Entrepreneur Q&A: Zachariah Bayber Stevens on Sharing and Making Ideas Happen.


Zachariah Bayber Stevens

Interview with Entrepreneur Zachariah Bayber Stevens. Graduating from Berkeley Business School in 2008, Stevens currently works as a marketing manager for a tech start-up called Watchitoo Inc. that provides the first real-time web-based collaboration platform. The helped NBC screen their 2010 Election coverage this past Nov. 2nd. online.

1.

Q: What makes you an Entrepreneur?

A: “There are two pieces to being a good entrepreneur. One of them is having the skill to evaluate and analyze innovative ideas, and determines whether or not they would make for a feasible business. The second piece, which is probably more important, is the execution of the idea and the ability to execute on an idea and prioritize and analyze the nature of a new business come with limited resources and maximizing the resources that you do have.

One: idea analysis.

Two: executing on the business idea – and a lot of people aren’t able to do that.

2.

Q: Why do you think that is?

A: Ideas are easy to come up with, but it is more difficult to rally people behind the idea and have a vision and move people towards your vision – usually for little or no money – and actually make change; especially when you have limited resources.

3.

Q: Is there a particular idea that you have been excited about in the market place that you wish you had come up with, or helped mobilized?

A: I really like the Groupon business (collective buying power); I think it is an interesting business model. They were the first ones doing it and are the more notorious ones, but a lot of new websites have sprung up. It is a business that allows consumers to buy collectively – like a daily deal – and the way that it works is the business is used to sell their good or service at a reduced price because they are guaranteed that a certain group or number of people will purchase it. On Groupon’s side, they buy these coupons and collect the money from the consumer and they split the revenue with the business and I don’t think they pay the company until the consumer has used the coupon. [These are all digital coupons.] They use creative treasury management skills, and they are able to make money on the float.

4.

Q: what does that mean – the “float?”

A: If Groupon collects 50K from consumers, the float is the number of time that Groupon has the money before they give it over to business, so during that time they can build interest on it. Treasury management is always about making as much money as you can

5.

Q: Do you think entrepreneurship these days can or should exist without the Internet and interactive media?

A: Absolutely. Entrepreneurship is not limited to the Internet. It is just innovation and leadership. If somebody invents a new toilet seat, it is going to sell. The value of the Internet is capital efficiency. Meaning that you can build a product online for very little money and launch it to the public; so it facilitates the building of businesses. But, it doesn’t mean that the innovation of new business can’t be built without it. It just means that they [bricks and mortar businesses] need a better understanding of the market and are more expensive to start.

6.

Q: Would you recommend doing a business without the Internet?

A: Well, not necessarily. I recommend building businesses that make money. If you build the best product in the market, you will make money doing it. There are intellectual products like schools, etc.

7.

Q: Is there a business that you want to start right now?

A: no, not right now. But, I am always looking.

8.

Q: How do you feel about NDA’s and the process of consulting with people about new business ideas?

A: The value is in the execution and not the idea. In fact, you should try to get as much feedback about your idea and the more people you talk to, the more feedback you get.

9.

Q: But how do you respond, to maybe more traditional or “old-school” entrepreneurs who tell people to really be secretive and cautious about letting their idea out into the open?

A: I don’t think that is so much old-school, but talk to any entrepreneur will tell you to talk to people that you trust and a lot of people. NDA’s don’t even really do much. It is just an idea. Any time you really need an NDA is when you already have a business and you are trying to protect corporate trade secrets. The truth is that there are probably 20 other people that have had the same idea. There are like, what, 2 billion people on this earth– what are the odds that your idea is individual to you. The difference is if you turn around and make it into a business. Plus, an NDA is has its use, but it is not for ideas. Really early in the stage of starting a business, you need honest idea validation and you need feedback from people who know. You just tell them your idea and their feed back will really help you decide whether you move forward or not with it.

End of Interview.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Entrepreneur Q&A: Zachariah Bayber Stevens on Sharing and Making Ideas Happen.”
  1. Heston says:

    Great points Zach, but you forgot about one very important aspect of entrepreneurship: luck.

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