Sunday, December 03, 2006


Indeed a busy week, but with a happy ending. We finally finished the joint final exam of MODA and MEIA. MODA stands for Marketing Opportunity and Demand Analysis. MEIA stands for Marketing Environment and Industrial Analysis. The final exam is much easier than I expected and I even think of having an EPS rather than originally dreamed MPS. (For folks wondering EPS/MPS, Babson MBA is using an alternate grading way: we using ESC/Excellence, EPS/Exceed Professional Service, MPS/Meet Professional Service, MP…) Even though I had not spent much time on the classes and assignments, I know the subjects very well and the result of exam will prove so. First of all, you must understand the whole picture. Why doesn’t name MEIA as Managerial Economics since the recommended textbook is called “Managerial Economics”? Why doesn’t call MODA as simply Marketing? If you understand that the principle of MOD II is opportunity evaluation, another important phase for launching a start-up, you will see the rational. More importantly, the professors are focused on teaching us a systematic way to not only make a decision but also make a better decision. MODA is to help us identify and evaluate any potential business opportunity while MEIA provides us quantitative tools, economics, to assess those opportunities. Every chapter of those classes, from 5Cs and 4P of MODA to marginal cost and price elasticity, is simply fulfilling the objectives of MOD II. I find out many classmates easily falls into the details without understanding the whole picture. Looking at everything from a strategic and higher position will benefit everyone a lot.

The preparation of exam took a lot of time of R team inevitably. It even made me a bit anxious. I believe we are in the right track and direction. Even though it makes me feel better when met others who are still idea discussion stage, I know I am running against time and against the other smart guys somewhere in Silicon Valley, NY or Cambridge. I am also running against the class, the assignments and the exam. I am also even running against myself. I realized already that it’s so easy to give up your so called hobbies. I have not read anything about soccer since last Sept after I flied from Beijing to Toronto. The answer is simply time. I believe the whole start-up experience maybe something similar to the effect of coffin addiction. You just want to do it and want to get it done as quick and good as possible. If you realized you are working on something may leave a mark in history, not to mention the positive return in terms of money and other things, you will believe being entrepreneur is one of the coolest career in the world.

Finally we got our formal advisor board established, though I need to give John a call tomorrow evening to convince him. To me, the first “NO” from others is always a clear wake-up call to let you to be better prepare to convince that person next time. Steve, John and Sam would be a very strong board. I am also thinking of forming another advisor board that contains only other MBA classmates, about five students, at least 2 female students. I have a rough candidate pool based on my own experience and recommendation from Marin and Andreas. This could be done after the DA and MCF joined exam next Tuesday.

Now the most important for R is the alpha version. Even though I have found three ex-colleagues who agreed to work on part-time basis, I feel it’s still risky. So Marin and I agreed to put some personal money together to hire a fulltime developer from We really look forward to finish the development of alpha version in 2006. That would give us a big leap in 2007. We could immediately start organizing the internal test of alpha version, collecting buyer data, using buyer data to develop seller and finally, contacting potential angel investors. We may even be able to develop the alpha version during this Dec to a stage that Marin and Andreas may offer a quick demo to people in California during their winter trip. I may join them too!

Oh, we had also went to the second workshop for start-ups organized by NECINA. It’s hosted at the Boston office of Brown Rudnick LLC, located in downtown Boston. Much less people than the first workshop hosted in Highland Partners, even though the subject this time is Financing options for start-ups. One senior associate from Highland Partner, one local active angel investor, one VP from Silicon Valley Bank (The same guy I’d met in Cyberposium last week in Harvard) and an entrepreneur who received venture capital investment together formed the panel. The discussion was interesting. It just brought me and Marin a strong feeling to have our alpha version website done as soon as possible.

Time flies. Yes, just three weeks left before the winter break. Just five weeks left before 2007. I am so happy I had this opportunity to launch R with Marin and Andreas. 2007 is going to be another fun year.

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