workshop was to help students further refine their elevator pitches for a global audience. Most of the participating teams already had working products or early traction from investors or customers.
Participating students were part of Todai to Texas, a program aimed at bringing the brightest student startups from the University of Tokyo to exhibit at SXSW.
During SXSW Interactive 2014, 3 Day Startup hosted a panel to discuss a much debated topic among student entrepreneurs: “Should you drop out of school to start a company?” Some of the points discussed included, entrepreneurial timing, the university as a startup platform, and the culture of risk taking.
The diverse panel of individuals included, Mike Gibson, VP for Grants at the Thiel Foundation, Connie Bourassa-Shaw, Director of the University of Washington’s Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, and Andy O’Hara, Founder and CEO of Chiron Health. Cam Houser, CEO of 3 Day Startup, moderated the discussion.
3 Day Startup (3DS) partnered with the 80/20 Foundation and Geekdom to host the first-ever 3 Day Startup for the Performing Arts. The program introduced San Antonio’s performing arts organizations to lean start up techniques and intraprenuerial thinking. The results were powerful insights into ways to better engage audiences and the community in their work, while simultaneously generating new sources of earned revenue and improving sustainability.
The Current State of the Performing Arts Industry
According to the NEA, nearly half of the nation’s adults attended at least one type of visual or performing arts activity in 2012. And nationwide, the performing arts industry is made up of approximately 8,840 organizations, generating nearly $13.6 billion in annual revenues. In San Antonio alone, arts and culture organizations and their audiences generated more than $134 million in direct economic activity in 2010, according to Americans for the Arts. However, while arts organizations thrive on creativity, producing innovative, exciting, and inspiring performances on stage, they often struggle to harness that same innovative spirit and apply it to their business models. As we have seen with a string of recent high-profile cases (New York City Opera, The Philadelphia Orchestra, among others), many face deficits, go bankrupt, or are forced to downsize. Such failures prevent organizations from serving their communities, while developing a reputation for the performing arts among skeptics as an inefficient, ineffective money-pit.
VFA recently interviewed Ethan on their blog. Ethan dives into his experience with VFA, 3DS, and how our organizations are helping him launch his venture, ComeFail.
Jason Davis is a an entrepreneur, data scientist, and cofounder of NYC based startup Radico. Radico provides data, analytics, and advertising services to online marketplaces. Prior to Radico, Jason founded the venture-backed startup Adtuitive acquired by Etsy in 2009. Adtuitive provided simple, automated, and effective ads for online retailers. Post acquisition, Jason managed several teams at Etsy spanning data, search, and advertising.
Entrepreneurship is currently a hot topic and many universities are looking to attract the best aspiring entrepreneurs by expanding course offerings and programs outside of the norm. Entrepreneur.com does a good job of summing up some of these trends in a relevant article.
Many university entrepreneurship programs are funded by endowments or donations from successful alumni. So as a successful alumnus, what can you do to support entrepreneurship education at your alma mater and ensure that your funds will be utilized effectively?