Luke is President of OCEAN Programs.
Founder and CEO
Mariam Nusrat – Gaming Revolution for International Development (GRID)
Going through the Ocean Program is a little bit like running on the beach (running and not walking because it’s an accelerator and not a “slowrator” as our program lead likes to say)!
You’re taking in all the learnings, advice, and mentorship that is packed in the span of 16 weeks. You are also running with a pack of an awesome cohort of fellow-founders who share your pain, cheer you on and become your family. You feel like you are part of something bigger and purpose-driven, like the water you are running along. But the most beautiful moments are when a stunning seashell catches your eye, makes you stop in your tracks, pause and think! It’s these AHA moments; striking, subtly concealed, and appealing to different people in different ways, that I would like to share today.
John Winsor – Democratization of Creativity: John’s talk was filled with what I took down as “Winsorims”. The one that was truly striking was “democratization of creativity”. He talked about crowdsourcing innovation and a networked workforce that unleashes creativity at scale. This lies at the core of what we are with Breshna; we are democratizing creativity by empowering users to create purposeful video games without any coding or design skills. We are building with (rather than for) a community of creators. Listening to John made me double down on our commitment of empowering people to become content creators through purposeful video games.
Nick Runyon – Become a category leader: Don’t just create a product, disrupt an industry! The talk focused on how being a category leader is a unique marketing technique and it made total sense. I took this lesson to heart and started thinking with a category leader lens. At GRID, we are at the forefront of the #NoCode4PurposefulGames movement, an emerging category that lies at the intersection of no-code, purposeful video games and content creation.
Bob McDonald – Live a life inspired by a purpose: Bob’s talk focused on how aligning philanthropy & business helps you stay strategically focused. He also touched on diversity driving innovation. Often the tech startup world discriminates against “purpose-driven” businesses and Bob’s talk presented the perspective that purpose and profit do not have to be a trade-off. It can instead be aligned for sustainability and impact.
Brett Kopf – Customer Obsession: Brett told us that he makes up to 20 customer calls in a single day! Some gems from his talk included (i) Have a simple pain hypothesis, (ii) Identify nodes of customers that can bring on others and (iii) Differentiate between validation & sales call. I often find myself referring to my notes from Brett’s session before having a conversation with a potential customer.
Wendy Lea – Women in Entrepreneurship: Finally, but by far my most favorite seashell. Wendy is the kind of person that makes grit look graceful! As someone who has dedicated her time to supporting rural, women, and BIPOC owned businesses, Wendy’s session lit a fire in my belly to “run like a girl” and “win the race”! I aspire to run GRID with Wendy’s advice in mind
Mariam is the Founder of GRID – Gaming Revolution for International Development, a tech startup that unleashes the power of video games to educate, engage and empower people! The team is building Breshna, a SaaS platform empowering users to create video games with no-code, at low-cost and lightning speed. Join Breshna’s launch game jam on July 16 by signing up at: https://breshna.gamingfordev.com/
Mariam is a recipient of the Clinton Global Initiative University Alum Award and on the Forbes Next 1000 List.