Remember the huge problem of owing someone money and not having any cash to pay the person back? Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail set out to find a solution to this problem that they had also experienced themselves. The solution: Venmo, the easy and safe way to transfer money from one bank account to the other wirelessly. When building a startup company, the first question one should ask is “what problem am I trying to solve?” Tuesday night, September 26th, we heard from Zuventurez PITCH participants about the problems they wanted to solve. As I listened to most people make their 15 second pitches, I realized there are so many different problems that need solving; however, I realized that not all problems need solving. Entrepreneurs need to ask a second question: “is the problem worth solving and does it need solving to begin with?” It’s so easy to get lost in our own ideas without thinking about how other people are affected by it. Our speaker Jay Sherer, closed the workshop with one last point, “build something people want.”
In his initial thoughts, “I wanted to create something different,” stated previous Zuventurez winner, Christian Sanchez. His company, Urban Vinyl, has since then became a successful business that bloomed from a beautiful idea. He first discovered his problem when listening to plastic headphones. The problem Christian detected was the the quality of headphones, at that moment, he decided to initiate the first step in designing a pair of wooden Urban Vinyl headphones. When asked about the difference between wood and plastic headphones, Christian stated, “Would Jimmy Hendriks use a plastic guitar?” Christian brought up a great point that many people had not considered. The pairing of electronics and wood, that is used to make the instruments, is what creates the highest quality of headphones that Urban Vinyl distributes.
Problems are not easy to solve, especially when you’re trying to solve a problem for many different people. You’re going to attempt things, and you’ll fail at things, and this is something Christian and Jay really tried to prepare the hopeful entrepreneurs. “If you have fear of failing, entrepreneurship is going to be really hard for you because you fail. You fail on a daily basis.” Have you ever seen the TV show American Ninja Warriors? It’s basically about these people who dedicate a good portion of their time to train for an all-intense obstacle course that only results in one winner. They fail many times before even making it to the American Ninja Warrior course, but that is exactly what get’s them there. Failure is the basis in which we learn to achieve greatness.
The Zuventurez PITCH team wants to promote healthy relationships within the competition and especially within each team. The members within a team will experience the hardship of becoming entrepreneurs. You’ll have to cope, compromise, and fail, but continually keep in mind that the ending goal is to learn and succeed. What are some problems you experience and what would you do to solve them?