My First Bull Ring Was A Lesson In CSUN Entrepreneurial Spirit

Bull Ring 2019 Photo with Winners and Judges

By: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

I didn’t know quite what to expect when I wandered up to the fourth floor of Bookstein Hall in mid-February to help kick off the 4th Annual Bull Ring competition, hosted by the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. Three months later, I can tell you it was special to be part of. Click here and you’ll find out why!

It all started with a group of students tip-toeing into the world of entrepreneurialism. In Bookstein that day, many reluctantly walked to the front of the room to air their not-quite-baked ideas. As the months went on, their confidence grew. Some applied what they learned as students in the Nazarian entrepreneurial program to their startup project. Others hit the streets to do market research. Still others got going by adding passionate team members.

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CSUN’s Bull Ring Kicked Off In Grand Fashion. Relive the Passion Here.

2019-Bull-Ring-FinalsBy: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

I’ve been to a few Shark Tank-like contests in my time — in America and around the world. As chief product officer at Forbes, I watched a new generation of would-be entrepreneurs at the Forbes Under 30 Summits pitch, primp and promote and their startup ideas. I can tell you, the 4th Annual Bull Ring, hosted last week by the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, was much more fun.

Why? The trade show-like setting in the Oviatt library was packed, humming with excitement. The students brought their passion. And their ideas were inspiring.

Click here to see, feel and relive some of the special moments in a special way.

So, You Want To Be An Entrepreneur. Are You Really Ready?

Business meeting - two people shake hands over a tableBy: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

Someone once told me the best title in America is founder. They were so right. To start a company means you had an idea, put a plan together, somehow some way got funding, and then put a product into the marketplace. It’s exhilarating. It’s frustrating. It’s rewarding. It feels good. I know, because I did it.

Well, now I’m doing a second startup. This time I’m the CEO of a ten-person company because I so believe in the founder’s idea. You can read about it here. Whether founder or CEO (I was both at my startup), the work involved is all encompassing. In fact, the work never stops. Those realities came rushing back to me this past week during a trip to New York City, where I introduced our company to the marketplace.

Let’s take a look at what I did in NYC. In other words, let’s take a look at the many roles I played as a startup CEO. Would-be entrepreneurs participating in CSUN’s 4th Annual Bull Ring New Venture Competition, get ready to count to 18! Continue reading

At CSUN, Augmented Reality Games For The Elderly From The Young

Woman wearing VR gogglesBy: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

My wife has many great sayings, none more true than this: “There are no accidents in life, only head-on collisions.” That is, some things come flying right at you because they’re meant to be — and you can’t get out of the way.

It happened to me last week, though it wasn’t immediately clear. At the kick-off session for CSUN’s 4th Annual Bull Ring New Venture Competition, I was corralled by two energetic attendees. One, a young computer programmer, said: “I build cool stuff (yes, he used a more descriptive phrase than that). You gotta see it.” Really, I replied. Why? “Just come to Lilac Hall,” he answered with a smile.

So, I did, and wham! It was the best kind of head-on collision. Continue reading

Conquering the ‘Hard’ As CSUN Students Gear Up for Bull Ring

Shark Tank Meets MatadorsBy: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

Marc: “Do you know the best thing about startups?”

Ben: “What?”

Marc: “You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror. And I find that lack of sleep enhances them both.”

Wow, so true, as I know from my own startup life. Last week, at the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics’s kick-off session for the 4th Annual Bill Ring competition, I saw both euphoria and terror in the faces of students aspiring to be entrepreneurs. Okay, maybe not terror, but certainly apprehension.
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How To Blast Out Your Story, Boombox Not Required

BoomboxBy: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

Every summer, a bunch of wide-eyed interns rolled into Forbes. As chief product officer, I would cross paths with many of them. The real fun for me came as their stint was ending. That’s when I met with the entire group — perhaps 30 from across the company — to explain how the media business really worked, or how the sausage is made. My HR colleague jokingly said she lived in fear of how candid I might be. She had good reason. I will never forget what one Ivy League student told me as we left the conference room: “That was the most terrifying and exhilarating hour of my education. Continue reading

After Mastering The Art of ‘No,’ CSUN Offers The Joy of ‘Yes’​

Cal State Northridge MatadorsBy: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

I got a really good piece of advice when I started a news platform company 10 years ago: learn to say, “No.” So, I did. It took me little time to say no when a trusted colleague urged me to launch a mobile site with our desktop site. Sure, MVP (minimal viable product) was on my mind. Mostly, I wanted to avoid chasing shiny objects. Back then, the iPhone had just been released and mobile was still glitter. I practiced the art of saying no (mostly nicely, I hope) after Forbes bought my startup. It enabled us to reimagine an iconic media brand with innovative products and minimal distraction. Continue reading

On the Steps of CSUN’s Starfleet Academy, Ideas and Careers Are Born

By: Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence

I started a new gig this month, the same day I began year two of Life in California. My mother always told me… “If you want to stay young, be around young people.” As I tell my wife all the time, “I embrace getting older” — the ups, downs, aches, pains, graying, wrinkles… all of it. But my mother’s words keep ringing loud. I jumped into digital media 20 years ago and quite naturally found myself working with people much younger than me. This time around, I headed back to campus — California State University Northridge.  Continue reading