Dwayne: In university, I got extremely interested in Silicon Valley startups, founders and Venture Capitalists. Being from Jamaica, I was far away from the action, so I spent hours online reading biographies of founders to understand why they started their companies, how they solved problems and who invested in their companies. At that time the Tesla Roadster made it’s debut and everyone on the blogs and chat groups I used to frequent had something to say about it. After doing some light research on Tesla and Elon Musk, I found out that DFJ was an investor. I then did some research on DFJ, Tim and his family history, then sent the partners I could find on Facebook a friend request (including Tim). I didn’t expect him to accept but a few days later, he did. I paid attention to every post he made and every article he was mentioned in. Some time afterwards he announced that he was starting a new school. That’s when I heard of Draper University.
Dwayne: Every day was a new adventure while at Draper University. The speakers are usually well seasoned and I’ve learned a lot every single day that I was there. Survival week was also very memorable, but, my most memorable experience was waking up every day, surrounded by people who were so hungry to be successful entrepreneurs. The conversations had and the experiences we shared were so enlightening. It’s such a great place to be.
Dwayne: Hustling. From a software engineering and User experience design background I used to spend the majority of my time behind computers, building solutions without actually engaging with prospective customers. I’ve been an entrepreneur as long as I can remember. I’ve sold books and video games in prep school and high school, taught my peers how to build design websites for a small fee and even hustled my way to being the lead technology advisor to a Malian Prime Minister (while still in university). What Draper University brought to the table was completely different. It required getting up, going out, putting yourself in unfamiliar circumstances and hustling with confidence. I’ve taken this attitude to my current startup Samelogic, and we’re killing it. As Bill Draper says “Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.”
Dwayne: I lead Samelogic. We help companies understand the emotional impression(s) they’ve left on their customers by using video surveys. The things I’ve learned at Draper U has helped us in validating the concept and product, building our MVP, getting our first customers and knowing what metrics to track.
Draper University: What are some things that you learned about yourself through Draper that you did not know before you joined the program?
Dwayne: Survival week pushed me to my (previous) limits. Every day whenever I thought I couldn’t take anymore I could hear Tim’s voice in the back of my head saying, “It’s all in your mind”, then I’d push myself to complete the challenge. It made me realize that most problems persons face are all based on how they think. If they believe they can overcome, they will. Mindset is everything.
Dwayne: Juan Carlos Asensio, Tommy Espinoza, Richard Reis, Erin Little, Niti Shree, JJ Tang, Cival van der Lubbe just to name a few.
Draper University: What advice would you give to incoming students so that they can take full advantage of the program?
Dwayne: Go with an open mind, soak up all you can and prepare for it to be blown to smithereens every once in a while.