As things come up to a close here inside of the first session at Draper, the metaphorical train shows no sign of stopping. The past two weeks have been jam packed with elite Silicon Valley speakers, pitch training, mentor nights, and financial and business development workshops, all in a bid to prepare students for their ultimate moment: Pitch day.
Pitch day is the occasion that gilds the minds of all Draper students from their first day to their last. In the beginning it sits as some far off destination. Another task simply waiting to be conquered, but as it slowly comes into vision, the magnitude of the undertaking becomes unmistakable. The group moves to understand why they’ve been tortured (or blessed) with speaker after speaker and workshop after workshop. They begin to truly internalize that every second leading up to pitch day has been in preparation for the moment. The inexperienced entrepreneur, confident in their ignorance may consider a pitch day a menial task, something they can just do, but a veteran knows this as a moment of pressure, wherein all of their work can either be glorified and realized, or destroyed and pushed into history.
So, let’s take a step back and look at how the past two weeks have been actively working to prepare them for their brief time in the spotlight.
The last half of this month has had no shortage of twelve hour days. Beginning at 9 in the morning every day, students have been exposed to an array of phenomenal speakers. The CEO of Draper University and renowned managing partner with DDF, Andy Tang led a series of dialogues on the inner-workings of a business’s finances. Everything from projections to balancing was covered in detail.
We believe in applying that basic knowledge into an application and workshop with Bizworld who conducted an active role-playing session to explain supply chain, funding, products and sales. Startups had to encounter multiple issues, develop their own products to sell and balance books after the sale.
The founder of Shazam, Chris Barton came in and provided a discussion surrounding what it takes to develop tech shaping ideas. He walked students through the inception of Shazam, the difficulties they experienced in bringing their idea to market and through the eventual acquisition of the company.
Adam Draper, investor, director of Boost VC accelerator, and son of Tim Draper led a discussion about the way investors think and operate for nearly a whole day. He worked with students on what to expect on pitch day as far as questions and prompts. He worked with students on how to talk about their products and he even worked with students on how to position themselves throughout their presentation.
A more unorthodox training for pitches was offered by Gina Kloes and Felix Lin who led the pupils through a day of emotional highs and lows while training students to come face to face with their challenges. The day was filled with meditation, personality workshops that discussed our most intimate fears and challenges, team building exercises and a board breaking challenge. Students were told to write their fears on one side of an inch thick wooden board, while complimenting the other side with their hopes and desires.
With a resounding success every single individual in the room punched through the side of their board painted with fears and erupted on through to the other side filled with their dreams. Regardless of size or strength, every student conquered the challenge. The message was clear. Approach every day of your life with this level of can-do attitude coupled with strength of will, and you will conquer anything seeking to hold you back.
Along with the exciting workshops and speakers offered at Draper University, students were also afforded the opportunity to visit some amazing office spaces. Now, when we say amazing… we mean AMAZING. AirBnb, Zynga, General Assembly and more opened their doors. Students were guided around the multi-story facilities and given a taste of what a real Silicone Valley office space looks like. They’re littered with play rooms, video games, animals roaming freely and an overall sense of comfort and excitement. A truly engaging office space allows the workers to be who they are and values them by the quality of their brains’ contents, not what’s on the outside. Silicon Valley realizes that where people are happy, they produce their best work.
With all this said, the students are prepared for Wednesday. Join us at the next blog to find out how the pitch day went! Do you have what it takes to be one of our Draper super heroes? Apply here.