Two Wharton MBA graduates bypassed six-figure incomes from dot-com and investment banking jobs in order to market their own creative endeavor -- a computer mouse shaped like the head of a golf club.
Yesterday afternoon, 1999 Wharton graduates John Lusk and Kyle Harrison spoke to roughly 20 students in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall on the first leg of their seven-city media tour promoting The Mousedriver Chronicles, a book detailing their first-hand experience with a mouse-making start-up company.
The idea for the mouse started out as nothing more than Harrison's sketches on a cocktail napkin. It became a legitimate idea when he developed a marketing plan while at Wharton with the help of Lusk.
Lusk and Harrison continued to use and promote the idea in various business classes because, according to Lusk, "We were too lazy to come up with anything else."
But it wasn't until an entrepreneurial marketing class at Wharton that they were challenged by a professor to bring the idea to life. Following the class, with $20,000 in initial capital -- and much to the surprise of their classmates -- they decided not to venture into dot-coms and instead stepped into the uncertain world of start-up companies.
With "pure MBA naivete" as Lusk put it, "we assumed that once we had the product, it would sell itself." The road proved to be more rocky than they had anticipated, as the two faced many unforeseen complications.
After encountering both successes and setbacks, Lusk and Harrison decided to chronicle their journey and provide insights to friends and former classmates. The result was a periodic newsletter entitled, The Mousedriver Insider.
Soon after its inception, the two entrepreneurs began receiving an enormous amount of interest and positive feedback as they watched their subscriber base expand rapidly.
Last February, Lusk and Harrison received a big break in the form of a cover story on their company and newsletter in Inc. Magazine.
A few short weeks after their story ran in Inc., they were approached by a literary agent who encouraged them to formulate a book proposal, which they quickly did. This led to a deal with Perseus Publishing Company, which bought the rights to The Mousedriver Chronicles.
The book was released two weeks ago, receiving extremely positive reviews from various publications, including the magazine Us Weekly.
In speaking to the students, Lusk and Harrison emphasized the learning experience gained from their start-up company.
"We've come away with a knowledge of how to turn ideas into reality," Harrison said.
Student response to the talk was extremely positive.
"I came to learn how to rule the world through a mouse shaped like the head of a golf club," first-year MBA student Matt Dilmaghani said.
And second-year MBA student Jay Bhatti said he came to the talk to "learn how to deal with the big boys."Comments powered by Disqus
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