Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Local Developer Turns Professor"

"In an effort to improve efficiency at UNCW, local real estate mogul and developer, Dave Spetrino, taught an entire semester long entrepreneurship course in 30 seconds using his 3-principles approach."

"Students were so impressed with his approach and effectiveness that they crowded around him immediately following his course in hopes of obtaining more pearls of wisdom that would benefit them in other courses and in their career. Naturally Spetrino did not disappoint."

That was the report from Professor Jonathan Rowe, the Director for the Center of Entrepreneurship at UNCW. He has a pretty funny sense of humor (for a teacher) and I had a great time walking students through the 'trials and tribulations' of my past 20 years as a business owner.

Jonathan is doing great work at both UNCW as well as within our business community with his regular entrepreneur events and extremely popular 'rocket pitch' series.

Once I entered the lecture hall, the first thing I noticed was how much has changed from my days in Whitt Hall [Radford] circa 1990. (White boards, projectors, wireless keyboards and a laptop on more than 75% of the desks.)

Kids these days have no idea how easy they have it!

The class was completely made up of NON-Business Students and included a wide range of majors (Film, Design, Communications, etc.) These were students who were taking the course to learn how they can promote their interests and passions in a profitable way. I think that is what made this opportunity most interesting - these were students choosing to learn about entrepreneurship as opposed to it being a requirement of the business curriculum.

One of the first quotes I started my 'lecture' with is a personal favorite, "There is no training for the entrepreneur, either you are one or you're not."

Even more compelling to me about Professor Rowe's approach to educating; he did not require his class to purchase a text book. The only thing his students had to buy were business cards for themselves (many of them handed me a card after the class - it was a brilliant idea and truly effective!)

And as far as my '3 principle' approach, it isn't rocket science. As I explained to the class, their charge is relatively simple:

1. Learn what their market wants
2. Create it
3. Sell it to them

I reiterated that "simple" and "easy" are not necessarily the same thing though... and that starting a business was a breeze, STAYING in business is where the real work comes in.

Among other discussion topics, I emphasized the importance of knowing both your strengths and your weaknesses - and never be afraid to ask for help, especially from other entrepreneurs.

We talked about business plans and goal setting. Touched on partnerships and growth, but most importantly I left them with a few anecdotes that I had collected over the years, including one of my new favorites about patience: You can't make a baby in a month by getting nine women pregnant.

As much as I enjoyed talking with Professor Rowe's class, it doesn't beat the thrill of being a business owner, with all of the challenges, every success, failure, stress or elation has been my own making. I can't imagine my life any other way.

1 comment:

Alan Smith said...

If you weren't so committed to entrepreuership, you could have a life as a journalist or professor. I hope the three rules make 2010 a good one for Plantation. Alan