Scholar Hero is now in Remote Beta! Sign up for a demo at scholarhero.com/beta-signup!

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The reviews are in from out Pittsburgh testers, and they have been stellar! After responding to their feedback and iterating accordingly, we are ready to test Scholar Hero beyond our home base!

To test with us for absolutely free, simply go to scholarhero.com/beta-signup. We will send you to our testing page with a permission code. All we ask in return is a quick survey about our platform after a week of use.

Thanks to everyone for their support, and we hope to keep working hard to get Scholar Hero ready for our wide release!

Lee Ngo
Founder
Scholar Hero

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Scholar Hero is now in Closed Beta! Sign up for a live demo!

After a year of planning, hacking, and iterating, Scholar Hero is now officially in closed beta! We are now taking requests for live demos in the greater Pittsburgh area and select remote demos nationwide.

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Those who are selected for closed beta are eligible for reduced rate unlimited accounts in the near future as a thank you for the priceless feedback they will provide for us. We will only offer closed beta accounts to a very small group of people, so please sign up for them as soon as you can.

To sign up, simply click on the link here and fill out a very brief form. We will be in contact with you soon to follow up. Thank you for your support!

The link: http://www.scholarhero.com/beta-signup

Scholar Hero would like to thank a lot of individuals for helping us get to this point:

To learn more about Scholar Hero, visit scholarhero.com or fill out our contact form to speak directly to our staff. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+

Once again, the link to sign up for closed beta: http://www.scholarhero.com/beta-signup

Thank you, Idea Foundry! (Scholar Hero Forges Ahead)

Idea Foundry (www.ideafoundry.org)

Idea Foundry (www.ideafoundry.org)

At the end of February, Scholar Hero will come to the end of its term in the Entertainment and Ed Tech Accelerator Program hosted by Idea Foundry, one of the leading investing entities in innovation and technology in southwestern Pennsylvania. The experience was a truly blessed one.

Scholar Hero founder Lee Ngo and Idea Foundry Entertainment and Education Initiatives Program Director Gary Gardiner

Scholar Hero founder Lee Ngo and Idea Foundry Program Director Gary Gardiner

Under the mentoring of Gary Gardiner, director of this selective program, we were able to accomplish what once seemed impossible: virtually complete Scholar Hero’s minimally viable product (to release for private beta within the next few weeks!)

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Our page in the Idea Foundry Entertainment and Ed Tech Sector – 2013

We now realize the importance of accelerators in communities that hope to stimulate their regional economies and encourage ambitious people to forge something real and sustainable. Pittsburgh is truly lucky to have so many of these entities (a lot of them not-for-profit, no less), and we are more than honored to be a part of them.

A little preview of Scholar Hero: Version One!

A little preview of Scholar Hero: Version One!

Our hope is that Scholar Hero has met the high expectations of the Idea Foundry and will want to continue this fruitful relationship in the future. Without their boost of confidence, funding, and networking, our company would certainly be in a very different place. For more information about the Idea foundry, and their Entertainment and Ed Tech Accelerator Program, visit www.ideafoundry.org or follow this link.

Lee Ngo
Founder
Scholar Hero, Inc.

Scholar Hero is accepted into the Idea Foundry’s Entertainment & Ed Tech Accelerator Program!

Yay!

(from left) Technical Director Michael Butler, Founder and Executive Director Lee Ngo, and Idea Foundry Program Manager Gary Gardiner

Amazing news for Scholar Hero! On November 5th, 2013, we have accepted our invitation to join the Idea Foundry’s Entertainment & Ed Tech Accelerator Program! The Idea Foundry (www.ideafoundry.org) is one of Pittsburgh’s premiere technological and business startup accelerator programs in southwestern Pennsylvania. Their Entertainment & Ed Tech program is unparalleled in the region, and it is perfect for Scholar Hero’s current aspirations.

For Scholar Hero, this is a terrific milestone. This program provides the company with its first official investment, just nine months after its incorporation and barely a year after its initial conception during Startup Weekend Pittsburgh #2. The Idea Foundry also provides mentoring, advisement, and other standard resources that come with a prestigious, competitive accelerator. We haven’t been this excited since being selected as part of the inaugural class of the Thrill Mill Hustle Den incubator program!

Scholar Hero founder Lee Ngo pitching at Google Pittsburgh for the Thrill Mill Thrival Innovation series.

Scholar Hero founder Lee Ngo pitching at Google Pittsburgh during Thrill Mill’s Innovation Series.

Another great perk about the Idea Foundry is its close proximity to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, schools with students, professors, and staff that we hope will be among the first early adopters of our platform. Testing and validating our product could not be made any easier for us now, and we hope that more established partnerships might emerge as well from the improved locations.

Moreover, because of our acceptance into the Entertainment & Ed Tech Accelerator Program, we are also being evaluated early for Idea Foundry’s highly competitive Core Program as well. Potentially, this puts us in a position to receive more funding! (One step at a time…)

The Scholar Hero Development Team hard at work on our first prototype.

The Scholar Hero Development Team hard at work on our first prototype.

“We are truly ecstatic and grateful to have the support of the Idea Foundry as we continue to develop our platform and build our potential user base,” says Lee Ngo, founder and executive director of Scholar Hero. “Program Manager Gary Gardiner and the Idea Foundry have provided us with wonderful feedback over the course of the year, and they have been a major influence in our overall conceptual, technical, and business development. We look forward to our continued partnership over the next three months and beyond.”

We hope that this is the first of many future successes to come! Our selection into this renowned accelerator program provides further validation for our unique and innovative concept, but now the pressure is on for us to deliver! We hope to do you proud, Idea Foundry!

To learn more about Scholar Hero, visit http://www.scholarhero.com or fill out the contact form below:

Lee Ngo is the founder and executive director of Scholar Hero, Inc. All rights reserved.

Scholar Hero’s Presentation at Google Pittsburgh: Thrival Innovation 2013

Founder Lee Ngo pitches to an audience at Google Pittsburgh on 9/7/2013. Photo courtesy of No Typical Moments (www.notypicalmoments.com)
Founder Lee Ngo pitches to an audience at Google Pittsburgh on 9/7/2013. Photo courtesy of No Typical Moments (www.notypicalmoments.com)

Has it really been a week since our company’s first major presentation to the Pittsburgh technology
and entrepreneurial community?

After several all-night preparations and collaborations with other teams incubated in the Hustle Den, an incubator owned and operated by Thrill Mill, Inc., we pulled off what felt like the impossible: a concise 5-minute pitch at Google Pittsburgh demonstrating our proof of concept. Here’s a clip of the presentation (scroll to the 1 hour, 17 minute, 36 second mark for our presentation):


Video courtesy of Thrill Mill, Inc. (www.thrillmill.com)

Lamentably, the video does not do the presentations justice. It is amazing how much our companies have grown over the last several months. In our case, we were little more than a handful of good ideas that needed to be refined into a bona fide company. For our successes, we must thank Thrill Mill for the opportunity they’ve given us as well as the countless people who have contributed to our development along the way.

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Founder Lee Ngo poses with founders Rachel Bane and Jimena Quan of Mix: a salad-themed restaurant for the Pittsburgh community (photo courtesy of Scholar Hero)

Still, we have a long way to go. A few more milestones ahead include:

  • Overhauling the landing page to reflect our new direction
  • Creating a public beta version of our product
  • Securing some early seed funding to help us support that beta
  • Expanding our network via social media (especially this blog)
  • Solidifying our core founding team
  • Generating that first dollar of revenue
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How we do after a long day of pitching: The Thrival Music Festival (photo courtesy of Scholar Hero)

Keep an eye on this blog and our landing site http://www.scholarhero.com for more updates!

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Lee Ngo is the founder and executive director of Scholar Hero, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Academic Doctor Who

With the enormous press over a new Doctor casted and the show’s 50th anniversary approaching, Doctor Who is one of the few popular, long standing programs on TV driven by the relentless pursuit of knowledge.

Doctor Who is a BBC science fiction series about an alien named The Doctor who explores time and space for the sake of general enlightenment. Doctor Who began as a children’s education series, and while it has evolved into the popular mainstream, it still has much to teach.

Property of the BBC

The Doctor might be over 900 years old and possess a limitless mental encyclopedia, his capacity and passion to learn and explore never ceases. He is the perfect embodiment of the archetypal scholar.

His adventures, however, are often interrupted by dangers such as aliens, cyborgs, or natural disasters. Like a true pacifist, the Doctor opts to solve any problem through research and discovery rather than violence.

Pictured: A time machine. (Property of the BBC)

The doctor also believes in the power of collaboration. He recruits a human Companion with him on his adventures, usually because he delights in seeing their curiosity.

What drives the series of Doctor Who is the core belief that knowledge is worthwhile, world-altering, and meant to be shared with others. In other words, Doctor Who is a fundamentally a show for the academic in all of us.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Professor Spotlight: Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyen

For the second part of our professor series, we contacted fiction and critical writer, Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyen.

1) Who are you (name, title(s), positions of relevance), and how would you describe your academic career in general?

“Viet Thanh Nguyen, Associate Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity, USC. I’m a tenure-track professor who writes both criticism and fiction, and who blogs for fun.”

2) What first inspired you to pursue a career in academia?

“When I applied for graduate school, I wasn’t thinking of a career, and I certainly wasn’t thinking of teaching. I liked reading fiction, theory and criticism and was pretty good at writing critical papers, so I thought going to graduate school for a PhD would make sense. Of course I was thinking that there would be a job as a professor at the end of school, but I really had no idea what that meant. So what inspired me to pursue a “career” was really just a love of books, ideas, and arguments. The reality of a career in academia is much, much different than anything I’d imagined as an undergraduate.”

3) What are you currently working on?

“After I published my tenure book on Asian American literature, I wrote a novel and a short story collection, now in the hands of an agent. I was also working on a second critical book on memory and the Vietnam War, which is two-thirds finished and which I can focus on now that the fictional projects are out of the way.”

4) What kind of change would you like to see in the culture of academia?

“I would like to see a more humane market in academia where the supply and demand of PhDs was closer to equilibrium than it is now. Short of that, I would like to see livable salaries for non-tenure track faculty. Equally unrealistically, I’d like to see academic culture be less cliquish, gossipy, materialistic, trendy, snobbish, condescending, petty and spiteful…or perhaps my corner of academia is warping me and the rest of academia isn’t marked by these characteristics.”

5) What advice would you offer to aspiring academics?

“Work really, really hard; communicate clearly with your advisors and reach out to informal mentors; never go to graduate school without full funding; know your personal and professional limits in terms of where you want to work and what kind of work you want to do; and have an exit plan, or at least know that you may need to exit and that there’s no shame in that. Everyone I know who’s left academia is happy, and many people I know in academia are unhappy or seem to be unhappy or should be unhappy because that at least would be a good excuse for some unfortunate behavior.”