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Lifelong Entrepreneur Gives Advice to MSLCE Students

By Ben Levine

The entrepreneurship course taught by Gregg Latterman gives students the opportunity to build their own company from the ground up.

One of the highlights of the course is the myriad of wonderful guest speakers and mentors that Professor Latterman brings in to help give the students a sense of how entrepreneurship works as well as to get feedback from experts on their new ventures. On April 22, the class was fortunate to have Dan Novaes come and share his story and advice for what it takes to make a great, relevant company in the modern landscape.

Novaes is a lifelong entrepreneur who began his first business in high school selling Pokémon cards. As he began to make significant money, he continued pushing forward, selling everything from Playboys to t-shirts, which he sould to fraternities and sororities. While these may not be the most high-brow items to sell, Novaes promoted the attitude of finding what the opportunity is in front of you. While he was still in college, he was running ventures that were doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in business.

Novaes framed entrepreneurship like a videogame: when you start out, you are weak and the world can take its toll, but as you move forward you graduate to bigger and better things. He continued his movement and entered the mobile app space through a serendipitous online partnership with a 17 year-old from England that helped Novaes build his first app. His story was inspiring, full of persistence and illustrated to the class just how much one must hustle in order to bring an idea to fruition.

Novaes was a fantastic speaker that outlined what it really takes to be a successful entrepreneur. He showed that through foresight, drive, and relationship building you can make big money in creative ways. With regards to entertainment, Novaes said, “lots of people create fame but don’t know how to do business.” This truism is of particular interest to the MSLCE cohort, where we are encouraged to take a holistic view of art and entertainment so we can have fruitful careers. Even if one goes on to achieve recognition for their creative work, it can mean very little if the business skills aren’t in place to ensure a happy, secure life.

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