Matthew Binder ’14 – Recently I went to Indianapolis with fourteen other Wabash students, Betsy Knott, and alumnus Roland Morin, ’91, as part of the summer Business Immersion Program. We traveled to visit DeveloperTown, a startup software development company with a unique twist: developers’ offices are designed like houses. Each “house” comes with an outside light that the occupant can turn on whenever he or she does not wish to be disturbed. Right away I could tell that this was an interesting environment in which to work.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by Brian Deyo, Wabash class of ’08, an associate partner with DeveloperTown. After a brief tour of the space, he sat us down and discussed different career paths in business with us. Eventually, he even introduced us to some of his co-workers so that we could get a broader perspective of business pathways. However, the definitive highlight of the day for me came when the founder of DeveloperTown, Michael Cloran, spoke to us about ideas. Who knew such a simple topic could generate such an enthusiastic presentation? Nonetheless, Mr. Cloran spoke energetically for nearly an hour, at times expressing his passion for his subject by going off on fascinating tangents about issues ranging from game theory to Thomas Edison. Two insights I particularly took away from the talk were that an innovator ought to consider any absurd idea which pops into his head and that he should also take the time to analyze each idea carefully before he invests a significant amount of time into developing that idea. Mr. Cloran told us that he has often made people cry because he tells them their idea simply will not work. However, he feels justified knowing the amount of time, energy, and money he has just saved them.
Following our immersion into the world of idea development, Brian gave our group an opportunity to practice our skills. He let us in on a type of software he is currently developing and gave us two hours to give him feedback on it. If any of us doubted the seriousness with which he took our comments, the fact that Mr. Cloran had completely revamped the site’s interface by the time we left put our minds at ease.
All in all, I really enjoyed my time at DeveloperTown. It was valuable for me to see Wabash critical thinking skills in action. Business is a world to which I have had little exposure, and the Business Immersion Program is well on its way to showing me a whole new perspective not only on business styles, but on ideas themselves.