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An Electric Idea

7 Jul

A friend of mine Stephan always had the entrepreneurial spirit bursting inside him. Despite his degree from UCLA, his MS from Stanford and a very high paying job, he was always calculating some exciting projects on the side.  His current endeavor,  Scroller Bikes is something he cooked up with a close friend of his. Below he gave us an insightful look at how he found a need and took a risk.

Shortly after graduating from Stanford, I returned back to to L.A. from San Francisco. One of my close friends from my UCLA years, told me about electric bikes he had seen during his travels through China. After doing some research and checking on legalities, we realized that electric bikes would be ideal for the congested southern California’s beach communities. We also thought they would be perfect for the overcrowded LA campuses such as UCLA or Santa Monica College.

My friend Robin always had a passion for motorcycles and had been riding since he was a  kid, and I over the years had developed an interest in green technology, so both of us had a natural interest in the bikes.

As both of us were just starting our professional careers and had intentions to getting into the business world, it seemed to be an interesting and fun project and an opportunity to create something that could actually make a difference. Our goal was to create the best looking and most user-friendly electric bike that would satisfy the needs of many user groups. (students, LA tourists, surfers, short distance commuters)

We started our business out of our garage in Hermosa Beach. We started working on our website, pictures, promotional material, did mechanical work and repairs. Things were not easy initially and we had many quality and communication issues with our Asian manufacturers. However, we were able to make it through the difficulties, probably because we were passionate about a product we had created and believed in. This was different from work you would perform at a regular job just to satisfied the management’s need.

Despite all the problems and issues we had, it was encouraging to see the customer’s positive feedback after their purchase. Now, after having sold a couple of shipments of Scrollers we are getting ready for a trip to China to work on an upgrade to make the bike even better than before. We are about to take another risk and make a bigger investment into this project.

Both of us will be starting our MBA studies in Los Angeles this coming fall.  We are not sure exactly how we will be able to continue this start up parallel to the school load, but for now we are just approaching the next challenge and are excited to see what the future will bring.

A little about the Scroller bike itself:

The Scroller is fully electric and does not produce any emission. It can be recharged at a regular power outlet and lasts for about 20-25 miles per charge. The Scroller is really easy to use (not much harder than a regular bicycle). It does not require a license, registration or insurance to operate, since it is classified as a motorized bicycle.

Check out the website of Scroller Electric Bikes to find more information, videos and pictures of the bike.

Thanks Stephan for your inspiration!

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Get Inspired: Shatterbox

6 Jul
We were recently introduced to Megan and Amanda who just launched the new site Shatterbox. With the tag line Make Your Mark, the mission of the project is to show students and post-grads that happy careers can happen by illuminating inspiring stories of young professionals with fascinating careers. Through video they have found a beautiful way to share the stories of young people who are  living their dreams and sharing how them made them a reality.
Below is a link to one of the videos Ashley and I found most compelling, the young guys from FEED Granola discuss how they had a vision and brought it to life. After watching a few of these videos I feel very empowered and excited to spend more time working on my growing ideas and what I am truly passionate about.

What makes you happy? If you could do only one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be? Ask yourself these questions and starting brainstorming how you can create a career out of what makes you most satisfied in life.

Daily Inspiration – Happy Friday!

5 Mar

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” — Mary Kay Ash

The Power of a Technology Driven Generation

27 Jan

On January 12, 2010 a massive catastrophe hit the poverty-stricken country of Haiti.  Over the past two weeks there has been an enormous amount of people around the world rallying together to get behind the cause by donating money and time. Different from any other disaster of our time this one has benefited most from modern technology and specifically social media.

Moments after the earthquake people were tweeting about their missing loved ones, facebooking the masses and creating websites where individuals all over the world could post alerts for missing and found people. Due to the lack of cell service communicating online was crucial. Also, because of technology people instantly sent money faster than ever before.

Some of the most successful instruments for doing this were through text messages and  through itunes accounts where your money was automatically added to your existing bills. One particularly heartwarming story was from the UK where a little 7 year old boy was so moved by the images on the news that he pledged to bike around a local park and asked people to donate via an online fundraising page and has already raised $240,000 from people who got word of his efforts.

Thanks to real-time communication platforms online hundreds of people were found and thousands of people were able to receive up to the minute updates. Through this process we  witnessed the true power of social media via technology to not only allow people across the world to come together, but to actually save lives when sudden devastation strikes.

Through this heartbreaking tragedy a beautiful thing happened- the world came together instantaneously to give whatever they could and technology helped facilitate this process. This was a great lesson of the profound strength of both technology and social media being used for good. Since Generation Y is the most active and familiar with technology of this sort I think it is our responsibility to use this as an example and create new ways to use these tools for social good. Instead of waiting for another natural disaster to occur let us join forces and brainstorm new ways to cause positive change via technology and through the onslaught of available communication platforms online.

As for Haiti it is going to take a lot of time and money to rebuild their country so please continue to do what you can to help.

Action is the real measure of intelligence. – Napoleon Hill

Another Year is Upon Us…

31 Dec

As we say farewell to two thousand nine we approach a new year, a year of limitless possibilities and the chance to make this year the most successful one yet.

Pondering the last year and how quickly it went by, I have been mentally preparing for the new year for quite some time.  Everyone has that unspoken list of new year resolutions — but for me this year it is a little different, my  list is about what I want to accomplish before I turn 25 (in September) so I am trying to pack my list in a couple months before 2011.

When thinking about things I would like to accomplish in the new year I have found it is best to separate personal and professional goals in order to create a balance of both and ensure that I have attainable goals for each area of my life.

At the end of the year is a good time to sit with yourself and ponder the happenings of the last year. I find that with the business and routine of life I often don’t take time to sit back and have this important internal conversation enough. Ask yourself some valuable questions like; What did I accomplish this year? Am I where I want to be in my career? Am I happy with my current lifestyle? What have I done that has made a positive impact in my own life and for others around me?

As I get older each year I feel more responsibility and more pressure to really analyze my successes and failures. My priorities expectedly always change with each year and of course rounding my quarter life mark really makes me contemplate the past and prepare for the future.

A couple of my personal goals for the next year include:

  • Running a full marathon & completing a triathlon
  • Spending more time reading and learning
  • Take the GMAT

What are you goals for the new year? How do you hope that 2010 is different from 2009? What has helped you follow through with your resolutions?

Thank you so much for taking time and reading The Mad Grad we really hope to write more and more in the new year.

Have a happy and safe New Years Eve!

Breaking the Routine

27 Aug

We have all been there; you get into a position that requires a lot of time and energy. Especially these days it seems everyone I come across is putting in a lot of overtime every week. You are exhausted and come home stare at the TV or even at the computer for a few more hours until you attempt to pass out and toss and turn thinking about all the work that needs to be done as soon as you wake up.

For a while many can get by with this way of life, in fact it becomes mindless and your days blur into months. I for one have been guilty of this. Having only been out of college two years and in my second job I remember thinking to myself when I started my current job I am going to take on new things with this new job and strive for change. After being in my new role for six months and almost turning a year older I got to thinking what have I done in the past six months to break this redundancy that clouds my life.southern-adventure

Yes I joined a new gym and some new networking groups but other than that what do I have to show for every 24 hours in my day. Once we start a job and begin to see it as a career it is easy to forget about the endless possibilities that come with being young. This is a time when we are still figuring it all out and we can try new things and fail and get right back up. This is the time when we can explore new career paths or think about going back to school, volunteer, relocate to new cities and learn a new language.

Although work often time can seem like it is taking over your life I would ask you all to take a step back and ask yourself, how do I fill my 24 hours a day? Am I satisfied going to bed feeling like I am living my life to the fullest? I personally am publicly committing to do this and I hope that soon I will have something exciting and inspiring to share you with. In the mean time how do you break your routines? What are the things that drive you outside of work?

3 Jun

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Just some hump-day inspiration compliments of Wordboner have a fantastic day!

Change: a.To cause to be different b.To transfer from (one conveyance) to another c.To become different or undergo alteration

1 Jun

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If there is one thing in life that is certain it is that change is inevitable.

Change comes in many forms, today will change into tomorrow, your age will change each year, you will change you mind, you will change where you live, you will change who you love, the things that matter most in the world to you will change.

Everyone deals with change in their own way, some embrace it and seek it out, while others reject it and do absolutely everything they can to avoid dealing with it.  So what makes change so hard and why is it something that causes constant fear and stress? Change can mean taking a risk and often not knowing what exactly is going to happen next. Change comes in many shapes in sizes from something as significant as getting a new President of the United States to deciding to change your morning routine.

As a society we often overlook the fact that we have much more control over change than we sometimes realize. It is too easy to just blame things in life on change and act as though we had no say over them, when more often than not we do.

The most important characteristic of change lies in the beauty of it’s power. Over the past few years the world has witnessed the impact that Gen Y has made in politics, social issues and becoming a prominent and respected part of the business world. With this being said our generation has been given more opportunity than any before us, we have access to so much information instantaneously through the Internet and accessibility to millions of people through social media.

Slowly becoming an adult gives us the freedom to decide and figure out who we are and where we fit in this world. Although it is a confusing time it is so exciting because we can decide what we want to do with our free time what we dedicate ourselves to, and instead of just being a student or a employee we have the choice to become ambassadors of change. I know this many sound a bit intimidating but it doesn’t mean single-handed saving the world but it does mean becoming proactive in your own way.

It is easy to get caught up in the every day routine of life and forget about everything going on outside our personal world. Here and now is the time to ask ourselves what have we done for others? What positive change have we contributed to? Maybe making a change is as simple as getting a compost bin to help eliminate trash or taking an even better step and setting aside a couple hours a week to an non-profit that you believe in and helping them out.

Change is an overwhelming word but when we think of it in terms of the small every day changes we can make and encourage others to make it seems a lot less scary. I know everyone always makes the point that if everyone made small changes in would in fact make a HUGE difference but it is the truth and it is now about taking matters into your own hands.

The founders of CoolPeopleCare recently published a book called New Day Revolution discussing the importance of taking even one minute our our busy days to make a conscious effort to do something proactive. Highlighting the importance of making an impact where we are with what we’ve got. The past month Life Without Pants has been asking bloggers to share their thoughts on change so check out their site for all the thought provoking posts and different approaches others take dealing with change.

Do the world a favor and ask yourself today, what am I doing to instill positive change in the world?

And as my favorite all time quote states above, be the change you wish to see in the world!

My Twitterific Customer Service Experience

26 May

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Who would have thought that a successful tip for surviving life after college would be to use and understand a social media outlet like Twitter?  Well these days if you are not in the know about Twitter and how companies are using it for free to their advantage then your chances of getting a job will decrease greatly.

Oh no not that word again…TWITTER! It is literally the hottest word in the world and is slowly causing a whole new slew of words to arise.  There are new words associated around Twittering for example, Dweet, which is a Tweet you write while drinking alcohol. Due to the uproar of Twitter and the limitations of expressing yourself in a world of only 140 characters a whole new language has evolved and now there are even Twittonaries popping up to help people become better acquainted with the lingo.

Now on to my Twittermazing experience. One Sunday night a few weeks ago due to some frustration I tweeted from my blackberry about how much I disliked Comcast because our cable and Internet never work despite them setting it up and us always paying the bill on time. To my surprise the next morning when I checked Twitter I had an @ reply from someone named ComcastBill asking me what seemed to be the problem. I wrote back and said I simply didn’t know but was dissapointed with the fact that we paid so much and it never just worked correctly. He asked me for the # off of my cable box and then checked it through the system insuring me that it must be a problem with the actual cord because everything else was running smoothly.

He then told me he could send someone out the same afternoon and I told him that my roommate was home so that would work out fine.  A few minutes later I called my roommate to tell her that a Comcast worker would be stopping by and when she answered she told me not only had he already come but he fixed the problem and was already gone!

This amazed me, I didn’t even have to pick up my phone or go online to Comcast and I got my cable fixed within less than 24 hours of it not working! Truly a shining example of a company that has a ton of money and utilizes social media by employing someone to monitor Comcast tweets online all day and night.  I didn’t even have to ask and I got my problem solved for me!

Here are some other great examples of companies using Twitter to enhance there customer service:

HR Block http://twitter.com/hrblock

Whole Foods: http://twitter.com/wholefoods

Southwest: http://twitter.com/southwestair

If all companies were utilizing Twitter their satisfaction rates would most likely go up. The bottom line is that we live in a digital world where people like things to happen at the speed of light and if you can use a free service that is easy to use and easy for your customers to use and is totally sufficient then what are you waiting for?

Looking Back: TheMadGrad’s 1st Year

22 May

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Looking over the past year since we started The Mad Grad, I think that the blogosphere has changed drastically from blogging to facebooking to micro-blogging on Twitter. Ashley and I first started this blog because after graduation we felt that despite all the resources there was no one out there that we could relate to who had recently been in our position. We decided that taking our experiences (good and bad) and  the insight we gained from them and sharing them with others would be positive not only for us to reflect on our own lives, but hopefully to inspire and assist others who were going through the same situation.

We have learned so much over the past year from our experience with our blog. We found that people all over the world could relate and benefit from the advice we had to offer about life after graduation. We also found how much time and dedication it takes to maintain a blog and balance work and life.

From being a part of the ever growing world of blogging we have discovered so many other wonderful blogs and learned that we were not the only ones out there that felt the importance of life after graduation issues. One of the best parts for us is being able to connect and even meet with like-minded bloggers. We recently even had a meet-up with some amazing women who write similar blogs and it was great to connect and spend time with them hearing their thoughts and talk in blogger about our experiences blogging and twittering!

We both have been slacking lately with our posts but have made a pact in honor of The Mad Grad being around for a year to start blogging again and using feedback from our readers to enhance what we are writing about. We know that there are a million and one things to do on the Internet and we feel privileged to be able to share our world with you all –so thank you!

-Jenny & Ashley