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Reimagining Work by Peter Maglathlin, Pat Petitti, Rob Biederman

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CHAPTER 2HourlyNerd

The email hit our phones late one night while we were doing what first‐year grad students do—namely, hanging out with one another. Sure, the grad school happened to be Harvard Business School, or HBS as we all referred to it, which came with its reputation, along with plenty of expectations.

The message was directed at the students who had yet to formally submit a team for the school's entrepreneurial face‐off, the faux stock market competition. So right then and there, at Harvard Square landmark Tommy Doyle's (since departed), we assembled our six‐person brain trust. It would be the three of us and three other friends from our section: Jose Pelaez,1 who had worked for an energy start‐up after earning a degree in chemical engineering at Columbia; Marshall Martin,2 a Georgia Tech grad who had worked as an analyst at the consulting firm Accenture; and Kyle Snook,3 a West Point grad who had served as a platoon leader in Afghanistan before enrolling at business school. At the time, it felt like an all‐star roster to us. In retrospect, we probably should have given a little more thought to things like diversity of work experience and complementary skills when assembling our team. None of us knew much, if anything, about sales, marketing, or design. We had no experience in product management. We were friends. We enjoyed one another's company. So we became a team.

The first step was coming up with a concept for a business. And it had better be a winner, because ...

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