What is Success and How Do We Achieve it?

We had a great time listening to Chris Hock, Founder of Griffon Partners, who shared a hip presentation on entrepreneurship with funny memes and stories about his work in startups. We got to explore differences between our generation and his, as well as compare the differences between successful and unsuccessful companies. Some of the insights he wanted to leave with our generation were:

• The sooner you can make your own definition of success, the happier and more successful you’ll be
• Be competitive
• Remember your reputation – during bad times you can fall back on it
• Focus on micro goals, even though macro goals “feel” better
• Even if you don’t know what your career will be or how long you will stay, do an awesome job wherever you’re at
• Young entrepreneurs need to appreciate gravity of situation/source of investment that older generations have worked their whole life to earn
• Own your career and life, live below your means so you can quit your job and start out on your own

When you do start out on your own, the factors that led to a successful business in his experience were:

• They didn’t use hyperbole or puffery
• Instead, they asked, how do we build a great business and how do we grow?
• They had a clear value proposition
• They took care of their customer

Chris was very excited to share with us and come visit our club. When he was in school at Ohio State, there were no entrepreneurship outlets like BBC. We thank Chris for making it out to speak with our club!


Social Innovation Starts at APTE

The Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit is both a wonderfully inspiring event and a story of passion and success.


When I attended my first APTE Summit, it was still an event hosted and funded entirely by the Business Builders Club. There were over one thousand attendees, several well-known social entrepreneurs from around the world, and a group of passionate students who were eagerly awaiting their chance to pitch their businesses to the entire auditorium. I couldn’t believe this event was only two years old! The number of people I met during the event and the passion those people had for solving world issues was inspiring. Since that Saturday in 2012, the APTE Summit has become an Ohio State Signature Event and has become bigger and better each year.


So why should you attend the APTE Summit? You have the rare opportunity to meet an amazing group of passionate students and community members. Beyond that:

  1. A whole afternoon of incredible speakers brought in from around the world
  2. A student social business competition with thousands of dollars in cash prizes
  3. No matter what you’re passionate about, there are many more just like you and you know they’ll be there
  4. You may just discover your passion (it’s happened before)
  5. Free networking with some of the most important social entrepreneurs in Columbus


The Alleviating Poverty through Entrepreneurship Summit is a world-class event that I’ve had the opportunity to attend for the past three years and needless to say, I’m more than excited for this year’s Summit.

Make sure to RSVP for the event check out the speaker line up here : http://aptesummit.org/


Shane McMahon


From Kickstarter to Kegs

This week we enjoyed having Ohio State Alumni, Walt Keys, as our guest speaker. Walt is the Co-founder and Creative Director at Land-Grant Brewing Company, which him, and co-owners Adam Benner and Quintin Jessee, have been working on since 2012.

Initially they branded themselves as Oval Brewing, a slight nod towards their alma mater. Not long after launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, they found themselves in the right place at the right time when they were introduced to a pharmacist in their network who wanted to invest in a brewery. They were a perfect fit and with even more capital they could now begin the search for real estate that could suit their needs. When they had finally found the perfect place in Grandview, the deal fell through and they were left holding the bag. On top of this, they discovered that a British vodka company had the name Oval, so they asked Oval’s lawyers if they could still use the name since they are not in the spirits business and they basically told Walt’s team to scram. With less legal power they knew that the smartest move was to rebrand. After much brainstorming and discussion they settled on Land Grant Brewing, which still alluded to the land grant which gave birth to Ohio State.

Through the fire and flames, they continued searching Columbus for the perfect spot for their brewery. Two and a half years after their Kickstarter campaign, Land Grant Brewing welcomed beer enthusiasts for a grand opening last October, downtown in Franklinton. Here are some of the key takeaways from Walt’s story:

• Position your brand wisely, try not to alienate potential customers that have different views
• Check the federal trademark website for every name that’s close to yours to avoid branding obstacles down the line
• When obstacles get in your way, fallback to your core mission to get through them
• When big problems happen, say oh well, look forward, and get over it

It was great to hear the story of a local entrepreneur and we’re very glad he could make it out to share with us. If you’re 21 or older be sure to checkout their tap room downtown!

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Taking the Leap with Kelley Griesmer

This Wednesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Kelley Griesmer of Pelotonia to share her story and the craziness that goes with managing such an enormous social enterprise.

As a graduate of Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, Griesmer began her career at Jones Day, a highly respected and successful law firm. The work that she involved herself with was complicated, intellectually challenging and provided an opportunity to learn about large litigation with industry-leading lawyers. Griesmer was surrounded by colleagues she met while at Ohio State and they quickly climbed the ranks at Jones Day together. Before she knew it, she was a partner at Jones Day, an accomplishment that most lawyers would dream of.

It was at this point in her career that she began to feel the ever-so-familiar feeling of being unfulfilled with work. It was time to explore other opportunities. Research began with a focus on non-profits in the Columbus area and beyond, but nothing seemed to stand out. It wasn’t until she was approached by a dear friend, Tom Lennox, that she felt the need to leave her incredible gig at Jones Day. At the time, Tom Lennox was dreaming up an idea to bring cancer research funding to Ohio State through a grassroots bike race in central Ohio.

She recollected on her experience with Tom. Just when she thought she was certainly crazy and there was no chance of leaving her job, Tom would remind her of his incredible vision and the great value it would bring this world. Griesmer was hooked. She left her full-time job and began working with Tom as the Chief Operating Officer for Pelotonia in 2008 and has never looked back since then!

It was a pleasure to hear Griesmer tell her inspiring story of chasing something beyond just job security and a nice paycheck. Some of the key takeaways from Wednesday night:

  • Things will go wrong, but you’re an entrepreneur, you gave up your job, your life, for this, so get back in the office, stop throwing a fit, and figure it out
  • One of the best ways to build a woman friendly business is by eliminating gender norming and evaluate all employees on the same playing field
  • Raising money through a bike race is not an original idea, but ensuring that 100% of funds raised go directly to the cause is, and it’s that concept that makes Pelotonia extraordinary
  • Branding matters and should not be forgotten, even in a non-profit environment
  • Remember to execute discipline – requiring people to reach a fundraising goal only works if you have the courage to charge their credit cards at the end of the day
  • And finally, things never go as expected the first time, but just learn from it and keep going

What Pelotonia has accomplished in Columbus in nothing short of extraordinary. The Business Builders Club strongly encourages you to consider riding and supporting our community in an effort to reach One Goal: ending cancer. We thank Kelley for coming out and sharing such an inspirational story.

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The Meaning of Capitalism with Jack Cassidy

This week we were extremely lucky to have Jack Cassidy as our speaker. His charisma and boldness were enlivening. He’s had multiple executive positions and is a board member for several companies. Most noteworthy, at Cincinnati bell, he turned around the multi-billion dollar company that was on the brink of annihilation and bankruptcy into a very profitable business. Throughout the night, he boiled business down to its basics and redefined some misconceived notions. Here are some of the important definitions he shared with us:

1. The purpose of capitalism is to get a return on your investment
2. The purpose of business is to make a profit
3. You create profit by attracting and retaining profitable customers

He went on to define the typical American consumer, stating that there are 2 things we value more than anything on the planet:

  • Convenience (time)
  • Entertainment (rather than work)

Cassidy points out that, in America, people have more money than they do time. Which means, they are always in a hurry to be entertained. If you can capitalize in one of these two areas, you can have a successful business in America.

Although, he points out that it is still extremely difficult to start a business of your own and he’s proud that students, like those at the BBC, believe in taking charge, leading, and being responsible for their own success, or failure. Chances are good that there are already companies going after your same target market. He says, “To get into a market you have to innovate, to innovate, you must seek diversity of thought. If you don’t surround yourself by people who disagree with you, and find ways to agree, you can’t innovate.”

He ended the discussion by saying, “In business, it’s okay to make a profit, it’s the purpose, but you have a moral responsibility to the world to share the profit.”

We had a fantastic time listening to him, if you want to hear more, check out his book.


Business Builders Career Fair

The Business Builders Club is putting on its 3rd annual Career Fair on Tuesday, February 3rd. Unlike most career fairs, our career fair is catered to small businesses, startups, and community businesses.


-Small businesses need talented students and recent graduates.

Small businesses can often benefit from the intensity, vigor, and ingenuity of a talented, entrepreneurial student. This event offers the chance to recruit that student, and utilize their drive and skills.

-Students want meaningful work experience.

Students are often undervalued and given menial tasks, or irrelevant projects. The best students want to work in an environment where they can make an impact, grow a business, and learn what it takes to be an effective entrepreneur.


Companies- Small businesses, startups, community businesses that appreciate and seek out go-getters.

Students- Go-getters (the entire OSU student community is invited. In the past we have had students from all majors and all over the University, but the majority studied business or engineering).


If you are a student: Come to the Cartoon Room (3rd Floor) of the Ohio Union on February 3rd between 1:00 and 5:00 PM

If you are recruiting: Contact Theo Fields (author) at fields.357@osu.edu for more information


I worked for two years at a small business (which will be attending this event) and then interned at a Fortune 10 company. I felt that I was able to contribute infinitely more and provide more valuable work to the small business. I had the good fortune to experience entrepreneurial spirit and “hustle” up close and am fully committed to providing other students with that opportunity.

Theo Fields

Event Chair

Business Builders Club




Companies confirmed include:

Agile Networks
Community Computer Alliance
Drive Capital
Duet Health
Endeavor Forward
Exacter Inc. 
Fast Switch
Hot Chicken Takeover
IGS Energy
Labor Genome
Manta Media
Medical Staffing Options
NCT Ventures
Prevedere Software
Print Syndicate
Simple Fill
The Shipyard
Three Scale Strategy
Venture for America
BBC Alumni

Business Builders Club Fall Alumni Tailgate 2014

On November 1st, the Business Builders Club hosted an Alumni Network tailgate for its members, alumni, and families before the beatdown of Illinois in the Horseshoe. Over 50 people attended in what was one of the largest non-meeting events of the semester! We ate hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and veggies and chips and drank some of the BBC’s Fall 2014 Brew. Plenty of fun and food was had by all in what was a great kickoff for our newly created Alumni Network! The Inaugural Alumni Network Newsletter was also released and can be found here. We’re excited to see the growth of our Alumni Network and the great things it brings to the Business Builders Club!

Special thanks to Jason Almedia, Sam Hubert, Sarah Lyons, and Sydney Sundell for their work as the Alumni Relations committee this semester.

For more information or to give feedback about the Business Builders Club Alumni Network, please contact David Straka at alumni@businessbuildersclub.org.



Q&A with Wil Schroter

This Wednesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Wil Schroter, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Fundable, to be our final speaker for 2014. He engaged us with stories of his own experience, starting 7 companies, and the experience he’s had interacting with thousands of entrepreneurs through Fundable. A few key takeaways:

  • Not knowing enough to start a business is an excuse, you don’t need to be the smartest, or even have a degree.
  • Find something you’re so passionate about that it makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Successful people are tenacious, no matter what happens they keep running at the wall with an idea until they fall.
  • You have to be willing to get the problem wrong 100 times in a row and iterate like crazy until you create something valuable that you can charge for.
  • As an entrepreneur, at times you will feel like a fraud and ask yourself, “what the hell did I get myself into?” In the early stages there are very little indicators of success, often it breaks until it works or works until it breaks.
  • It can take 1-3 years to even find out if you’re in the right market, 3 years to get a footing, 7 years to build a real company, and 10 years to IPO.

Bottom line is that it takes an extraordinary amount of time, persistence, and problem solving to be successful.

As for Columbus, Wil said it’s so easy to live here, almost too easy for people to not go out of their comfort zone. In coastal cities, like San Francisco or New York, there are more stressed, but also enterprising, people because the cost of living is so high. On the other hand, Wil says Columbus people are awesome and some of the nicest people in the country! He sees an upward trend for entrepreneurship here at Ohio State, but thinks it is still in its very early stages. He also gave the Business Builder’s Club a tremendous compliment, calling it the “MIT of Ohio State” because it has the highest concentration of tenacious people. He and Fundable are waiting for the next big startup to put Columbus on the board, will it be yours?

IdeaPitch Check

So you’re pitching at IdeaPitch

Congratulations! You took the first critical step in building a business and that is sharing your idea with the masses and seeking feedback, mentorship, and cash. I want to share with you some details about the event and answer some important questions.


Event Schedule 

There are 7 teams. The teams will present one after another in a randomly selected order. Every team is allotted 15 minutes, which is broken into 3 minute set-up, 7 minute pitch, and 5 minute Q&A. These are hard time stops, which means there will be a stopwatch and there will be exuberant applause. Judges appreciate a well timed pitch.

At some point during the event, there will be an intermission to restock piles of pizza and listen to our sponsors share a bit about their companies and why they support IdeaPitch!

Once all 7 teams pitch, the judges will gather and talk about how awesome the pitches were, and of course, choose who wins!


FWTAIP (Frequently Wondered Things About IdeaPitch)

1. Who can pitch the idea?

Anyone who was included on the original submission. All members of the team must be undergraduate students and members of the Business Builders Club. There is no restrictions on number of pitch-ers, but we suggest 1-3.

2. What am I going to win?

  • 1st place – $1,500
  • 2nd place – $1,000
  • 3rd place – $500

That’s a lotta moolah! Plus, you could score mentorship or further investments if you really wow the judges.

3. Who is judging me?

We’ve got a phenomenal panel of judges lined up for you. This will be updated as new judges are added, so please check back.

  • Zach Boerger: The Director of Engineering at Drive Capital, former BBC’er, co-founder of LaunchGram, all-around-rockstar
  • Dan Rockwell: Program Manager for Software Prototyping Center at Ohio State, Founder of Big Kitty Labs, mover and shaker of all things tech
  • Ross Kayuha: CEO of Nanofiber Solutions, board member for Brand Thunder and start-up guru

4. What do I need to pitch about?

Your pitch should hit the big questions: Problem, Solution, Target Market, Competition, Team, and Financial Summary. Judges will be expecting you to address all of these questions. If you would like to see a copy of the official judging rubric, click here.

We require you to present your idea using a pitch deck (fancy for PowerPoint). This can be 1 slide or 20 slides, but you only have 7 minutes to pitch. Pro Tip: skip the outline slide, we know what you’ll be talking about. Get to the juicy stuff right away. If you want an example deck, click here.

5. What do I wear?

As long as you look presentable, we are happy. A suit is not required, but there will be photos taken and press coverage of the event, so don’t show up in a t-shirt and ripped up jeans.


Begin Hustling Now… 

We are incredibly excited to see what you come up with! As always, questions can be directed to the IdeaPitch or anyone within the Business Builders Club leadership.

Event Chair: Peilun Huang,

Coordinators: Hua Wang, Raihaan Subhan, Andrew Yanai

VP of Events: Marek Michalski

Artie Isaac

A Night With Artie Isaac

Last night, we were pleased to welcome Artie Isaac to the Business Builders Club. Artie kept the crowd laughing while sharing a few stories about his career and life lessons he has picked up along the way. A few of the important take-aways:

  • You need to empty your cup before you can fill it with more tea – meaning that if you are searching for more fulfilling work or tasks, you must first reconsider the responsibilities that you have stacked on your plate. If you are not truly passionate about them, dump them and dump them quickly.
  • Forget all of the passwords – In this world, there are long term planners that think out 30 years, short term planners that think out to only one day, and everywhere in between. It is important to fill your team with people who plan at different intervals. If you miss the mark, you will end up doing the work of someone else.
  • Choose what matters to you – things like social drinking and watching football on Saturday may be the cultural norms, but they may be a big waste of time. Be judicious with your time and remember that you do not need to listen to social norms to be liked by your peers.
  • Many of the beliefs we’ve created simply aren’t true – trivial anger is often sparked by an activating event, but the real reason that anger exists within us is that something has violated our beliefs. If you want to rid yourself of anger, change your beliefs.
  • Creativity is a process, not a natural born ability – everybody is creative at their core, it’s all about realizing that creativity and letting it overcome you



Artie has graciously shared a collection of documents that he suggests using when a tough problem stands in your way. Feel free to browse and use accordingly.

  • For brainstorming or training, here is how I might be engaged
  • My promises, “the handshake document,” which he pledges to everyone he meets
  • Carry Forth!, the way to plan a creative adventure or lifetime legacy
  • Go [Artie]!, the complete 60-minute brainstorm tool, including “Company A / Company B”
  • Aritie’s Blog, on creativity, ethics and life — with a bookshelf of favorite books
  • A brief guide on how to run a brainstorm
  • Other organizing documents are here

We extend a huge thanks to Artie for joining the rest of the Business Builders Club to share some valuable lessons! Now go out there and get creative!

As always, Make Millions, Change the World, Wear Jeans.