Blake Dickstein

Blake Dickstein
Mentor: Dr. Alex Rubenstein
Warrington College of Business Administration
"The University Scholars program is a perfect way to cap off my undergraduate experience at UF. I wanted to push myself to create a culmination of all of my studies and extra curricular interests. Exploring business strategy and entrepreneurship in a formal research setting is a great opportunity to further my preparation for my full time career."


Business Management and Information



Research Interests

  • Smartphone Applications
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Strategy

Academic Awards

  • Anderson Scholar of Highest Distinction
  • UF President's Honor Roll
  • Dean's List


  • Beta Gamma Sigma
  • Gator Innovators
  • Alpha Epsilon Pi
  • Florida Leadershp Academy Class VIII


  • N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Video Games
  • Game of Thrones
  • Music
  • Consulting

Research Description

App Culture and Barriers to Entry
"The 21st century has brought with it a plethora of new business models. Through its accessibility, the Internet has created opportunities for entrepreneurs to explore new ventures as well as new standards for operation. Currently, the growth of an “app culture,” and the prevalence of “apps” –a type of software that runs on smart phones and tablets - has given rise to an entirely new business model highlighted by, among other things, consumer convenience. Entire companies and industries are being threatened by applications: Garmin and other GPS makers are extremely vulnerable to the map applications that exist on every smart phone and tablet; flashlight applications have rendered the physical flashlight, once considered a household necessity, almost entirely obsolete. The way we view products has changed significantly, moving from a reliance on what was initially available only outside the home, to purchases being made at home yet tethered to personal computers, to the present, where consumers now have information and utilities available on command. This increasing trend of accessibility has been born out of the development of applications. Apple’s App Store recently celebrated a landmark 25 billion app downloads in 2012. Applications and their respective App Stores allow individuals to reach a mass audience outside of normal business channels. This new phenomenon has made it easier for both major companies and the everyday entrepreneur to bring new ideas to fruition. The purpose of my research is to study the implications of this app culture within the realm of entrepreneurship. Specifically, to what extent have the barriers to entry of forming a new business been affected by the existence and dominance of applications? In answering this, I will investigate what the barriers to entry are for creating applications, and how they compare and contrast to traditional modes of conducting business. More research is needed to understand the distinctive factors that predicate app creation. Such questions include but are not limited to: what are the average start up costs for an app business?; what type of knowledge is needed?; given changing barriers to entry, what are the implications for future business strategy? There are several factors to consider here, such as the notions of product scalability, the ability of a good or service to accommodate large growth, the “self serving” business model Apple has pioneered with their App store, and innovation as a regular practice. Applications are a dominant means of conducting business today, as evidenced by the billions of dollars spent by major companies on acquiring apps and their developers. But what does it take for start-ups and their new applications to reach that point, and what avenues of success are available for them? I will draw from existing theory regarding innovation, network externalities, destructive technologies, and complementary assets to address these inquiries.