I visited my alma mater Wake Forest University in North Carolina to give a talk at the Center for Entrepreneurship. I was the first guest in a series called “The Entrepreneurial Experience.”

Check out all the great photos from my presentation!

Talking with Dan, the one who invited me to speak to his class.

Dan Cohen is in charge of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University. He asked me to speak to the students about my experience as an undergraduate at Wake, as well as my trials and tribulations in creating Museum Hack.

We also filmed a little video!

Video Interview at WFU

More Pictures, Student Questions

Getting ready for my presentation.

Dan introducing me.

The talk was 45 minutes of presentation from me, and then 15 minutes of Q&A from the students. We got to use a fun throw-mic, the first time I have used something like that. From the podium up front, I would throw a lightweight ball-object to people in the audience and they could speak with voice amplification.

Getting serious about entrepreneurship.

Student Questions

  • Your bio says you were nominated “The Best” by your mother in 2012, 2014 and 2015. What happened in 2013? Billy C.
  • What was the hardest thing about establishing your company in a field that you didn’t have any background in? Katie R.
  • This business is somewhat unconventional, so did you experience a lot of pushback when you initially pitched the idea? Elizabeth C.
  • How do you go about obtaining such diverse information that can at often times be overwhelming? Kate L.
  • On your website, you mention “habitually over-sharing [your] life on the internet.” How do you think today’s tech-engaged culture is changing entrepreneurship? Kristin K.

These people are smiling, I must be funny!

Do you think I’d be a good business professor?

Museums are f***ing awesome.

More Student Questions

  • In order for Museum Hack to succeed, your company had to form and maintain relationships with the museums it works with. What suggestions do you have for entrepreneurial service businesses in regards to forming and maintaining relationships with institutions like museums? Ryan C.
  • How does your vetting process work when choosing potential tour guides for your company? Tim D.
  • What is your best advice to finding the best people and conniving them to join your team especially at the start? Kaitlyn H.
  • According to a Forbes article, your first business was named “Wake Speakers” and you sold out of all your inventory for an entire year before the Wake Forest lawyers complained about the name. How influential was starting this business for your in your path to where you are today? Carl M.
  • What type of museum have you found is best for your business to work in? Coleman F.

I love speaking about my business journey.

You can call me Professor Nick Gray.

  • Since you claim to hate museums and do not have an arts background, did you ever feel out of your league in the art world? And what did you do to push past this feeling? Maisie H.
  • On LifeHacker.com, you desired yourself as reactive, but as this is the first business of its kind, you seem to be very original. How would you describe the balance of being reactive vs. original in entrepreneurship? Andrew G.
  • In a world where people prefer to do electric and self-guided tours, why do you think your company is succeeding? Michael B.
  • In the beginning part of your company, what steps did you take for acquiring your initial customers? Eamon C.
  • Have there ever been museums that have refused to allow you to participate? Patrick M.
  • What is your favorite museum? Elaina D.

This class was super engaging and awesome.

Getting ready for questions.

People smiling again!

  • At the bottom of your website are quite a few of your “clients”, what would you say was the most effective way for you to gain clients and overall credibility when starting up a company? Reci S.
  • I see that your website’s first category is corporate tours. Are most of your clientele from corporate events and if so how is your model suited for them rather than private tours? Jonathan S.
  • Are there museum who were ever offended by your launch of Museum Hack? Lydia M.
  • You have big clients like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, what is your plan going forward to expand Museum Hack? Are you targeting a particular group of people? Jackie M.
  • Have you thought about expanding your business internationally? John D.
  • Do you see virtual reality as a way of experiencing museums as a threat to your concept? Morgan P.

Thanks, everyone.

Success. I think people enjoyed it.

My Speaking Topic

For my speech to students, I started with my “Greatest Hits” story. I spoke about Museum Hack including How I got started giving renegade museum tours, what makes Museum Hack tours totally different than most museum tours, and most importantly: Why I think museums matter.

Some of My Slides

Some of my slides about Museum Hack and one of my favorite objects at the Met Museum.

I loved speaking with the students.

It was great to hear their ideas.

Meeting the students was the best part.

Business Advice for Entrepreneurs

  • After my startup story, I also spoke about:
  • My business adventures as a student at WFU
  • Advice and tips for hiring
  • Best practices for working a side hustle on campus
  • Mistakes that I’ve made, both in college and after

We got to talk about a lot of cool things.

They had great questions.

Dan and I again.

I’m so happy he invited me to speak to his class.

Me and the team at the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest.

Special things to Andy Chan, VP of Innovation, for supporting my visit.

More Info

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