A Student Entrepreneur Shares His AZEC10 Take-Aways

Nov 22, 2010

Audience Experiences from AZEC10

Austin Frogge

Each year at AZEC, members of our entrepreneurial community sponsor student entrepreneurs to connect, engage and learn with seasoned veterans, venture capitalists, angels, and thought leaders.  Joining us this year was Austin Frogge, co-founder of www.CrayonstoDiplomas.com .  One of the “next generation” of entrepreneurs, Austin and his co-founder Boris Fowler started Crayons to Diplomas to start a conversation about fundamental flaws in the education system.  Students have valuable input and feedback that can better universities and schools, and entrepreneurs are well positioned to implement and bring about a necessary change. They describe their purpose like this:

“There are many people with credible ideas on how to reform our schools.  Unfortunately, their ideas do not come to light because they lack the community to share and drive the ideas forward.  Crayons to Diplomas seeks to create an online community of innovators and students who wish to see education improve.”


Each year we ask our student entrepreneurs to share some key take-aways.  Here is what Austin has to share:

Some of the messages really resonated with me. I enjoyed what Brian Solis had to say, in particular, due to the nature of my current work. He specifically talked about people uploading their credit card numbers to a site which notifies their friends and social networks of purchases. People are willing to contribute because this process generates a conversation. This in theory is why we post on Facebook and check in on Foursquare. We want an conversation, and interaction.

Our new venture which is going to improve education through community building, so Brian’s speech sparked some ideas which I will be incorporating into our model in order to encourage people to interact with the site and content. The power of social proof is absolutely important as well in creating a community which thrives and grows which is another key aspect I will be considering moving forward.

Dave McClure’s speech was very interesting. It was fascinating to see what a Silicon Valley investor’s perspective was; especially one who is down to earth. It was refreshing to hear someone speak who is candid in his dealings with the public. Dave’s venture, 500 Startups, is an interesting concept. I have considered the implications of becoming an angel investor or VC in the future. It is something which I quite possibly may enjoy and be good at.

In closing, I enjoyed my day at the AZ Entrepreneurship Conference; spending my time with like minded individuals. I also met some good people, my age, who I will be collaborating with in the future. I want to thank my sponsors for the opportunity to attend the event and allowing me to be a part of this community.

AZEC10 is just one day

The purpose of AZEC10 is to support OTEF in its mission financially AND to start conversations in our entrepreneurial community among like minded individuals who understand that entrepreneurial ventures move faster when we connect, engage and collaborate.  Here’s your chance to join in the AZEC experience.  If you have any input and/or ideas that came out of AZEC10 – feel free to share them with us AND if you have ideas or connections to share with Austin and his team – be sure to let him know.

About the author: Joan Koerber-Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of OTEF, as Chairman of CorePurpose, Inc. and as an Executive in Residence at Callaman Ventures.  To contact her, click here.

Related Posts

AZAdvances: Accelerating Health Innovation

AZAdvances: Accelerating Health Innovation

Joan Koerber-Walker, President & CEO of AZBio and Chairman of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, and AZAdvances Trustee Russ Yelton led a discussion on how Arizonans are collaborating to drive health innovation forward faster.  Excerpt recorded...