Alumni Spotlight, Andrew Cole '10
Jan. 18, 2019
Andrew is a Strategy Manager at Accenture and Co-Founder of both Trolley Pub and Paddle Pub. He volunteers for the Center of Child Protection in Austin and enjoys global travel, backpacking the mountains of the western US, fly fishing, formula 1 and, above all else, cheering on Arizona basketball. Andrew lives in Austin, TX with his wife, Kate.
Andrew graduated from the University of Arizona in 2010 with a degree in Engineering Management and Entrepreneurship. His venture team was named PointSource, a product that addressed public health, public safety, and public awareness concerns by providing the user with their BAC information by administering a breathalyzer test.
5 Questions with Andrew Cole
Q. What is most surprising about being an entrepreneur?
A. That it's not binary. I think there's this thought out there that you're either an entrepreneur who has started your own company and do that full time or you're not an entrepreneur. In my case, I work full-time at Accenture but spend nights and weekends working on Trolley Pub. With the right structure and support, you can succeed at both.
Q. What was the most important lesson you learned in the New Venture Development Program?
A. To fail fast. One of the worst things you can do is to spend so much time deliberating the next step that you never take action. That's a good way to waste time, money, and miss out on key opportunities. Create a hypothesis, test it as quickly and cheaply as possible, then take your learnings and either pivot or double down. This type of Lean Startup methodology will prove valuable whether at your own company or within a larger corporate environment.
Q. What impact has the New Venture Development Program had on your career or life?
A. The Entrepreneurship Program has had tremendous impact by way of demystifying the world of entrepreneurship, forging connections among like-minded peers and by pushing myself out of my personal comfort zone. Within Accenture Strategy, one of the primary attributes we look for in new candidates is an entrepreneurial mindset; someone who can bring new, exciting ideas to clients and who understands how to take managed risks. Put more succinctly, we're looking for intrapreneurs. This way of thinking is a core skillset taught at the Entrepreneurship Program and one that I've found to be valuable when working at a larger firm.
Q. What do you consider your biggest entrepreneurial success?
A. I wouldn't claim any one event as the pinnacle of our entrepreneurial journey thus far but, rather, the ongoing impacts to both our customers and our employees. Tens of thousands of people have rode Trolley Pub translating into hundreds of thousands of hours of fun. We have 65 employees who provide for themselves and their families through the joy that they bring to our customers. The more joy we spread, both to our customers and employees, the more successful we are.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
A. Don't overthink it and focus on doing a few things well. There is such an overwhelming amount of advice out there that it can be intimidating to even get started. We all suffer from "paralysis by analysis" at times, but with some dedication and willingness to learn quickly from your mistakes, you'll go far. The most important thing you can do is take quick, focused action within an open-mindedness and awareness to pivot as necessary. It's better to give 100% dedication to a few, strategic tasks than to haphazardly pursue a million different strategies at once or to take action timidly.