Entrepreneurship, Economics and the General Relativity - Fluid Dynamics duality.

Well today was insane yet again. I’ll keep this short since it’s 12:30am and want to get some rest before the day starts up again tomorrow at 7am!

The Wond’ry Preflight Entrepreneurship program

I’m fairly interested in entrepreneurship and economics in general. So, recently when I heard that Vanderbilt University was accepting applications for an intensive 7-week introduction to entrepreneurship program for STEM students and postdocs at their new entrepreneur center called the Wond’ry, I absolutely had to apply. I did a pretty deep analysis on the international agriculture-food industry (it’s about a trillion dollar market ya know). Most of the data I gathered actually came from a McKenzie report (the consultancy company) which can be found here (check out the angle presented on the Big Data section, they’re spot on). Mackenzie, I find, puts together absolutely fantastic reports on various economic studies actually, fyi. And, just because I think I should have at least one figure in every blog post, here’s one outlining investment opportunities in this sector for those interested:

mackenzie report

About two weeks after I submitted my application, I received great news that I was accepted to the program! This is exciting for me considering most of the business and economics knowledge I absorb comes from my self-directed study, so it’s great to take an actual course designed by experts in the field. Anyways, the 7 week program began today, and it was awesome. There was a panel from local entrepreneurs who shared their stories and experiences, many of which were graduates of the same program when it was held through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Their businesses ranged from coffee to music to software– and they seemed pretty keen on learning more about machine learning and how it could better inform their business decisions. Actually, it got me thinking, setting up a consultancy gig may not be a bad idea for myself. Let’s see..

In either case, I was asked why I was there (in the usual go around the room and introduce yourselves style). I explained my deep interest in what I’ve come to call a move towards science-driven entrepreneurship: that is, the education of STEM-discipline scientists to become aware of the possible opportunities that exist in private enterprise. Interestingly, most scientists in academia don’t really know the first thing about taking an idea and commercializing it. They believe these are things that one does if you step away from their bench science (physicists don’t usually use the bench terminology but I find many other disciplines do).

If the proper infrastructure was in place for STEM scientists to be able to take their random ideas, algorithms, hardware designs, what have you, to market easily, we may be staring at a completely different economy right now. This is why I believe in the education of those involved in research in STEM fields to realize that they can do both academic research and also let their technology and ideas positively impact society.

Some interesting quotes that were said by the panel today:

“Silicon Valley was built on collaboration between entrepreneurs.” –

I can’t attest to the validity of this, but I can whole heartedly agree with the sentiment. We are stronger together when we lend eachother our skills and receive help from those better than us at particular things. It’s pretty much why I believe on the open science initiative. Sometimes it’s not about the ideas, but in the execution. Which brings me to the next quote:

“Ideas are important, but sometimes execution is waaaayyy more important.” –

Ok, same thing I said above. Also it was noted that Nashville is a very collaborative environment (thank goodness).

Tips for those beginning entrepreneurs:

  1. Don’t go at it alone, find co-founders, it could be lonely if you go at it alone, and you may not make it, because it’s..

  2. Extremely super hard to make it in the business world. Had to be emphasized that there will be very trying times. Hey sounds like..

  3. Entrepreneurship is a lot like scientific work. You collaborate on ideas, you strategize and you build value. In science we mostly stop at the published paper, but entrepreneurship is about continuing an enterprise.

  4. Keep an open mind and don’t espouse an idea. Again, sounds a lot like science (I feel bad for those people that go their whole lives believing the same theory and just try and try and try to make it work. Apparently there’s the same affliction in the business world).

Books that were recommended: The mom test and zero to one.

TedX meeting

Had a meeting today for a TedX event coming up hosted by Vanderbilt. Luckily I was selected to give a Ted presentation on Dark Matter and it will be live November 13th for the whole world to see… yeah I’m not nervous.

Actually looking forward to this opportunity. I see science communication as a duty scientists carry. I often ask people, “if a tree fell in the forest, and you can’t explain it, is there a forest?” I hope that translates..

GR fluids paper:

An undergraduate student from Lemoyne College (in Syracuse) recently contacted me about helping him with an experiment he’s carrying out for a senior capstone project. He found my name through Professor Melissa Green’s group’s homepage from my short time working in her group on some theoretical calculations on vortices (ugh I really have to get on top of publishing that work, have to tell people the tree fell damn it!).

Being an undergrad, I guess he assumes I know everything. Oh man is he wrong. I mentioned I could help with the theoretical calculations, but he was hoping for more help in experimental set up.. Can’t promise much there! In either case, he needed help understanding the paper Measurement of stimulated Hawking emission in an analogue system which I must say is pretty awesome. I read through it tonight and while I knew about the duality, I was surprised the experiment was actually carried out successfully. I wish him the best in reproducing their results.

Well that was pretty much the day. A bunch of stuff stayed on the to do list, guess will have to continue tomorrow..

Written on October 19, 2016