RIT does not believe in their own

A common phrase, “Practice what you preach” has lost its meaning among the RIT faculty. An institution that claims it is among the top in the world with world class professors, innovative techniques and academia second to none, should have no problem believing in its students.

A little over a year ago I developed an iPhone application for RIT. At the time it was just what we needed – an app that could pinpoint buildings on a map, show me customizable events, and allow me to look up people in the directory. It’s proven to be incredibly useful for both myself, my friends, and students.

I’ve been giving it away for free for over a year.

During the fall of 2010 I was approached by a few of RIT’s faculty to join in on a weekly meeting about RIT’s mobile application strategy. Naturally, during the first meeting, we broke the ice and everyone described themselves and why they are there. I mentioned that I built an iPhone application for RIT.

I had knowledge that most of the people in the room did not. I created a mobile application that thousands of students have been using since its launch. I know what works and what doesn’t based on experience.

After many long meetings (could have been handled through email) I discovered that they were going to choose a vendor to build a mobile application.

RIT recognizes me as an entrepreneur, student advocate, and one who gives back to the community frequently. I’ve spoken at events, held events, and spread publicity throughout Rochester and the internet that always points back to RIT. Instinctively I said, “Why don’t you consider me a vendor? My price is unbeatable and what you’re looking for is 80% there. It’s in the market and thousands of students are already using it.”

They pushed me through the formalities. A set of paperwork in order to apply as a vendor which every company had months to complete. When I received the paperwork the deadline was tomorrow, so I did it in one night.

RIT performed a survey asking students what features they would want in a mobile application. The items that ranked 1,2, and 3 existed in the application that I built. I said I’d hire RIT students to make the app better. This would allow us to focus on the app – it would no longer be a side project.

They didn’t choose us.

Inexperience? I don’t think so. Price? Definitely not.

But RIT missed something important. They missed one of the biggest publicity and marketing opportunities of a lifetime.

We didn’t get the job. Not only would the time to market be immediate, but RIT students would be known as the vendor/developer. It would show that RIT practices what it preaches, that it believes in its students. That the ever-increasing $37,000 tuition means something.

When you painfully pay insane amounts to study at a university that claims it is one of the best, shouldn’t they believe in their students?

Practice what you preach.

Update: I would love to meet with any of the administration, faculty or staff at RIT about this. I know many of you are reading thinking that I am negatively portraying RIT. I am not. I want to facilitate change and to provoke thought. This is not the first time something like this has happened. Many people feel the same way.

Matt

Matt is the cofounder and CTO of Sidestep – a company that lets you pre-order concert merch and skip the line. He's a serial entrepreneur who worked at Apple, Rockadoo and Cofactor software.

San Francisco, CA
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