Posted by: Ben | January 19, 2009

Stanford Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship

I’m currently applying to Stanford’s Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship.  Here were the short answers I gave to their questions section.  The limit was 500 words.

Why would you like to participate in the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship?

For the last two years, I have been thinking about my web start-up idea, taking it through class assignments from crude business plan and online prototype to elevator pitches.  I must formalize my business background, meet inter-disciplinarians, and form a team.  As junior Yahoo!/Institute for the Study of Diplomacy fellow, I studied international values and their effects on social networking site design and individual privacy.  As a Georgetown international development concentrator, I took classes in small-medium enterprise and social entrepreneurship, seeking to create a social business to help the disadvantaged.

What specific goals do you hope to achieve?

I have breadth from past studies (international affairs, social media, anthropology, capital markets), but desire a business background to be a tough-nosed founder, and to find the right founding team of smart, diverse, entrepreneurial-minded people.  I will refine my pitch and will develop monetization metrics along with contingencies for my start-up’s first few years.  Specifically I am looking forward to the modules in negotiation, management communication, and non-verbal communication to shore up my people skills.

What are your entrepreneurial ambitions? If you are currently pursuing an entrepreneurial venture, please be as specific as you can.

My organization will be split into a personal data control advocacy foundation and a social business for persistent identity system for the web.  I believe  all humans (6 billion customers) as well as “the internet of things” can have verified identity online through which they build credit history, reputation, and personal brand for their various transactions and networking.

Imagine viewing my reputation online through a number score in different areas of my life (business, education, personal), and using it to judge whether you should admit me or not.  Imagine if that score contained all my public life datapoints, and you could contribute your knowledge of me to it, a Wikipedia for my reputation.  Global reputation management systems will be the next big killer app once identity-layer standards such as OpenID, OAuth, and OpenSocial become popularized, which will be within the next two years.

How will the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship help you achieve your career goals?

I attended last year’s Academy of Achievement summit in Hawai’i and met one hundred other grad students from all fields (mainly science and health), who all had different, creative views of the world.  Multi-disciplinarian environments are key towards the viability of my company since it will bridge fields to approximate individual identity.  To operationalize my international development studies, I seek to use my start-up as a social business to improve the welfare of those who had no way to protect their reputations or to build social credit.

What leadership skills, entrepreneurial experience and perspectives will you contribute to the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship?

I served five years US Army enlisted, eventually a sergeant, both in field operations and in headquarters, so I have on-the-ground leadership experience through training new troops and deploying to Iraq, as well as larger strategic experience working with senior officers.  I studied international development as well as telecommunications policy while at Georgetown in Washington, DC, so I can bring in knowledge of how state policies may affect start-up climate.  I researched online privacy in different cultural contexts through my Yahoo!/ISD fellowship, obtained because I was recognized by my program as web-savvy, having coded and maintained databases, using Twitter, multiple blogs, Facebook, and other social networking tools to further my online presence.

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