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Education

Grab A Bunk In The Dot-Com Dorm 303

airrage writes "According to this Washington Post article, the University of Maryland has created "dot com" like dorms complete will all the necessary executive perks: wood desks, leather chairs, wireless, whiteboards; all to encourage entrepreneurship. Apparently, it's working too. Twenty of the students have created their own start-up firms, and six are already generating revenue."
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Grab A Bunk In The Dot-Com Dorm

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  • by SimplexO ( 537908 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:26PM (#4566070) Homepage
    ... have already started layoffs and are now filing for chapter 11.
  • by TibbonZero ( 571809 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (nobbiT)> on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:27PM (#4566077) Homepage Journal
    ... had the same type of ideas.
    Hey, if I make money, I keep paying the rent- No money, no rent.

  • Eh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:27PM (#4566078)
    I am waiting for Co-Ed Porn Dorms. There would be lighting rigs, a queen sized bed, and hot bi-sexual co-eds who will do anything for tuition money.
  • by FaasNat ( 522755 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:27PM (#4566086)
    So how many of them are running porn sites?
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:27PM (#4566088) Homepage
    Only 6 out of 20 are generating revenue? Sounds like a pretty realistic dot-com environment to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:28PM (#4566091)
    How many are profitable? I could generate revenue selling old paper cups to morons over the internet, but I bet I wouldn't make any money at it.

    But this gives the \. readership something to strive for once they get out of high school, so I suppose it's topical.

    -MondoMor

  • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:28PM (#4566100)
    ...if I recall correctly there was language in all the paperwork I signed when I went to school that said something to the effect of 'everything you do while you're attending college belongs to the college'.

    Does anyone know of any possible consequenses to this type of arrangement, or if that sort of agreement is even enforcable?
    • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:32PM (#4566152) Homepage
      if I recall correctly there was language in all the paperwork I signed when I went to school that said something to the effect of 'everything you do while you're attending college belongs to the college'.

      Yeah, that sounds about right. [berkeley.edu]

      Don't like it? Don't go to a major university.
    • As far as I know, this is enforcable. I know several people who have had to sign agreements similar to this when starting jobs. Any patents, books, or marketable products even remotely related to what the company makes became the property of the computer, or in one case, the company got 40% of any profit from such products. I'm assuming that since these types of agreements are legal in the business world, they apply to the college world as well.

      In some ways, I guess it is good because people won't start selling a ripoff of the company's product, or use company tools to make an invention and then sell it for personal profit. However, I can see it being bad because it also restricts what you can do with the knowledge you gain from a job. If you are able to invent something great, using only the knowledge you have gotten from a job, it seems unfair that you don't actually have any rights to that idea.

    • What I want to know is...

      Do they have to pay for their internet access? My University (www.udel.edu) does not allow students to use the free ineternet for non-academic uses---running a business or having any sort of network server is specifically mentioned as a violation of the terms of the contract. (Is it just me, or is the server part kind of... strange?)
    • Generally it is all classwork that belongs to the University, not _all_ IP. Anything that you did with their labs, their equipment, etc.

      Not to mention most dorms aren't really associated with the school for other legal reasons. When I went to school, the dorms weren't even technically on state property, and run by some management company. This allowed for strict rules in the dorms that the university could pretend to not be able to do anything about, among other things. I wonder where this leaves these entrepreneuers.

      You'd have to read the fine print on several different contracts, and not only the ones you signed, but the dorm with the university, etc.
    • Universities don't own the ideas that students come up with on their own, outside of class, only things that you need to turn into the school. For example, a project you wrote for class could be sold by the school, but something you wrote in your dorm room in your spare time would be yours.
    • I've heard people say this before, but I never signed anything that I know of when I came to my university. Maybe its different as a grad student, but all I had to sign was an application and that only said that I was swearing to the truthfulness of my answers.
  • "Twenty of the students have created their own start-up firms, and six are already generating revenue."

    If six are generating revenue, then fourteen are a money-pit, no?
    • Well, they're still paying tuition, aren't they?
    • by Erasmus Darwin ( 183180 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:45PM (#4566308)
      "If six are generating revenue, then fourteen are a money-pit, no?"

      Not necessarily. All you can say is that they aren't generating revenue. We know nothing of their expenses and we know nothing about what phase the businesses are in.

      Scenario 1: Bob and Ted come up with a killer business idea. They incorporate as a business, come up with a business plan, and begin looking for investors to provide venture capital. So far, all expenses have been trivial out of pocket stuff (incorporation fees plus some phone calls and maybe minor travel). Is the business generating revenue? No. Is it fair to call it a money pit just because it's taken in some money? No.

      Scenario 2: Bob and Ted have found the venture capital. They're currently in the process of spending it in order to develop the product that their business will sell. Since the product isn't ready yet, they obviously can't sell it. Is the business generating revenue? No. Is it fair to call it a money pit? Not if the product can be finished with the money they've got and will sell well.

      So just because a business doesn't instantly jump from existing to generating revenue is no reason to label it a money pit. Sure there were dot coms that spent lots of cash and wound up with nothing to show for it. There were also companies that spent lots of cash and then wound up with even more cash to show for it.

      • Ok, Firstly I think you meant to say "Bill and Ted", but anyways...

        "Scenario 2: Bob and Ted have found the venture capital. They're currently in the process of spending it in order to develop the product that their business will sell. Since the product isn't ready yet, they obviously can't sell it. Is the business generating revenue? No. Is it fair to call it a money pit? Not if the product can be finished with the money they've got and will sell well."

        Sorry, but I disagree here. Your first point, alright. But this to me is the very definition of money-pit - Throwing tons of money at an idea that "will" pay off in the future. By your own scenario, the definition of money-pit can only be applied retroactively. If you throw a ton of money at something for two years, it's in limbo - if it comes up bad then it must have been a money-pit.

        I'd say that a business is a money-pit untill it starts generating revenue. At that point it loses its pit status, but untill it demonstrates that you're better of investing your money than burning it...

        ... I suddenly have a strange compulsion to rent a Tom Hanks movie...
        • "Ok, Firstly I think you meant to say "Bill and Ted", but anyways..."

          If it were Bill and Ted, then the business would almost certainly become a money pit.

          "But this to me is the very definition of money-pit - Throwing tons of money at an idea that "will" pay off in the future."

          Except that I never said tons of money. Also, there's a difference between spending money on an idea and just throwing it at it. If I purchase a store front, renovate it to add tables and a kitchen, prepare a menu, and hire a chef and wait-staff that will begin working next week, have I created a money pit? Probably not. Yet, I've still got a week before more restaurant will take off.

          There's an inherent timelag between the initial outlay of money in a business and when money starts coming back in. It varies based on the business -- in a software context, it often takes a significant amount of time before you've got something you can sell.

          "By your own scenario, the definition of money-pit can only be applied retroactively."

          Not quite. It can only be confirmed absolutely retroactively, but that's just because hindsight is 20/20. Before that point, it's something of a judgement call. If a business is spending what it expected to spend, and it's on-track for the goals that it has set, then it seems odd to label it a money pit.

          For example, let's say Bob and Ted discover that there's a good market for a certain software product, via carefully conducted market studies. Now let's say they find that, as far as they can tell, no one is developing such a product. They plan out the software development and decide that it'll take 6 months of work from a 3 man programming team to get this done. Since Bob and Ted are both business students who don't know how to program, they use their venture capital to hire 3 programmers. At the 3 month mark, the project is on schedule and shaping up great. At the 5 month mark, it's slightly ahead of schedule. Bob and Ted have spent 15 months worth of programmer pay, and they've gotten exactly what they were expecting from the spent money. Is this a money pit? I honestly believe it isn't, as there's nothing to imply that they're wasting the money.

          Now consider a similar case. Only at the 4 month mark, they discover that they're behind schedule and hire a 4th programmer. At the 5 month mark, they're further behind schedule, and they have reason to believe that they greatly overestimated the demand for their software. In this case, they are most likely wasting money, and it's already turning into a money pit.

          The key thing is that a money pit is a pit. The business has started tossing cash into it, and isn't getting results. In the non-pit case, even though there's no revenue, there are measurable results to indicate that the money has been properly spent and that the business is on the right track for profitability.

          "I'd say that a business is a money-pit untill it starts generating revenue. At that point it loses its pit status, but untill it demonstrates that you're better of investing your money than burning it..."

          That method prevents you from seeing the big picture. If an investment is at the point where it has an 80% chance of paying off tenfold what you put into it over the next 3 years, but it's not paying off yet, then you're certainly better off than if you had burned the money. All investment is a gamble, but some of it is a gamble where the odds are stacked in your favor. If that's the case, then it's considered a good investment up until/unless it actually fails. In the long run (or over a variety of investments), the investor wins.

      • Scenario 1: Bob and Ted

        Thats Bill and Ted, and thier Excelent Venture, Dude!

        Scenario 2: Bob and Ted

        This venture is run by Bob and Alice, because it involved crypto.

  • by Jedi Paramedic ( 587254 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:30PM (#4566117)
    "The thing about the Hinman program is that it's faculty-sponsored, it's not student-driven. It's really quite remarkable to say, 'We're not only going to teach classes, but we're going to get these kids to live together,' and it's often over those late-night pizzas where the best ideas are born."
    I dunno... It's a great idea to foster entrepreneurship and group work, but can it really work when the school seems to be throwing a bunch of self-selected eligible potential e-tycoons in a really nice dorm?

    On the other hand, maybe they're just playing the odds that if they throw 100 people together and provide the infrastructure and cell phones, one of them is bound to come up with enough of a marketable idea to make a bajillion dollars.
  • they got all the furniture off ebay for pennies on the dollar.
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:31PM (#4566136) Homepage Journal
    Two of these students have been seen driving BMWs with stickers saying: "I burned 20 M$ in VC financing and all I got was this lousy gas-guzzler"...

    Ten other students declared personal bankruptcy after failing the IPOs of their start-up, citing the lousy performance of the financial market...

    And two former CS professors have seen panhandling outside the University with carboard signs saying: "will teach Java programming for food".

    So what else is new? =)

    (as if giving someone a leather chair was going to transform him/her overnight into a PHB with a clue... Sheesh...)

    This story should be in the it's funny: laugh section.
  • Ownership Dispute (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ticklemeozmo ( 595926 ) <justin.j.novack@ ... rg minus painter> on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:32PM (#4566151) Homepage Journal
    What about the ownership of the individual business models or products?

    At my university, all products and ideas developed on university owned equipment is property of the university. Is that to say that since the whiteboards and other "idea-inducing" workspaces and utilities are functionally provided by the university, and on university property, should they belong to the university?

    Should they and will they are obviously two different questions...
  • VCs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rtphokie ( 518490 )
    "Venture capitalists, lawyers and serial entrepreneurs drop by weekly to impart wisdom and to mentor" If any of these "businesses" were worth a damn, the VCs would be imparting more than wisdom. But I do like the term "serial entrepreneurs", it describes these people very well.
    • Re:VCs (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lordgert ( 561795 )
      Some say "terminal entrpreneurs" describes them better. Gotta admit though, most of these people aren't in it for the big bucks; they really just want to make enough to fund their next venture. It's these companies that get a lot more interest (note: i didn't say money) while the economy is in the dumps as it is now and it is small businesses that really create jobs. I say more power to them.
    • I get a big laugh out of that phrase every time I see it; I've seen a few of that type in action. It's a great backhanded compliment; makes you think "Stop this man before he innovates again!"
  • by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:33PM (#4566175)
    Wood desks? Leather chairs? What the fuck for? I went to an Ivy League business school, and I currently run my own business, and I've *never* heard that in order to run a company, you have to have the best equipment. If anything, it's teaching these kids to fail. Anyone who spends this much just to *start* a business on unnecessary shit doesn't know how to cut corners on luxuries to make a new business succeed. It's impossible.

    If they really want to teach these kids to run companies, they should set up an office that looks like their parent's basement, complete with folding chairs, ramen noodles for food, and a barely functioning PC. That's how real businesspeople do it. These are just some spoiled little shits who would never have the balls to start a business that isn't financed by venture capitalists (of yeah, and mommy and daddy).

    This post was written in a relatively successful 4 week old store while sitting on a chair from the 1970's found in a broom closet, using an old P233, which also functions as the POS system, music player for the store, bookkeeping system, and graphic design station, in a store that was painted, lighted, and outfitted solely by the owner.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I went to an Ivy League business school, and I currently run my own business

      OK, so you went to an ivy league business school, own a free porn site, AND a pet store [slashdot.org]?

      And now your pet store knowledge taught you all of this?

      -1 Troll.
    • by mosch ( 204 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:42PM (#4566267) Homepage
      I hate to be the one to tell you this but Penn State isn't Ivy League.
    • Hey,

      Wood desks? Leather chairs? What the fuck for?

      What would you make tables out of?

      Michael
      • What would you make tables out of?

        I meant fancy wood desks like they'er describing in the article. But really, particle board and metal tables from Wal-Mart hold shit just as well as "a grand cherry-wood conference table".
        • Wal-Mart hold shit just as well as "a grand cherry-wood conference table".


          Every few months Office Depot sells the cherry-wood conference tables at a really good price. You can get 6' tables for around $30. I've yet to see anywhere that beats that price.

          Those are work tables. When you are starting up, you move and rearrange a lot. Getting heavy furniture that isn't portable fucks you. End of story.
    • they should set up an office that looks like their parent's basement, complete with folding chairs, ramen noodles for food, and a barely functioning PC.

      You forgot about the photoshopped porn of Sarah Michelle Gellar doing 69 with Seven of Nine and T'pal.
    • > their parent's basement, complete with folding chairs, ramen noodles for food, and a barely functioning PC

      and

      > This post was written in a relatively successful 4 week old store while sitting on a chair from the 1970's found in a broom closet, using an old P233, which also functions as the POS system, music player for the store, bookkeeping system, and graphic design station, in a store that was painted, lighted, and outfitted solely by the owner.

      Let me guess. You're a sadomasochist running a BSDM store.
      • Let me guess. You're a sadomasochist running a BSDM store.

        I'm not a sadomasochist, but the zoning around here wouldn't allow a sex store. Already looked into it :)
    • Just to clarify, POS refers to "Point-of-Sale" (as in cash register). Though I think NineNine also has a double-entendre thing going on too, hehe.
    • Wood desks? Leather chairs? What the fuck for? I went to an Ivy League business school, and I currently run my own business, and I've *never* heard that in order to run a company, you have to have the best equipment. If anything, it's teaching these kids to fail. Anyone who spends this much just to *start* a business on unnecessary shit doesn't know how to cut corners on luxuries to make a new business succeed. It's impossible.

      I hear this shit all the time in my start (I'm starting right now) and I have to agree, it's annoying. Our most expensive piece of furniture is a $50 chair I bought with my own cash at a clearance sale. Our newest computer is a cel 1ghz laptop, followed by an 800Mhz PIII. It gets the job done.

      This fluff and luxory setups are just going enforce bad habits through the years. Furniture is expensive. We have a partnership thing (strange arrangement) with a furniture company and it still is an expensive resource that you don't need.

    • If they really want to teach these kids to run companies, they should set up an office that looks like their parent's basement, complete with folding chairs, ramen noodles for food, and a barely functioning PC. That's how real businesspeople do it.

      Actually, that's not how many businesspeople do it. If you want to hold interviews, interface with a customer, and do anything besides be a little code monkey, the nice surroundings and furniture will help. Would you trust the guy in raggedy clothes with a three-legged desk or the one in a sharp suit and an oak table? The former might be a better coder, but only the latter could sell code to an end customer.

      Sure, many businesses do get started with little to work from, starting with only the capital in the founder's pockets. But a business is a hell of a lot more likely to be successful when the owner has a proper place to file things, have meetings, and talk to customers.
    • For the most part, I'd have to agree with you. At $STARTUP[1] where I worked, initially we sat on the floors to have meetings because there wasn't any furniture other than our computer desks and the server racks.

      Granted, $STARTUP[1] isn't around anymore, but I doubt that having a perfectly coordinated set of teak furniture would have made them more successful.
  • by mseeger ( 40923 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:36PM (#4566206)
    complete will all the necessary executive perks: wood desks, leather chairs, wireless, whiteboards

    I miss:

    • A lawyer: if the SEC finds out that the revenue comes from a swapping deal with the guy next desk.
    • An creative accountant: to show you how to make swap deals.
    • A VC to fall for your schemes.
    • A Prosche dealer who gives you a car for company shares.

    Don't you miss that ones too?

    Yours, Martin

  • by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:37PM (#4566230) Homepage

    It's a neat idea. Traditionally, college students who create viable businesses in their dorms have done so in spite of their surroundings. This project sounds like a way to give students an environment and a set of expectations that's conducive to starting up a business.

    For that matter, most people outside of college can and should upgrade their surroundings in ways that would boost productivity. One post-college insight I've gotten is the huge difference in the working environments that successful people choose to set up for themselves. Good chairs and whiteboards should be seen as a necessity, not a luxury.

    One potential pitfall of this venture, not mentioned in the article, is how U of M is going to avoid potential liabilities and lawsuits arising from student startups that go sour. The average failed startup has nothing left to sue, whereas a state university has deep pockets for disgruntled investors.

    • For that matter, most people outside of college can and should upgrade their surroundings in ways that would boost productivity. One post-college insight I've gotten is the huge difference in the working environments that successful people choose to set up for themselves. Good chairs and whiteboards should be seen as a necessity, not a luxury.

      From the real entrepreneurs that I know (meaning people who beg, borrow and steal what they can to get started, and make something, as opposed to getting a nice fat grant, and having 10 mentors tell them what to do), I've *never* heard of anyone starting out like this. Real entrepreneurs (meaning those with the guts to put something on the line and make it succeed) scrape by on the fancy shit, often forever, in order to plow more into the business. I can tell ya' that if I spend $200 on a chair, that's a shitload of inventory that I can't buy. "Productivity" is something measured in terms of ergonomics, keystrokes per second, number of reports written, lighting quality, etc. is something to be left for middle managers in large companies. Real entrepreneurs make it work with or without a fancy chair and whiteboard.
      • ya think? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @03:17PM (#4566623) Homepage

        I'm not a "real entrepreneur" at least by your definition, but it's worth mentioning that the cost of having comfortable and reliable office equipment is downright cheap. I'm not arguing for $900 leather chairs (especially since I'm vegan; ) but these days, the cost of equiping an office appropriately amounts to maybe a thousand bucks. I've got a great computer worth no more than $750, a super comfortable chair from Staples for $90, plus some other odds and ends. The bottom line is it helps my productivity and I don't feel like hell at the end of the day. Yeah, I suppose I could do my work on a folding chair and a 486 I scrounged from the Salvation Army, but why? My time and comfort is worth something, particularly when it can now be bought so cheaply.

        If U of Md wants to spend a bit of money so these students have a great working environment, that's terrific. It's a super-cheap investment, which amounts to a tiny gamble. Now, let's see if it pays off.

  • by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:38PM (#4566239)
    ...not to mention that kind of money, I would've startrf a real business. Not another bullshit dot-com that's built around *synergy*. I probably would've gotten a few used ovens to put in there, run down to the grocery store to get the basics started, and print out a shitload of flyers to put around campus announcing my new pizza business. THAT'S a *real* business. These kids are just playing make believe. I doubt that any of 'em have ever worked a day in their priviledged little lives.
    • I wonder if folks had the same opinion of Amazon when it first started. I'll admit, I never thought it would pull itself out of the red; but it has, and it's pretty much shown that internet businesses can be "*real*" businesses, too.

    • This is exactly what my older brother did when he was here. In fact, he's still here because of his oak-wood desk business with deep synergy underpinnings: Pizza and beer, to your door, in 30 minutes or less, oh and they take plastic. In fact, by the numbers, even considering that they basically shut down three months out of the year, they still gross more per capita than most other chains in this end of the state.

      Or then there was the other kid in his class who had a great racket going for a while - he printed up a bunch of parking tickets that looked identical to those of the university. The only difference is that the funds were to be remitted to a different address. He'd have people run around early in the morning before the real parking people went to work and cite all the illegally parked cars (primarily students in faculty lots). The real lady would come around and assume that the other lady already tagged that lot. You can imagine the rest. He got about $10,000 in his first month, oddly enough he was only expelled :)

  • by McFly69 ( 603543 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:42PM (#4566264) Homepage
    I wonder if the students can start any kind of business. What if their company policies clash with the school's policies? This would include nuddie sites, adult toy sales and companies the dedicated themselves to spaming college students. Can the school draw the line somewhere?
  • Of course it would be an even number 'generating revenue'.

    Probably they teach students about inflating revenue by 'round tripping' [google.com] in their freshman year these days!
  • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:43PM (#4566283)
    Am I a shareholder if they get financial aid from the US gov or MD?

    How about they just fork over a nice chair? I could use something like that.
  • by schlach ( 228441 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:43PM (#4566286) Journal
    To be considered for the Hinman program, students must have a 3.0 grade-point average ...

    Umm, it's been my experience that the folks with the real drive have shitty GPA's, because they want to spend all their time and energy on their other projects. Perhaps they should say, "To be considered for the Hinman program, students may not have more than a 3.0 grade-point average." =)
    • Score!

      I have exactly a 3.0! I can do everything!

      Take that "4.0" mom & "honor student" dad ;-)
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      Umm, it's been my experience that the folks with the real drive have shitty GPA's, because they want to spend all their time and energy on their other projects.

      Why was this moderated "Funny"? It's absolutely true. I graduated with only a 2.85, because I was busy around the clock building two different home businesses and running three different student clubs. After I graduated, every company with which I interviewed was blown away by those accomplishments and couldn't care less about my transcript.

      • Re:Requisite GPA? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 3am ( 314579 )
        Whatever, it shows you can't prioritize well. Your job as a college student is to learn everything in the classes you enroll in. If you are going to run 2 businesses and 3 clubs, you should consider not being in college, perhaps, and save a lot of money.

        (and I had a poor GPA too, but don't make excuses about it)
  • by cyberise ( 621539 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:44PM (#4566291)
    ....better be making a nice amount of cash just to break even with the building they are housed in costing over 14 million.
  • Slacker (Score:2, Funny)

    by Sanga ( 125777 )
    This guy looks like he is the slacker of this group:

    story here [kuro5hin.org] :-)
  • by sampson7 ( 536545 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:46PM (#4566312)
    The one thing the article failed to address was the nature of the businesses. The Maryland side of DC tends to specialize in Genomics and biotechnology, while the Virginia suburbs do the more traditional e-commerce things (odd how geographic differences spring up in virtual/tech businesses, but that's a different post). Given the massive start up costs of most biotech ventures, the fact that 6 are generating revenue may not be at all bad. But to me, the most interesting thing about this (as a Maryland grad), is the idea that taking smart students, putting them in swank digs, is somehow going to generate a better mouse trap. Whether the end product is a genome sequencer, a great work of literature, or the next great super-virus, colleges and universities seem to love chucking money at rather small groups of students in the hope of producing something special. Does it work? I don't know that it doesn't, but I can think of other projects that I think might have a better chance of success. Lastly, I think the article's description of the dorm rooms was a bit misleading. It made them sound like the students are given all the creature comforts as well as the necessary technical and business tools. But it actually doesn't sound all that different from any of the newer dorm rooms at U of M College Park -- they are all actually pretty nice -- with a few extra mechanical and technical gadgets. Just a few thoughts.
  • by UTPinky ( 472296 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:46PM (#4566318) Homepage
    When I rad "Dot-Com Dorm" first thing that popped into my mind was a dorm where they placed all the students destined to flunk out... my bad
  • yeah, right (Score:3, Funny)

    by fizban ( 58094 ) <fizban@umich.edu> on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:48PM (#4566332) Homepage
    Monkeys have been known to put together a nice piece of work when given a typewriter. Doesn't change the fact that they're still monkeys.
  • Hey, Im lucky I even get a door to my damn room. Ugh. Such perks are a CrAzY idea for Wichita State!
  • by Sigma Kiwi ( 258999 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @02:55PM (#4566425)
    As a University of Maryland Student who lives in these dorms, allow me to point out reality (caveat: I live in building 1. Hinman CEOs is housed in building 2). Yes, the apartments are fully furnished -- but you pay through the nose. The average apartment pays over $2200/month in rent for relatively small living space. Technically, you could call the desks "wood" -- but they are cheap and uncomfortable. If a student has a leather chair, it is because the student provided his own. The provided chairs are little more than burlap over hard metal. I've heard rumors that they will install wireless, but I can't confirm that it is active yet (the coverage map [umd.edu] for campus' wireless doesn't have South Campus Commons listed. I know others who have run their own APs in commons, though.

    Other privileges of living in South Campus Commons include monthy inspections by the RAs (yes, you do pay money to a private company to live under Resident Life rules -- even though we are technically "off campus" housing). It's not uncommon for the hot water to go out for days at a time, frequently with no notice.

    And the kicker? The lease that I signed forbade running a business from my room. In other words, unless they modified the lease for these Hinman CEOs, they're all in violation.

    We *definitely* do not live in spaces that would ever be confused with executive furnishings.

    • You think that's bad?

      I was in Old Leonardtown in the summer of '00. Jackhammer right outside my window at 8am, AC off for two weeks, smelly workers (probably illegal immigrants) coming and going while they redid our kitchen (and helping themselves to anything we didn't have bolted down or locked away). The frequent power outages were a joy as well. I suppose the only nice thing was having a fat pipe to the net with virtually nobody else using it. Was a lovely time for friends on IRC.

  • by dkarney ( 243740 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @03:00PM (#4566464)
    I have a wooden desk AND a leather chair. Where's my startup? I want to get rich quick too!

    Maybe I need a Dell with a LCD monitor...hmmm..
  • "Bunk"? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )
    I wonder if that title was intentional humor or a fruedian slip, as in:

    "Sleeping room? No problem. There is plenty of bunk, I mean bunks in the dot-com department."
  • How in the world are old-money interests going to retain control over all of the new-economy ventures if new ventures have the ability to start up without old-money funds? This is a blow to our old-money controlled capitalist-worshipping way of life and must be stopped as soon as possible! Someone call Dubya and have him send in the BATF after these commie hippies!

  • I am a Computer Science student at the University of Waterloo. I am just getting involved in the beginnings of a company (technology related if you must know, but not a dot com). People involved are from London, Waterloo, Toronto, and elsewhere. As far as places to meet, my residence is out of the question because it is too small, and does not offer the conveniences that these students are offered. If I had access to a board-room style table with whiteboards and conferencing equipment, and all for free, then I would have a much better setup to host meetings.

    I see everyone here bashing this article, but it is actually quite an interesting program. Don't forget that aside from the material perks, you are also required to live in this dorm for 1/2 of your school career, so you will be around the same group of LIKE-MINDED ENTREPRENEURIAL people. This is a huge benefit, as half of the job of 'networking' is already done for you.

  • It does work (Score:3, Informative)

    by XCondE ( 615309 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @03:17PM (#4566622) Homepage

    Here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the universisty I went to set up a similar program, named Instituto Genesis (Genesis Institute). You can check their web site [puc-rio.br] in portuguese for more info.

    The success rate is high, with graduate companies making good profit. A coincidence (or not) I work at one of those companies, and we are doing very well. The initial support given by the program was a very nice push.

  • Sure, but what if you try to use a hotplate?

  • by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @03:50PM (#4566984) Journal
    Not a product in sight. If any of these people where to actually be bright enough to deal in actual "see, order, touch, own" products -- then would not the money better be spent on shipping, distribution, collections, customer service. I think that was the whole problem with the .com bust -- all sorts of tools (leather chairs, compuers, ping pong tables) and no tangible product. In the end the consumer spends money on the same things they have always spent money on. Technology can only offer different avenues for shopping for and ordering product. All the technology and VC in the world is not going to replace air with product.
  • by LeiGong ( 621856 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2002 @03:56PM (#4567046) Homepage
    First off...WOAH...I can't believe that just got /.'ed. And shocked that I got quoted 3x in there too.

    I think I can answer some of the questions you guys have about the program, I was interviewed by the reporter and a current participant of the program.

    Question: Who owns the IP of the products and company?
    Answer: The students and their supporting professor (if any) own the IP. The program has special arrangements with the university to leave the companies formed in Hinman as independent entities. If such an arrangement didn't exist, the program would not be here today. In fact, we even have servers that use the university's bandwidth. The School of Engineering and School of Business have been incredibly supportive of the program and we have the Deans' full backing. So if any companies become successful the only thing they expect is for us to donate back to the school. However, this is not true for non-Hinman students or if the technology used by the company was researched by a professor on the university's dime.

    Q: Why the 3.0 GPA requirement?
    A: While the application does say 3.0, the director has made many special exceptions for driven students. I myself had a 2.9 GPA when I enter the program (I'm a CompSci, so sue me). It's mearly there to scare off people that only want to join the program to take advantage of the extra nice housing.

    Q: Where's all the money getting spent? Why buy all the nice furniture?
    A: Because we often have very prominent CEOs and corporate execs giving speaches, it's important that we appear professional. For example, we've had the CEO of Webmethods, Polycomm, Microstrategy, and a host of many other local and national CEOs swing by for talks. We also use the conference rooms as shared conference space for client meetings. If you think about it, one very nice conference room split among 6 companies is pretty cost effective.

    Q: Porn companies?
    A: No. Not yet ;)

    Q: What kind of technologies do you guys have?
    A: The first and 2nd floors of the apartments have full wireless access and all rooms have access to IP-phones donated by Avaya. We also have tele-conferencing units donated by Brian Hinman. On top of that, we have a 5 computer tech lab that's accessible to all Hinman students. The computers are brand spankin' new Dells all with flat planel monitors. The sys admins had to put screen guards on the damn things to keep the business majors from poking at the screen. :) Any more questions?

    • Spoken like a true .com-er-- all about the toys and not one mention of a product. Here's a few questions I have and also what the interviewer should've asked:

      What exactly are these businesses? What are the services or products they provide? Of those, which ones are turning a profit?

      Sounds to me like a bunch of .com shit... Smoke, mirrors, and speaches.

      mod me down and never know the truth.
      -jokerghost

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