Resource Nights: The Reality of Running a Business

This recap of the Business Plan Practicum (Resource Nights) course at UW features three tips all entrepreneurs need to know from Ambika Singh, CEO of Armoire.Each week you can read a recap of the previous Entrepreneurship Resource Nights (Business Plan Practicum) session. This past week, instructor John Zagula (founder, Ignition Capital) led a class focused on the realities of running a business with special guest speakers Alex Modelski and Michael Rebagliati of Karr Tuttle Campbell and Rebecca Lovell, executive director of Create 33. Special note: The recording for this class is unavailable due to an error. Recordings will continue with the Tuesday, February 25 session.


“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” – Andy Grove

“No conflict, no interest.” – John Doerr

“Always hire people who are better than you. Hiring dummies is shortsighted. You can’t move up the ladder until everyone is comfortable with your replacement.” – Lois Wyse

“Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin


This week, we closed the plan phase of our class by discussing how to be organized and prepared to deal with the realities of running a business. This includes managing yourself, your company, and your team. We talked about the basic ways we try to keep ourselves organized and on top of what needs to be done, with a few maxims to guide us:

  1. Set goals, strategies and tasks
  2. Capture them where you can find and use them
  3. Track them against priorities, deadlines and results

Then, ace lawyers Alex Modelski and Michael Rebagliati of Karr Tuttle Campbell told us about the things to watch out of for as we start companies. They emphasized that (even though its complicated, costly, and a bit morbid to think about what might go wrong) it is totally worth structuring things upfront in a legally correct way versus regretting later that you didn’t do so.

Here are some additional legal resources from our friends at Karr Tuttle Campbell:

Finally, we closed with the inspiring and insightful Rebecca Lovell, executive director of Create 33, who shared the lessons and experiences from both her own amazing experiences and those of the many teams she worked with. She also left with the class with her words to live by: Have a plan, but be read to go off that plan; Play in traffic; Authenticity; Be and have champions!


Resource Nights (ENTRE 440/540 Business Plan Practicum) are each Tuesday through March 10, 2020 from 6 to 7:50 pm in PACCAR Hall 192 (Shansby Auditorium). Can’t make it in person? Lectures will be recorded and the links posted to our website weekly. View the Resource Night schedule for links and complete listing of topics and guest speakers.


Tuesday, February 25 at 6:00 pm in PACCAR Hall, Shansby Auditorium (room 192)

In this session, we will discuss the “XYZs” and “123s” of positioning and messaging, and discuss how to differentiate your business from others. We will be joined by a panel of marketing experts who will assist the student teams in crafting a brief pitch which will be delivered to the class!

Those guest speakers will be Kaitlyn Witman of Rainfactory, Dani May of TomboyX, Nancy Xiao of Mason, John O’Rourke of Microsoft, and Zach Huntting of Crown Social.

Reminder, you can drop-in or catch the recording of this weekly course.


The 21 finalist teams for the 2020 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge were just announced.

An announcement of the finalists for the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge will happen later this week.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the Dempsey Startup Competition.

Dempsey Startup Competition Info Session
Friday, March 6 from 12 to 1 pm
Herbold Innovation Lab (Dempsey Hall 211)

Students who are interested in or planning to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition can attend this info session to learn about the structure of the competition, what to expect and how to prepare. The info session will be hosted by Sarah Studer, Dempsey Startup Competition manager. Lunch will be provided!

RSVP Link:

Dempsey Startup Competition Webinar
Wednesday, March 11 at 4:30 pm

The Dempsey Startup Competition is open to enrolled student teams in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and Alaska. Tune in to the webinar to learn more about the competition rules and what to expect. Use the chat function in Zoom to ask questions!

Registration Link:

Dempsey Startup Competition Application Party
Tuesday, March 31 from 12:30 to 3 pm
Herbold Innovation Lab (Dempsey Hall 211)

Planning to enter the Dempsey Startup Competition? Come start (or finish!) your application with us! We’ll have snacks, examples of 5-7 page business summaries, laptops and competition managers available to answer your questions. UW Students only.

RSVP Link:

Learn more about the Buerk Center student competitions at

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