Friday, September 30, 2011

#WTBI: Is a “New-Thought” Already Expired?

See this post over at UNYStartups here...

Life moves fast and with developments in technology, more specifically, mobile communication technologies, life is accelerated to a speed that sometimes can feel incomprehensible. This leads me to pose the question: "By living and thinking in the present day, the here and now, are we actually living and thinking in the past?"

One of the more recent #WTBI class' gave us some insight into this question...

One entrepreneurial student pitched idea of installing wireless mobile device chargers (e.g. Powermat Products) across campus. Makes sense, we are increasingly so a very much mobile society, we all have multiple devices that somehow always seem to run out of juice at the wrong time.

Very quickly the class decided that this wasn't a feasible endeavor the technology is still too bulky, expensive and unreliable at this stage in it's development to be installed campus-wide.

So as the class began to iterate the idea, different iterations of the solution to how to charge mobile devices when on the go began to develop.

Solar, biomechanical and thermal power were all discussed, debated and ruminated on as potential charging options, meanwhile, as these iterations of the idea continued to surface @MDEredita was Google searching each one on the big screen.

As it turned out all of the technologies which we, the class, thought to be novel, innovative and yet-to-be-done not only already existed but had been in existence and on the market as early 2008. Which, to put in context, in the world of technology is ancient history. Put it this way in 2008 the first iPhone had just been released, Mac OS X Leopard was the next big thing, the Nintendo Wii was shaking up the gaming world, and the Segway was still supposed to be the future of urban transportation. Needless to say we have come a very long way in a very short amount of time, like I said: "Life moves fast."

Mike spoke up loud as he addressed the class and told us "Always, always, always assume your idea is already being done somewhere" he continued... "Use your resources' do the background research! You might have the greatest idea in the world but I can guarantee you someone else has already had the idea! Execution is what makes the difference between a good idea a great idea. Researching your idea is part of execution."

Needless to say it kind of felt like the proverbial rug had been pulled out from underneath us.

This brings me to the question I posed to you earlier, "By living and thinking in the present day, are we actually living and thinking in the past?" I would argue yes. Technology, ideas, and startups are moving and developing at blisteringly fast speeds and if we don't jump on board that high-speed idea-development train, as a class and as future entrepreneurs, we will be left developing products and ideas that already have gone to market and come to bare fruit. Pitches are starting, teams are forming, and if you asked me this class is ready to jump on board that train at full speed ahead. Stay tuned for the for the first round of pitches as this train begins its high speed journey on to developing, what will hopefully be, some truly exciting innovations.

Editor’s Note: Isaac Budmen (@ibudmen) is an employee, Senior Policy Studies Major at @SyracuseU, and Founder of

Thursday, September 15, 2011

#WTBI: Darwinism, Brain Hemispheres and Unconventional Teaching

Check out this article over at UNYStartups...

As students in #WTBI begin to roll up their sleeves and prepare to pitch, develop and grow ideas into future businesses and startup opportunities, this week, the class have been presented with two unique learning opportunities. One in the form of a real life, out there finding investment, and attempting to find their footing startup company iZoca. The other in the form of Brain Hemisphere, creativity and limitation discussion ranging from elements of Young Frankenstein to quotes from Dr. Spock lead by the eccentric, whimsical and passionate VPA Professor William Padgett.


Darwinism in Startups: iZoca comes to #WTBI

iZoca is a startup social networking tool that allows for the creation of groups within communities where the control and sharing of information is easily and readily approved. CEO and Founder, Jeffrey Goronkin, and CFO, Susan Bardack, came to #WTBI to discuss their product and hopefully receive feedback on what has become an $800,000 investment for them. Students, although timid at first, unleashed a hell fire driven fury of questions, comments, and knee jerk reactions to their product which was only stoked by Professor D’Eredita’s comments telling them “BE HONEST!”. Responses and questions ranged widely from “I think you have something here especially since Blackboard has such a bad webpage”, “You are pitching to the wrong audience, because I’d never use this having it pitched from you”, “How do you expect to make money from this? Have you made any money?” and  ”What’s it like pitching to investors?”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

#WTBI First Weeks: Inside Looking Out

Read this post over at

"Ideas are worth nothing, but they can grow into something that, with passion, can become a job" - @MDEredita

On any given day on the Syracuse University Campus you will find students dutifully walking between classes and working towards various parts of their degrees. Stop any number of students on the Quad, ask their majors and you are likely to hear about several different programs ranging from varying types of engineering to history to journalism to management and business administration. However, ask them "what they are going to do when they get out of college?" and  you are likely to get a response along the lines of "hopefully get a job" or "go for a masters degree." The former is something worth pursuing for many people, but in concern for the later there is a group on campus that is working to change the culture, philosophy and the answer.

Many students are completely unaware to the existence of the Student Sandbox, the Startup Community, and the Technology Garden and the immense resources and opportunities they hold. What they are even more unaware of is that the entry way into this world of ideas, innovations and inventions is closer then they might think in the form of the course "What's the Big Idea?"

"What's the Big Idea?" or #WTBI (follow the conversation on twitter) is a course founded on the pursuit and development of ideas into careers, jobs, and companies. Using an online social hub called "The Vine" to discuss problems, needs, wants and grow possible resolving ideas into real solutions. WTBI provides the resources necessary for students to realize their ideas and dreams and make them into realities and in the process throws out the idea of "going out and finding a job" and introduces the idea of "creating a job."

During the first few courses we have been introduced to the concept of evolving and creating ideas through pulling, gathering, and developing resources. As the semester progresses I hope to bring you the along on the exciting adventure that this class will endure and follow the progress of ideas as they more from just that into, hopefully, tangible services, products, and businesses.

Isaac Budmen is an employee, Senior Policy Studies Major at @SyracuseU, and Founder of Feel free to contact or follow him on Twitter @ibudmen

Monday, September 5, 2011 Realtime Proletariat Powered Awesomeness

See this article over at #RotoloClass page here... is a recently launched start-up that’s causing a lot of hype in online communities across the world wide web, garnering big users of the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Deadmau5, and Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter). It is essentially a community of listening rooms that users can join to listen, share, and discuss music while taking turns DJ-ing in the room. Coding Soundtrack Room

I know what you are thinking though... "So what? Why is this gaining popularity when I have so many other options for music?" Which is exactly the correct question to be asking. And the answer is there are three primary differences that separate from these other services, they are:

  •  real-time person-to-person sharing and discussion;

  •  commercial-free proletariat power; and

  •  sheer AWESOMENESS.

Real-time P2P: Pandora, Spotify and Myspace all allow for a variety of interaction and sharing between users, however, many of these features are forum or "wall writing" style. This is not to suggest that forum or wall interactivity is necessarily a bad thing, but part of’s genius is bringing total strangers or friends together with real-time chat. People come together in these listening rooms where they can, in real time, vote on the awesomeness or lameness of the music being played, potentially boot a DJ from the stage, and talk about topics ranging from the current song to the likeliness of a Bachman/Palin 2012 ticket.

Commercial-Free Proletariat Power: Free content usually comes at a price and that price is usually being subjected to limited choice or forced commercial marketing. For example you can only skip so many songs before Pandora tells you that you have to wait to skip more, or on Hulu (even if you pay for a subscription) you are still stuck with commercials interrupting your viewing pleasure. threw that whole concept out the door; not only is access to their extensive library of music totally free (read more about the legality of this here) but you can upload music from your own personal computer's library while accumulating your own Turntable Library, called a Queue, that can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. More importantly it is the users choosing what they want to listen to, whether or not the song at hand plays all the way or gets skipped; it gives the power of choice back to the users that they have too long been deprived of by the likes of Pandora. The power returns to the Proletariat.

Sheer AWESOMENESS:As soon as you log onto your first listening room, the aesthetics immediately exude the fun-factor. In fact, the word AWESOME is plastered in large lettering right at the bottom of the page. The clean design brings the “club experience” as close to your fingertips as possible without actually being there and, combined with the imaginative and fanciful character avatars, makes for not only an excellent community experience but a visually exciting and fun one. When in the "Classic Rock" Room this weekend I asked the users I was hanging out with "Why is awesome?" and I think their excited and frenzied responses capture its spirit:
rammerjammer: because music feeds the soul

CtrlAltDefeat: It combines pandora with grooveshark with social interaction and video games

DFWT: None of that Facebook credit nonsense.

mr2a: Music & making new pals

DFWT: It's FREE. and it appeals to all listeners.

The creators of saw what the people, their future users, wanted, and they continue to strive to create a social place that provides an interactive, realtime, all around fun and awesome experience.