Andrew Lee ’24

Williams Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship

This summer, I participated in the Incubator Program for the Williams Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship (WSIE) with my friend and business partner, August Orser ’24. Along with dedicating eight weeks to designing and constructing an idea, each team of aspiring entrepreneurs has access to workshops and mentoring tailored to gaining lifelong entrepreneurial skills such as networking, career tools and overall imaginative determination. The mission of this program is to encourage the next generation of thinkers to manifest their ambition into a marketable product and put their curiosity to test.

Visiting the Santa Monica Pier.At the outset of our journey, August and I dedicated ourselves to pursuing our idea of an easy-to-use magnetized bike lock that would be unlocked with an attractive card and phone app; this objective was driven by the time-consuming nature of current padlock bikes. However, after delving deeper, we decided it was in our best interest to pivot our idea due to the intricacies behind engineering the product as well as the saturated market for this specific design. Instead, we decided to pursue a separate passion in which social media and music identity crossed paths—we wished to create an app called Shuffle that focused solely on expressing one’s music taste through limiting the amount of songs one could post to emphasize the quality of songs that one shares.

August and I learned many important lessons throughout this project. From the outset of the program, we wished to learn more about the entrepreneurial journey as a whole and how it feels to work on a team with like-minded individuals. Not only did we experience these things, but we were also able to gain much more knowledge in this space. By networking with hundreds of Williams alumni using the alumni network we learned more about their experiences (ranging from software development and design to CEOs of large corporations) and how they could help us during the process. We gained many mentors who expressed their enthusiasm for our project and the program as a whole; they told us they wished that they were able to do the program that we participated in this summer. These people all aided our process of customer discovery. We also learned how to design and code the front-end of applications and websites through courses that were recommended to us along the way. Confidence, multi-tasking and risk management were only a few of the qualities that I learned and gained from this program. Most of all, I found a new passion in entrepreneurship and working with my peers on a novel idea, which I definitely wish to pursue in the future. I would recommend this summer experience to any fellow Williams student.

I would like to thank Tonio Palmer, Adriana Roman, the ’68 Center and Mr. and Mrs. Case, who were able to make this experience possible. I have learned so many invaluable lessons throughout this summer, and I will definitely continue with my partner, August Orser, on our social media application going forward.