Technical Consulting and Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Stanford Grad Students

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Presentation by Joe Miler, Stanford PhD Candidate
2 May 2012
Contact Joe: sites.google.com/site/joemiler

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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Technical Consulting and Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Stanford Grad Students

  1. 1. Technical Consulting and Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Stanford Grad Students 2 May 2012 Joe Miler (joe.miler@gmail.com) PhD Candidate Goodson Group Dept. of Mechanical Eng. Stanford UniversityJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 1
  2. 2. Standard Interaction Stanford GSB  Stanford Engineer Hey SUPER GREAT talk!! Let’s chat/sync up soon! Umm… {Why are you shaking my hand so hard?} MBA studentJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 Grad student engineer 2
  3. 3. Standard Interaction Business people are so… Engineers are so… Stanford GSB  Stanford Engineer Unrealistic Greedy Bossy Networking Dorks Deaf to customer Paper-pushing Manipulative Interchangeable Bullshitting Money-hungry Smelly Obsessed with Hype the irrelevant Hey SUPER GREAT talk!! Contracts Tricking people intoArrogant Awkward chat/sync up soon! Let’s buying stuff Sleazy Rambling jargon Unnecessary Umm… {Why are you shaking my hand so hard?} MBA studentJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 Grad student engineer 3
  4. 4. Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 Grad student engineer 4
  5. 5. Do engineering grad students make goodentrepreneurs?Transferrable Skills Skills Needed• Work independently • Project management• Strong work ethic – Setting priorities• Defining problems • Big picture strategy• Solving problems • Communication – Deep expertise • Willingness to take risk – Broad knowledge base• Healthy skepticism• Good at experimentingJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 5
  6. 6. Outline Technical Starting a company Consulting at Stanford Networking Learning more…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 6
  7. 7. About me • Research • BASES (~3 years) – PhD Candidate in the Goodson Group – External partnerships – Research on microfluidic heat exchangers and – IP workshops hotspot detection and prediction – Social-E Challenge • Technical consulting • Coursework – Med device patent litigation – Entrepreneurship – EV battery start-up (Series-A) – Social entrepreneurship – Grid-scale storage (Series-A) – Patent prosecution • Various entrepreneurial projects, no winners • Miscellaneous – EV battery secondary use (GSB Nii Award) – Filed research-related patent application – Breast cancer detection – TA for 7 quartersHow I got here… hi yes cool! But also… sh!t…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 7
  8. 8. About me• Research • BASES (~3 years) – PhD Candidate in the Goodson Group – External partnerships – Research on microfluidic heat exchangers and – IP workshops hotspot detection and prediction – Social-E Challenge• Technical consulting • Coursework – Med device patent litigation – Entrepreneurship – EV battery start-up (Series-A) – Social entrepreneurship – Grid-scale storage (Series-A) – Patent prosecution• Various entrepreneurial projects, no winners • Miscellaneous – EV battery secondary use (GSB Nii Award) – Filed research-related patent application – Breast cancer detection – TA for 7 quarters hi hmm… yes cool! I’m not an expert, but I have some experience that could be useful… sh!t…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 8
  9. 9. Technical Consulting…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 9
  10. 10. Who hires technical consultants?• Start-ups• Investors• Lawyers http://www.pajamasandcoffee.com/?p=5161 http://beyond.customline.com/2012/01/26/where-can-you-find-article-ideas/Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 http://billsbigmlmblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/big-mlm-tip-decisions.html 10
  11. 11. Who hires technical consultants?• Start-ups: – Scenario 1: Fast solution – Scenario 2: New Ideas – Scenario 3: Big decision• Investors• Lawyers http://www.pajamasandcoffee.com/?p=5161 http://beyond.customline.com/2012/01/26/where-can-you-find-article-ideas/Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 http://billsbigmlmblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/big-mlm-tip-decisions.html 11
  12. 12. Consulting rates: How much am I worth?• “No free puppies”. Your rate determines how you are treated.• Cash vs. EquityHow to determine your value:• Default answer: 2x-3x your FT hourly rate Annual Equiv. Consulting• Consider costs you incur Salary Hourly Hourly – Overhead 50K $25 $50-75 – Dispatchability• Consider your value to the company 100K $50 $100-150 – Degrees have value – Domain expertise – IP contributions – Scarcity of skills• Consider your opportunity cost• Other considerations – Learning experience – Interest in their missionJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 12
  13. 13. Negotiating your consulting rate• Expect negotiation• Do your homework – MIT salary data (link) – Equivalent job offers• Believe a solution exists, then look for it• Explore interests, not positions Take a negotiation seminar/class, etc.Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 13
  14. 14. NDA’s and Consulting Agreements(NDA = Non-disclosure agreement)• Both sides need it done right• Read carefully• Key issues to look for: – Maintain right to invent in future – Duration of agreement – Two-way NDA or not – IP assignment restricted to business area• Get everything in writing• Once you sign it, follow it.• People will push you to disclose.• Reputation is everything, but only you care about your reputation.Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 14
  15. 15. Maximizing your contribution• Understand the problem(s) – Warning: The company may not.• Discuss solution options – Trade-offs (e.g. accuracy, modularity, etc.) – Timelines• Get to work• Check-in frequentlyCritical skills• Demonstrate technical expertise.• Respect their domain-expertise.• Be creative.• Focus on tangible contributions.• Adopt their goals.Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 15
  16. 16. Building start-ups at Stanford…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 16
  17. 17. An engineering approach to start-ups• Start-up companies always have 2 products: – The widget/service – The business itself• An entrepreneur is a “business experimentalist” Researcher Entrepreneur Research idea/hypothesis Startup idea Research proposal Business model Research funding Risk capital Metric: performance data, fig. of merit, etc. Metric: Customers, clicks, etc 1st experiment  garbage data 1st business model iteration 2nd experiment  “preliminary data” 2nd business model iteration Well-designed experiment  good data Scalable business model Graduate! Get rich! “A start-up is a temporary organization formed to search for a repeatable business model.” – Steve Blank (serial entrepreneur, Stanford Prof.)Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 17
  18. 18. An engineering approach to start-ups • Start-up companies always have 2 products: – The widget/service – The business itself • An entrepreneur is a “business experimentalist” Researcher Entrepreneur Research idea/hypothesis Startup idea Research proposal Business model Research funding Risk capital Metric: performance data, fig. of merit, etc. Metric: Customers, clicks, etc 1st experiment  garbage data 1st business model iteration 2nd experiment  “preliminary data” 2nd business model iteration Well-designed experiment  good data Scalable business model Graduate! Get rich! research teamOr… “A start-up is a temporary organization formed to search for a repeatable business model experimental results.” – Steve Blank (serial entrepreneur, Stanford Prof.)Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 18
  19. 19. Where do start-ups come from?• Technical breakthroughs• Needs-finding – Biofellows program – ME Design program – Informational Interviews – NetworkingJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 19
  20. 20. Should we apply for a patent?• First, what is a patent? – Right to exclude, not a right to build – A license to sue – Self-defense (M.A.D.) – A business asset – Resume/career builder• What does it cost? – Time: • Garbage: 1 hour • Good: More (depends on lawyers) – Money: • Provisional: $2-3k (lawyer), $100 (yourself) • Full: $10k-20k (lawyer)Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 20
  21. 21. IP at Stanford Good news Bad news • Stanford OTL helps • Stanford owns your IP file the patent • You have to compete to • You get royalties license your own technologyAdvice:• Keep a dated journal for anything remotely patentable• Don’t underestimate the patentability of an idea… but only if that patent would have value to youJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 21
  22. 22. Raising $$$• Business plan competitions – BASES Understand the difference between business plans – DoE and business models – National• Incubators – StartX – Ycombinator – Many more• Angels• VCs Osterwalder Canvas• Strategic InvestorsJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 22
  23. 23. Networking…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 23
  24. 24. Networking Basics• “Palm-up” networking• Imagine a role-reversal• Good networking opportunities – Talks and lectures – Networking events (e.g. CHIPS, PRL) – Interdisciplinary classes• You already have a network (i.e. peers at Stanford)• Preparation: – Business cards – Skim headlines ahead of time – LinkedInJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 24
  25. 25. Networking: the big shot ( VC partner Rich entrepreneur )• Likes to think: • What you can bring to the – She’s helping people. table – She’s important. – Fresh ideas – Technical expertise• But also… – Access to your technical – She’s missing the next big network thing. • Strategy – She’s irrelevant. – Do quick background• What she has to offer: research – Connections – Get face time – Deal-flow – You have 30 seconds to get their interest – Logistics enabler (eg cash) – Be ready for 2 questions: • How can I help you (right now)? • Why?Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 25
  26. 26. Networking: the GSB’er• Likes to think: • What you can bring to the – He’s a leader. table – Business runs the world. – Technology ideas – Things work out, check the – Technical expertise details later. – Access to your technical• But also… network – Oh crap, I need (start-up) ideas • Strategy – Oh crap, I don’t have – Goal is to start a technical skills relationship• What he has to offer: – Start high-level – Connections – Be ready for 2 questions: – Business knowledge • What are you working on? – Big picture perspectives • What start-up ideas do you have?Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 26
  27. 27. Learn more…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 27
  28. 28. Stanford Courses• NSUR 278A How to start a med device company• ME 245 IP strategy for start-ups• E-245 Customer development, start a company• ETL Success stories in Entrepreneurship• EDUC 224 Success stories in social entrepreneurship• Startup (CS-183)• Technology Venture Formation• High Performance Leadership• Interpersonal and Small Group Communication• Negotiation• Plenty of others…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 28
  29. 29. Other Resources• Ask around, it’s a good conversation starter• Blogs – Steve Blank – Paul Graham – Techcrunch – Etc.• Other talks: – BASES email list – Energy Club email list• Stanford E-corner videos• Books• See AppendixJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 29
  30. 30. Topics that are hard to learn at Stanford• Equity and vesting• Incorporation• Board strategy• Strategy for finance rounds• Evaluating a startup for employment Addition: Much of this is covered in CS-183, taught by Peter Thiel. Informal coursenotes are available at : http://blakemasters.tumblr.com/peter-thiels-cs183-startup (thanks to Sanjay Dastoor for sharing this info)Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 30
  31. 31. Do engineering grad students make goodentrepreneurs?Transferrable Skills Skills Needed• Work independently • Project management• Strong work ethic – Setting priorities• Defining problems • Big picture strategy• Solving problems • Communication – Deep expertise • Willingness to take risk – Broad knowledge base• Healthy skepticism• Good at experimentingJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 31
  32. 32. Thanks Saniya LeBlanc Ashish Nagar Saahil Mehra Greg Reiker Michael Barako Ghyrn Loveness Polina Segalova Amit Desai Tom Stepien Jeff Schox and company…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 32
  33. 33. All Done Questions / Comments / Feedback Please: • Email me with any additional feedback: joe.miler@gmail.com • Leave me your email address if you want a copy of the slidesJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 33
  34. 34. AppendixJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 34
  35. 35. Visiting companies(eg research visits, interviews, etc.)• Ask lots of questions to understand their pain points.• Respect their domain-expertise (don’t be arrogant)• Be aware of confidentiality concerns.• Don’t be negative about anything until you know for sure they don’t do it, never have, and don’t plan to. (ie don’t be negative)• Send a thank-you note within 24 hrsJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 35
  36. 36. Helpful phrases for discussing technicalconsulting opportunities• How should we structure this consulting work?• I’d like to discuss compensation…• I’m not comfortable with …• I want to provide the most value for [Insert company name] while also…• Perhaps what you’re looking for is an undergraduate intern…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 36
  37. 37. Tips for 1st day of consulting work• Meet in person, not phone, if possible• Be prompt and professional• Always bring pen and paper• Use a dedicated “IP-legit” notebook• Dress appropriately (probably business casual)• Distribute business cards• Take initiative on unsettled issuesKeep in mind:• Stanford limits you to 8 hrs/week• Inform your advisorJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 37
  38. 38. Where to find cheap legal advice• On-campus talks and workshops• Incubators• Call a lawyer (first 5 minutes free!)• Network• Marry one• Or…payJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 38
  39. 39. Helpful phrases for avoiding disclosure ofprotected information• Some of my work is covered by an NDA, but…• What is public domain is this: …• What I can tell you is this…• I’m not sure I’m comfortable talking about…• You know I’m not at liberty to talk about that right now, but I would like to discuss…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 39
  40. 40. Minutia: Business Skills• Know when to call, when to email. When in doubt, call.• Get comfortable with indirect wording, e.g.: – “Talk off-line” – “Sync up”• Learn good email etiquette for different situations: – Be direct, but polite. – Keep conversational/high-level, add details elsewhere (e.g. as attachments or below) – Include your cell number in signature when appropriate – Write a clear, interesting subject lineJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 40
  41. 41. Managing on-line introductions• Be prompt.• Know who you’re talking to.• Follow-through• Extra-credit: Follow-up with introducer.Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 41
  42. 42. Managing on-line introductions• Be prompt.• Know who you’re talking to.• Follow-through• Extra-credit: Follow-up with introducer.Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 Note: names changed for privacy 42
  43. 43. Online Resources GSB Entrepreneurial Studies Reading List E-245 Resources for Start-ups Stanford E-CornerJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 43
  44. 44. Important topics to learn about fromon-campus talks and classes• Do I want to found/work at a start-up?• How to assess market opportunities?• How do start-ups fail?• Why are people so important at a start-up?• How to raise money?• How to think about IP at a start-up?Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 44
  45. 45. Sample NDA and wage negotiation…Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 45
  46. 46. Paperwork My rate Possible phone call Details belowJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 46
  47. 47. Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 47
  48. 48. Joe Miler – 2 May 2012 48
  49. 49. Paperwork My rate Possible phone call Details belowJoe Miler – 2 May 2012 49

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