Sexy startups take too long. I needed money:

December 01 2013

I'm a nervous female undergrad engineer at the University of Michigan, and I have this thing. A business. It all started because of a bug and an unbearable need to straighten my teeth. [Skip straight down to the ASKS if you have no patience for my running mouth.]

It's the least sexy business that a student could start (sorry, no social network for cats or mobile app for dating, here.) but it works. And I love it.

I find clients who need a little help optimizing their data management systems. Typically they are small businesses that I pass on my way to class or Chipotle. I get access to their excel spreadsheets and databases and convert the most redundant, messy, inefficient structures into gorgeously simple, automated files. This stuff gets me going (gets my customer's going too.)

I started this because
1. entrepreneurship is a bug on the U of M campus that just won't stop biting. Dude, it's completely normal for students to kick problems in the butt by STARTING things here (google MPowered Entrepreneurship). It's awesome.

2. I wanted to be able to pay for the good 'ol Invisalign treatment that I'm starting soon, instead of depending on my mom to pay the $5000 charge. Probably not the sexiest reason that should go down in history, but it's the truth. ( Invisalign is pretty sexy though. 3D scanners in your mouth when you least expect it.)

I don't see myself running a million dollar business revolving around excel spreadsheets when I'm older (Ha. Quote THAT in my biography when I'm 30 yrs old and running Excel Optimization LLC.)

So far, though, I'm addicted to the late nights. The pivots. The 50 doors closed in my face. The 2 that open. It's an exhilarating education and I challenge all students, graduates, adults, children to take on weirdass side projects and simply...try things out; fail a little.

1. If you want to optimize your organization/business' spreadsheets and databases in 2 days, email me.
2. If you're from Amazon, Apple, any Airline company--or a supply chain-focused company in general--hire me for a summer internship. I'd like to jump on a 10 minute call asap to blow your mind.
3. I want to know your entrepreneurial, self-starting stories, your side projects, your inspirations. I think that we can learn from each other. Email me!

Thanks, Listserve family. It's an honor to write my thoughts here after reading for a year and a half. My young words of wisdom: please stop waiting and just go do it.

I'm in love with you all. See you around.

Michelle Lu
[email protected]
Ann Arbor, Michigan

P.S. shout out to UM's A-Players: Cathy Huang (consultant, hustler), Lulu Tang (programmer, animator) Danyaal Rangwala (web developer), Pratik Kabra (web developer), Chris O'Neil (iOS developer), Shreyas Parat (product guy, meche), Kathy Lu (big data, writer), Lucy Zhao (consultant, writer), Aaron White (physicist), Lucy Zhang (product, electrical engr). Tracey Fu (consultant, pub pol.) + more

If you want to meet them, hire them, get inspired--hit me up immediately :)

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