9:20 – I finish showering and getting ready. I’m in a rush to leave because me and Raymond have agreed to meet up at 9:20 because we have to walk to TechTown and get there in time to set up for our 10am. The original plan was just to drink coffee at TechTown for breakfast, but Caroline stops me as I leave and asks me if I want two granola bars. I gratefully accept them and thank her profusely.
9:25-9:45 – Raymond and I make the familiar walk to TechTown along Cass Avenue. This walk usually takes 30 minutes because we love to talk/chat/gossip during these walks, but today we’re in more of a rush because we want to get to TechTown early to set up for our important marketing strategy presentation at 10 to TechTown’s . I cross a couple of streets when there’s a red light, and Raymond jokes that I have “no chill” because I’m a New Yorker, whereas he’s a “chill” Californian. I joke that my pace is a million times faster than his (I promise you, it’s true).
9:45 – We arrive at TechTown and set up shop in one of the boardrooms. As Raymond sets up the presentation, I get coffee for the both of us (neither of us can survive mornings without TechTown’s strong coffee, so this has become a daily routine).
10 – Betsy, our main project coordinator and Director of the DTX Launch Detroit program, arrives. Regretfully, we find out that one of 3 people that we’re supposed to be presenting to is sick, so we have to reschedule for 2:30. But Betsy is free, so we go over the presentation with her. We present our survey results about DTX Launch Detroit, the 4 high level strategies that we’ve come up with to improve marketing, and the many tactics associated with each. Betsy, always positive and supportive, is happy to hear our ideas. Specifically, she’s excited that we’re going to be reaching out to colleges and their entrepreneurship/engineering/minority groups to establish connections with them and gain potential applicants, and she promises to send us a list of contacts.
11 – Raymond and I make a bunch of phone calls – first reaching out to past DT X Launch Detroit participants to get them to fill out a survey we’ve sent to gather data on participants’ backgrounds and the success of their venture. Secondly, we’re performing customer discovery calls for CityInsight, a company that’s developed an app called CityWater that allows residents to track their water usage. We’ve done so much research already, but today, we’re trying to answer some broader questions that require us to integrate many different pieces of research together. We realize we don’t know as much as we thought we did, so we call and email many people in both private and public water utilities. Most don’t respond (as expected – it is 11am on a Monday, after all), so we leave voicemails.
11:45 – I take a quick break and go chat with Nick, the director of funding for TechTown. He’s just come back from a trip to Yellowstone and he briefs me on what’s expected for our new project – writing a Case for Support for DTX Launch Detroit. We’d already gotten a head start the week before by interviewing 2 successful startups from the program and writing blurbs for the document on them.
12:30 – Lunch time! Usually we’ll go to the Henry Ford Hospital to eat an inexpensive yet delicious lunch, but today I’ve brought leftover pasta from last night’s homemade dinner (I’m really making more of an effort to save money in these last 3 weeks of the program, so I’ve committed to bringing a bagged lunch everyday this week). So I sit in my corner and eat my lunch and read the news.
1:15 – Raymond’s back from lunch and I’ve finished eating my lunch, reading some news and sending out a couple of emails. We get back to our phone calls.
2:15-2:45 – Me and Raymond get set up for our meeting, but we find out the people we’re meeting with have a meeting going overtime. So we relax and go on Facebook and Linkedin (we add everyone we’ve met from TechTown).
2:55-3:30 – Everyone expected slowly trickles in and so do 2 other very important TechTown employees. Raymond and I give our presentation for the second time today. This time, we have a lively discussion throughout the presentation – we are so excited that everyone is engaged, and the conversation flows naturally so that the meeting goes way overtime (we had practiced so that we could give the presentation in 10-12 minutes). By the end of it, we’re excited to begin working on some of the tactics we’ve come up with and we’re looking forward to exploring new ones that were brought up in the meeting.
3:30-4:30 – Work work work work work – we do some more calls, I update the Timeline, I send an email to everyone at the presentation recapping what we’ve gone over, and so on.
4:30 – We sit in on CityInsight’s practice pitch for Thursday’s actual pitch. This is the second time the CEO, Abess, has pitched in front of us – the first time was on Saturday, when we came to TechTown to go over the pitch and some of our new research and calculations, and then spent the evening in downtown Detroit traversing the Riverfront, going on the People Mover, and eating flaming cheese and gyros in Greektown. This time around, Abess is way more confident and gives way more details in the presentation. We give some tips and present a couple more of our findings from today’s market research.
5 – Raymond and I are about to leave for the gym when we find out that the CEO of RecoveryPark Farms (a high-tech Detroit farm that employs recovering citizens) is going to be presenting in the same room shortly. Since we’re going there on Friday to visit the farm and do some volunteer farming, we decide to sit in. The CEO, Gary, is extremely put together. He’s clearly had a lot of entrepreneurial experience, and he tells us that this is his 8th successful venture. Leaving the meeting, Raymond and I enthusiastically discuss how downright awesome Gary is. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful network of entrepreneurs and social innovators here in Detroit.
5:45 – We meet fellow Dukie Ben at the gym and work out. Honestly, it’s my first time working out in a couple of days, so I feel out of breath more easily on the treadmill and have less tolerance for wariness/pain. But though I’m tired after leaving the gym, I feel refreshed, and know that a long shower will wake me up.
7 – I cook dinner! A sandwich with a sunny side-up egg, ham, and cheese. OJ to top it off, and bananas and peanut butter for dessert.
8 – I get a phone call from my sister Melinda – it’s been an exact 24 hours since we’ve talked, so it’s nice to talk again. Mel tells me about her time at summer camp and asks if it’s 2 or 3 weeks that I’ll be back. I say 3 and she complains and whines, and I laugh and tell her that there’s nothing I can do about it, but that I’m excited to come home soon and play with her like old times (she’s 8, so riding our bikes and going to the playground are our favorite activities to do together).
9 – I’m on my computer and phone catching up with a bunch of my friends, responding to my emails, watching random Youtube videos with Ben, and of course, writing my blog post! On other nights, for example, I would be playing Settlers of Catan with Joe, Henry, and Keiley or watching a movie with Raymond and Caroline. I’m still sort of reeling from Ex Machina. Okay, not sort of – completely.
1am – I’m done with the blog post and it's bedtime! And so ends a day in the life of a DukeEngage in Detroit student.