In the last lecture of the entrepreneurship short course, three MCL interns presented their final projects – case studies on successful companies. Their successful and impressive presentations showcased remarkable amount of time and effort they had devoted to the projects. By finishing these projects, the interns acquired fundamental business knowledge and rich experience on technology and business innovations in the MCL.
Kevin Wang presented Zappos, a thriving online shoe and clothing store. Zappos was founded in 1999 by Nick Swinmurn and obtained their first investment funds of $500,000 from Tony Hsieh of Ventures Frog, who joined Zappos one year later, serving as the Co-CEO. According to Kevin, what distinguishes Zappos from other companies is its core value, “Deliver Happiness”. For its employees, Zappos creates a happy and family-like work environment. For its customers, Zappos wants to “wow” the customer so that he or she will come back. Knowing how to retain its customers is what keeps Zappos profitable. Each of its employees needs to go through a four-month training to improve their capability in serving customers and implementing company culture. It’s no wonder that Zappos has an estimated 75% customer retention rate. In 2014, Zappos faced a major change in the way it was structured in 2014. It began its transition from a traditional corporate structure to a holacracy, a new type of corporate structure designed to improve communication flow.
Matthew Trans presented Riot Games, an unquestionable world top-tier game development company despite of the fact that it only has one game: League of Legends. Even though League of Legends is a free game, Riot still managed to attain revenue of $624 million last year just from microtransactions. Riot’s success roots deeply in its philosophy of creating the most-player-focused game in history. At Riot, players come first, and revenue second. Not only does Riot’s priority on players expand its player base, but its investment in eSports brings an enormous amount of viewership and exposure of the game. With several world championships being held in grand venues such as the Staple and Galen Center, Riot games has managed to achieve a peak of 11.2 million concurrent viewers in just one day. However, these championships cost more than what Riot gets from it. So why does Riot continue it? It’s because player base skyrockets after each world championship, which eventually leads to more micro-transactions. But once again, Riot focuses on the players and attracts more people to play the game rather than earn more money. Brandon Beck, CEO and Co-Founder, stated in one of his talks in the 2015 DICE Summit that the gaming industry needs to prioritize its players more than its money. That is why League of Legends is the most popular PC game in the world.
Samuel Cheng presented Qualcomm. Qualcomm is a leading innovator in mobile technology and communications. It started with the CDMA technology. Qualcomm was able to develop CDMA to be big enough to compete with the GSM standard at the time. Now many phones throughout the world contain their modems and chipsets because they are fast and reliable. Especially with the wave of smartphones that came in a few years ago, Qualcomm has been able to develop and profit off of their quality and blaze fast Snapdragon CPUs. But ever since the move to 4G network, Qualcomm has not been able to get their CDMA technology into the 4G standard. This results in a loss for them. Overall, Qualcomm is a well-known company because of their mobile technology and as long as they can keep on providing fast and reliable chipsets for future phones, they will remain successful.
Audience were all interested in their presentation topics and asked a lot of questions. Prof. Kuo also generalized their presentations and provided precious advice and valuable personal thoughts.
Congratulations to the interns’ achievement and well-done work for this summer!