Monthly Archives: April 2013

NCIIA Workshop

Last weekend, four of us had the privilege of attending the National Collegiate Inventors Association E-Team workshop in Boston. At the workshop, we listened to several successful entrepreneurs share their start-up wisdom, and took part in several exercises designed to help us refine our value proposition, identify solutions to challenges we face, and create a winning go-to-market strategy.

Perhaps the most valuable part of our weekend was the strategy mapping exercise facilitated by James Barlow. We knew going into the workshop that we had a tremendous amount of work to do in order to become an international food recovery network. Sometimes, like many businesses, we would feel bogged down by the many inter-connected challenges that prevent us from growing our organization and accomplishing our goals. Through strategy mapping, we were forced to list every problem that gets in our way, as well as potential solutions, using sticky notes on a giant canvas.

Next, we drew lines connecting each problem and solution. Oftentimes, problems were connected to other problems, which in turn had multiple solutions, but then certain solutions may cause other problems. Things got complicated! However, once we had everything out on our canvas, we could easily organize problems and solutions into particular categories, including resources, people, activities, and products. Categorization was an important step, as it forced us to get extremely specific when figuring out what we need to accomplish moving forward.

Thanks NCIIA for an awesome weekend!

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Rice Business Plan Competition

Eric and Katelyn saying "Go Devils!" in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.

Eric and Katelyn saying “Go Devils!” in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.

Last week, Eric and I traveled to Houston, Texas, to represent FlashFood in the finals of the Rice Business Plan Competition. It was a privilege to compete in such a prestigious competition.  After 3 pitches, we walked away with $700, dozens of business cards, hundreds of well wishes, and we are one step closer to making making our vision a reality. A big thanks to everyone who helped us prepare for this competition.

To learn more about the outstanding work of the Houston Food Bank visit their website. You can also read about the other exciting startup companies that were at the competition.

-Katelyn

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FlashFood Meets Maynard Webb

Maynard Webb Visit

On Monday, Mary Hannah and I had the amazing experience of meeting Maynard Webb, former COO of eBay and current Yahoo! and Salesforce.com board member, through the ASU Edson program. After attending his guest lecture, we met with Mr. Webb for a small group discussion with other Edson companies to share our experiences in starting companies, and to ask for guidance on how to surmount challenges we face. Reflecting on his own experiences, he offered valuable advice addressing the issues and frustrations we face in our businesses and individual career paths. It was an experience we will never forget!

We  highly recommend his new book, Rebooting Work. The theme of his book that resonated the most with us was that anyone can become “CEOs of their own destinies” and have a successful career. Mr. Webb offers practical, actionable solutions  for anyone who feels unsatisfied in their current job to help them start the career they have always wanted. You can listen to Mr. Webb discussing his book in this Tech Crunch interview.

-Jake

Eric presents at Ignite@ASU

Last night, Eric, FlashFood’s Executive Director, along with about a dozen other Arizona State University students, gave an engaging and insightful presentation at Ignite@ASU. The format and style of Ignite is modeled after the renowned Ted Talks, where speakers use timed powerpoint slide shows and are allotted roughly twenty minutes to present. However, instead of twenty minutes, each Ignite presenter only has five minutes to tell their story. The Ignite tagline, and philosophy, is “enlighten us, but make it quick”.

Eric’s talk focused on the problems of food waste and hunger in America, but he emphasized the impact that many people in our communities are making through food rescue, which involves recovering extra food from food service and retail businesses and donating it to hungry. He also brought up a very important point; most food is wasted along the supply chain before even reaching restaurants and grocers.  It ‘s crucial that we adopt innovative long-term strategies to mitigate the problem of food waste all along the supply chain, and we need more innovators to create solutions.

He concluded his speech with an inspiring call to action for everyone in the audience; pick one problem that bothers you more than anything else, and think of new and creative ways to solve it.

To see videos of past Ignite@ASU presentations, check out their site. We should have a video of Eric’s talk posted soon!