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Topic subjectRaising an Entrepreneur - Pt 2 - We're LIVE on Apple
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=4&topic_id=12693309&mesg_id=12693309
12693309, Raising an Entrepreneur - Pt 2 - We're LIVE on Apple
Posted by poetx, Thu Jan-08-15 10:39 AM
Apple download link:


Android Download Link:


Overcoming Hurdles

I think I'm gonna keep writing these. They help me. So, we had two major obstacles in December. The most glaring was with getting the app approved via Apple. Unlike Google, which is like, 'shit works? ok. you good', Apple requires more hoops jumped through to get onto their market. They found two bugs (combination of device + OS level issues). I had the developers turn that around in 1 day, but the difference from being In Review status on 12/15 versus getting it back into that status after the initial rejection on 12/19 meant that they did not review it before the whole developer submission process was shut down for the year on 12/22. THEN everything was still hanging well after Christmas, and we had to escalate. But they reviewed and approved Syl labEye on 1/6 so we are now official on both the android and iOS markets. Major milestone.

This was a huge hurdle because we really couldn't go full tilt with the marketing and promotion for the spring semester without the iPhone/iPad version of the app available. We'd have been wasting marketing efforts. Dry runs that Cam did on campus back in December (training some reps to do live demonstrations in high traffic areas) indicated that quite a few of the students had Apple devices. So they were impressed and interested, but we couldn't convert that enthusiasm to action.

Second obstacle was of the people/institutional variety. Cameron had been working with some high ups in the administration of his school to get some backing behind the project. He was told that the Business School and College of Engineering would be the ones who would form the official pilot. On the phone w/ folks from the b school everything was mad enthusiastic. Idea sounded great and all that. He showed up in person, and everyone in the lobby was still very optimistic and down for the idea. He went into the dean's office and dude's whole demeanor was best described as dismissive. No eye contact. Dude seemed suddenly disinterested (compared with his enthusiasm over the phone). Non-committal.

My son was heated after the meeting because he felt disrespected. Although they'd had a verbal agreement over the phone to put him in touch w/ a liason, the dean tried to renege on that. I'll let you do the math on what we assumed the problem could be if ish was cool over the phone, and suddenly cold in person, upon first meeting. Tall, well dressed young black man with neatly groomed dreads and facial hair. *sigh*.

He calls me after the meeting. He was calm during the meeting but he is brimming with frustration as I talk to him. I'm on my way to coach his younger sister in a basketball game. They had to cut their meeting short, so he shoe horns in another quick discussion with the dean later.

I tell him that it likely is what it seems, but that that's nothing new. He's encountered this before, especially out in Eastern NC. He's done his homework and feels like the objections he was presented with were b.s. I ask him to explain them to me. The main one is that dude is wary about risking his credibility on this app. But the pre-agreed plan was that the b school's IT department would approve the pilot after conducting a test.

I tell cam that I've had to deal with these types of situations at work. Ultimately, you don't know what anyone's *real* objections are, regardless of your suppositions. A spade is prolly a spade, but dude could be having a bad day, or he could be pissed at the admin (all of the sudduden) and power tripping by objecting to the pilot. I give him the strategy that I use in corporate America for dealing with situations where I need someone to do something.

1) Pre-empt all of their objections by having solutions to them
2) Explain the whole thing, logically, in such a way that an objective observer would think that they were stupid if they didn't do it, but without ever dotting the lines. Let THEM come to that conclusion based upon your framing of the facts, risks, and mitigations

I coached him through shooting down the dean's stated risk, which was the potential for damage to his credibility (despite the fact that they had previously put departmental weight behind another student who wrote a dating app). This is a PILOT. By definition, it connotes something that is in its early stages and NOT a fully working product. Emphasizing the 'pilot' part in the communications indemnifies you if its not ready for prime time. There is no risk. It either works or it doesn't. However, your IT department is going to test and we're recommending that the professors in the pilot rollout use a specific syllabus template which we know works with the current version of the app. So you are mitigating or eliminating the risk of the thing not working.

THEN, inform him of risks he has *not* considered. The risk to your school, which has a stated objective (b/c we been doing homework) to be a top 50 b school in 3 yrs, for having a major business launch on your campus, but for the principals' origin story to include that they had to go ELSEWHERE for support is huge. We have contacts at nc state and several other schools who are interested. If our pilot ends up happening there or at another institution, that is going to look very bad for your school. Not a threat at all (well, at least not explicitly). Just keeping it 100.

On the other hand, if you provide us with some resources and support (you've seen the potential, everyone universally reconizes the need and the market), you have the ability to benefit from a tremendous upside. Basically no money expended on your part (think of all the free publicity if this blows up), and a huge marketing differentiator for your university and your program. And if it doesn't work, the spin is STILL positive: you are fostering an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship giving students the tools to succeed in a new economy. win/win/win.

After that we prayed in advance of the conversation, that God would prepare the dean to hear what cameron had to say, and remove any impediments and obstacles that may have prevented him from taking him seriously. And that cam would be able to articulate everything clearly, with passion, but not emotion, and make his case objectively.

I'll continue this in a reply since this has gotten long....

peace & blessings,



I'm an advocate for working smarter, not harder. If you just
focus on working hard you end up making someone else rich and
not having much to show for it. (c) mad