May 2014

Daedalus Guest Lectures for CMU Entrepreneurs

Daedalus' Director of Marketing, Stephanie McHenry, guest lectured for Carnegie Mellon University's Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries course, sharing insights on strategy and marketing with student entrepreneurs.

Students in the entrepreneurship-track represent diverse majors – Fine Arts, Architecture, Design, Business, Engineering, and Social Sciences – and all intend to launch a company within these industries while leaning on CMU's network of seasoned professionals to offer realistic models. Stephanie provided real world insights from launching and managing her own successful start-up.

"In the corporate world, despite varying degrees of investment in risk-mitigation, we often still rush to the solution space because of pressure from upper management to immediately impact the bottom line," explains Stephanie. "Alternatively, many budding entrepreneurs spend so much time studying the problem space that they never work up the gumption to implement, and then miss the right opportunity. Balance is needed."

Advocating for proper research, prototyping, beta testing, and so on, Stephanie outlined how an initial budget might be best treated as an investment in learning-by-doing.

"I started my business while going through school," Stephanie recalls. "I increased my 'tuition budget' to extend beyond college to the 'school of hard knocks'. Did I get that money back? Not right away. I did not expect to. It was an investment in learning what works. A good marketing strategist does not pretend to prophecy what the market wants; they test. Later, those early tests enabled me to increase revenue by 200% and expand the market from the U.S. and Canada to eastern and western Europe. Invest in the test."