Colleges and Universities

Start a Business in School

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If you are in college you should start your own business because there is no better time to do so.

When I was in college working on I remember thinking how great it was to have the flexibility of a student and to have the resources of a college university in order to get things done. I was surrounded by exceptionally bright people from all different backgrounds and areas of expertise who were willing to provide guidance.

A friend of mine recently had success with his college endeavor and conveys a similar thought in a recent article called Deconstructing Invite Media’s success story :

“There is no better time to start a company than when you’re in school,” he said.

After all, college students don’t require a lot of money, their housing often is paid for, and their peers often are willing to hustle at all hours to meet deadlines. “You can’t beat that when you need to have your attention focused on the company,” he wrote in an e-mailed response to a question.

Furthermore, academic institutions have the resources to educate entrepreneurs on any single area of a business or topic and by leveraging the various academic resources to build your business, you actually obtain a wider knowledge base of information then originally intended.

As a student, you have the ability to build your own business in a safe, low-cost, resource-rich environment and if it doesn’t work out you still hedged your bet because you’ll most likely graduate with a degree.

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Building Things For Your Pockets – A Unique Perspective On The Future of Mobile

There is no doubt in my mind that our dependency on mobile phones will continue to increase. I’m not going to try and justify this statement because this is quite simply a fact, and with that fact comes a tremendous amount of opportunity. A friend of mine has been digging into this space and I thought his current approach, tactics and projects were worth sharing.

David Alson shares his insights below in another post I’ll file under “Student Profiles.”

Student Bio – David Alson
David Alson was born and raised in the New York City area and is currently a senior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with hopes to pursue a career in the technology industry after graduation in the spring of 2011.

Dan Reich: I understand you’ve developed some iPhone apps.  Could you talk a little bit about those, and your experiences in creating them?
David Alson: During the summer of 2009, I bought an introductory book on iPhone programming and started teaching myself how to build apps. I built some basic apps to get used to the environment and Objective-C, learn about the Cocoa Touch framework and experiment with features of the iPhone I have never programmed for before, such as the accelerometer, camera and touch screen.

The first app that I released to the App store was a generic countdown to the 2010 New Year. I wanted to put something in the store so I could see first hand what the process was like and how the App store made and recorded sale transactions.

The second and third app that I put in the store was a game with a free version with ads and a 99-cent version called BallFall, which I decided to make for two reasons. The first reason was because I wanted to see how much I had taught myself about iPhone programming. I figured creating a game would be the most fun in the end and also be something that I would be willing to put in the store after it was done. The second reason was because the games category is the most successful category in the App store and I wanted to see how well ads do in free apps.

DR: What projects are you working on now?
DA: In addition to my electrical engineering course work, several projects I am currently working on include the Miami University App, Track ‘M, which will be integrated into the Miami App, and my first mobile game, BallFall.

The Miami University App was designed for current students, perspective students and parents, all Miami University faculty members, and especially new freshmen in need of a portable assistant to help with the transition into their new collegiate lifestyle. Some features of this app include a map of campus with building information, visitor parking information, dining menus to see what is being served in the dining halls across campus, sports and events news and a directory to search for contact information for all students, faculty and staff at the university.

Track ‘M is projected to be a live GPS bus tracking system for the Miami University transit system. This application is currently being designed to be incorporated into the Miami University App so those interested in accessing and utilizing the MU transit system will be able to access and view live locations of each bus and receive approximate bus arrival times at the desired destination.

Lastly, BallFall, which as previously mentioned, was designed as a personal examination of various aspects of the mobile market and a way to examine my own abilities with Objective-C. I am currently working on introducing an online leaderboard to feature high scores, which I decided to incorporate after taking a class on web services and SOA. I anticipate its release within the next couple weeks.

Those projects can be seen below.

DR: Where do you see the biggest opportunities in the mobile space?
DA: I believe there are two areas that have high potential for opportunity and growth within the mobile space—the medical industry and the education system. With a huge percentage of the population carrying mobile devices now, the medical industry has an opportunity to change how practitioners monitor and deliver vital information to their patients. After hearing about the implementation of mobile devices in the classroom resulting in higher engagement and participation levels, I feel the education system is currently presented with an opportunity to redesign traditional methods into a more modern system that is interesting to both students and faculty.

DR: What do you think about the current education system?
DA: I believe there is a technologic disconnect between students and educators. Many educators are resistant to having mobile devices in the classroom, while students are inevitably going to use them anyway, be it for texting or accessing the internet. Current students are growing up with mobile devices and the education system needs to expedite its transition into the mobile world of today.

DR: Do you teach things to yourself in order to get things done? If so, how?
DA: Absolutely. When there is a concept I do not understand, the first place I look for answers is the Internet. I feel it is the most efficient tool for finding answers because it provides a variety of perspectives on the subject.

David can be reached at

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On the future of education

It will be very different in 10 years.  It is very different now.

Pretty soon those backpacks carrying 100 lbs worth of textbooks will be replaced by one, 10.2 oz Amazon Kindle or even your iPod.

From Gizmodo:

iTunes U will be teaming up with universities and other education establishments to offer a free hosting service for educators.

As information continues to become more widespread and readily accessible, the question becomes, what value does a physical university really have?

If I can get the same education for free either on the Internet or through other distributed devices, why do I really need to be in a classroom, or furthermore, why do I even need to be in a University?

Students can take courses online and learn what they need to learn with companies like Phoenix, Kaplan, BigThink, Academic Earth and even YouTube (Dear Ambassadors and Respected Representatives of UW-Madison and Eduction).

The “Degree” is beginning to seem less and less valuable (in many cases, but not all) when you can learn what you want, when you want, where you want , and apply those lessons to real world applications. This to me, is infinitely more valuable than doing homework or taking tests in an insulated environment.

However, being in a physical university does have its advantages. You are surrounded with like-minded individuals and have a very good chance at meeting the right people, and creating some real value for the real world. Then again, can’t we just do that online?

School Spirit Skit 2” – Kanye West (The College Dropout)

You keep it going man, you keep those books rolling,
You pick up those books your going to read
And not remember and you roll man.
You get that a sociate degree, okay,
Then you get your bachelors, then you get your masters
Then you get your master’s masters,
Then you get your doctron,
You go man, then when everybody says quit
You show them those degree man, when
Everybody says hey, your not working,
Your not making in money,
You say look at my degrees and you look at my life,
Yeah i’m 52, so what, hate all you want,
But i’m smart, i’m so smart, and i’m in school,
And these guys are out here making
Money all these ways, and i’m spended mine to be smart.
You know why?
Because when i die, buddy, you know
What going to keep me warm, that right, those degrees

I’m not suggesting students drop out of school.  Just, reconsider HOW and WHERE you get your education and reconsider HOW and WHEN you apply what you’ve learned to the real world.

A fantastic piece was written yesterday in the by Mark C. Taylor titled, End The University As We Know It. If you are going to read one thing today, please read this piece.

An excerpt from the piece:

GRADUATE education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans).

Widespread hiring freezes and layoffs have brought these problems into sharp relief now. But our graduate system has been in crisis for decades, and the seeds of this crisis go as far back as the formation of modern universities. Kant, in his 1798 work “The Conflict of the Faculties,” wrote that universities should “handle the entire content of learning by mass production, so to speak, by a division of labor, so that for every branch of the sciences there would be a public teacher or professor appointed as its trustee.”

Unfortunately this mass-production university model has led to separation where there ought to be collaboration and to ever-increasing specialization. In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations.

worth the entire read..more here…

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