Thursday, August 31, 2006

Albert Einstein on PBS American Masters

I watched this program about Albert Einstein last night. At the end one of his friends reflected on Einstein's life and said, "Time was not a factor for him. Most of us will give something a certain amount of time and then decide to go on to something else. Not Albert. Once he had an idea, he stayed with it until it was finished, no matter how long it took. That was one of his major strengths." (Quote as I remember it this morning.)

In 1994 I had a TV show, started what I now call the IDEA Cafe, and wrote my little booklet on business startup (for free text file of the revised 2nd edition I'm working on see, and a couple of years later I started the first Franklin Circle here in Denver.

Amar Bhide (see below) confirmed my insights into startup. What he and I are doing goes against the conventional wisdom, what is taught at most business schools and the ideology that is propogated by the Small Business Administration.

I keep asking myself, what do I do now with the time I have left? Lesson of the Einstein special last night is that I should put that question out of my mind. Better question, what can I do today to help the grassroots capitalist? What can I do to help people see and seize opportunity?

I see the opportunity of doing this work. God grant me the grace to stay with it.
In March of 1994 I decided if I couldn't find any research to validate what I was talking about on my TV show and at the IDEA Cafe (which we then called the IDEA Association)that I would throw in the sponge. This was before the World Wide Web, but the Internet existed and there were bulletin boards. Somehow I found this article in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review indexed, I went to Newsland, bought a copy, and found validation. I've been talking about startup ever since. (Go to link, you can download or order a printed copy of the article.)

However popular comprehensive research and planning may be in some business arenas, they don't suit the fast-moving environment of start-ups. Entrepreneurs must move quickly or opportunity may no longer exist. Theirs is a world of ingenuity, spontaneity, and hustle. Profitable survival requires an edge derived from some combination of a creative idea and a superior capacity for execution. Research on more than 200 thriving ventures reveals four helpful guidelines for aspiring founders. First, effective entrepreneurs screen out unpromising ideas as early as possible, and they accomplish this through judgment and reflection, not gathering lots of data. Next, they assess realistically their financial situation, personal preferences, and goals for the venture. To conserve time and money, successful new founders also minimize the resources they devote to researching ideas. And, unlike managers in big corporations, entrepreneurs don't need all the answers to act.;jsessionid=DY0VTNNOKRNDMAKRGWDSELQBKE0YIISW?id=94202

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On this day in 1905 Ty Cobb made his first major league at bat with the Detroit Tigers, and in 1918 Ted Williams was born.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My friend KC Truby emailed me this article from today's Wall Street Journal. Libraries are great resouces for research. Problem is, this article perpetuates the myth that new businesses are started with market research and careful planning. Just not true, as documented by Amar Bhide.

Still, libraries are great resources:

Big Help for Small Businesses
At the Library

Commercial Databases,
Assistance on Research
And Classes Are Offered
August 29, 2006; Page B4

Where can entrepreneurs find office space, a research assistant, mentors and access to reams of market research -- all free of charge?

They might try the local library.

In an age where Google has become a verb and entrepreneurs have easy access to information from their home computers, libraries have been trying to evolve as well. Some have seemingly become small-business incubators in their own right: places where cash-strapped start-ups and established business owners alike can gather sophisticated information on a target market, draw up a business plan, bounce an idea off a seasoned executive, or perhaps, even find funding or build a Web site.

"When you think about Google, the term that is used in library circles, is the 'good enough' search," says David Hanson, business and specialty reference services coordinator with the Johnson County Library in Overland Park, Kan. "But when you are putting together a business plan," he says, "you need demographic information or marketing information, and it matters where you get your information. Good enough isn't good enough for you. That's where libraries can help."

Denise Upah Mills, an entrepreneur who keeps her local Johnson County Library on speed dial, camped out there for nearly eight months while crafting a business plan.

She was convinced there was a need for a rural high-speed Internet service -- it was 1999, still the early days in terms of the high-speed Web -- but didn't know the first thing about broadband. So, with the business librarians' help, she and her partners tapped databases and other resources for statistical data, demographics of Midwestern cities, and articles on trends in the telecommunications industry.

"The librarians there became our market-research department," says Ms. Upah Mills. "They became part of our unpaid staff and truly were invaluable. We wrote a business plan that was so complete and detailed that it impressed people that look at business plans all day long. That data was [all culled at] the library. And we paid zero for it."

A small investment-banking firm found investors for them, and, in 2001, they sold the company, Invisiband, for a "comfortable sum," she says. After closing the deal, she and her partners met in the library parking lot to celebrate.

While resources will vary across institutions, most libraries subscribe to a number of commercial databases, which can cost thousands of dollars a year. For instance, ReferenceUSA, a database with information on millions of businesses and households, coupled with census data and a lifestyle database, can make a powerful market-research tool. Entrepreneurs can find, for example, how many pet stores are in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they're located, residents' income levels, and whether they tend to own dogs.

One entrepreneur, who created a motorcycle-detailing kit, used a database of manufacturers to find motorcycle dealerships he wanted to target; then, he looked up their credit ratings, and created a mailing list targeting only those with the best scores.

"Putting that kind of information together can help people make more knowledgeable decisions," says Susan Phillis, director of the Brooklyn Public Library's Business Library.

Library patrons also have remote access to materials -- including a limited number of databases -- from their library Web sites. In fact, many list links to other sites and directories they have vetted and found particularly useful.

Many libraries are trying to attract entrepreneurs by adding classes and networking opportunities geared to the small-business person, as well as partnering with more local economic-development agencies and organizations like Score, a volunteer group of retired executives that meet with and counsel entrepreneurs. In fact, some Score executives also offer seminars, such as how to use QuickBooks, or the basics on franchising, adds Leslie Burger, president of the American Library Association.

A few years back, George Constantinou, then an aspiring restaurateur, attended the Brooklyn Business Library's entrepreneurial fair and learned about the library's annual business-plan competition. Sponsored by Citigroup Foundation, entrants attend classes on topics like creating a business plan, budgeting and marketing and then submit a plan. In late 2003, Mr. Constantinou and his partner, Farid Ali, who spent hours at the library mining databases, took home the top prize: $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in services.

"It was a great experience for us,'' says Mr. Constantinou, whose Brooklyn restaurant, Bogota Latin Bistro, is flourishing. "The library was really a one-stop shop for me to do research and write my business plan."

Since opening its doors 10 years ago, the Science, Industry and Business Library, or SIBL, part of the New York Public Library in Manhattan (nypl.org1), says it has trained 64,000 people through its 20 free classes, where topics range from patents and trademarks to creating customized lists.

"Increasingly, what [libraries are] not only putting people in touch with information on the Web or information that is in books, but they're bringing experts to talk face-to-face with people," says Kristin McDonough, director of SIBL.
Is there a dark side to optimism? Yes, according to the new book "Pessimism" from Princeton University Press:

"Optimism is to time what metaphysics is to space. It projects perfection elsewhere or, more properly, elsewhen. It teaches one to despise the here and now, which ultimately means to despise oneself. Most philosophy today, on the Left and the Right, considers itself to be postmetaphysical— that is, it abstains from condemning what exists from the standpoint of a transcendental realm of perfection. But if Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the origin of metaphysics in ressentiment is correct, optimism must be understood as one more refuge for the tendency to revenge and self-hatred that authorized metaphysics. “The future,” Camus wrote, “is the only transcendental value for men without God” (R 166). Finally it is optimism, rather than pessimism, which is best understood as a negative emotion or disposition (resentment of the present or of time itself). The realm of perfection metaphysical philosophies projected onto a transcendent plane is projected by optimistic philosophies onto an ever-receding future. If we understand the move to postmetaphysical philosophy as a reflection of our growing humanism, we cannot consider this humanism complete until our thinking is postoptimistic as well—beyond the “idolatry of tomorrow,” as Cioran called it (FT 47). This is the path the pessimistic tradition has quietly explored for the last 250 years."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The best & brightest will converge at Bixpo.

Will you join us for this?

From business pioneers to stately leaders, this year's elite lineup will inspire & energize you. Not only are the speakers great business developers, they’re leaders who bring about change in themselves and others. Get a first-hand lesson on what it takes to be successful in your own business and life.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2006
Ralph Trombetta
Ralph G. Trombetta is a senior blue ocean strategy expert in Professors Kim and Mauborgne’s Value Innovation Network, a management educator, and the Founder and Managing Partner of Value Innovation Associates. He is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University (NYC) and Fellow at Baldwin-Wallace College’s Growth and Innovation Center (Cleveland).

Trombetta lectures and conducts workshops on the Blue Ocean Strategy. Blue Ocean Strategy was created by Professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne from the business school INSEAD. Blue Ocean Strategy is based on their study of 150 strategic marketing moves spanning more than 100 years and 30 industries.

Lucinda Yates
In the early 1980s, due to the pain of divorce and financial setbacks, Lucinda and her young daughter found themselves homeless, living day to day. Lucinda changed these conditions by digging deep into her spirit and was able to find a home and rebuild a life. These experiences made her who she is today and brought her to a business model beyond what anyone would ever dream. Lucinda, a jewelry designer, created a pin that was a simple, geometric representation of a house. She decided the pin would be a fund raiser for The Preble Street Resource Center, a community Breakfast Program in Portland, Maine. The pin was a success she established a company with a conscience, Designs By Lucinda – the company now has a line of 11 theme-based fund raising pins, international distribution and a growing workforce of more than 50 people.

Lisa Ford
Lisa Ford is the author of How to Give Exceptional Customer Service, the #1 selling business videotape series for the last three years in the U.S. She is also the author of Developing A Customer Retention Program and the co-author of Building a Customer- Driven Organization: The Manager’s Role video and audiotapes. Ford specializes in the field of customer service, including customer retention and managing, hiring, and training for service excellence. Audiences love her energy, enthusiasm, humor, practical techniques, and common sense message. Lisa designs content personalized to the audience and issues they face. She has also customized numerous videos for clients to use in their ongoing education efforts. Lisa’s experience includes working with Pfizer, Viacom, Edward Jones, CSX, Kaiser Permanente, Morton’s of Chicago, Citgo, American Gas Association, American Diabetes Association and American Veterinary Medical Association.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2006
Terry ”Moose” Millard
Exploring the edge of the performance envelope has been part of Terry “Moose” Millard’s life since he earned his pilot license at age 15. That is when he discovered that if you love what you do, hard work can be fun—and fun fuels productivity. “Moose” believes that just as professional pilots must understand the performance envelope of their aircraft and crew, great leaders must understand the performance envelope of their organization and people. That understanding is crucial to achieving maximum performance without running out of fuel. After 40 years of study and experience as a leadership and service practitioner, “Moose” knows how it feels to “be there,” and “what works” to get you there.
Moose” uses his personal experience at Southwest Airlines and his inside knowledge of the company and its leaders to illustrate how Southwest created a customer-crazed culture that continually WOWS consumers by encouraging employees to “do the right thing.” Through his own humor and passion for excellence, “Moose” will share the story of what has made this company so successful for so long in such a competitive industry.

Stephen Levitt
Author of “Freakonomics”
When mild-mannered economist Steven D. Levitt published a paper linking a rise in abortion to a drop in crime, it set off a firestorm of controversy and had both the conservatives and liberals up in arms. But Levitt has no political agenda and is the last person to be called a moralist. What he is, is a brilliant but uncomplicated man who uses simple questions to reach startling conclusions.

A 37-year old self-effacing Midwestern father of four, Levitt has an enormous curiosity and is set on course by personal experiences and the incongruities he sees in everyday life. He is an intuitionist. He sifts through a pile of data to find an unknown story and devises ways to measure an effect that veteran economists have declared immeasurable. He has shown other economists just how well their tools can make sense of the real world.

Plus many many businesses will be exhibiting, including the IDEA Cafe/ Franklin Circles. Don't miss this event. It's a bit of a drive from Denver, but well worth it. For more info and to register, go to I hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers
The Pew Internet & American Life Project
July 2006

A telephone survey of a nationally-representative sample of bloggers, conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, has found that blogging is inspiring a new group of writers and creators to share their voices with the world. Some 54 percent of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44 percent say they have published elsewhere. While generally youthful, these writers otherwise represent a broad demographic spectrum of people who cite a variety of topics and motives for their blogging.

Eight percent of internet users, or about 12 million American adults, keep a blog. Thirty-nine percent of internet users, or about 57 million American adults, read blogs – a significant increase since the fall of 2005.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Leaders & Success
He Took It One Day At A Time


Posted 8/24/2006

William Griffith Wilson spent his first 39 years squandering everything he had.

He spent the next 36 proving that it's never too late for redemption.

Wilson, better known as "Bill W." to the countless number of people he inspired, gave up the drinking that had plastered his life, and vowed to help others do the same.

He fulfilled that vow in a big way. He created Alcoholics Anonymous, which has grown into one of the biggest and most successful addiction-recovery programs in the world.

Today, the group claims more than 2 million members in over 150 countries. It has changed the way people think about alcoholism — not as a moral failing, but rather an ailment.

Wilson (1895-1971) grew up in a troubled home in Vermont, to a family of granite quarry workers and mine bosses. Though financially secure, the family was unstable. Wilson's alcoholic father left the family in 1905. His mother remarried and moved to Boston, leaving the children in the care of her parents.

This scarred young Wilson deeply. As Ernest Kurtz recounts in "Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous," the 10-year-old blamed himself for the breakup.

"Deep within young Bill Wilson ached a feeling of rejection," Kurtz wrote. "The more painful because, in his mind, it was deserved."

He took his first drink at 22, during a dinner party held for soldiers about to be shipped out to Europe to fight in World War II. Soon, he found drinking an easy comfort for the loneliness of his overseas assignment, an Army desk job.

For years, Wilson's sharp mind and natural talent masked his growing dependence on alcohol — and the havoc it wreaked.

At the end of the war, Wilson entered law school. Showing up drunk at one of his finals, he nearly flunked out. His wife, Lois, grew alarmed at the frequency of his drinking binges.

Wilson lost interest in law school and grew fascinated with Wall Street.

So he honed his stock-picking skills. He became one of the first to sense the value of corporate research. He believed that many people lost money playing the stock market because they didn't have enough good data about the companies they invested in.

Unable to persuade his broker friends to finance a fact-finding mission, Wilson quit his job, packed a motorcycle and took Lois for a yearlong trek along the East Coast.

With little more than a tent, blankets, a change of clothes and three thick financial reference books, the pair visited companies and took meticulous notes to send to investors.

His efforts landed him a top job as a stockbroker on Wall Street and a generous expense account. He made a very good living.

Drinking And Sinking

But his public success belied a crumbling soul. Caught up in the excesses of the jazz age, Wilson drank day and night.

The party ended Oct. 24, 1929. Black Thursday's stock market crash wiped out Wilson's paper wealth as well as that of many others. Soon he was out of a job.

Wilson and his wife moved in with her parents. By this time, he was almost constantly drunk.

"The market would recover," he wrote in his autobiography, "Bill's Story." "But I wouldn't."

Any money he made went to pay off bar tabs. Soon he needed "a tumbler full of gin followed by half a dozen bottles of beer" just to make it to breakfast.

Things got worse. His mother-in-law died, and his father-in-law grew ill. They lost their house. Wilson resorted to sneaking money from his wife's purse.

After blowing yet another chance at a job in 1932, Wilson finally realized he had a problem. Yet he was powerless to stop. Even when family members paid for his stay at a treatment center, he began drinking again after his release. Doctors told his wife that Wilson would die in a year if he kept drinking. Everyone, it seemed, had given up on him.

"No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity," he wrote. "Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. I had been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master."

Salvation came in the form of a phone call from an old friend, a renowned drinker who sounded uncharacteristically sober.

Wilson assumed his old pal was looking for their usual drunken revelry. Instead, the friend announced that he'd given up drinking in a religious conversion.

Inspired, Wilson conceded that he couldn't defeat alcohol on his own. He checked into a hospital for his withdrawal symptoms and, in what he called a supernatural experience, gave up drinking.

He became deeply religious, an experience he relied on to help him resist the temptation to drink.

But he soon determined that eschewing alcohol wasn't enough. Certain that the support of someone who understood his problem would help, he called friends in search of another alcoholic.

He finally reached a doctor, Bob Smith, by phone in what's now widely referred to as the first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

It worked, and Wilson got past his hurdle. He and Smith decided their method might benefit others as well, and within a few years the group formally came into being. The pair set up open meetings at which participants could talk about their struggles and offer encouragement to others. (Smith died in 1950 of cancer, just after AA's first international conference.)

Wilson, originally part of a religious fellowship called the Oxford Group, decided that faith or lack of it shouldn't preclude someone from seeking help. He eventually split the effort off as a separate entity focused on alcoholism.

Reassurance And Support

He called the group Alcoholics Anonymous. The name aimed to reassure those seeking help that they wouldn't be judged or humiliated. The chapters didn't require membership dues, and no one was expected to give a last name.

To lay out the plan in an easily understandable format, Wilson wrote a book about his experience. For his message to reach a wide audience, he described it in simple terms.

He summarized his knowledge in a 12-step program, writing the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" under the name "Bill W." That quest for anonymity would become a powerful way to keep the group from getting too closely tied to individual personalities — even his own. To keep it beholden to no one, he declared that the group wouldn't take outside contributions. Even today, no member can contribute more than $2,000.

Wilson maintained a humble lifestyle. To keep the focus on his cause and not himself, Wilson refused to be photographed for news stories. He eventually ceded control of the group to an advisory board.

Yet he understood the power of good publicity. A Saturday Evening Post article in 1941 propelled the group to the national stage.

So the group wouldn't lose focus, Wilson adopted 12 "traditions," which included not letting the group involve itself in current events or controversies, including those involving alcohol. And while the group supports other sobriety efforts, it doesn't align itself with any.

By the time he died, Wilson had turned down numerous honors. Still, Time magazine recently named him one of the most important people of the 20th century.
Brent Bowers, in covering small business for decades at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, has chronicled the rise and fall of hundreds of start-ups. In If at First You Don’t Suceed…, he analyzes the common characteristics shared by dozens of successful small-business owners and their companies. Drawing on extensive interviews and research, as well as on the experiences and expertise of business consultants, venture capitalists, academics, and the entrepreneurs themselves, he describes the key traits that successful entrepreneurs have in common.

Among them:

• The ability to spot and seize opportunities
• An overwhelming urge to be in charge coupled with a gift for leadership
• The flexibility to come up with creative, out-of the-box solutions to problems or obstacles
• Incredible energy and tenacity in the pursuit of their goals
• Unwavering faith in their business
• The ability to take smart risks
• The ability to bounce back from setbacks and see failure as just one step on the path to ultimate success

For anyone thinking about starting a business, or attempting a start-up a second or third time, this book offers invaluable lessons and insights.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I've been trying for over a year to complete a revision of my little booklet "Daring Mighty Things-- The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business." I need to follow Yoda's advice in Star Wars, "Don't try, do!"

If you would take a look at the current draft and post or email me your comments, it would be very helpful. Thanks! How may I help you?

You can see the current version of the text file at:
"Since 1995, Fast Company has been not only reporting business and cultural trends, but actually helping to shape them. This engaging collection contains articles that still resonate as much today as they did when they were first published. Even Fast Company devotees may be surprised by the magazine's sometimes uncanny prescience, as they re-visit the anticipation of the digitalization, globalization and democratization of business and culture.

Arranged in chronological order, this collection includes Daniel Pink's "Free Agent Nation," "In Search of Courage" by John McCain, Tom Peters's "The Brand Called You" and Ana Marie Cox's (aka Wonkette) "Wide Awake on the New Night Shift."

Also included are compelling essays on buzz-worthy figures like Malcolm Gladwell and Craig Newmark of Craiglist.

The introduction discusses the magazine's ideals of intelligence, creativity and conscience in business writing-values that come across again and again throughout this brilliant and thought-provoking collection.

For Fast Company readers and anyone interested in a cultural cross-section of the past ten years of business and marketing."

--From Kirkus Reports, May 2, 2006

For more on this interesting and helpful new book see:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I just got this from my daughter Brooke. Amazing.


Please take the time to read this and watch the video. Read the article first, though, and the video will mean more to you.

Subject: "Strongest Dad in the World"
[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

This is an amazing video clip of the Father and Son team that did the Iron Man together.

Read the story below first and the video clip will be more meaningful to you.

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a w heelch air but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way,'' Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried.

"Then, it was me who was handi capped,'' Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad,'' he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!'' And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marath on so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?'' How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried. Well, now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it,'' Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago.''

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, a nd Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. "The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''
(If the video clip doesn't play, click on the "CAN" video.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Are you a conservative or a liberal?
Here is a 5 minute quiz:

Do you think it is helpful to think of yourself
as a liberal or conservative?

Seems to me we have a need for both points of
view in our system of government, and that right
action is determined through honest debate between
the two points of view.

The problem with labeling is that it leads to alienation,
just listening to people who agree with us, and
demonization of people with other viewpoints. The
result is poor government.

It also leads to poor communications. One Denver talkshow
host is always saying, "I want to know where you stand
(are you a liberal or conservative) before I hear what you
say," or words to that effect. Much better was Plato's
thought, "It matters not who says the words, but whether they
are true or not."

I scored a 36, which makes me more conservative than
Bob Dole according to the quiz. But many of my friends
see me as a liberal because of my criticism of what I
call "Borg" (from Star Trek, the humans who have become
machines) especially in big government, big business, and
big religion.

I think this kind of labeling is worse than useless, it is
destroying our grassroots republic.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Amarillo, TX. Last night I was trying to get rid of the writing on the screen of my digital camera so I could show the pictures to Aunt Opal this morning. The wrong button got pushed, and all the pictures of this weekend were erased. Damn!

Before I erased the pictures, we drove by house mom and dad built 50 years ago. Dad was only 23, got the money to finance the purchase of the lot and the construction thru buying a new car (they were hard to come by right after WWII) and then reselling it for a big profit. He was making pretty good money as a traveling salesman. but once they were in the house, he wanted to be home more. I was 8 months old, and when he'd get back after being gone all week I'd changed too much, mom told me and Randy last night.

So they moved to Oklahoma City where mom's cousin Georgette's husband Curley Smith helped dad getting a job with Brown & Biegelo, the company that sells advertising calendars. Dad made some big sales right away, but his supervisor made him made, so he quit and moved back to Amarillo to start his own business in Amarillo. It didn't do very well.

So visiting Aunt Lilian & Uncle Jerry in Colorado, he found the grocery stores in Colorado didn't have the kind of merchandise he was selling in Texas. He sat in front of a store, prayed, and decided to come to Colorado. Mom didn't want to do it, he persuaded her by promising to stay only 5 years. The business was a success and they never went back.

Another example of failure breeding success. If his business in Texas did better, he would have never come to Colorado. Lesson: keep trying.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm reading Billy Graham's new book, The Path. I like and agree with nearly everything he says, and I can almost hear his voice as I read. When he was in Denver for a Crusade I took each of our 4 kids on 4 separate nights, we always found a close parking space and two seats right up front, dispite Mile High Stadium being packed by the time we got there each night.

The title is The Journey-- How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World. On the back cover Billy says, "May God bless you as you read this book, and teach you through its pages how you, too, can live by faith in an uncertains world."

Reading it right now is helping me a lot. It's in all the book stores and libraries right now, and on Amazon

If you want, I'll send you a copy, just email me your name and mailing address.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Uncle Scott's funeral is tomorrow. He died earlier this week in the Amarillo Vererans Home where he'd been a resident for the last couple of years. He was happy there with so many of his "greatest generation" buddies. But I hadn't visited him in far too long, with his alsheimers he didn't really know who I was.

He was one of the biggest influences in my life. I doubt if I'd have had any interest in sports without him, and I probably wouldn't play poker, which might be a good thing! He was always bigger than life, seemed to me he always had a great time, and he knew how to get through the rough spots without loosing his sense of humor.

He was not perfect, but pretty close. God bless and keep you Uncle Scott. Maybe we'll get more time for fishing in heaven!

This is from his obit in today's Amarillo Globe.

"(Scott Edwards) joined the U.S. Army Air Corps on Sept. 29, 1941, and was discharged as an enlisted man in December of 1942. He was then accepted as an aviation cadet with the Army Air Corps and was stationed for advanced training in Houston. He graduated from flight school in July 1943 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. During his military career he spent 17 months in Burma, Assam, made 33 trips over the "Hump" and as a pilot, he also towed gliders and dropped paratroopers. Mr. Edwards received three medals and two Distinguished Flying Cross medals, which at the time was the highest honor from the U.S. Air Force.

"He married Juanita Roberts on Oct. 24, 1943, in Canyon. She preceded him in death on April 4, 1962.

"Mr. Edwards accepted the honorable discharge from military service in July 1945. He was an avid golfer, hunter, and fisherman. He was named Amarillo City Municipal Golf Champion for 1947 and 1948. He turned professional in 1949 and gained membership into the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) in 1954. The PGA also certified Mr. Edwards as a Class A teaching professional. He was the head professional at golf courses in Los Alamos, N.M., and Odessa before becoming head professional at Amarillo Country Club form 1954 to 1960.

"Mr. Edwards moved to Boulder, Colo., in 1960 and owned and operated golf courses in both Colorado and Arizona until his retirement in 1986. Mr. Edwards was a member of the Amarillo VFW, the "Hump" Pilots Association of America and the Amarillo Senior Citizens. He was lifetime member of the PGA and a 59-year member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

"Survivors include a son, Scott M. Edwards Jr. of Amarillo; a daughter, Sue Soltis of San Antonio; a granddaughter, Kim McCune Jackson and husband Dean of Bastrop; a grandson, David McCune of Denver; a sister, Janie Edwards Wren of Denver; three nephews, John, Randy and Jay Wren of Denver; and three great-grandchildren, Jennifer, Maddie and Dawson."

For the complete obit and his picture, see

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Art of the Interview
National Public Radio

The old saying goes, "There's no such thing as a stupid question." But in the opinion of at least one major television network, there is such a thing, and some of the least effective questions are coming from top broadcast journalists.

ESPN's John Sawatsky is tearing down icons such as Larry King and Mike Wallace as he preaches his guiding principles about how to properly conduct an interview.

Link to the audio:
Franklin and the Morals of Chess
A lecture in Philadelphia
September 12, 2006

Among all his other firsts, Benjamin Franklin also managed to author the first piece of writing on chess published in the United States. In 1786, readers of The Columbian Magazine were treated to Franklin’s essay, “The Morals of Chess,” which began thus: “The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. (...) For life is a kind of chess ...”

In this special lecture, John McCrary, Past President of the United States Chess Federation, and Past President of the US Chess Trust, will explore Franklin’s significance to modern chess and the diplomatic and moral lessons Franklin learned from the game. Mr. McCrary will also speculate on Franklin’s actual chess-playing abilities, and introduce some of his opponents, who included several women chess-players, as well as the sensational “Turk” – a chess-playing machine that took Paris by storm.
A ministry that strengthens Christian families is extending that vision to encourage them in business ventures. Vision Forum Ministries' first-ever "Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for Christian Families," which started today in Texas, is designed to pull those families back to a biblical approach to work.

Vision Forum's founder, Doug Phillips, says each three-day Entrepreneurial Boot Camp uses biblical examples to show the value of entrepreneurial efforts for discipleship in the family setting. "It pictures the family as a place of different generations working together," he explains, and the program teaches that even in the process of working, entrepreneurship is "part of the discipleship model that God gives us."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'm rereading George Pyle's Raising Less Corn, More Hell-- The Case for the Independent Farm. Industrial production of our food has some benefits but lots of drawbacks. "Why should corporations own farms when they can own the farmer." Instead of free markets, farmers become corporate serfs with long term contracts.

Big loss, the serfs have no time or motivation for political involvement. True of the corporate middle management and blue collar workers, too. So politics has become dominated by the powerful few, the grassroots is in danger of disappearing. But maybe the long-tail of low cost communications will help revive entrepreneurship and neighborhood political involvement.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Last night the Denver Socrates Cafe met, we discussed perception and belief. Wide range of opinions, made me think to the extent that I didn't sleep very well. Awareness isn't free. Maybe we'll continue the topic tonight at the Panera Bread Socrates Cafe, 6 p.m., 1350 Grant St.

I've made a commitment to post here every day. Why? Is this helping anyone? Me? I was up early, lots on my mind. But airing my thoughts in public is painful.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Herbert Hoover was born on this day, and he died October 24 in 1964 when I was a Senior at Thomas Jefferson High School here in Denver. That summer I’d been working for my dad in his business during the day, running and lifting weights at night getting ready for the football season that was about to start, and taking my girl friend Mary Maxwell to Red Rocks on the weekend.

I can’t remember reading Hoover’s obituary, but I might have; I was a true believer in the philosophy of life expressed in it. Along with most of the rest of the country I was a fan of Vince Lombardi, the NASA space program, and I very much wanted to become a high school English teacher and a coach to help promote the values express in Hoover’s obit. Here is part of what it said:

“Need for 'Uncommon' Men

“Mr. Hoover, born in an Iowa village, the son of a Quaker blacksmith, was an exponent of a credo of personal initiative that he summed up as "rugged individualism," and his life exemplified it…

“Mr. Hoover's values were rooted in uncomplicated Quaker values of thrift, hard work and self- dependence, and he deplored a departure from those values in which he disparagingly termed "the century of the common man."

“He said the nation imperatively required "the leadership of the uncommon man or woman." And he cited his own life as proof of the validity of the American dream of achievement by effort, not grant.”

What I’ve learned since then is that no man is an island. We each need God and the people who are put into our life to be happy.

Yes, the values of rugged individualism are necessary, but they are not sufficient. If I would have listened to God and the people in my life back it 1964, things would have been very different for me, my family, and my friends. For me, rugged individualism turned into selfishness and self-centeredness, something I still fight and for which I continue to make amends.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wiki while you work, information about how businesses are adopting the new wiki technology.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Do you have a problem with your drinking? Each Sunday Yale H. is sharing his 53 years of sobriety at an open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at a new meeting called Talks for Beginners. Meets at 1311 York Street in Denver, free and open to all. Last Sunday Yale told his story, how he came into A.A. and talked with Dan. Yale share about some of the basics of recovery, HALT, First Things First, etc. And the four things people do to get sober in A.A., "join a group, get a sponsor, read the big book and work the steps, and sponsor other people." Join us next Sunday, 7 p.m., 1311 York Street. Or forward this along to someone you know who could use the help.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Unthinkable only a decade ago, business associations, think tanks and a whole slew of capitalist and libertarian activists, many only in their 20s and 30s, are leading a tiny but noisy counterattack. Their common goal: making sure the next generation of Europeans is less in tune with Karl Marx and more with Adam Smith.
This is a directory of Fortune 500 companies that have business blogs, defined as: active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products.
According to our research, 29 (5.8%) of the Fortune 500 are blogging as of 4/18/06
On this day in 1965 President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Beatles released their album "Help" with this title song: Help, I need somebody,Help, not just anybody,Help, you know I need someone, help.When I was younger, so much younger than today,I never needed anybody's help in any way.But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.Help me if you can, I'm feeling downAnd I do appreciate you being round.Help me, get my feet back on the ground,Won't you please, please help me?!%20Lyrics.html I was still trying to make up my mind whether to go to the University of Pugett Sound or Cornell College, taking Economics 101 at the University of Colorado, and working as a lifeguard and swim team coach at Cherry Knolls Swim Club working for my high school football coaches Don Day and Gene Wirtz.

Friday, August 04, 2006

On this day in 1914, England declaired war on Germany, while we here in the U.S. stayed out of the fight.
Colorado State University's weather expert Bill Gray says not to worry about the current concern about global warming, what he calls a hoax:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Did you see the article about Socrates Cafe in USAToday? Join us for the Denver Socrates Cafe Meetup next Thursday
Blogging expert Debbie Weil (see entries a couple of days ago about her) has just re-published her book on blogging as a free online ebook
Ben Franklin's starting a walk across America. How about a party for him as he passes through this part of the country?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Art Linkletter has written a new book "How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life" targeted at the aging baby boomer generation, of which I'm part myself. I love most of the book, the importance of excercise, doing what you love to do, seniorpreneurship. Best new idea from the book, new to me anyways, is that 60 is the new 40. Makes me feel better to have just celebrated my 59th birthday. But Art is off base on a couple of things, it seems to me. He pushs vitamin suppliments and the old saw about the importance of 8 hours of sleep. (See below for another point of view from a doctor on his website, which confirms something I was told by my doctor over 10 years ago, that we get the sleep we need and that we don't need to worry about 8 hours.)
How much sleep do we need? Art Linkletter's new book says 8 hours, that's something that is heard a lot. Here's a medical doctor who thinks otherwise:
Pando is supposed to be a better way to send photos, videos, audio tapes, and other large files, there was a review from the Wall Street Journal that was reprinted in Scripps Howard newspapers yesterday. Has anyone used it?