Don’t miss the first ST@B mixer of 2011 next Monday, March 7th at 7PM at the Wozniak Lounge (Soda Hall). Paul Graham, founder of Y-Combinator. Come with questions for Paul and meet other ST@B’ers. Free pizza will be available.
ST@B is expanding its horizons this semester, and we have exciting new ideas to try out. We’re also dedicated to building up our member base and participation, so we’d love to hear your ideas as well. If you’d like to be part of ST@B this semester, please fill out this quick application form:
If you can’t be part of ST@B this semester but still want to be up-to-date on the latest entrepreneurship-related events on campus, head over the StartupDigest and sign up for the UC Berkeley Digest, which we curate.
We are excited that a substantial number of Berkeley students and community members are interested in entrepreneurship and supportive of the event. However, due to unforeseen and irreparable technical and logistical issues, we regret to announce that we are indefinitely postponing 3DS Berkeley. We cannot compromise and deliver a program that fails to meet the expectations of the Berkeley community, and we offer our sincerest apologies.
Don’t miss the first Startup Mixer of the semester next Thursday, September 30 at 7PM at Blake’s on Telegraph. Justin Kan, co-founder of Justin.tv will be talking about starting the company and growing it to become the largest live video site online. Free food courtesy of Alsop Louie Partners. RSVP at Facebook.
Startup@Berkeley is excited to announce its newest event: 3 Day Startup Berkeley
The idea of 3 Day Startup is simple: start a technology company over the course of three days. We rent work space for an entire weekend, invite 40 participants with a wide range of backgrounds, cater food, drinks, snacks, and coffee, pick the best ideas for software startups during the Friday brainstorming session, and release minimal prototypes by Sunday night. The goal is to build enough momentum among a network of motivated people to sustain the companies beyond the weekend.
Check out the website to learn more!
ST@B member George Dy recently interviewed Ben Parr, Co-Editor of Mashable. Among other topics, Ben addresses the surging popularity of location-based services, privacy concerns regarding Facebook, and the growing competition between Google and Apple.
See the full interview here.
We’re excited to announce ST@B Dialogues! Starting in the summer of 2010, ST@B will regularly interview Bay Area entrepreneurs to provide UC Berkeley students with insights into the world of entrepreneurship. The questions we ask will be entirely user-generated – simply post the questions you’d like to ask under the comments sections of our guest’s page, and we’ll select the best and most popular questions to be used in our interview.
Our first guest is Ben Parr, the Co-Editor of Mashable. Founded in July 2005, Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news. With more than 15 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the web and offering social media resources and guides.
To submit an interview question for Ben Parr, simply post your question as a comment here.
On April 6th, over 100 students, entrepreneurs, and VCs gathered at our startup mixer to hear a talk from the legendary video game developer and entrepreneur Will Wright, founder of Maxis and creator of The Sims and Spore. The night began with a short introductory segment called “Numbers,” where anyone from the audience could pitch their startup or organization, before commencing with Will Wright’s keynote talk.
Wright began by delineating his experiences in the game development industry. In his early years, he bought an Apple II, learned how to program on it, and began spending considerable amounts of time playing video games. As he became increasingly interested in constructing miniature worlds, Wright moved to California and designed his first video game, Raid on Bungeling Bay. After Wright met Jeff Braun at a party and showed him CityPlanner 1.0, which later became SimCity, the duo redesigned the game for modern home computers and released it. As SimCity was the only game available to Macintosh users at the time, the game rapidly gained press coverage and even experienced increased sales for successive holiday seasons, a phenomenon unheard of at the time. As the company burgeoned and survived two “valleys of startup death,” transition periods during which the company culture had to be entirely re-engineered, Wright decided to find a company to acquire Maxis and chose Electronic Arts, a decision that ultimately drew more talent to Maxis and provided Wright with the resources he needed to complete The Sims and Spore.
As the talk opened to general audience questions, Wright shared his thoughts on several interesting topics. He noted that designers in other design fields currently serve as the biggest inspiration to the game development industry. When asked about Zynga and the increasing popularity of social games, Wright estimated that social network games will eventually constitute 25% of the game market and serve as a gateway to other games. He also contrasted the DRM failures of Spore with the game’s wildly successful Creature Creator and revealed that his future projects will rely on crowdsourcing. Wright expressed his hope to bring games into the physical world and highlighted the ability of certain smartphone games to increase a player’s awareness of his or her real-world surroundings. Finally, to conclude his talk, Wright imparted this thought: that play is inherent in all of us and a way to build schema with experiences we have never had.
Altogether, we were very impressed by the great turnout and Will Wright’s talk. Thanks to Alsop Louie Partners for sponsoring! You can view pictures of the event on ST@B’s Facebook page.
To kick off our first general meeting on March 2nd, we invited MyMiniLife (the technology behind FarmVille) co-founder Zao Yang to share his experiences with aspiring entrepreneurs and field questions from moderator Corey Reese of Alsop Louie Partners.
Yang first recounted the development and early evolution of MyMiniLife. Yang and his team started by focusing on developing fast, streamlined Flash games, and a feature the eventual winner. Yang noted that his succinct product ideology and ability to demonstrate progress given his circumstances was critical to the company’s success in pitching to angel investors and potential acquirers.
Yang then deconstructed the elements of FarmVille and offered some general startup advice. The social mechanics of FarmVille, he noted, were founded upon the “addictive” nature of instantaneous feedback. Specifically, FarmVille fell into a category called “appointment gaming,” where an escalation of commitments encourages more dedication from gamers, rewarding them with short positive feedback. The popularity of this game quickly drew over one million players in four days, and the other elements of the game, from the pastel colors to the performance-optimized engine, catered to the central social mechanic. Yang emphasizes the importance of understanding the social mechanics of a product by noting that Gowalla and Foursquare, two increasingly-popular companies targeting location sharing, are successful not because they employ top-notch engineers, but because they thoroughly understand the social aspects of their products. Here, Yang delivers his key takeaway: startups must focus on long-term user retention.
Overall, the night was a great success, and we even attracted quite a few new members. Thanks to Alsop Louie Partners for sponsoring!
Here is a list of entrepreneurship events happening this spring at Berkeley. Let us know if we’re missing anything.
Feb 24th @ 6PM- CSUA eTalks with Sam Altman, Founder of Loopt
March 1st @6:30PM- Lester Center Best Practices: Pitching
March 2nd @ 7PM- Startup 101 and ST@B General Meeting with Founder of Farmville and Associate from Alsop Louie Partners.
March 3rd @ 6PM- CSUA eTalks with Russel Simmons, CTO of Yelp.com
March 10 @ 6PM- CSUA eTalks with Chris Wanstrath, Github
March 30 @ 6:30PM- Lester Center Best Practices: Incorporation and Compensation
April 23 – CSUA Demo Day
April 3rd @ 8AM- TEDxBerkeley
April 6th @ 7PM – Startup Mixer with Will Wright, Maxis (Sims, Sim City, Spore)
April 7th @ 7PM- Social Networking: A View from the Top (DSP)
April 20 @ 6:30PM – Lester Center Best Practices: Financing
April 25th @ 9AM- Nanotechnology Forum (Berkeley Nanotechnology Club)
April 29th @6:30PM- UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition Finals and Awards Ceremony