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Grow your own shrooms

November 3, 2010

Used coffee grounds and mushrooms don't usually bring to mind entrepreneurialism. A couple of university business students in California both approached their professor after a class where growing mushrooms in coffee grounds was mentioned, and he paired them up and they've been trying to make a business of it ever since. Apparently growing the mushrooms themselves for local restaurants proved too space inefficient. So now they make these kits, a sort of DIY. Right now they're running all this on their own with very little fixed expenses so it remains to be seen whether they could actually make a profit from this venture.
 
This is timely for me as it is senior project time in my design class. I was surprised to hear my classmates speak up in dismay that projects developed for a private company would be something they would not retain the IP (intellectual property) rights for. I think many will go the academic/research route just to control the rights to the projects they work on. I know not all of them plan to go to grad school, so it's interesting to me how many have that spark of creativity where they would like to keep working on and keep developing their ideas. I, like the characters in Shawshank Redemption, am mostly "institutionalized" and can't see myself working on something that is more research driven than private. However there are lots of good projects. Another classmate of mine was mulling over doing a project that had a lot of meaning and could actually help people versus something that would be more likely to get him a job. I'm trying to push aside any desire I might have to work on some of the more "interesting" projects in favor of something less difficult so I'm not as overwhelmed in the next several months. I guess we all have difficult decisions to make.
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