What do Phil Black, MLK, Chad Kamisugi, and football coaches all have in common?

Editor’s note: Yash Kothari is the recipient of a Wharton Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship for summer 2013. These fellowships are awarded to students who plan to spend the summer in an entrepreneurial setting and who demonstrate both a commitment to entrepreneurship at Penn and to pursuing an entrepreneurial career. Through True Venture’s TEC (True Entrepreneur Corps) program, he interned at Sifteo. This post was originally published on the TEC Program blog.

By Yash Kothari, Wharton Undergraduate 2015, Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

So what do they have in common?

They know that it’s the people that drive entrepreneurial success, movements for equality, incredible internships, and football championships. If you haven’t read Chad’s post on the importance of people, take a look here.

At the risk of being redundant with Chad’s post, I, too, have to emphasize the power of the people around you.

The True Ventures Philosophy
As Phil Black put it when he spoke to us about True’s philosophy, they invest in the power of the founder. True has a firm belief that it is truly (pun intended) the founder that drives entrepreneurial success. Not saying that the market, product, fit, scalability, etc. are not important, but they believe that it is the founder and the early team that sets a startup up for success.Take Sifteo for example. It’s been such an incredible experience interacting with such fascinating Sifteonators (I just made that a thing). Whether it’s discussing the power of data with our head of product , the game mechanics of Resident Evil 5 with professional game designers, or how Chinese factories work with our star-studded product team, every conversation I’ve had over the past 3.5 weeks has pushed me to think in ways I’ve never done before. They truly are an incredible bunch and I firmly believe that it is the people who drive success at any organization.

The Incredible TEC Interns (featuring the Hacker House)
As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, 6 of us TEC interns (Yash D [more affectionately known as Dish Dash Doshi], Mike, Shahid, Dennis, Angad, and myself) are living together in something called a Hacker House. So what does that mean? It means that that we essentially live in one gigantic room with five bunk beds (10 twin beds in total) spread across. It sounds crazy and it is but I am so happy that we decided to do it. Other than the occasional alarm that wakes everyone up (looking at you, Yash and Angad), it really isn’t that bad at all. We always hang out since we don’t really have an excuse not to and it’s been unbelievable so far.

Let me tell you a quick story of how it goes down: Just yesterday, at around 10pm, Shahid, Yash, and Dennis decided to leave True after a hard day of working (and watching a movie–I have concluded that Alli is quite the clumsy one when it comes to food). Mike and I finished up some work and decided to head back about 30 minutes later. Tired and ready for our 8 hour slumber, we noticed a few guys playing basketball at the courts about a block away from the Hacker Haus. It was around 11pm, were these guys for real? Then we realized–it was Yash, Shahid, and Dennis. Mike and I looked at each other and decided to go shoot around for a bit. It ended up becoming a two hour, intense game of basketball where we all somehow managed to stay safe while playing in jeans and a slippery court.

Though Mike and I didn’t get our 8 hours, it was one of those moments that I won’t forget for a long time to come. It reminded me of the importance of these seemingly ordinary but extraordinary moments. And that’s what I feel is so special about the TEC program. Every single TEC intern (I only highlighted a few of us today!) has their own incredible personality and flavor that makes this is an extraordinary experience.

So at the end of the day, I realize that, whether it’s to start the next Facebook or just to enjoy a good old game of basketball, it really is all about the people.

Here’s a Quora post that I just love:



YashKothariBio: I’m Yash Kothari and currently a rising junior at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. I’ll probably be studying Operations Information Management, Marketing, and Management. Shoot me an email at kothari.s.yash@gmail.com if you’re interested in TEC, startups (especially in India), Penn, or anything really! As part of TEC’s Class of 2013, I’ll be working at Sifteo–an awesome startup that is changing the way we game (think awesome, futuristic lego). For more info, check out www.sifteo.com.