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Lessons Learned: Do Customer Interviews Even When You Don’t Think You Need To

Sensory Percussion builds powerful technologies for creative musicians. Our first product is a new system for electronic percussion that captures the true expressive nature of drumming for artful control of digital sound. I admit to a considerable amount of hubris before entering the Summer Launchpad program nearly 3 months ago. I was excited to have the support and guidance of SLP while my brother (also, my cofounder) and I figured out how to turn our prototype into a business. But, I found the idea of…

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Faculty Entrepreneurs: Meet Dr. Seth Orlow

Meet Dr. Seth Orlow,  Professor & Chairman of NYU Langone’s Dermatology Department, co-founder of Anaderm, a venture capitalist and an investment banking advisor. Dr. Seth Orlow joined NYU in 1990 as a junior faculty member during a period of growing interest in lifestyle drugs, the most notable of the period being Viagra. Soon, Orlow and his dermatology colleagues found themselves in discussions with Pfizer on how to leverage Pfizer’s library of drug compounds to identify  active ingredients for non-traditional medical problems such as skin discoloration and wrinkles.…

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Lessons Learned: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Understand Your Customer

VoiceHacker (formerly Speech Empowered), helps busy professionals improve their public speaking and presentation skills through biofeedback and a supportive online community. VoiceHacker began as an iOS app that evaluates a user’s voice quality and walks the user through warm ups to achieve an optimal voice. As a voice teacher, I believed that this fantastic tool could solve a serious need in the market. However, upon initial customer development interviews, I realized that the market I thought would most need the app didn’t seem interested at all. This is how…

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Lessons Learned: How to Rapid-Learn in Brain Paradise

PeekBite started as mobile app for in-restaurant menus, food orders and payment.  Currently working on their next version of the product, they’ve documented their pivot as a comedic spoof here.    Customer development is like hopping on a roller coaster. For my team at PeekBite, our ride was ten weeks long and was called Summer Launchpad. 100 customer interviews mandatory?!? Wait! …but the security bar pushes down and – clunk! – locks into position. Hands on the bar, you turn to the left and to the right. Sitting…

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A Day in the Life: Resy’s Mike Montero

Meet Mike Montero, co-founder and CTO of Resy. Founded just recently in 2014, Resy is a mobile restaurant reservations app. Mike graduated from CAS with a major in Computer Science and Math in 1996. Mike was always interested in computers, but never thought anything would come of it. By age 13, he was already hacking away on his Commodore 64. Much later at college orientation, he hastily and anxiously declared his major as Computer Science, not realizing that he still had plenty of time to…

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Lesson Learned: How to Maximize Mentor Relationships

SPARKBOX is a curated educational toy subscription service. One of the major benefits of accelerator programs is access to extraordinary mentors. As part of Summer Launchpad, my team had access to world class experts who were committed to advising and supporting a single accelerator team for the entire summer. However, while in the trenches of building an early stage startup, it can sometimes be challenging to make the most out of the opportunity to learn from mentors. Our mentors for the program were: Public Company Chief Product Officer…

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Leslie eLab Construction July 30

4.5 Reasons to Get Excited About the Leslie eLab

With the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab so close, there are many reasons to get excited. This new skill-building and collaborative workspace will allow more NYU Entrepreneurs to develop entrepreneurial skills and launch their ventures. +1 The serendipity There is a powerful effect of a space focused on entrepreneurs. If you’re finishing your homework for Econ 101, go to Bobst. If you’re looking to launch a startup for a new Warby Parker for bed sheets, code your retina scanning device, or design your recovery aid…

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Changing The Currency Of Academia

Academic papers have become the de facto currency for PhD students. With the professional landscape of post-doctoral careers changing, we need to change our currency to add value both to the PhD student experience and to the academic institutions for which we’re working. For tenure-track professors looking to bolster their applications, academic papers are of incredible value. Consider the case of a PhD student interested in pursuing an academic career in a tenure-track PI’s lab: in a fair exchange, the student works hard to conduct…

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Lessons Learned: 4 Tips to Make Customer Development Surveys Suck Less

Sensory Percussion is creating a next-generation electronic drum that captures the true expressive nature of drumming. Used with any acoustic drum, it allows for intricate and natural mappings to any sound desired, from samples to analog and software drum synthesizers. As Steve Blank preaches in his book The Startup Owner’s Manual, you need to get out of the building for customer discovery interviews and see your customers’ pupils dilate when they see your product. Nothing beats meeting face-to-face with a customer. Yet, asking the same questions of…

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First Annual Yale-NYU Pitchoff

Most students spend their summers working a 9-5 job, relaxing on vacation, or simply trying to decide their next steps. For the last two months, NYU and Yale students and recent graduates have foregone these opportunities to take part in exclusive summer accelerator programs to launch startup ventures. The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Fellowship is a 10-week program for Yale’s most promising student startups. The NYU Summer LaunchPad program provides a select group graduating NYU student teams work with the mentorship, resources and funding to accelerate their ventures. On July…

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