With Greathouse Comes Great Responsibility

The following guest post is from some of my former UC Santa Barbara students. I thought this post might be of interest to some of my readers, as it offers a glimpse into my approach to teaching entrepreneurship. 

Fall quarter of Sr. year proved to be a crucial time for the progression of brightblu – Ben, Sid, and Taylor see this as the period that sparked their entrepreneurial passion. Along with taking Sr. Design together, the course that introduced the idea for brightblu, they were concurrently taking three other classes: Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Marketing and Art of the CEO. These courses all proved to be serious influences on turning the dream of starting their own company into a reality.

The biggest motivator for starting brightblu was John Greathouse’s Entrepreneurship class. He delivered a message to his students from the very first day that in order to reach your aspirations, you must be able to work hard and take risks. He conveyed his message in various ways, but the most memorable was a piece of literature he had them read called The Mouse Driver Chronicles, a true story about two Wharton MBA roommates who passed on their big salary job offers and followed the dream to launch their own business. After reading this book, Ben, Sid and Taylor realized they could do the same thing and become their own bosses. On the first day of class, Professor Greathouse told his students, “Take a look around the class, these are the people you will most likely start a company with,” and boy was he right. Every aspect of his course was aimed at preparing his students to build, execute and run their own business. Each week he brought in passionate and successful entrepreneurs to speak to his students and give advice about the different facets of creating a startup. Some of these influential speakers included Kevin O’Connor, founder of FindTheBest.com & DoubleClick and Simon Dixon, CEO of Idea Engineering. Along with bringing in a hall of fame cast of serial entrepreneur speakers, Professor Greathouse assigned his students weekly projects where his students would create their own venture and produce an executive summary. At the same time the brightblu team was building their actual company, they were learning and refining necessary business skills by creating made-up ventures. These weekly assignments not only equipped Ben, Sid, and Taylor with a strong foundation and critical knowledge of the most important aspects of creating a business, but also proved to be essential to building their entrepreneurial spirit.

Once brightblu began to take off and started developing their product and technology, it was brought to their attention that there was an upcoming business contest called the UCSB New Venture Competition. From that point forward, the team felt a responsibility to not only win the competition but to do so by carrying out the entrepreneurial desire instilled in them by John Greathouse

For a video interview between John Greathouse and Kevin O’Connor, check out: Kevin O’Connor Shares The Secrets Of Business Success.

Ben, Sid and Taylor started BrightBlu while still students. Recent graduates, they are now pursuing the opportunity full time. Be sure to sign up as a Beta Tester of their innovative home automation solution here.  

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John Greathouse is a Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage, web-based businesses. Previously, John co-founded RevUpNet, a performance-based online marketing agency sold to Coull. During the prior twenty years, he held senior executive positions with several successful startups, spearheading transactions that generated more than $350 million of shareholder value, including an IPO and a multi-hundred-million-dollar acquisition.

John is a CPA and holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He is a member of the University of California at Santa Barbara's Faculty where he teaches several entrepreneurial courses.

Note: All of my advice in this blog is that of a layman. I am not a lawyer and I never played one on TV. You should always assess the veracity of any third-party advice that might have far-reaching implications (be it legal, accounting, personnel, tax or otherwise) with your trusted professional of choice.

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