Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Last month (November 2013) Murray talks in Boulder about dramatic changes in characteristics founders felt essential for self-government (marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religious) separating between working and upper classes, leading to America coming apart (title of his recent book.)
Monday, December 30, 2013
We're live by 5 p.m. Mountain time, Monday thru Friday on YouTube Live Events, Google+ Live Hangouts, or here on JohnWren.com. You are welcome to share this any way you'd like with friends who might find what we are doing helpful.
If you'd like to be a guest on an episode of the new SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show we'll be doing after the 1st of the year, call and leave a complete, confidential message about who you are and what you'd like to share, and when a good time for me to get back with you via telephone in the next couple of days. It's ok to email me, but chances are I won't see it unless you've called and left a message, too. Call me at (303)861-1447
Join us this Friday, or any Friday, for our Denver IDEA Salon, open discussion meeting about startup, and our Denver IDEA Cafe startup workshop. Also contact us if you'd like help starting similar groups in cooperation with your local chamber or other group. For more information and optional RSVP see link to Meetup.com on our Small Business Chamber site http://www.SmallBizChamber.org or call John Wren (303)861-1447. It's later than you think! But it's only too late if you don't start now! Just start!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Are you using Twitter? I'll talk about Twitter on The Startup Show tomorrow, here live by 5 p.m. Mountain. Scroll down to see last Friday's show, I talked about the grassroots, why this is such a critical time in business and politics.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations took 8 years to become a best selling book. I expect the same thing will happen with this ground breaking book.
The conventional wisdom is that business startup depends on market research and careful, formal planning.
Every college and university teach those working with startups to ask, "Have you written a business plan?"
If this conventional wisdom was valid we'd have a planned economy, not a market economy.
What's driven the phenomenal growth of this country until the early 70s was the fact that nearly all startup were boot strapped, there were not written business plans.
That fact was clearly demonstrated with the research of Dr. Amar Bhide, documented in a series of articles in the Harvard Business Review and culminating in his book "The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses" in 1994, at which time the publisher of Inc Magazine said it was the most important book about startup ever written.
He was also influence by the first hand experience he had growing up with a successful entrepreneur, from how he could observe what he calls in the book "opportunistic adaptation." We spent a day on the University of Denver campus talking with instructors and visiting classes, the way he would explain the process, "you don't want to buy this lamp, here, how about this rug."
Bhide's book was well researched, well documented, well written, but still it was ignored by the Small Business Administration, the tax-funded mechanism set up in 1953 by big businesses with the intention, I believe, to snuff out the entrepreneurial spirit of America, along with the entrepreneurship educational network across the country.
More recently Sarah Sarasvathy has reached similar conclusions to Bhide using a different research methodology.
The authors give credit to Sarasvathy, but not to Bhide. When I asked them about this on a webinar, Len admitted he knew Amar, had taught with him at Harvard, he was very much aware of his insights, and that it was a mistake not to have given him any credit at all.
What are the Bhide/Sarasvathy insights that are incorporated into this book? That in past years when the USA economy was flourishing, successful business did not start the way the SBA has said since 1953 that they should start. This SBA drumbeat has been picked up by every college and university entrepreneurship program. Show me one that requires Bhide's book to be read. Outrageous!
Insights include the fact that successful entrepreneurs in the past did not do formal market research or engaged in formal planning. The business plan competitions are an enormous was of time and money, and they teach the wrong lesson.
Insights include the fact that successful entrepreneurs bootstrap, they don't try and borrow money. As Mark Cuban has said, "only a fool would borrow money to start a business," yet students of startup today are being taught about how to impress venture capitalists.
Insights include the fact that successful entrepreneurs don't think long range, they for sure don't have an exit strategy when they are just starting. Recently a survey found that 87% of business owners do not have a exit plan.
So where does Just Start fit in? This bold book is a radical attempt to right the wrong, the festering wound that erupted in 1970 when Nixon went to China, the culmination of the disease that was spread by the SBA, that was perhaps was first allowed to infect this country in 1910 when Harvard awarded the first MBA.
And it has been virtually ignored. It should have been at the top of the best seller list, and in my opinion, as I said earlier, I believe that could still happen.
What will bring that about would be a changing of the guard at the Kauffman Foundation. Marion Kauffman was an entrepreneur very much in the classical mold, starting a very, very successful business out of the trunk of his car. He died, and it appears his well intentioned widow, now deceased, was misled, and a mechanism for pouring gasoline on the academic approach to entrepreneurship that is killing startup in this country just as surely as some see the academic approach to poetry is killing of real poets and poetry (see Epstein's column in last April 1st Wall Street Journal.)
There is hope. Steve Blank and his student Eric Ries have moved away somewhat from the academic approach to startup, at this point it's hard to tell if Startup Weekends, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Tech Stars, etc etc are helping or hurting.
What is clearly the major problem is the Small Business Administration. When I asked Steve Blank what he thought of the SBA startup efforts, the whole complex of activities from SCORE (I've suggested they should change their name to SQUASH), SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) across the country that disseminate the SBA research/planning propoganda, a network created by virtually bribing local chambers of commerce. Blank has told me that from his perspective at Stanford, he didn't know anyone who has anything to do with the SBA.
That may be true for the Stanford crowd, but the deadly network is having an impact, it is clear.
For proof of the deadening effect, the smoking gun, the statistics that show our stagnations, see Nobel economist Edmund Phelps recently published, very fine Mass Flourishing. When Phelps was introduced at Oxford, it was said the book will, "transform economics." Some have said it's the most important book since The Wealth of Nations.
Phelps effectively demonstrates that what he calls corporatism combined with socialism have just about killed off the new economy that build this country, research and planning have choked off the vitalism and dynamism that we saw from about 1840 or so to 1970.
Phelps offers some remedies worth considering, for one thing study groups in Washington DC that would take up his book, and I'd suggest they also read Bhide and this book that is under consideration here, Just Start.
As a matter of fact, I suggest that the DC study groups start with Just Start, or at least read the one page summary in the back. What do we want? To restore vitalism and dynamism into our economy. What are the smart steps we can quickly take in that direction?
The first thing let's do, let's kill the SBA!
If you are serious about startup, skip the SBA. Instead buy this book, take an afternoon and digest it, then the next morning Just Start!
The book suggests bringing other people along. I always suggest that those starting check with a good CPA before investing a lot of time or money. A good CPA will help you quickly see the financial implications of what you are considering, and they will make sure that you can skip going to a lawyer until you are further along.
But don't expect encouragement. For that attend one of our Small Business Chamber IDEA Cafe Startup Workshops. Or at least watch The Startup Show, live by 5 p.m. Mountain each day on my JohnWren.com or YouTube Live Events or Google + Live Hangouts.
This life is very short, so Just Start!
Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change
View all my reviews
Friday, December 27, 2013
Starting in a new direction?
Career + Project + Campaign + New Business
Start, grow, flourish!
Each day Monday thru Friday, 5 p.m. Mountain
Interested in the spirituality of startup?
Thursday, December 26, 2013
On the startup show today both Evaluation and Action from our IDEA Model.
How do you know when you are ready to start? What can you do to help yourself as you take those first few steps? Who can tell you?
Tomorrow, Friday (Dec 27) Denver IDEA Salon & Workshop. Free! Join us to help get 2014 off to a good start. Contact us if Denver's too far, we'll help you start a new group in cooperation with your local chamber or other group. More info and RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber
PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH FRIENDS, THEY WILL THANK YOU AND SO WILL I IF YOU'LL LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE. :-)
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
We'll talk about what to do once you have an idea. There is more than one way to go forward, taking a pause to think of alternatives can often yield big rewards. These moments in life, turning points, don't come every day. Which roads are possible now?
Join our Small Business Chamber of Commerce Meetup.com site, I'll go overboard to delight you. For details see http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber or call me (303)861-1447. But do it now, I'd hate for us to miss this opportunity to work together. We are going to close memberships when we reach 100.
For many reasons, we are going to start charging a monthly membership fee. If you are the first paid member it will only cost $1.50. Then $2.50 for the second membership, $3.50 for #3, etc. And the small fee is guaranteed, your money back if you are not satisfied for the first 30 days.
I'll be knocking myself out to delight these first few paid members. Check it out, if it looks like it might be helpful to you, give it a try, ok? See http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber
Founder & CEO, Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc
IDEA Salons & Cafes * The Startup Show * Consulting & Coaching.
Consulting & Coaching practice limited to startups: 1) individuals starting
a new career, project or campaign, or new business; and 2) corporations, chambers of commerce, service clubs and other groups who want to encourage employee or member creativity that leads to inspired action-- reactivate inactive customers/members; new customers/members; introduce new products/services to existing customers; collect past due accounts. Ask me to speak at your next event. Free or negotiated price invoiced in advance.
For more see http://www.JohnWren.com or call (303)861-1447
Monday, December 23, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
What's next after you have an idea, when you want the idea to become a reality?
Join us in Denver this Friday, IDEA Cafe Startup Workshops and Denver IDEA Salon Discussion Group. http://www.SmallBizChamber.org
Monday, December 16, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I hope Pope Francis finds 20 minutes to watch this. What is the role of business in society?
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Join us Friday here in Denver or start your own IDEA Group with the
cooperation of your local chamber or other group. See Meetup link:
New (at least to me) video series, The American Mind.
I hope Pope Francis remembers the farmers who grow the wheat, the millers who make it into flour, the bakers who make it into bread, the wholesalers and retailers and restaurant owners who get it into the mouths of hungry people. Seems to me this process, year after year after year, is just as big of a miricle as Jesus feeding the 5,000 when he took the loaves, blessed, broke, and gave them. Only communist propaganda can blind us to this every day miracle.
"(Economic) production is essentially a form of cooperation among free individuals whose self-interested labor serves the best interest of all. The greatest “culture war” in history is to re-establish the moral significance of economic activity in the consciousness of modern political and cultural elites."
Andrej Rapaczynski, The Moral Significance of Economic Life. Capitalism and Society, Vol. 8, Issue 2, Article 1, 2013. http://ssrn.com/abstract=2364655
Monday, December 09, 2013
SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show: Denver Speakers Bureau, Salute to Local Authors, Karen Loucks Rinedollar
My comment: BREAKING NEWS: POPE ANNOUNCE NEW CAMPAIGN TO END HUNGER
My comment you'll see under his announcement video:
The Pope draws attention to this important problem. God has given us the means to feed all people, right now we aren't using what we've been given. "Mass Flourish" by Nobel economist, just published by Princeton University Press, clearly shows exactly what the problem is and what needs to be done.
I hope Pope Francis and his advisors read this new book, or at least watch the lecture at Oxford University on YouTube, see link to it and other info below.
When there are dead bodies in the river it's not enough to just remove the bodies, we go up stream to see what's the root of the problem. That's exactly what Nobel economist Edmund Phelps does with this new book: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10058.html
Sunday, December 08, 2013
When the Bell Telephone System was broken up, in my opinion most of us didn't think fast or slow, we were just led by the nose to those in contol, some who ended up in jail.
Seems to me it's directly relevant to how ideas, usually the result of fast thinking, in my experience, actually get started, which involves lots and lots of slow thinking.
IDEA is the acronym for the four-step creativity model I've been using for decades since one of my former professors at the University of Denver and myself developed it when I was working for Mountain Bell, which became US West, eventually what we have now, Century Link, back then we were the local operating company for the Bell Telephone System which was broken up.
Back then most of us paid a very small amount of money for local telephone service, and it was predicted that long distance would soon be free.
Some of those who pushed the breakup went to jail, or should have, now telephone service costs an arm and a leg. Clearly phone service was and is a natural monopoly and should be regulated. Will we ever have political leadership who has the guts to take on putting the genie back it the bottle?
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Brian and possibly Anthony will be with us tomorrow for our Denver IDEA Salon discussion group at 2:30 p.m. and our IDEA Cafe Startup Workshop at 3:45, both at the same place, Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, just a block from the Colorado Capitol. For more and to RSVP for either or both of the meetings see link to our Meetup.com site at SmallBizChamber.org (click)
Here's Anthony and Brian:
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
If you'd like to be on the show or if you have suggestions of who we should invite, call John Wren at (303)861-1447 or post your suggestion as a comment here.
Now here is today's show:
Join us Fridays for an IDEA Salon for open discussion about startup and/or an IDEA Cafe startup workshop. Information about existing groups and how to start a new one in cooperation with your local chamber or other group can be found via our Meetup.com site, see link on http://www.SmallBizChamber.org.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Today we discuss what to do with the initial inspiration, the I in our IDEA model.
D is Develop Alternatives, there is more that one way to skin a cat, so we let our mind and the minds of others help us see potential next steps, people we might bring along, etc.
Some call this green light thinking, chunking up, we think more and more. Might not take lot, but we consider our options. Trick is to not get stuck on this stage, paralysis from analysis is deadly to new ideas.
Join us Friday? http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber To far away? Call and we'll help you start a new group in cooperation with your local chamber of commerce or other group. Call (303)861-1447.
Monday, December 02, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
HELP OUR ECONOMY! PLEASE FORWARD TO A FRIEND WHO IS STARTING IN A NEW DIRECTION WITH THEIR WORK. BETTER YET, CALL AND INVITE YOUR FRIEND!
Friday, November 29, 2013
Life is too short for any of us to learn from just our own experience!
Join us this afternoon for the Denver IDEA Cafe Startup Workshop at 3:45 p.m. or the Denver IDEA Startup Salon at 2:30 p.m., both at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant.
Our Small Business Chamber IDEA Cafe is the workshop that I've led here in Denver for nearly 20 years. 5280 Magazine says it's infused Denver with an entrepreneurial spirit. Join us for it any time you're headed in a new direction with your work. We say if we're successful you'll be too busy to come back the next week.
Our new IDEA Startup Salon is an open discussion meeting, we share startup experience about topics that are brought by those attending. Join us anytime you have a problem with your work as you start in a new direction, starting a new career, a new project or campaign, or a new business. Most who attend have already attended an IDEA Cafe, but that is not a requirement.
Right now we also have meetings in Englewood and Boulder County here in metro-Denver, we are getting more serious about getting groups kicked off in other parts of Denver, across Colorado, and possibly beyond. If you'd like our help getting a new group started in cooperation with your local chamber or other group give me a call.
For more information and to RSVP for an upcoming meeting, see http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber
See you this afternoon?
John S. Wren, MBA+++
Co-Founder & CEO, Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
www.SmallBizChamber.org * John@SmallBizChamber.org
960 Grant St. #727 * Denver, CO * 80203
Call 24/7, I'll get back to you ASAP (303)861-1447
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Why do Seth Godin and Daniel Pink get so much more press? This is a real heavy weight in economics making some hard, insightful comments that should shake the world of economics to it's foundation, it should "transform economics" as mention in the introduction here:
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Today: Inspiration, the I in IDEA-- How to get an inspiration.
Join us for an IDEA Cafe (workshop) or Salon (discussion group), contact us if you'd like help starting one with your local chamber of commerce or other group. http://www.SmallBizChamber.org
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
except for the days we just can get r done. Then we suggest you check
out our past shows. :-)
Small Business Chamber of Commerce Inc
Facebook Page http://Facebook.com/Small.Business.Chamber
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Each day Monday thru Friday,
A few minutes reflection on startup.
Join us this Friday here in Denver, or start a group near you.
For more information, see http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber
See tabs above, new highlights of past editions of The Startup Show.
What SPECIAL EDITION would you like to see?
If you'd like help with your startup give me a call!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Gov Chris Christie
We'll discuss on The Startup Show today:
What if the crisis in education today was viewed as a business opportunity rather than as a political problem? I'm not saying that's what motivated this proposed new school, but it might have been. http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/23282/20131119/alternative-school-in-canton-recruiting-for-pilot-program
My question on the Wall Street Journal interview, we'll talk about on The Startup Show today, live by 5 p.m. Mountain time.
Monday, November 18, 2013
"How do you get inspired?"
Join us for a live meeting this Friday if you're in Denver, or contact us about starting one near you in cooperation with your local chamber of commerce.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
In a market economy the market picks the winners.
For more Google "John Wren Daring Mighty Things" e-edition 99-cents, I'll give you $1 back if you don't find it helpful.
If you want my help starting or growing your business call me, I'll be taking calls today, no cost to you.
If you get my confidential voice mailbox leave a complete message, and let me know the best time to call you back.
Call now, (303)861-1447
Friday, November 15, 2013
We'll keep it short.
SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show Click
Stever Robbins talks with us about Internet lies, why he's stopping free work.
February 10, 1924 to November 15, 1979
When pop was only 8 years old his dad died. In just about the last conversation we ever had, I asked pop why he never talked about his dad. "I resented him dying so young. My life would have been a lot better if he'd fought it a little harder." Pop's last words to mother: "Don't worry honey, we'll whip this."
Pop told me once he didn't want to give me his middle name Edgar because that would have made me a Junior, and his nickname growing up was Junior and he hated it. I imagine it stirred that resentment.
He and mom met at Amarillo High School. At one of their reunions dad answered the question "What is your proudest accomplishment" with the fact that he started a successful business, which mom didn't like.
He and mother moved to Colordo in 1949, I was 2 years old, my earliest memory was him calling me to the front yard there in Loveland to go to the warehouse with him. I worked for him full time my last two years in college, and we sold the business the summer of 1969, his friends who didn't see the fact that chain stores had changed distribution economics didn't make out nearly so well. That summer he changed his will to make me the executor and trustee of his estate if mother ever wasn't able to do it when he passed on. We had no idea he'd be gone only 10 short years later.
I grew up working each summer for dad, yard work and warehouse work. Driving to the warehouse was like going to a business training seminar. "Every morning you have to give yourself a pep talk." "Stay busy, there is always something to do." "Don't ever make jokes about money, employees never find them funny." "The price you sell for is based on what people are willing to pay, not what it cost you." "You can't sell from an empty wagon, always have plenty of inventory." "People don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care." "You wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you knew how little they did it." "The best is just barely good enough." "Whatever you do, be in business for yourself, even if it's just to have a pop corn stand." "Every home should have a Montgomery Wards catalog, when kids look through it they learn how to dream." "Every thing you see once started as someone's idea." "The definition of a living wage depends on whether you are getting it or paying it." "The profit in the wholesale business depends on how well you handle the merchandise that doesn't sell. (Bin-X)"
Dad fought cancer for several years. He was mistreated for prostate cancer, caused it unnecessarily to spread. The son of the doctor who treated him came to a meeting I'd organized one time and told me how grateful his family was we hadn't sued. Never entered my mind. Not much did those days, I was filled with grief, youngest daughter Allie was born 10 days after pop died, the pastor at our church who had been so helpful to me moved out of town, and a therapist I'd been seeing did the same thing. What I saw as the solution to my problems turned out to be the biggest of my problems.
Decades later I went to mother's 50th high school reunion with her. I was astonished at how popular she was, she'd been a cheer leader, home coming queen, voted most popular, was awarded a full scholarship to Colorado Women's College, then instead married dad when he was discharged from the Navy. At the reunion I finally understood why it made her so made that pop had thought of his business as his proudest accomplishment. How he ever got her to marry him, charismatic, hardworking, bright, but without owning a car, not even having a job, surely getting her to say yes was the most important sale he ever made. Mother took care of their home, me and my brothers, there is just no way he could have been as successful as he was without her help.
We miss you pop, but none of us who were with you those final years can ever say you didn't fight it as hard as you could. Thank you for all you did for all of us in your short life.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Tomorrow (Fri, Nov 15) 2:30 pm for our Denver IDEA Salon, open discussion group, and then at 4 p.m. our Denver IDEA Startup Cafe, both at Panera Bread, 13th and Grant. More info and optional RSVP on our Meetup site, see link on http://www.SmallBizChamber.org
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Today's topic is Evaluation, how you decide whether to go forward or not? Johnny Cash said that in poker you have to "know when to hold em, know when to fold em, and when to run away." How do we decide in startup, especially when it's a big idea. Earlier today, SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show talked with well known executive coach Stever Robbins about Internet Success Myths & How They Are Fleecing You, you can see it right below here on JohnWren.com. Stever is very interesting, funny, it's worth a few minutes of your time, take a look.
(Click here) for Daring Mighty Things-- The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business by me. 99-cents in the Kindle edition, I'll give you $1 back if you don't find it helpful.
Best book on startup for the person who wants to get going now, Just Start, see http://Just-Start.com
For the business adviser or teacher best book on startup is Amar Bhide's The Origin & Evolution of New Businesses. http://bhide.net
SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show talks with Stever Robbins: Internet Success Story Myths & How They Are Fleecing You.
In this SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show host John Wren talks with Stever Robbins about his recent post on his Facebook Page announcing that he was no longer doing work for free. We called him and asked for this one last free interview, about why the new policy and Stever's views about Internet success stories:
The Small Business Administration teaches that you should share your idea with a lot of people, if they don't think what you are doing is a good idea, change your idea. Steve Blank and Eric Rise say pretty much the same thing in that regard.
Is this how most big ideas got off the ground, there was a ground swell of popular support? Watch for the show live today on YouTube Live Broadcasts or Google+ Live Hangouts, or come back here to this site about 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, or any time after that for a link to the YouTube recording.
We'll also be talking about this at our Denver IDEA Salon this Friday, free and open to everyone. No RSVP required, but that saves a seat for you until the start of the meeting, more info at http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
The Startup Show
I = Inspiration Monday
D= Develop Alternatives Tuesday
E= Evaluate the Alternatives Wednesday
A = Act!
Friday we talk about the grassroots in business and politics.
Sponsored by the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc
We help each other create a Good Living, cooperating with local
chambers of commerce and other groups.
Here's today's show:
Thursday, November 07, 2013
It's not here because I didn't. Had an appointment, ran late, just couldn't get it all done. Here's what I would have talked about on today's video:
After we've had an inspiration, developed alternatives, decided which way to go, here's a great way to take action, from the Harvard Business Review:
HBR Blog Network
A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness
by Tony Schwartz |
For nearly a decade now, I’ve begun my workdays by focusing for 90 minutes, uninterrupted, on the task I decide the night before is the most important one I’ll face the following day. After 90 minutes, I take a break.
To make this possible, I turn off my email while I’m working, close all windows on my computer, and let the phone go to voicemail if it rings.
I typically get more work done during those 90 minutes, and feel more satisfied with my output, than I do for any comparable period of time the rest of the day. It can be tough on some days to fully focus for 90 minutes, but I always have a clear stopping time, which makes it easier.
I launched this practice because I long ago discovered that my energy, my will, and my capacity for intense focus diminish as the day wears on. Anything really challenging that I put off tends not to get done, and it’s the most difficult work that tends to generate the greatest enduring value.
I first made this discovery while writing a book. At the time, I’d written three previous books. For each one, I’d dutifully sit down at my desk at 7 a.m., and I’d often stay there until 7 p.m.
Looking back, I probably spent more time avoiding writing than I did actually writing. Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time and energy making lists, responding to email, answering the phone, and keeping my desk clean and my files incredibly well organized.
There were days I never got to writing at all. It was incredibly frustrating.
At the heart of making this work is to build highly precise, deliberate practices, done at specific times, so they eventually become automatic and don’t require much expenditure of energy or self-discipline, akin to brushing your teeth at night. It’s the crux of what I now do at my company, The Energy Project
It was this approach that I applied to the book I was writing, and at other times to whatever I happen to be working on. The effect on my efficiency has been staggering. I wrote my fourth book in less than half the time I had invested in any of the three previous ones.
When I’m not working on a book, I choose the next day’s work the night before because I don’t want to squander energy thinking about what to do during the time I’ve set aside to actually do the work.
I define “important” as whatever it is I believe will add the most enduring the value if I get it done. More often than not, that means a challenge that is “important but not urgent,” to use Steven Covey’s language.
These are precisely the activities we most often put off — in favor of those that are more urgent, and easier toaccomplish, and provide more immediate gratification.
I start at a very specific time, because I discovered early on that when I didn’t hold myself to an exact time, it became a license to procrastinate. “Oh wait,” I’d tell myself, “I’m just going to answer this email,” Before I knew it, I’d have answered a dozen emails, and a half dozen more had arrived, calling out for my attention.
Finding an excuse to avoid hard work isn’t hard to do.
I work for 90 minutes because that’s what the research suggests is the optimal human limit for focusing intensely on any given task. This “ultradian rhythm,” the researcher Peretz Lavie and others have found, governs our energy levels (http://books.google.com/books?
Over the course of 90 minutes, especially when we’re maximally focused, we move from a relatively high state of energy down into a physiological trough.
Many of us unwittingly train ourselves to ignore signals from our body that we need a rest — difficulty concentrating, physical restlessness, irritability. Instead, we find ways to override this need with caffeine, sugar, and our own stress hormones — adrenalin, noradrenalin, and cortisol — all of which provide short bursts of energy but leave us over aroused.
By intentionally aligning with my body’s natural rhythms, I’ve learned to listen to its signals. When I notice them, it usually means I’ve hit the 90-minute mark. At that point, I take a break, even if I feel I’m on a roll, because I’ve learned that if I don’t, I’ll pay the price later in the day.
I don’t get it right every day, but this single practice has been life-changing for me.
Try it for one week. Come back and report here on what you discover. I think you’ll be amazed.
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Join us for an IDEA Startup Workshop and/or Open Discussion Group. More info and optional RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber Want help now? Call The Startup Line (303)861-1447
Monday, November 04, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Often times you don't. That's why the Babson College motto is "Entrepreneurial Thought and Action." The true entrepreneur is inclined to get the idea, then go out and do it.
But there is value in taking a few minutes, any way, to reflect first. That's the topic of our show today:
SBA Councilors Are Standing By To Help You Now:
If you're in Denver, hope you can join us Friday afternoon. 2:30 p.m. IDEA Group Open Startup Discussion, bring a topic or just share about topics others raise. Then at 4 p.m. IDEA Startup Workshop, we share startup experience and brainstorm. Both are free, join us. If you'd like to start similar groups in cooperation with your local chamber or other group, call me any time (303)861-1447
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
model. If you're not inspired, what do you do?
What have you experienced? After you watch this, hope you'll
post a comment here, or email me John@JohnWren.com
Here's today's show:
Sunday, October 27, 2013
I know you and I wouldn't be that way, other people just like us to do the talking most of the time, that's why these people are so irritating when they won't listen to us, right? :-)
Share this with a friend because it's so funny, written by one of the writers for the Simpsons.
Funny, but true and, I hope, helpful.
Below is the article, and here's an interview with the author (click here.)
Hope you're having a great weekend, more later...
It's True: You Talk Too Much
How to achieve the optimal 50-50 conversation flow
By ROB LAZEBNIK
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but you talk too much. I know you think you don't, but seriously, you do.
Take this simple test: After your next long conversation with someone, estimate what percentage of it you spent talking. Be honest. No, you're already underestimating. How do I know? Because it's more fun to talk than to listen. Talking is like drinking a great Cabernet. Listening is like doing squats.
Add another 20% to your total.
If you talked more than 70% of the time, you jabber too much. I know, because my son has Asperger's syndrome, and part of his education was learning conversational dynamics.
People with Asperger's tend to give monologues about their obsessions, which can be problematic socially. It's hard to get a date after you've just told a girl all the subway stops in North America.
Dr. Lynn Koegel, who is clinical director of Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says that an optimal conversation flow has each person talking about 50% of the time. This is the Ali-Frazier of good give-and-take.
But, you say, what if your talking partner is just quiet and loves to listen? Stop it. She doesn't. Listening is like reading a corporate report. Talking is like eating a cinnamon bun.
So how do you achieve this 50-50 conversational ideal? Easy: ask questions. But don't think that one "How are you?" is going to turn you into Oprah. Actually listen to what the other person is saying, and find openings.
For instance: Your friend says, "I think that Henry the intern is probably a psychopath."
Now if you're inclined to say, "So's my mother! Yesterday, at the museum, she…" don't. You're talking too much. Instead, try, "Why do you think Henry's a psychopath, and if he's cute, would he be good for my niece?"
Now you're doing great. Your friend will love telling you about Henry. When she's done, if you really must, you can tell the anecdote about your mom. But if you're talking about someone whom your conversation partner doesn't know, especially a mother, keep it short—one minute tops, unless it's a truly fantastic story. And to qualify as such, at least five people need to have said to you in the past, "Wow, that's a fantastic story." Not "a great story" but "a fantastic story."
I can hear you complaining already: "One minute? But I need to include all the details." No you don't. Just get to the part when, on a crowded elevator, your mom turned to you and said, "I wish I could press the up button on your boobs." Your job is to quickly entertain and inform, and then to ask good questions.
Also, let your chattering breathe a little. One dastardly arrow in the big talker's quiver is to slow down in the middle of his sentence, then to blow through the period so that there's no opening for anyone to squeeze a word in. Secretly tape one of your own conversations, and if you realize you do this, stop it or never go out in public again...
So when reading this piece, did you recognize yourself? Did it perhaps make you think of someone else? If so, wouldn't it be great to send it to him? But you don't want to hurt his feelings, so how would you go about it?
Decent questions, right? Now I'll sit back and let you talk.
—Mr. LaZebnik is a writer on "The Simpsons."
A version of this article appeared October 4, 2013, on page C3 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Talk, Talk, Talk of the Town.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Grassroots, that's our mission at the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Towards that end, we are trying something new on Monday.
We are recruiting a panel of experts in Google+ Hangouts to talk about how they have used it in their marketing efforts on this first SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show.
We'd love to have you with us if that is you!
Call me at (303)861-1447 and leave a complete message if you get the voice mail. We also want the people who are on Monday to have posted an intro of themself on our Facebook Page, see http://Facebook.com/Small.Business.Chamber
Video returns Monday, live by 5, it's Inspiration Monday.
Hope you have a great weekend. I'm headed for the University of Denver Alumni Weekend, I'll be posting photos and notes on my Facebook wall http://Facebook.com/John.S.Wren
Life is short, let's get started! It's later than you think!
Thursday, October 24, 2013
One way to take action is to be part of a small group you check in with regularly. We are starting to form Go+ Groups on on Google+ Page. The first is a Go+ Group focused on Google+ Hangouts as a tool for starting and growing a business. Join us at https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/111554292876767753668/111554292876767753668/posts
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Above link for Global Entrepreneurship Week. I'll talk about it in a few minutes here on The Startup Show, today is idEa Evaluation Wednesday.
Our Small Business Chamber and our various meetings are part of this, you can see us listed.
Mentioned on today's show: GEW, see above
Just Start, see http://Just-Start.com
My book on startup, click here.
Here's today's edition of The Startup Show:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Get the book Creative Confidence by the Kelley Brothers, you can see what I'm saying about it and the praise from others on Twitter #CreativeConfinence
If you're in Denver join us this Friday afternoon to discuss Creative Confidence and any other topic about startup you have on your mind at our Denver IDEA Group Open Startup Discussion Meeting, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, just a block from the Capitol. More info and opinional RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber
READ: HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
Monday, October 21, 2013
Our topics for each day of the week will be:
Mondays: Idea Inspiration
Tuesdays: iDea Develop Alternatives
Wednesday: idEa Evaluate
Thursday: ideA Action!
Friday: Grassroots in Business and Politics
Here's today's show: