The lights are dim. You are standing at a podium, looking forward. There are just three people at a table in front of them. They are staring at you, and one by one, they say one of two words: in or out.
This is the Las Positas College Shark Tank contest, based on the ABC television show “Shark Tank.” On Tuesday, May 6, LPC students had the chance to present an invention they came up with, in the hopes that the judges would like their idea, and give them start-up money.
Some of the ideas included a heart monitor band, which could track someone as they exercised, and called emergency responders at the push of a button. Another was an app for smartphones, where composers or musicians use the app as a music player, using different instruments to try out notes to play out.
The judges, which consisted of three people, included Troy Witt, supply chain manager of Clorox, business consultant Bobi White, and business coach Alay Yajnik.
“I loved seeing the enthusiasm they had for their ideas,” Bobi White said. “I also loved that there were all types of ideas, from clothes to heart monitors to technology.”
Junior Katelyn Krueger presented her idea of a heart monitor band, and felt that she was a bit rushed.
“I thought execution was key,” Krueger said. “I didn’t feel as if I was able to get my points across, and that if I had more time, it would have been better.”
The contest is nothing like the actual television show, but it is used as an assignment for an LPC class, and gives the students an opportunity to show off ideas they have. The ideas typically are just used for this contest, but there are plenty of people who would like to see these ideas become reality.
“In terms of growth, I’d like to see it become more competitive,” said Witt. “I’d like instead of them seeing say eight ideas, and we see 10, that they see 100, and we see 10.”
There are ways that the students can go further than the competition, but it takes work, and it’s something that can definitely happen, and something Bobi White encouraged.
“I think it would be really interesting the next year to find out if any progress has been made on the ones who didn’t get awards,” White said. “Fail or succeed, what obstacles they may have run into and what did they do to overcome those.”
The Shark Tank contest will be run again next spring, and is open to any student who wants to show an idea they have.
“For me, it just shows that you don’t need to be a Stanford MBA to come up with great ideas,” Alay Yajnik said. “These ideas are everywhere, and there were plenty of great business ideas from everywhere.”