Category Archives: Blog

UCLA’s Price Center for Entrepreneurship

The Financial Times ranked UCLA’s Entrepreneurship Program as the #1 program in the world four times in the past six years.
Professor Robert Foster is the Director of the Global Access Program (GAP) at the school’s Price Center for Entrepreneurship. It’s the international field study and MBA thesis requirement for Anderson’s Fully-Employed MBA students. He also teaches High Technology Management, Business Plan Development and management consulting Field Study.
Robert Foster actually got his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 1965.
He is also a member of the Tech Coast Angels and the Pasadena Angeles. (They are angel investing organizations.)
When I interviewed him, there was one comment in particular that really hit home for me. He said that when approaching investors, you have to show that there is a need for your product. Don’t just do market research, but actually talk to people, take a poll and prove that you have customers ready to buy or use your product or service right out of the gate. You don’t have a business until you have your first customer (Steven Mednick, Professor at USC’s Entrepreneur Program told me those wise words). So when you present your business to investors; family, friends, Angels or VCs, be brief, be specific, and prove that there is a need you can fill and a demand you can meet.

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Pinkberry vs. Red Mango

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Ladies Who Launch

Ladies Who Launch is an organization geared toward helping women launch their businesses. It was started by Victoria Colligan and Beth Schoenfeldt and connects female entrepreneurs online and in person. I’m currently doing the Ladies Who Launch incubator program in Los Angeles. It’s a four week intensive where you basically ‘incubate’ your idea or business. It’s a wonderful organization that really celebrates women and the feminine approach to entrepreneurship. Amy Swift is the Editor-In-Chief for Ladies Who Launch and heads the Los Angeles incubator programs. She also contributes to one of my favorite websites, The Huffington Post. I interviewed Amy about Ladies Who Launch and her work there and asked her what advice she would give female entrepreneurs.

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Mr. Trader Joe

Trader Joe was one of the most interesting interviews I have had the privilege to do. “Trader Joe’s” actual name is Joe Coulombe and he still lives near the very first Trader Joe’s in Pasadena, California. He originally ran a chain of Pronto Markets, selling primarily dairy-based consumer products. But when 7-Eleven bought out his dairy provider, Joe Coulombe had to find a new angle and that was the birth of the Trader Joe’s grocery store chain. He sold the chain to a German family in 1988 and now serves on the board for World Maket Cost Plus and for True Religion Apparel. We interviewed Joe Coulombe at his house in Pasadena. He has taken up painting and his fantastic art was all over the house, including the painting behind him in the interview…

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The Coolest CEO On The Planet

I once heard Wing Lam introduced as the “coolest CEO on the planet” and having met him, I have to agree. The CEO and co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco truly represents the essence of The Entrepreneur. Wing and his brothers Ed and Mingo came up with the idea for the restaurant while on a surfing trip in Mexico. Borrowing $30,000 from their parents, they opened the first Wahoo’s in 1988. The brothers combined the influence of their Chinese parents (also restauranteurs) their childhood in Brazil and their surfing lifestyle into the atmosphere and the food of their first Wahoo’s. They now have restaurants all over the U.S. serving Baja fresh taco’s in a fun, funky surfer/snowboarder-esque environment. David (the cinematographer and my partner in PerfectBusiness crime) and I interviewed Wing Lam at their newest Wahoo location. He arrived after a morning of surfing in shorts, flip flops and orange Oakley sunglasses. After the interview he bought us lunch at the restaurant and talked about how making personal connections, giving without demanding anything in return and being genuine are the best ways to succeed in business. With a full belly and a new friend, I had to agree.

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