It was 6:30 on a Tuesday night and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at the bottom of the Law building to listen to businesses talk about their start-up ideas. It’s difficult to come up with truly innovative ideas, which explains why relatively few people become famous for the things that they invent since there is a strong likelihood that other people are sharing the same ideas. Nothing is truly innovative because we steal ideas and products from other people around us, which is basically the roots of capitalism and the reason why we have so much technology today.
But, I learned something that night. Yes, the ideas were not truly new or innovative, but the purpose was to improve past ideas that were already pitched. This event was a part of a UGA event called Thinc Week, where programs were invited to talk about innovation, which is key to start-up businesses and entrepreneurship. So my professor thought it would be a good idea to make it extra credit for us to attend one of the events.
Who would pass up an easy opportunity at extra credit?
This event is definitely not the normal performance I usually attend, but it gave me a good sense of what my major (Finance) was going to entail. Well, at least, the more interesting side. Before this event, all I really knew about business was that it involved money and socializing, which made me a little weary about what I was going to spend the rest of my life doing. On Tuesday night, however, the event had different business start-up teams go on stage and present their innovative ideas to a panel of judges, who would analyze and question them about their projects. With it still being in the early stages, the ideas were not that innovative, but they were a start. And that’s farther than I’ve gotten so far.
It reminded me a lot of Shark Tank, where the team would try to sell one of their judges to invest in their product. However, instead of trying to sell one of the judges to invest, the teams competed to win this competition of who presented and pitched their ideas the best based on their environmental community. The ideas built off previous inventions and combining them into business productions, like the selfie stick, hand scanners, and food delivery services.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t extremely impressed, but it took a lot to get me to understand that these teams were only beginners. If one of them went on the actual Shark Tank and presented these ideas, they would be shut down in an instant, probably not even being aired unless one of the projects was extremely humiliating. Some of the designs were unsuccessful: for instance, there was a business that had their design just as a replica of the Uber driving service, who is currently being sued left and right due to liability issues. I know I wasn’t the only one who could see that it was a flawed model.
But that’s the point. They work and get feedback and work and then improve. Maybe they won’t be the next Bill Gates or JP Morgan, but our world would be nowhere if we didn’t have a bunch of people trying to come up with new ways to improve our surroundings. There are millions of successful businesses out there, and even though they may not be millionaires themselves, they’re still successful and we probably wouldn’t be having as many resources as we do, now, without them.