By Luis Fernando Rojas
As any other mechatronics student, one of my mainly tasks is to develop projects that involve the use of electronics. Finding passion in this, made me seek products that, more than just school projects, were more functional; but in the end, everything used to stay as a prototype and don’t leave the four walls of my house.
“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper and re-imagines the world” –Malcolm Gladwell
Like most people, and like many of my colleagues, we have the idea that many of our dreams will come true in a company with a steady income, and only until that point, long after, we will consider the formation of a company. But: Surprise‼, I entered the Entrepreneurship class at my university and I learned a great truth, just after I heard the words I’ve now recorded with fire: Keep it LEAN.
I’m young but I’ve lived at the expense of an idea of the old school: make your own wonderful product, create your company and then, you are ready to sell your product. I was shocked after I realize that this is not the efficient way, that the majority of the companies fail the first approach with the customer. Watching the confidence of both of my teachers talking about this, caught my attention and after that, I had my first experience with a Startup program organized in my university, where I learned the concept of VALIDATION. The whole magic behind this powerful concept made me win the Startup contest, got me into the world of the models business, and later: I PIVOTED the way I used to think.
Then, I was selected from more than 2,000 projects all over the world and went to participate in the International Business Model Competition in Provo, Utah; which rewards student entrepreneurs for testing and validating all aspects of their business ideas with customers. I pitched my idea: A product that allows the customers to control and make “smarter” common electronic devices inside their house or company, controlling it with their smartphones and Wi-Fi. This was a key experience in my life, it helped me realize what you can succeed with passion, vision and work (a lot of the last one).
Now, I’m trying to find areas of opportunities to keep developing my products in the two areas I like: Hardware and Startups. This day, I consider myself an entrepreneur, after what I learned in my Entrepreneurship class and the Business Model Competition, I have the spirit and the adrenaline to undertake and succeed.
My vision now is to continue working on the development of my product, develop my own company, and in the near future, see homes and industries using products with my brand. In other words: Get now what I saw in my future, a decade away.