(You can read more about this in my bestseller, Without Their Permission)
I spent a formative summer after my junior year abroad in Singapore, competing on behalf of UVA at an international Technopreneurship Conference (oh, bless the Singaporeans and their "technopreneurship" conferences).
One of my favorite teachers, Professor Mark White, invited me to go on this all-expenses paid trip. I even turned down an internship at Ogilvy because I like free travel even more than I like unpaid internships in the most expensive city in America. It was there in Singapore on our first night that I pitched Mark the idea Steve and I had cooked up for our startup. Mark’s was the first unbiased feedback I'd gotten on the idea (my parents had always been ludicrously supportive of whatever I told them I was up to) and he thought we'd be able to pull it off.
His optimism may've just been a combination of the jetlag and the Singapore Slings, but I was thrilled.
I wrote Steve this email the very next morning. Here it is in its original form for authenticity. Please forgive all the typos; those keyboards in Singapore aren't QWERTY. Apparently there's also a button on those keyboards that kept inserting "bro" everywhere -- sorry about that. In fact, imagine a great big [sic] around this whole thing.
i'm in singapore at this technepreneurial seminar, and am basically spending a week learning how to create a tech start-up.i spoke to Mark White (a professor in the comm school, the guy who took me to South Africa, and who recruited me to come here, as well as a generally good guy and technophile) over some drinks last nite, and pitched him on our idea...from his feedback—and let me remind you that he gets pitches every couple of months from students, and was very candid and honest with his thoughts, but basically said it was one of the best he's heard, period.
Not only that, but he wants to be on the board of directors, and already knows some people to hit up for starting capital...
I've got plenty of more details, but I am seriously considering putting off law school for this, but i need you, and we'll both need to be doing this full time for about a year to get it off the ground....but the potential he saw was in the millions my friend...we need to talkseriously.i am coming back the 20th so if we could have lunch around 1pm i could meet you whereever you'd like... let me know.
honestly, this is the kind of thing that could change our lives—and his motivation has really spurred me.but i need you and the same kind of commitment.