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Life Principles I Attempt to Live By

For the past 3 months, my two business partners, Brian Sowards and Tim Walsh, and I moved into a beach house for the summer in Dewey, Delaware to build our beta platform for USEED and create a really badass company culture. We essentially created our own Business Accelerator, testing our hypothesis and working 15 hour days to bring our idea to fruition. It was the most exciting, challenging, uplifting, inspirational, mind expanding, chaotic, life-hackish, and epic experience of my life.

Now that the summer season has ended and we finished our move back to the University of Delaware campus, I have been reflecting on the goals I had before the summer began, which ones I succeeded in and which ones I did not, and what made me a better person during this journey. On that topic, I wanted to create a post of life principles I want to apply to my own life to help me become the person I want to be.

Please, feel free to add your own in the comments section!!

  1. Have Integrity – when you say you are going to do something, do it. Do not under deliver or make up excuses
  2. Always be on Time – Always, no matter what. This falls under integrity, but is so important it needs to be listed on it’s own
  3. Treat every single person you meet as a best friend, and they will become one
  4. Think in terms of the other person’s perspective as much as your own
  5. Respect all elders and be a role model to those younger than you
  6. Forgive.
  7. If a friend has a quirky trait about them that really annoys you, help them improve upon it
  8. Knowledge is happiness, happiness is knowledge* (Courtesy of Tim Walsh)
  9. Don’t lead people on
  10. Every person has value and is your superior at something
  11. Wherever you are and whoever you are with, enjoy their company and have them enjoy yours
  12. Leaders eat last. Leaders take care of their tribe.
  13. Do not gossip or talk about someone behind his or her back. It will always come back to that person, and people will worry you say negative things about them to others
  14. Be prepared and stick to your morals no matter the situation, especially the ones that test them
  15. Do not belittle people. Do not be knowingly ignorant.
  16. Treat life as a beautiful experiment; be curious; Create value
  17. Listen. Listen. Listen.
  18. Treat guests like family
  19. Family, above all, is most important – cherish them
  20. Chase your dreams, not money.
  21. Don’t leave people hanging. If they text, email, or call you, respond in a timely manner
  22. Remember your best friend’s and family’s birthdays, and personally call them
  23. Never show up to a party or gathering empty handed. Always add to the party, don’t just consume.
  24. Think before you speak. Then think some more.
  25. Live for the big moments, enjoy all of the small ones
  26. Your feelings and thoughts become reality. Pay attention to your feelings and what you think about
  27. Show appreciation when appreciation is due. Pay attention to the things people do that affect you
  28. Be consistent. Don’t fall off the wagon easily or jump from one thing to another.
  29. When you do something, do it very well. Or don’t do it at all.
  30. Always pay back money you borrow and return things you borrow on time
  31. Show up. Show up to wherever you said you were going to. Show up to the things you may not have necessarily promised to attend, but know you should be there. 90% of living life is just showing up.

I will be updating this post as I think of more. Any ideas for additions?! Share them!

Keep It Warm: One-For-One, Warmth-For-Warmth

Keep It Warm: One-For-One, Warmth-For-Warmth from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

It used to be quite uncommon for businesses to have a social mission attached to their business model. Revenue was the main driver and all metrics were tied to growth. Luckily, our generation of innovators have shifted their priorities: Innovation through changing the world. Jeff Savio, founder of Keep It Warm and recent graduate from Villanova University, is a part of this generation of innovators looking to make a positive impact on the world. I am honored to have him on this episode of Start It Up TV!

Keep It Warm is a socially responsible apparel company specializing in winter wear. For every product sold, Keep It Warm will donate one to someone in need: one-for-one, warmth-for-warmth. Furthermore, Keep It Warm acts as a promoter of deprivation awareness by supplying happiness, hope, and comfort to underprivileged corners of the world.

Keep It Warm was born in 2011 because of a life experience Jeff had when he was a senior in High School. After going on a service trip to the Lakota Tribe in South Dakota – one of the poorest counties in the country – he knew that he had to do something to make a difference. Enjoy this episode as we dive into the business who is making a direct impact on the lives of those who have lost hope.

About Jeffrey Savio

Jeff Savio is a 2012 grJeff Savio Keep It Warmaduate from Villanova University, where he majored in Finance and International Business with minors in Political Science and Entrepreneurship.  He is originally from Voorhees, NJ, where he attended Bishop Eustace Preparatory School.  Passionate about helping others, Mr. Savio participated in many community service initiatives throughout high school, ultimately embarking on an outreach trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, SD.  These experiences motivated Mr. Savio to begin his own initiative to help others.

In the Spring of 2011, Mr. Savio founded Keep it Warm with classmates at Villanova.  In addition to having worked in financial services, Mr. Savio also has non-profit international experience through previous engagements with UK Sustainable Investment and Finance in London, UK, and the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament in Rome, Italy.

Mr. Savio is extremely passionate about socially responsible business and entrepreneurship, and he hopes Keep it Warm will serve as another example that businesses can be successful while making a positive impact in the world.

Links to Connect with Jeffrey:

Feel free to connect with Jeffrey, browse his socially responsible products, or simply let him know you loved the interview!

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Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

I Missed You, So Check This Out

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How’s it Hangin’? I Missed You.

What’s up “Small Amount of People Who Still Visit This Vlog??” Nice to see you again :-) Yeah, I am back for good. You thought you lost me there, but no worries – I won’t ever leave you again. Unless of course I finally become a ninja *crosses fingers* Am I even talking to anyone?

Anyways.

I interviewed Thomas Frank a while back on Start It Up TV because “Frankly” he is a super interesting guy. I stumbled on his blog, College Info Geek, when I was just starting out with my vlog and it seemed he was only a few months into the launch of his site.

I was inspired. Here was a college student writing articles about stuff he loved and found interesting; he learned how to do his own graphic design work, which is pretty awesome stuff; But most importantly it seemed he was having a blast running his experiment and was building traction.

Fast forward half a year and he has now inspired me again to get back on Start It Up TV to continue my own experiment. Thanks Thomas!

Contests…a Game Dynamic That Engages

So why am I getting back into writing articles and doing interviews for SIU TV? I’ve been pining to do some more interviews with college entrepreneurs as well as write about my experiences being a co-founder of a startup. I’ve been sitting on it…not really knowing how or when to get back into it.

Then WHAMMY! Stumbled on Thomas’s blog post about a contest he is hosting where the winner gets a 2012 16GB iPad. Pshh count me in! So how does one wishful dreamer win this iPad?? Here is how he explained it:

You have to build your own personal website.

Yes. I know, take it all in. What a brilliant idea for a contest. How does building a personal website enter you to win the iPad? Well, again, here is how he explained it:

  1. Create your personal website, using my guide or any other method.
  2. Create a blog post or page that links to this post, in order to prove that the website is yours.
  3. Use the Rafflecopter widget above to enter your site’s URL. You must use the URL of the page that links back to here.

Let’s talk about why this is a genius idea. One of the most important elements to SEO is getting backlinks to your site. The more backlinks you get to your site, the better Google and other search engines rank you (those bastards, the nerve!). What better way to get people to talk about your blog, share your content, and win new fans than to have that be the contest itself?! Touche!

Thomas ultimately wants to help his fans out. He wants them to have fun with the Internet, start their own experiment, and have success. Here are the two main benefits (other than possibly winning an iPad) Thomas gives for entering the contest:

  1. Build your personal brand
  2. Enhance your online presence

If you don’t think either of those are a big deal and you’d rather shoot pigeons, chug Tabasco Sauce, or whatever it is you do in your spare time, check out this article he wrote: Read more about why you need to build a personal brand.

Having the iPad as a prize is just icing on the cake. Sweet, sweet icing that lets you play Draw Something and touch the web.

I’ll be honest, those two reasons were enough inspiration for me to sack up, put time aside for SIU TV, and get back into the groove of things. Good stuff. Good vibes. Good shit.

Is it cliche to say “I feel like I already won?”

….yes. yes it is. On that note…This isn’t “goodbye,” it’s “I’ll see you later.”

Discover College Music Like Never Before: CollegeRoots

Discover College Music Like Never Before – CollegeRoots from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

Each university has its own unique music scene. Ritesh Gupta, founder of CollegeRoots, is making it easier for you to discover the amazing music talent at universities. I absolutely love discovering new music, so before I asked him to interview I had to check out his site first.  An hour later and 20 new kickass bands discovered, I had to have him on the show to tell us all about it! Check out the site for yourself. You will notice his site is not like any other music site out there: you can Root for your favorite artists, you can discover new artists based on music scene, region, or university; each user gets his or her own “my scene” page, which aggregates all of the music you Root for; and you can browse trending artists and songs.

Through the interview, you will notice that Ritesh does not fall short with passion. He has big plans for CollegeRoots, and has already created a well-established network throughout California. During the interview, we discuss how the idea of CollegeRoots came about, the process he went through to bring College Roots to fruition, and Ritesh provides tons of tips and insights into being a college student and entrepreneur. Stop reading and start watching the interview!

About Ritesh Gupta

Ritesh Gupta is a Senior at The University of California, Los Angeles and is working to obtain a bachelor in Arts in Business Economics. His passion in life is music – he plays the drums and can sit hours at a time browsing the web to discover new artists. In order to make discovering the music talent at universities more exciting and easier, he created CollegeRoots. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of the site. He is also the founder of Sigma Eta Pi, the co-ed Entrepreneurship Fraternity at UCLA. He can speak Portuguese and Swahili. Fun fact: He was featured nationally in a McDonald’s commercial that aired on NBC and ABC!

Links to Connect with Ritesh:

Feel free to connect with Ritesh, check out his music site, or simply let him know you loved the interview!

 

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Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

Define Genius: Walk of Shame Shuttle Service

Define Genius: Walk of Shame Shuttle Service from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

Do you have friends who love to get reckless and perhaps sleep out a bit too much? Of course you do. Senior Kellyann Wargo, the “Queen of Going Viral” coming out of the University of Michigan, created a walk of shame shuttle service to cater to the outrageous lifestyle of college students. What started out as a small time operation that mainly consisted of picking her friends up early in the morning, taking them to McDonalds, and dropping them off back home to get some well-deserved victory sleep (high five!), has now turned into a legitimate source of income for Kellyann.

During the interview, Kellyann explains the unique challenges she faces everyday running her shuttle service, such as dealing with outlandish and sometimes vulgar comments, creating one-to-one relationships with all of her followers and fans, and responding to all of the interview requests she gets! She also shares her experiences as a female entrepreneur running a business that has captured the attention of thousands of people from all over the country, as well as dozens of media agencies. If you are interested in learning the secrets to going viral, you may want to take notes during the interview. If you are a 20-something year old guy looking for a sexy and witty chick who will probably become better friends with your friends than you are, check out the boyfriend ad description she provided below.

About Kellyann Wargo

21, Female, Ann Arbor (from Farmington Hills), Art and Design major with a minor in Art History. Single / aspiring cat lady. Life goal is to be / write for SNL or be a ginger Chelsea Handler. 

This is my advertisement for my dream man, “Ginger design major seeking twenty something male with job / wealthy parents, unafraid of basements with no mutual friends I will lose after our break-up. Must love burping in public and the Boston Red Sox. Cannot scold me for refusing to recycle, but must accept scolding for using improper grammar and therefore sounding like a dumbass. Needs to be a morning person to make sure I go to class on time / go to class at all, and not wear sweatpants in public. Yes, the gym is considered public- even if you’re paying an absurd amount for a gym membership to a place with the name of a comic book caption, like crunch! or ka-pow!. Excessive knowledge of video games is frowned upon, as well as an unnecessarily long Starbucks drink order. Lets me pay for my own shit but still sends me flowers, on occasion, just because. “

Links to Connect with Kellyann:

Feel free to connect with Kellyann, check out her blog (recommended), or simply let her know you loved the interview!

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Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

SleepBot: The Science of Sleep (In an App)

SleepBot: The Science of Sleep (In an App) from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

What do college students, startup founders, and web developers have in common? They all have horrific sleeping habits and operate on little to no sleep. Jane Zhu and her co-founder, Edison Wang, have worked many sleepless nights to make sure you sleep better! Please introduce yourself to SleepBot, an Android app that allows you to track and monitor your sleep habits.

Although the App initially started out as a small summer project, Jane and Edison have been working for over a year now creating a sleep app that actually works. The app is currently available for the Android mobile market, but they are working hard to bring it to the iOS platform.

If you are interested in learning about the genesis of their mobile app company, how they used crowdfunding to finance their startup, and want to gain some fantastic insights from a student entrepreneur poised to do big things, check out this interview with Start It Up TV!

About Jane Zhu

Jane graduated this winter from NYU Stern after studying Marketing and Finance. Originally from Las Vegas, Jane had never been exposed to the tech or startup world until moving to New York. She started SleepBot with co-founder Edison Wang based on a conversation they had about how much sleep they weren’t getting, and realized that other people were having the same problem. In order to work on SleepBot, Jane began learning graphic design and has just started to learn HTML/CSS. Her partner Edison is a senior at Cooper Union and has been programming since he could type. SleepBot is looking for people to join their team and their mission to make sleep better for everyone! Use the social links below to connect with Jane and Edison about opportunities to join the team!

Links to Connect with Jane:

Feel free to connect with Jane, check out her app, or simply let her know you loved the interview!

Show Some Love for Start It Up TV

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Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

CityRyde: Why Pursuing Entrepreneurship Post Grad was the Best Move

How to Start a Bike Sharing Company – Jason Meinzer of City Ryde from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

Once you graduate, what do you plan on doing with your life? Will you pursue the typical 9-5 job, work your way up the chain, and retire at age 60? Or will you pursue your dreams, create something of your own, follow a passion, and live every day full of excitement and wonder?

Jason Meinzer, Drexel University Alum and Co-Founder/COO of CityRyde, chose the latter. He and his business partner, Timothy Ericson, started CityRyde immediately after graduating college. “We boast a team of credible leaders and subject-matter experts well connected to key thought leaders in sustainable transportation worldwide. Our expertise allows us to assist our clients with every stage of their bike-sharing initiatives, from conception to implementation.” Although it was a bumpy ride getting to where they are today (which I am sure was half the fun), Jason and Timothy have grown their bike sharing business into quite a success.

Check out this interview with Jason as he shares his experiences taking the plunge into the startup world immediately after graduating college, his journey finding his niche, and growing his business into one of the premier thought leaders in the bike-sharing movement.

About Jason Meinzer

Jason’s extensive software development experience, coupled with his international environmental acumen, was crucial to CityRyde’s development of the revolutionary Inspire software, designed to sit on top of existing applications being used by bike-share operators. He has been a database administrator at Unisys and a software business analyst for Merck & Co., as well as working for the Philadelphia Department of Commerce. A native of Hershey, Pa., he graduated summa cum laude from Drexel University with a degree in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurship.

Links to Connect with Jason:

Feel free to connect with Jason, ask him some questions, or simply let him know you loved the interview!

Show Some Love for Start It Up TV

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Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

Wait, You Party for a Living? Arizona Pro DJs

The Most Successful College DJ Business: Arizona Pro DJs from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

Will Curran has one of the best jobs in the college startup world…he parties for a living. Okay – maybe it is not all fun and games, but Will has had a great experience running his entertainment company called Arizona Pro DJs since he was a junior in high school. Now a senior at Arizona State University, Will has built a pretty successful business where he prides bringing innovation to the entertainment industry. With a strong focus on quality (he has interns go through a 6 month training program and is very selective of his DJs), Arizona Pro DJs has experienced 3x growth from last year and expects the same for this year.

Take it from Will, being a student entrepreneur pays – he has a scholarship to ASU for his business and has won other awards providing him with the financial backing to help fund his business. Check out this interview with Will as he shares his story building a successful business around his passion for music. Enjoy the interview and absolutely follow up with Will for any advice or questions you have!

About Will Curran

The beginning of Arizona Pro DJs was completely accidental.  As a high school freshman armed only with the technical knowledge of web design and a love of music, Will Curran launched a donation-based Internet radio station.  As his fan base grew, Curran decided to take a leap of faith and invest his last $400 in turntables and a mixer. When a friend asked Curran to DJ her backyard party, what started out as a hobby quickly transformed.  “I had no idea it could be a business,” Curran told us  “I brought out my home speakers, amp, and my $400 ‘DJ-in-a-box’ kit.  It worked out, and eventually my friends suggested I DJ the low-budget dances at school.”

Word spread about Curran’s talent as a disc jockey, and soon he was playing events in schools across the state.  Sensing the financial potential, he asked his parents for a small loan (at the time he was just a sophomore in high school) and bought a professional-grade sound system.  He put the money he made toward more DJ gear. Better gear meant charging more for his services and playing bigger shows.  Thus, in 2005, Arizona Pro DJs was born.

 

Links to Connect with Will:

Feel free to connect with Will, ask him some questions, or simply let him know you loved the interview!

 

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Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

Studentbusiness.com: Student Entrepreneurs Helping Student Entrepreneurs

Student Entrepreneurs Helping Student Entrepreneurs: Studentbusiness.com from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

In this episode of Start It Up TV, Travis May, Harvard graduate and Co-Founder of studentbusiness.com, shares with us his experiences dominating the college entrepreneurship programs at many leading universities. StudentBusinesses.com is an interactive online directory of the top student entrepreneurs and their startups.

The platform helped entrepreneurship programs run business plan competitions through their online SaaS platform. Travis was able to build his business to more than 50 universities in two years and raised angel financing in September 2008. His company was acquired in October 2009 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (site rebranded as iStart.org).

About Travis May

Travis was Founder and CEO of Campus Venture Network, Inc. – which was acquired by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He studied Economics and Mathematics at Harvard and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude Honors.

He is now the Head of Strategy and Operations for Rapleaf, which provides consumer insight and helps personalize experiences online Travis manages the strategic partnerships team and leads new initiatives.

Links to Connect with Travis:

Feel free to connect with Travis, ask him some questions, or simply say “hey, great job on SIU TV.”

Show Some Love for Start It Up TV

Get email updates. (It’s free!)

Quick Note

Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com

Dan Novaes: Serial Entrepreneur and Master of Business Execution

Become a Serial Entrepreneur and Execute Business Ideas from Matthew Racz on Vimeo.

Dan Novaes has been a serial entrepreneur since the age 16 when he first launched a tech company called Elekteks. which grossed over $2 million in 2010. You can think of Dan as the master of business execution -  he consistently thinks of creative ideas and then acts on them. check out this interview if you are looking for some inspiration regarding moving forward with an idea.

In this interview, we cover:

  • How Dan won a TechStars contest for a business he created during Startup Weekend
  • How Dan launched a tech company at the age of 16 and grew it internationally
  • How he uses the income stream generated by Elekteks to allow him to pursue other ventures
  • His experiences using Elance, Odesk, Fiverr and virtual assistants
  • Great advice for aspiring college entrepreneurs – Tons of takeaways from the interview

About Daniel Novaes

Dan founded his first company, Elekteks Inc., as a sophomore in high school suring 2005. The world of startups, business, creativity, and more was opened up to Dan through his experience starting Elekteks. Since then, he went to business school at Indiana University, started a few new companies, and never looked back. As an entrepreneur, Dan’s strengths lie in marketing new companies and managing the right people for the jobs needed. He is ambitious, driven, and will do anything in his power to take a venture to the next level.

What Inspires Dan: He believes in the power of social entrepreneurship, which provides the less fortunate with a chance in becoming self-sufficient. Great Examples: Toms Shoes and Warby Parker eye glasses. Dan truly values each and every relationship he makes and believes there is something to be learned from each new connection.

Links to Connect with Daniel:

Feel free to connect with Dan, ask him some questions, or simply say “hey, great job on SIU TV.”

Show Some Love for Start It Up TV

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Quick Note

Start It Up TV is still growing into what it needs to be. We are trying our best to make this site as awesome and legitimate for our viewers as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this site better, want to do business with Start It Up TV, or would like to be interviewed for one of the episodes, please feel free to use our Contact Form or E-mail Matt@startitup.tv!

A big thank you to Alek Rost for the intro to Start It Up TV. Check him out at AlekRost.com