San Diego Startups resources and thinking about Lab 2 Market

March 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Classes, Clubs, MITEF, Networking, Startups 

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a while. As a follow up to my original post about the San Diego Startup Scene, I’ve continued to gathering resources about the San Diego startup community with the goal of enhancing my lab 2 market project and experience. Along the way I’ve found how collaborative and altruistic the startup community here is. There are a lot of resources available that want to help the community, not just make a profit from the risk of others.

Here are some Entrepreneur Resources

Looking for some technologies to get your company started?

Courses in Entrepreneurship outside of Rady

  • ENG 201 - Venture Mechanics (4) (Fall Quarter)
  • ENG 202 - Enterprise Dynamics (4) Winter Quarter)
  • ENG 203 - Applied Innovation (4) (Spring Quarter)
  • ENG 207 - Corporate Entrepreneurship for Global Competitiveness (4) (Spring Quarter)

Seminars at UCSD

Resources at USD and SDSU

Events around town

San Diego Startup Company Lists


Electric Vehicle Recap

March 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Clubs, GreenTips, Life at Rady 

We hosted the 3rd Annual Electric Vehicle event at Rady this week, an hour-long showcase of EV’s followed by an hour-long panel discussion on the latest trends.  The key takeaway was how the development of the EV industry requires the interconnectedness of so many new technologies.  Further EV adoption depends on available infrastructure (charging stations, smart grid technology), improving EV battery technology, and of course, the government.


Consumers will also want to see a wider variety of options.  One reason the EV industry has experienced such slow adoption is that most people don’t feel safe – or fashionable – in a Nissan Leaf.  Fortunately, companies like Tesla are providing the innovation necessary to ensure that premium performance and 100% electric are no longer mutually exclusive.  Say what you want about the varied reviews of the much ballyhooed Model S – but I’ve checked it out at the Tesla UTC location, and the car is sweet.

Land Rover is flirting with the idea of making its Defender 110 into an Electric Vehicle.  At first thought, the idea of taking an EV for an off-road adventure seems oxymoronic.  But when you consider the slow speeds associated with crawling through rough terrain, it starts to become plausible.  And even though the batteries of the early models (Land Rover will showcase prototypes at the Geneva Motor Show next week) have a range of just over 50 miles – the base Tesla Model S goes for 160 – off-road excursions rarely, if ever, require long miles.

Source: Electric Drive Transportation Association

Source: Electric Drive Transportation Association

Even with the progress that’s been made in recent years, the EV industry still seem to be decades away from mainstream adoption.  Norway leads the world in Electric Vehicles per capita (Oslo is considered the “EV Capital of the World” and will host the 2nd Annual World EV Summit this May) – and they only have four electric vehicles for every 1,000 cars.  Estonia (population 1.2 million) ranks second with one EV per 1,000 cars, and the Netherlands is third with 0.6 per 1,000.  I couldn’t find any data on the United States, but I suspect it ranks well below that of these tiny European countries.

How has Norway been able to lead the way with Electric Vehicles?  Given the frigid climate, it’s one of the last places I’d think was ripe for early EV adoption.  But the reason Norway has been so successful (and yes, 0.4% is the measure of success) is the incentive structure: EV buyers are exempt from purchase tax, road tolls, and get free access to bus lanes & municipal parking.  Sounds pretty good, right?

Source: California Center for Sustainable Energy

Source: California Center for Sustainable Energy

At the Rady Electric Vehicle event last week, there was some discussion that EVs could become eligible to use carpooling lanes in the near future.  California currently leads the US in EV sales, and the main incentive in-place has been rebates offered through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.  More information on the rebate program is available here – but it’s fair to say that additional incentives will be needed to spur further adoption.  As for the mainstream population?  I think we’re still decades away from EVs becoming ‘normal’ – Pike Research predicts that EV sales will barely surpass 5% of vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2017.

Originally posted on

$1 Reusable Tumbler

February 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transformational Thinking 

Starbucks made headlines earlier this year when they introduced a $1 reusable tumbler – their latest attempt at reducing disposable cup waste.  As you may or may not know, disposable cups are one of my biggest pet peeves.  It drives me crazy that more people don’t make a habit of reusing their coffee mugs – especially when they follow the same routine each morning.  This includes my MBA classmates, who come to the UCSD campus for the day, knowing full well they’ll be purchasing at least one coffee.  And they fail to bring their own mug.  Gets me every time.


So this last weekend, I took the Starbucks $1 Tumbler for a spin.  I was heading to Rancho Bernardo for a few days, and wanted to see how the cup would hold up.  *Spoiler Alert*  I was not impressed – I predict the $1 Tumbler campaign to have a negative environmental impact – I don’t think consumers will reuse the cup enough to offset the carbon emissions from manufacturing the reusable tumbler.  In fact, I doubt customers will reuse the cup enough to even offset the $1 they pay for it.  Starbucks offers a 10 cent discount when you bring your own mug, which means you’d have to use the tumbler 11 times to recognize any financial incentives.  Here are a few reasons it’ll never happen:

It’s cheap.  The best reusable mugs enhance the coffee-drinking experience.  The $1 tumbler detracts from it – the cup material is so flimsy that you still need one of those brown sleeves to keep from burning yourself.  Not only will people forget to bring it with them, they won’t want to remember.  Which defeats the purpose.


Starbucks aims to serve 5% of in-store beverages in personal tumblers by 2015

It looks disposable.  You can argue that this goes hand-in-hand with being cheap, but here’s the thing: Starbucks’ $1 tumbler looks exactly like its iconic white disposable counterpart.  And since the reusable version still requires a sleeve, it’s practically impossible to tell the two apart.  (Just ask the custodial staff at the Rancho Bernardo Inn – they threw away my reusable tumbler when I left my things unattended.)

Where’s the incentive?  Leon Kaye of points out that the 1-in-50 Starbucks customers that bring their own mugs typically do so because they are environmentally conscious – not for the 10 cent discount.  In order to convert the remaining 98%, it’ll take much stronger incentives.  How about a rewards program for the most environmental customers?

To me, it all looks like a big greenwashing scheme – Starbucks will profit from the $1 tumbler campaign and the environmental benefit, if any, will be negligible.  But hey, maybe I’m the sucker here.  Maybe Starbucks has a master plan to remove disposable cups from their operations altogether.  Maybe they will force customers to buy a plastic cup for $1 if they forget to bring their own.

Maybe I’ll believe it when I see it.

Originally posted on

Hoops, Hockey & the Pep Band

February 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life at Rady 

I’ve been slacking as a sports fan lately.  I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ve been giving the NBA its fair share of attention, and I still get excited when news drops out of the National Football League.  Hell, I even find myself watching a good amount of Big East & Big Ten basketball games – they’re fantastic (despite the damn kids rushing the court too often).  What I’m referring to is my lack of school spirit – I haven’t attended a single Tritons event this academic year.  So this past Saturday, with nothing to do, I decided to repair my relationship with UCSD Athletics.

The stage seemed to be set for my first UCSD Basketball game of the season:  the team was riding their longest win streak in four years (okay, it was only a 4-game streak – one win away from that 5-game streak back in ’09).  And they were hosting the #4 team in Division II – Caly Poly Pomona.  It was the two hottest teams in CCAA squaring off, with the Tritons looking to go above .500 for the first time all season.  Fair to say, I was pretty excited. I even got re-tweeted by UCSD Athletics (@UCSDtritons).

rimac warmup

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Green Tip: Paper Towels

February 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: GreenTips 

As a society, we rely too heavily on the convenience of the paper towel.  According to, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the United States alone – that’s more than 35 million pounds of Bounty EVERY day.  We don’t just use them for cleaning up spilt liquids any more – whether you’re microwaving bacon or Windex-ing the kitchen table, the paper towel has become a daily staple.  And more often than not, the towel is barely used.  How often do you grab a paper towel as a place setting for lunch or dinner, and then throw it away after never using it?

The next time you go to throw away a paper towel, think about all the resources that went into making it.  The manufacturing process for paper towels is dirty business.   Countless trees are destroyed to make the paper itself, and then bleaches and dyes are used to bring the quality up to that of a brand standard paper towel.  It has been said that 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are used to make one ton of paper towels – based on our daily consumption that adds up to 300,000 trees and 350 million gallons of water EVERY day.


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Startup Spotlight: Vine, Krossover

January 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Startups 

I’m pretty keen on Twitter’s new addition – Vine, which allows you to upload six-second looping videos.  I’ve watched a few YouTube reviews of the app and it looks incredibly intuitive.  Some tech analysts have referred to Vine as “Instagram for videos.”  You can upload your videos to your Twitter followers, send it to your email account, or publish it for your Vine-only followers (similar to how Instagram and FourSquare have their own feeds).  But one thing you won’t be able to do is connect to Facebook and use a “find people” feature.  Facebook recently blocked Vine’s access – perhaps in response to Twitter restricting the connectivity of Instagram.  This could be setting up a Facebook/Instagram vs. Twitter/Vine duel that we’ll get to watch play out in the coming years.  Not to say there isn’t room for both, but it’ll be intriguing to see whether or not the two decide to eventually integrate the photo- and video-sharing platforms.

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Best & Worst: Plastics

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: GreenTips, Transformational Thinking 

Welcome to my inaugural “Best & Worst” column – for a given topic, I’ll highlight some of the most positive and negative headlines from recent weeks.  I realize that in no way is this an original concept.  A Google search for “best and worst” yields first-page results that include topics such as food, cars, and airports.  You’ll also be tempted to click on the Best & Worst Dressed celebrities from last night’s Golden Globes.  Popular attire aside, I was glad to see Homeland and Django receive a number of awards.  I was also reminded that I need to see Argo – I’m horrible at keeping up with movies.  But anyway…

The topics of my Best & Worst blog posts will rotate between three subjects:  Sports, Startups, and Sustainability.  We’ll start with a topic that is making an environmental impact – Concord’s ban on bottled water.  To kick off the New Year, the Massachusetts town became one of the first in the nation to outlaw the sale of single-use bottled water.  And while I’m giving this new statute some recognition as the Best of the Week – I don’t expect to yield any meaningful implications.

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Welcome Back!

January 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Break 

This week, I returned to San Diego to begin the final two quarters of my MBA program.  Lots of big plans are in the works – interviewing for opportunities back East, ensuring I enjoy San Diego living, making the most of my final five months as a ‘student’ – and I was excited to get right back into the mix of things.  After about 12 hours of door-to-door travel, I was back in my grad apartment.  But it was empty.  No food, no books, no anything.  I even needed soap.


Don’t worry, I didn’t get robbed – the apartment was exactly as I left it.  For whatever reason, I get a kick out of running out of things just before I embark on long trips.  This way, I’m not throwing away any food, and there’s no clutter to return home to.  The soap thing?  Just an added bonus.  I felt very accomplished having depleted the large number of the variable resources I rely on.  So I spent a majority of the day running errands – Trader Joe’s, Target, bookstore, etc.  By nightfall I was exhausted, I think I was technically asleep before officially closing my eyes.  But I was ready for class the next day, fully prepared to launch right back into my routine.  I was planning to wake up at 6:30 – the fire alarm had a slightly different idea.

Admittedly, I had been awake since 4:30.  Here’s another personality quirk:  I like to think I’m immune to jet lag.  Three-hour time difference?  I don’t see the big deal.  I stay up too late all the time, isn’t that the same thing?  Well anyway, I was having a pretty hard time getting back to sleep.  My eyes were closed, but my body couldn’t have been more awake.  You know when you’re laying in bed, eyes closed, freaking out about not being able to fall asleep?  Well that was me in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.  So when the fire alarm kicked off just after 5am, I sprang out of bed and decided to start my day.


I’m not sure I’ll make a routine of running 5 miles before 6am – but the positive byproduct (beside it being healthy) was that I discovered a convenient five-mile loop that starts and ends at my apartment.  I also discovered that 5am runners are much more likely to acknowledge you with a friendly wave or ‘good morning’ shout-out when you cross paths.  I find that 5pm runners are more likely to avoid eye contact.  That’s all for now – but keep checking back.  I’ve got some exciting ideas for a “Best & Worst of the Week” format to inspire me to post more consistently.

MITEF Meetup at Rock Bottom

November 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life at Rady 

MITEF Meet-Up: Wednesday, 12/5, 5:00-7:30 at Rock Bottom Brewery.

Come join us for Happy Hour and a discussion on Advanced Manufacturing, from the upcoming January MIT Technology Review Magazine. We look forward to an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs as well as an interesting & lively discussion on the opportunities, challenges and concerns entrepreneurs in the Advanced Manufacturing industry face in business today. We look forward to seeing you there!

CommNexus SIG Event Locationpalooza!

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life at Rady 

The CommNexus SIG events are some of my favorite events to go to because I always come out with tons of new ideas about interesting new industries. These events really get me thinking around the ideas presented. The latest event was no exception.

Locationpalooza! invited five speakers all in the location based industry. This industry has been around for a while, GPS, but the full potential is just now being realized through location enabled cell phones. The presenters at the event were: Landis White from Parallel 6, Michael O’Shea from Abalta Technologies, Mario Proietti from TechnoCom Corporation/LocationSmart, Nate Ricklin from Tomnod, Linda Senigaglia from Navigation Solutions (Hertz Neverlost), and was moderated by Maureen Backe from AT&T Advanced Mobility Solutions.

Two of the most interesting take aways for me were from Mario Proietti and Nate Ricklin. Mario’s company LocationSmart does location detection the old fashioned way, by cell towers. This method is a huge advantage to the newer on device based GPS method because it can locate all cell phones. Their company provides very sophisticated tools that companies can use to enable voice based systems that can detect your location. Location can be determined through a simple restful api call to their servers. Of course user consent is required and how to get this becomes an interesting question. For example you can call a banks toll free number, press 1 to consent, and an automated system will tell you the nearest ATM. There is lots of potential getting location information this way.

Nate Ricklin from Tomnod has a very interesting platform also around crowd sourcing information and also getting real time satellite mapping data. Their company is very interesting, a startup located in the EVO Nexus Incubator, almost the entire team are phd’s, and Albert Lin is chairman of the board. I’ll be following up with them to learn more soon.


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