Confessions of An Entrepreneur: Building Value From 0

Lorenzo De Plano
6 min readMar 11, 2020

It was spring in Southern California. I was sitting in an undergraduate entrepreneurship class at USC, barely able to maintain focus on the class’s teachings. My ADD was prioritizing the concave and convex design drawings in my notebook, when the professor abruptly announced a semester long entrepreneurship competition. It was then that my focus sharpened and I began to actively listen…

Entrepreneurship Class at USC

The Competition

Every student in the class would be given the semester to build a team and generate as much revenue as they could with a pre-allotted $500.00 of capital. By the end of the semester, each team would have to present their concepts, strategies and results for 15 minutes to a panel of seasoned judges. All of the teams would be placed in competition with each other and the group with the highest ROI would be victorious.

After the competition was announced, our teacher allowed everyone to utilize remaining class time to divide ourselves up into various groups. Over the next 2 hours, the classroom erupted with noise as everyone tried to find the most optimal partners for their respective ventures. Students shifted up and down the aisles as the traditional “alphas” in every group herded teams together and clamored for attention. Students scribbled ideas in their notebooks until the lead from their Ticonderoga pencils snapped.

The Ideas Come To Life

Snack stands, T-Shirt Companies, Apps, Software Products, a wide host of unique and complex ideas were echoed among the various groups of students in each subsequent class. Over the next few months all of these unique ideas and ventures took shape. Battle lines were drawn and teams were formed. The accounting students built elaborate feasibility analyses, while the marketing students built visually stimulating brands. Everyone worked tirelessly day and night to bring their various ideas and ventures to fruition in this heated competition.

Towards the end of the semester our professor approached me and asked why I wasn’t in a group. I told my professor that a group seemed unnecessary and that I was very busy managing a Software QA startup and that Digg was one of my demanding clients at the time. My teacher didn’t appreciate my seemingly elaborate and apathetic response to…



Lorenzo De Plano

Just an entrepreneur and investor looking to share some ideas