TiECon Summary: May 2017
By Aaron Kostrzewa
From my impressions at TiECon, I gathered that entrepreneurship is more of a group effort than an individual endeavor. I saw the hard work of hundreds of Indian-Americans come to fruition through the efforts of networking and collaborating. The camaraderie amongst the leaders of the event was a reminder of how entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, and one to be enjoyed at that! I observed humility, generosity, frugality, and perseverance in the prominent leaders of TiECon. My biggest takeaways were to motivation to succeed and a new network of acquaintances.
The different tracks offered at TiECon allowed for customizable experience for each attendee. I was able to choose which tracks interested me and while I wasn’t always able to attend one relevant to my business, I gained general knowledge from all of them. The keynote speakers provided their life endeavors which I found fascinating. Specifically, Patrick Soon-Shiong recounted his life-long pursuit of curing cancer, which he informed us that he had just done so. Vinod Khosla recalled his successes with Sun Microsystems, leaving out the part that he had become a billionaire in the process. He instead commented on the results of his charitable giving, a trait a greatly admired in him. TiECon reinforced my view of what the ideal entrepreneur looks like: extremely hard-working, philanthropic, and persistent.
In order to bring such a mentality to Michigan Tech, we must devise a way to implant the idea that engineers can be entrepreneurs. From day one at Tech for me I was inundated with the “Tech Dream”: get good grades, get an internship each summer, get a good job. The possibility of becoming an entrepreneur would never have crossed my mind had it not been for my intrinsic desire to be one. As such, we can improve the entrepreneurial environment at Tech by reminding students that they can have an amazing career starting their own business. Perhaps having a Tech alum entrepreneur come during O-Week to talk about their career would act as a catalyst to encourage entrepreneurship on campus. Further, informing students of the Pavlis Honors College and The Alley will show them some of the resources they have available to them.
While TiECon as a whole was beneficial for me — it allowed me to go on my first real “business trip” — I was disappointed by the content of the tracks. Most of the talks were panels of a few experts on the topic where the conversation was loosely regulated and not always relevant. The drone track that I was most excited for wasn’t about new ventures in drone technology but rather about current regulations, so I was disappointed.
Overall, I enjoyed my experiences at TiECon and I am very grateful for the experience!