Friday, August 31, 2007

First, congrats to my brother Jay's son Jayson who was a starting
defensive back for Arapahoe High School in their opening game last night, which they won 28-19. Jason played a key role in the win, making tackle after tackle, one right on the goal line to stop an otherwise sure touch down! Way to go Jason! Next game next Thursday against Douglas County.

I'm about to give up trying to write bylaws for the new small business chamber of commerce, may just operate it as a sole (soul? :) ) proprietorship.

Great speaker at IDEA Cafe this afternoon, read about it here next week and possibly in one of the local Denver Newspapers, more on that next Wednesday or Thursday here.

Hope you have a great holiday weekend!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dr. Ellis believed in short-term therapy that called on patients to focus on what was happening in their lives at the moment and to take immediate action to change their behavior. ''Neurosis,'' he said, was ''just a high-class word for whining.''

''The trouble with most therapy is that it helps you to feel better,'' he said in a 2004 article in The New York Times. ''But you don't get better. You have to back it up with action, action, action.''

From Albert Ellis's obituary in the New York Times, July 25, 2007

One action I'm taking today is to start using Facebook. A couple of people I really respect have linked to my dormant Facebook page, so here goes.

I posted a very interesting article from the New York Times this morning on how to choose the right therapy approach, something that has been of great interest to me since I first talked with a therapist in Wichita, Kansas in the early 70's. Since then I've seen several others, some for very short periods, 3 for very long.

I'm grateful for what I've learned from them, if nothing else it has made me a much better listener and much more empathetic to the problems of others as we all struggle to find our way.

I'm going to put up a link to my Facebook page on my website I'll be posting articles there that I find interesting at a minimum. Let me know what you think of it and if you'd like me to link it to your Facebook page.

Friday, August 17, 2007




Section 1: The name of the organization shall be Ben Franklin's Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (Ben's Chamber).

Section 2: Ben's Chamber is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, more specifically to facilitate the education of entrepreneurs, business owners and creative managers about how inspirations become effective action through grassroots business and political systems through the formation and facilitation of Franklin Circles, adult self-directed learning groups based on the model of Ben Franklin's first such group formed in 1727. We affiliate with no one, cooperate with all. Our purpose is to inform, not reform.


Section 1: Membership shall consist only of the members of the board of directors.


Section 1: Annual Meeting. The date of the regular annual meeting shall be set by the Board of Directors who shall also set the time and place.

Section 2: Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by the Chair or the Executive Committee.

Section 3: Notice. Notice of each meeting shall be given to each voting member, by mail, not less than ten days before the meeting.


Section 1: Board Role, Size, Compensation. The Board and the Executive Director are responsible for overall policy and direction of organization, and delegates responsibility for day-to-day operations to the Executive Director (John S. Wren or his designee). The Board shall have up to 12 and not fewer than 3 members. The board may receive reasonable compensation and expenses as determined by the Executive Director and the Finance/Compensation Committee of the Board.

Section 2: Meetings. The Board shall meet at least quarterly, at an agreed upon time and place.

Section 3: Board Elections. Election of new directors or election of current directors to a second term will occur as the first item of business at the annual meeting of the corporation. Directors will be elected by unanimous concent of the current directors.

Section 4: Terms. All Board members shall serve 2 year terms, but are eligible for re-election.

Section 5: Quorum. A quorum must be attended by at least 51 percent of the Board members before business can be transacted or motions made or passed.

Section 6: Notice. An official Board meeting requires that each Board member have written notice two weeks in advance.

Section 7. Officers and Duties. There shall be five officers of the Board consisting of a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Their duties are as follows:

The Chair shall convene regularly scheduled Board meetings, shall preside or arrange for other members of the executive committee to preside at each meeting in the following order: Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

The Vice-Chair will chair committees on special subjects as designated by the board.

The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of Board actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all board meetings, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of minutes and the agenda to each Board members, and assuring that corporate records are maintained.

The Treasurer shall make a report at each Board meeting. Treasurer shall chair the finance committee, assist in the preparation of the budget, help develop fundraising plans, and make financial information available to Board members and the public.

Section 8: Vacancies. When a vacancy on the Board exists, nominations for new members may be received from present Board members by the Secretary two weeks in advance of a Board meeting. These nominations shall be send out to Board members with the regular Board meeting announcement, to be voted upon at the next Board meeting. These vacancies will be filled only to the end of the particular Board member's term.

Section 9: Resignation, Termination and Absences. Resignation from the Board must be in writing and received by the Secretary. A Board member shall be dropped for excess absences from the Board if s/he has three unexcused absences from Board meetings in a year. A Board member may be removed for other reasons by John S. Wren.

Section 10: Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Board shall be called upon the request of the Chair or the Executive Director or one-third of the Board. Notices of special meetings shall be send out by the Secretary to each Board member postmarked two weeks in advance.


Section 1: The Board may create committees as needed, such as fundraising, housing, etc. The Board Chair appoints all committee chairs.

Section 2: The five officers serve as the members of the Executive Committee. Except for the power to amend the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, the Executive Committee shall have all of the powers and authority of the Board of Directors in the intervals between meetings of the Board of Directors, subject to the direction and control of the Board of Directors.

Section 3: Finance/Compensation Committee. The Treasurer is chair of the Finance/Compensation Committee, which includes three other Board members. The Finance Committee is responsible for developing and reviewing fiscal procedures, a fundraising plan, and annual budget with staff and other Board members. The Board must approve the budget, and all expenditures must be within the budget. Any major change in the budget must be approved by the Board or the Executive Committee. The fiscal year shall be the calendar year. Annual reports are required to be submitted to the Board showing income, expenditures and pending income. The financial records of the organization are public information and shall be made available to the membership, Board members and the public.


Section 1: Upon the death of John S. Wren, this organization will be dissolved and the assets conveyed to any person(s) who makes a proposal to continue this work within 90 days of Wren's death that is accepted by a simple majority of the board. If no proposal is accepted within 180 days, the assets will be conveyed to the University of Denver. Notice of this provision will be published within 30 day's of Wren's death in the University of Denver Clarion Newspaper, the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Catholic Register, the Denver Jewish News, and the Colorado Statesman Newspaper.


Section 1: These Bylaws may be amended when necessary by a two-thirds majority of the Board of Directors. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Secretary to be sent out with regular Board announcements.

These Bylaws were approved at a meeting of the Board of Directors of _____________ on

_______________________, 19XX.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Marci Alboher, a former lawyer, is a journalist/author/writing coach. She is the author of One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success (Warner Business: 2007) Recently she wrote about the business benefits of blogging in the New York Times. How’s it working for me do you think?

Rush Limbaugh's Blog has the complete transcript of his interview today with Karl Rove. Highlights:

On George W. Bush:

KARL ROVE: Look, the thing the American people need to know about him is he is just as passionate today about doing his job of protecting America and of growing the economy and being focused on big reforms that will make America better and safer and stronger in the years ahead, as he was in the day that he came in, and he walks into that office and lights up that building with -- you know, it sounds corny, but it's inspiring to work around him. He's got a wonderful spirit. He's got a great sense of humor. He treats people with the greatest respect and dignity… I think one of the reasons why this White House staff consists of so many wonderful people is because they're around him and realize what a great experience it is to be around him.

RUSH: Does it frustrate you...? I know you said earlier just ignore the criticism. Does it frustrate you with all the attacks on him as brain dead or a frat boy, that you're the brain and this sort of thing, or do you shelve that and just go about your day?

KARL ROVE: Well, I shelve that, but I have to admit I'm amused by it because, you know, this is one of the best-read people I've ever met. This is a Harvard MBA. This is a Yale undergraduate whose major was history and whose passion is history. Many times the people I see criticizing him are, you know, sort of elite, effete snobs who can't hold a candle to this guy. What they don't like about him is that he is common sense, that he is Middle America.

RUSH: He outsmarts 'em.

KARL ROVE: Yeah, and look, in a way, they "misunderestimate" him, and he likes that.

On Hilary Clinton:

KARL ROVE: I think she's likely to be the nominee, and I think she's fatally flawed… I want to set a high tone here, on the high road, but look, she is who she is. There is no front-runner who has entered the primary season with negatives as high as she has in the history of modern polling. She's going into the general election with, depending on what poll you look at, in the high forties on the negative side, and just below that on the positive side, and there's nobody who has ever won the presidency who started out in that kind of position.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The short quote below is from an interesting article in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine about a yearlong couples-therapy group led by a Philadelphia psychologist named Judith Coché. Seems to me the benefits of the couples group are very similar to the benefits of participation in a Franklin Circle: accountability to the group, the benefiting from shared experience and observation of changes in behavior, and the isomorphism (see excellent definition below.) I wonder if Ben Franklin has influenced Coche’s work.

Professional-led groups for people with discrete emotional or physical conditions — Coché has run them for overweight adults and learning-disabled adolescents — have become ubiquitous in the last three decades. More recently, couples education, especially the premarital sort, has taken off inside and outside of religious groups, spurred in part by federal financing from the Bush administration. But the type of ongoing experiential group Coché runs, which is heavily dependent on mining the interactions among the members in the so-called here and now (“Sitting here for six hours you just know what it’s like to be married to him,” Coché muttered to me once, out of earshot of the offending spouse), aren’t terribly common.

When Coché lists the virtues of the group over other forms of therapy, she cites the “Greek chorus” effect, a term that captures how members begin to harass one another, if politely, about the habits corroding their marriages. “In a group, there’s an experience of being held accountable for one’s own behavior,” Coché told me, adding that it’s more powerful to be called out — or cared for — by a civilian than by a professional. “I’m a paid consultant. I’m a nonperson.” Other benefits she cites are the often-silent products of group dynamics. No matter how ultimately prosaic their woes, members are startled to see reflections of themselves in the other marriages — My God, I do that, too — and if one person musters the strength or resolve to make a change, somebody else may consciously or unconsciously follow. The principle of isomorphism also comes into play, she said, meaning that as people forge intimate connections within the group, the enriching encounter in that system may spread to the other system: the marriage.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In response to a copy of an email about where to find good listings for jobs from one IDEA Cafe attendee to another who is looking for a new job, I just sent this:

My experience is that most good jobs don't get listed.

I've found great jobs this way:

1. Make a list of the 10 or 15 business people who know your skills & are supportive.

2. Call and say, "I'm looking for a new challenge where I can be helpful using my skills and make a real contribution. Who do you know who might want to hire me?" Let them give you names & numbers, then say, "who else do you know who I should call?"

3. Call whoever is suggested say, (name of your friend) suggested I call you, because (name of your friend) thought I could help you, and if it sounds like I could help you, I'd like to set a time when we could meet. What kind of help do you want right now? (Listen) It sounds like I could help you, and that it would very possibly be a good opportunity for me. Do you want to get together this afternoon, or would tomorrow morning be better?

4. Meet with them. Get an offer. Then decide whether or not to take it.
No one has ever told me this does not work for them.

This works quick.

I got a great job in 3 days using this approach.

Try it, come again to the IDEA Cafe, and tell us about your new job!

If you have any questions, feel free to call me (303)861-1447.
Good luck!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Because this is extremely difficult mentally to get here and to turn around and start all over again, I use a strategy," he said. "I call them micro-goals. OK, I'm going to hike, walk to that tree and when I reach that tree, I spot another object. Ok, I'm going to walk to that rock. Then OK, I spot something else, I'm walking to that ridge top. And if you do that over and over and over again, for months, pretty soon you've walked over 5,000 miles." Interview on CBS Sunday Morning today with Scott Williamson who hiked 5,310 miles from Mexico to Canada and back, traversing the Pacific Crest Trail, the West Coast cousin of the shorter, more famous Appalachian Trail in the east.

"The trail's over 2,500 miles long, but it's only about a foot and a half wide," he said. "So it's a very small community of people who know about me."

He started his hike at the Mexican border May 22, 2006 and went 191 days — more than six million steps, wearing out 13 pair of shoes.

Out on a walk just now, I've made a decision precipitated by the above interview with Scott. Following 50+ years of experimenting with and reading about exercise programs and time management, I’m going to 1) forget about trying to start running again, which I’ve been toying with, and rededicate myself to regular walking. And 2) I’m going to really get serious about my LOGoS, and see Steps in the action-intention model as micro-goals, using #1 right now for me:
Franklin Circles Worldwide/ Form Small Business Chamber Board/ Form Franklin Circle with Each Board Member

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ben Franklin's Small Business Chamber launched to strengthen the True Grassroots!

Would you like to join one of the Franklin Circles that is now forming? Send me and email and I'll get back to you with complete details.

Here's the news release Ben and I made at the Denver Enterprise Center this morning about the new Ben's Chamber that will be built on the powerful Franklin Circle format:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Contact: John Wren cell (720)495-4949

Ben Franklin himself kicks off new effort.

Citing a lack of political voice for Colorado's entrepreneurs, veteran community activist John Wren announced today that on Friday (Aug. 3) he incorporated Ben Franklin's Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. with goals that include having 20,000 Colorado small business owners go to their neighborhood caucus in 2008. Applications for charter memberships and the founding Board of Directors are being accepted from owners of small businesses (less than 300 employees). Contact or (303)861-1447.

Wren made the announcement at the Denver Enterprise Center, 3003 Arapahoe in Denver, with Ben Franklin impersonator, actor Chris Lowell Wren said, "I chose to employ the Franklin icon with the new chamber because we will be organized around Franklin's unique concept for peer support groups that I've used here in Denver since 1996. Franklin said, 'Individuals Associated can accomplish more for themselves, and their society, than they can in isolation.' Also, Franklin has been a source of inspiration for many entrepreneurs and their supporters since the very beginning of this country."

"We will not lobby or endorse political candidates or issues, but we will educate entrepreneurs to be more effective. Like the stated purpose of the Denver City Club, of which I'm a past-president, we will seek to inform rather than reform. Our primary tool will be the adult self-directed learning groups or peer advisory groups called Franklin Circles. Other activities being planned at this time include: Aha!—Members Only Wiki and Monthly Newsletter; weekly workshops & seminars; mentoring assistance; and City-Wide Seminars starting in Denver next January 17, Franklin’s 302nd birthday.

"This new Ben's Chamber will not compete with existing chamber of commerce groups or trade associations. Rather we intend cooperate with them to revitalize the True Grassroots in business and politics, to help individuals associate so they can accomplish more for themselves, and for our society, than they can in isolation," said Wren.

"The USA used to be a nation of shopkeepers, but we are rapidly becoming a nation of clerks working for large corporations. Our founding fathers were small business owners; we must get more of today’s business owners involved in local politics and government if we are to preserve our Republic."

John S. Wren, MBA+ is an adult educator and consultant. He is now president of the Denver South Optimists Club, and a member of the board of directors of the Denver Lions Club. He is the past-president of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association, the Denver City Club, the Colorado College Republicans, and the University of Denver Graduate Students Association. He is one of the founders of Save the Caucus which defeated Amendment 29 in 2002 which would have destroyed the neighborhood caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot. He currently serves as a Denver GOP District Captain. He formed the first Franklin Circle in Denver in 1996, based on the group Franklin formed in 1727 in Philadelphia.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I got this email today about the posting below about grassroots quoting Ben Franklin:

I believe that your quote about "A Republic, Madam, if we can keep it," is very slightly in error, unless my own sources are incorrect. I have been quoting the exchange as, "...if you can keep it." If this latter quote is accurate (allegedly in response to the wife of the Philadelphia mayor, who, like many, had been virtually camped out waiting the results of the deliberations within the PA Assembly Hall, now known as Independence Hall), then the difference in pronouns causes a bit of reflection. It may have been a simple reaction to the question. But it also may have been a subtle acknowledgment that he knew that his health and age made it improbable that he would live much longer and would not be around to see whether the Republic, this bold gamble that the 55 delegates had carved out, would survive. Although this latter is intriguing, I guess I'd have to lean towards the simpler, less interesting choice as the more probable. What do you think?



Christopher Lowell

Chris is absolutely correct and I agree the correct
wording is much more powerful:

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1593
AUTHOR: Benjamin Franklin (1706–90)
QUOTATION: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
ATTRIBUTION: The response is attributed to BENJAMIN FRANKLIN—at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation—in the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.

McHenry’s notes were first published in The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, and the anecdote on p. 618 reads: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” When McHenry’s notes were included in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934), a footnote stated that the date this anecdote was written is uncertain.
By the way, Chris is going to be in Denver to help us launch the new Ben Franklin's Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Let me know if you'd like an invitation to the event! After meeting with us here in Denver he is headed up to Greeley to spend the week.