Category Archives: #PennPBL

Joe Gebbia, Entreprenereal Mastermind #PBL

Joe Gebbia, 2017 VOICE, BoF’s Annual gathering

Joe Gebbia founder and CEO of AirBnB has shown great resilience throughout the entrepreneurial process, his seemingly “crazy” idea was presented to 100s of investors and turned down by all, yet today AirBnB is a common app and system we all use. Joe Gebbia has made an idea into a way of living thorough the world, it is no longer odd to pay to stay in someone’s bedroom in Key West Florida for a few nights. Joe Gebbia has built an entire lifestyle and company of the idea of staying at another person’s house.

A Few Questions….

  1. How and why do investors trust such a “crazy” idea such as AirBnB was?
  2. How do you go against the judgement of people who you know are smarter than you and more established in the world of business and marketing?
  3. How did you know when to succumb to failure and realize when an idea was not working?
  4. What type of strengths do you need to be an entrepreneur?
  5. How do you act out of being uncomfortable in a situation environment?

How Tyler Haney Used Innovative Thinking to Create Athleisure #OutdoorVoices #PBL

Tyler Haney was unsatisfied with the athletic-wear that was on the market when she tried to get into running. The only athletic-wear on the market were companies like Nike and Adidas who made clothes for intense athletes. She wanted to design a clothing line for mediocre athletes who aren’t intense or headed to the Olympics. Tyler was iterative as she tested out her clothes with her running buddies and used feedback to correct the seams in the clothing and functionality of it. This can relate to Jason as he constantly asks for feedback from the users of his software, Campfire Technology, and he tracks the usage on his website.


What made Tyler Haney be inspired to create her company, Outdoor Voices, and why was she unsatisfied with other apparel items, like Nike and Adidas? (first 10 minutes)

Why was the style and material of her newly designed clothing ideas different from her competition? Who was her audience that she targeted, what kind of athletes? (minute 16)

Who was the person that Tyler met at the tradeshow? What was his job? What did he see in Tyler, and why was he the only person that trusted her new pitch? Explain. (minute 20)

What was Tyler’s opinions on the very first prototype? How did she fund these startup issues? How did she begin her first product testing? (minute 28)

In what store did her apparel first launch? Did it do well? How did she put her business model together? How was Outdoor Voices expanded? (minute 48)

How Can Perry Chen’s Story Kickstart #PBL?

The host of How I Built This Podcast series, Guy Raz.

On Dec. 31st 2018, Guy Raz released an interview with Perry Chen, the co-founder of Kickstarter. Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform for people to donate to projects that they like. Kickstarter became popular soon after the release. The interview with Perry Chen revealed the story behind the founding of Kickstarter.

NXNEi - Day 2 - Perry Chen,
Perry Chen, cofounder of Kickstarter.

Fifteen years ago, Perry Chen had no idea that he would start a technology company. He was a musician who liked to go to music festivals, and it was at such an event when the idea of Kickstarter came into his mind: “why can’t people get funded for their projects from people who support them?” While he hesitated to stick to this idea at first, he restarted his idea when he moved to New York and introduced this insight to people he met there. Sharing new iterations of his idea with different thinkers in New York helped him even further. While he had no network for funding or financial support, he began to think of ways to create and run the product. Finally, he found his two co-founders who kickstarted the innovation of Kickstarter. He was not afraid of the unknown, and he was willing to learn the required technology to build his service. He was a patient learner, and it took them three years for to develop the product. As Kickstarted gradually got popular, Perry Chen and his team continued to reflect and incorporate feedback into improved iterations. Perry Chen then shared his story about how he decided to strengthen the review process for some prototypes because he saw that companies were using the platform to sell their product instead of fundraising. 

Four goals for Project based learning.
  1. How did Perry Chen started to come up with the idea of Kickstarter? Did Perry Chen immediately put his idea into action? What made him hesitated to start his idea? What does he think he is lacking before he moved to New York? (7:00)
  2. When did the idea come back to him? What is the major reason that Perry cannot pursue his idea in New Orleans? What did it show that is important in starting a new idea that a person do not know a lot about? 
  3. Why did the three cofounders persistently work for three years? Why did they like the idea and continued to collaborate on working on the project for so long? Does it show the collaborative value of the group? (16:50)
  4. Why decision did Perry makes towards some companies that make gadgets and prototypes of their new product and use the platform as a selling platform. How do you think it shows the iterative process in this decision? (29:00)
  5. Overall, did the interview of Perry Chen show the four goals of Project-based learning? Give some examples and explain how it helps you in Project-Based Learning?

The definition of an innovative thinker (James Dyson, PBL)

An innovative person does not need to be wealthy; instead, an innovative person is someone who thinks and behave differently from other people. Many innovative people’s projects start with limited or no support from the people around them, but eventually, they will surprise everyone with what they have accomplished. James Dyson, the founder of Dyson, is one of the innovative people. Two of the critical values from his podcast is about resistance and mistakes. When James Dyson starts to create the first generation of the Dyson Vacuum, people think he is crazy because big companies already dominate the market. However, James Dyson does not give up on his project even he has to borrow money to sustain his life. The second value that shows James Dyson is an innovative thinker is how he reflects himself after he makes a mistake. He says that making mistakes is not the end of world; instead it is a great chance to learn from the mistake and improve. Being able to reflect and revise on the mistakes will bring the project into a higher level.

Questions about the podcast

(Time 8:00-9:00)

It is mentioned that after finishing the design, James’s boss also asks James Dyson to do the selling process, a new field for James Dyson. Why is this important for his future startup of his own brand

(Time 18:00-19:00)

As people around him thinks he is stupid to compete with those giant vacuum cleaner companies, what opportunity does James sees that insists him to develop his own vacuum cleaner?

(Time 19:00-20:00)

Why James thinks that being kicked out from his own company is a great thing? And what is the biggest problem he is facing after being kicked out form his own company.

(Time 21:00)

At the start of James’s company, he has to borrow money to support his project. However, these cannot stop him from working on his vacuum cleaner. What is an important characteristic of a good entrepreneur that can be found on his? And how this characteristic will help you in your project base learning?

(Time 37:00-38:00)

When he talks about mistakes, why dose he mention that mistakes are great?

(Time 38:00-40:00)

James Dyson has grown from someone who owns nothing into a billionaire. What separates him from the people around him?

How Important is Optimism in Innovative Work?

I think that this podcast demonstrates great innovative thinking because it uses one of the ingredient of the four instructional goals, and that is collaborative. This podcast uses that because it is the story of how two brothers found their way together to make a business. While they had challenge growing up and had different aspirations in life, in the end they worked together to create a positive company. The brothers optimism is the backbone to their company.

  1. (time: 6;00) What big change made the brothers look at life differently? 
  2. (time; 9:30) Had the brothers thought about getting into business prior? Which brother was into what areas of work?
  3. (time; 11:40) What made them think about starting their business? Any type of influence?
  4. (time; 33:00) How did they come up with some of their pictures? What inspired it?
  5. (time; 37:00) What conditions were they willing to put up with in order to spend less money?

Joe Gebbia’s Airbnb: How he made it work despite all the doubts

Joe Gebbia, co-founder and chief product officer of Airbnb

Every startup faces a fair amount of obstacles and disapproval. However, few can compare to Joe Gebbia’s Airbnb. Called off by one of the biggest names in the fields such as Bill Gates to “not work”, Gebbia turns the disapproval of others to the company’s fuel to make it better. In this podcast, Gebbia also explains the habits which he considers useful to his company, whether entrepreneurship is an inherent trait, and some common advice – all within 17 minutes.


  • (Podcast Time: 5:10) One of the founders mentioned the disapproval of others to be his “fuel” to do something. How has his mindset and attitude affected the creation and development of his company? How does this show the iterative culture of #PennPBL?
  • (Podcast Time 7:00) Here the founder discusses his habit of collecting old proof books from the junkyard, turning them into valuable products, and selling them online. How do you think his habit has contributed to the advances of his company?
  • (Podcast Time 9:10) The founder here gives an advice he has heard during his time doing a startup: “In a startup, don’t die.” Relate this to the events that happened which was mentioned in the podcast. To what extent do you think this statement is true?
  • (Podcast Time 11:00) The founder states that being an entrepreneur is not an “inherent trait,” and it can be learned. Explain your thinking about this statement. Also, he states an experience of his own which shows this quality. How important do you think that quality is in being an entrepreneur?
  • What is the most important, useful, or interesting insight you have gained from this episode of the podcast?

How Can The Resilience in Patagonia’s Story Help Our Real World Goals in PBL

The podcast I chose was about the founding of Patagonia. This podcast shows innovative thinking because the founder took an idea and made a unique line of products from it. It started as him making tools for climbing that were reusable and environment friendly. At one point the company was almost bankrupt, however, Yvon the founder, came up with a new mindset which made the company improve their profits. Yesterday in class, Jason talked about how customer satisfaction is a top priority and Patagonia works to make the customers happy. They make products that last for years and have a lifetime warranty on every product. The products made by Patagonia are authentic, as it was invented to help people identify a new way of exploring the world. This podcast gives many insights into how such a unique company was created and the thought process behind its most successful products.


  • How did the company get the name Patagonia?
  • What major setback did they encounter?
  • How did they comeback from this setback?
  • What is Yvon’s saying that he wrote in his book?
  • What core practice does Yvon use and how does it affect the making of the company?

How Can The Story of Spanx Help The World of #PBL?

My selection of the Spanx podcast as the best podcast demonstrates innovative thinking because it shows collaboration of ideas, disciple, authenticity, and creativity.  Sara, the founder of Spanx, is triggered with an idea after seeing a flaw in pantyhose, and changing them to become what is now known as spanx.  She created an authentic product, since it was original and had been all based off of her findings.  In class today, Jason discussed the growth of his company, and how it started as something average, and due to his success, he was able to use his revenue to improve his product.  This shows success, and how he may have started at an average level, but had a basic platform to work off of, and create the more advanced website that we saw in class today.  This can be compared to the story of spanx, because after seeing the potential she had, Sara worked to perfect her product, using the small income she made from her initial sales.  One of my questions asked about trial and error, and this can relate to Jason’s process as well, since every innovator experiences trial and error.  Trial and error allows for the innovator to improve something, and approach it in a different manor than they initially did. 

Image result for guy raz and sara from spanx
  • It is human nature to ask other people for approval, but what does Sara do instead of asking people their opinions on her idea?  How does this benefit her?
  • What stimulated the idea of Spanx?  How did Sara discover her invention?
  • Why is it useful that Sara kept a log of her ideas that could become something one day?
  • Why is trial and error important, and how does it ignite innovative thinking?
  • What is a story of an act of kindness Sara experienced?  How does this change her point of view of her business approach?

My Questions: