Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important." Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy, born today (March 29, 1916 – December 10, 2005.) "Clean Gene" was an American politician and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.

In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president of the United States to succeed incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson on an anti-Vietnam War platform. He would unsuccessfully seek the presidency five times altogether. In 1980, he endorsed Ronald Reagan for the presidency.

An editorial in the Rocky Mountain News is critical of SB 212 which just unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee. It mandates students be certified ready to attend college when graduated from Colorado schools. Sounds good, but how? The plan provides no details. Clearly Gov. Ritter and the legislature are fiddling while Colorado schools burn. I posted this comment to the News editorial:

I've been told that right now 25% of Denver Public School students who start school graduate. How will this help the 75% that are not graduating now?

Last week our Optimist Club had a speaker who helps prisoners in the Denver County Jail study to pass the GED exam. “It would be a lot cheaper to have discipline in the classrooms than to just send them to jail to get their diploma. As I talk with these young people, it's clear there were no boundries set for them in school.”

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Never eat at a place called Mom's, never play cards with a guy named Doc, and never go to bed with anyone who has more troubles than you." Nelson Algren, born today in Detroit (1909). He settled in Chicago, which he called "The City on the Make," or sometimes, "the lovely lady with the broken nose." He wrote two novels: A Walk on the Wild Side (1956) and The Man with the Golden Arm (1949), about a disillusioned, card-dealing World War II veteran named Frankie Machine.

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.” "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.” Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 27, 2008

From now until April 16, you can read Micheal Gerber's new book Awaking the Entrepreneur Within for free. Go to

In this book, Gerber realizes what I've been saying for years, that the startup process is radically different. What's done to get the wheel up and rolling is not at all the same as what is needed to keep it up.

His 2 1/2 day "dream room" carries a $5,000 price tag; might make sense to try my IDEA Cafe first, it's free! We just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming. Here in Denver, we meet each Friday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. More info and optional RSVP at Can you join us tomorrow (Mar 28)?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching out toward expression, an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the word.” “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." Poet Robert Frost, who was born today (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)

Also born today was Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987), “Follow your bliss.” Campbell's 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which traced the common theme of the spiritual quest in myth, was an inspiration for many writers found the book valuable for their own work, including the poet Robert Bly and the filmmaker George Lucas, who said that without it, he would never have been able to write Star Wars.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“The meaning of the redemption is that we do not have to be our history… I’m not a mystic… All I have is a talent and the time to cultivate it.” Mary Flannery O'Connor, who was born today (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964.) Flannery was a devout Catholic, an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist... She once described herself as a "pigeon-toed only child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I'll-bite-you complex." Her texts often take place in the South and revolve around morally flawed characters, while the issue of race looms in the background. One of her trademarks is unsubtle foreshadowing, giving a reader an idea of what will happen far before it happens. Finally, she brands each work with a disturbing and ironic conclusion.

I sent out this email this morning:

To: Former GOP National Committee Woman JoAnne & Dan Gray
cc: Jody Strogoff, Statesman Newspaper and Dan Elliott, Associated Press.
bcc: other people interested in the Colorado Caucus.


Topic: Last meeting next Friday (Apr 4) of what started as Save the Caucus?

Hi JoAnne & Dan,

Went to Denver Dem platform committee meeting last night.
David Fogel & I were able to kill a resolution that the caucus
be dropped in favor of a presidential primary. There was broad,
enthusiastic support, including a round of applause for the caucus!

Are you delegates to State GOP? I wonder if there is anything
in their proposed platform about the caucus?

Miss seeing you two, one of the worst aspects of my party
change to Dems. So far doesn't seem to be a need to reconvene the
Save the Caucus bunch, the little that a couple of us are doing
with paper clips and rubber bands seems to be enough! My
appearance at hearing on HR1006 on the Secretary of State Association
plan for a rotating date was enough to get it amended to clearly include
the fact that the Colorado date be a caucus. Much thanks to
Rep. Jeanne Labuda for her help!

Would be good to get a group going to do for the Colorado Caucus
what Iowa has done for theirs, in my opinion, but I've tried for
the last few years and it doesn't seem to stir anyone's blood but mine.
It's a lesson in humility: I don't know as much about startup as I thought!

Maybe it would happen if I'd just get out of the way. Maybe it's not
the idea but the originator that is the problem. April 4 may be the last
meeting of what started in your living room and became Save the Caucus,
or just the end of my involvement if someone else would like to carry forward
with a group that would support the 2010 Colorado Caucus, setting the stage
for a 2012 Colorado Caucus with national attention similar to Iowa's.

Could you two say a few words? 4/4 at 4 p.m., Panera Bread. I'll invite
Jody from the Statesman, maybe she could use it as a hook for running
the interview with you which I don't think has appeared yet. More info and
optional RSVP at or call me.

Now I need to get serious about earning a living from my adult education activities as an entrepreneur, or maybe it's time I just get a job. Does anyone need a lobbyist for the grassroots?

Or maybe I'll take advantage of Denver's services to the homeless. I may end up
being a support of Mayor J.Hic after all!


John S. Wren, MBA+
This life is short, let's get started!
Franklin Circles
Business Peer Advisory Groups, Since 1727
My Linked In Profile:

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Before I was at Nagasaki, I was a good American boy. I was an Eagle Scout; I was the commander of a sub-chaser in the Normandy Invasion. Anyone who saw Nagasaki would suddenly realize that they'd been kept in the dark by the United States government as to what atomic bombs can do." Poet, publisher, and bookstore proprietor Lawrence Ferlinghetti. After college, he served in the Navy during World War II. He was sent to Nagasaki shortly after the blast. He became an anti-war protester. Ferlinghetti was born today in 1919.

Starbucks wants our ideas about how they can improve.

Here’s mine that I just posted on the above site:

I went to a small liberal arts college in the 60s. To break the image of "in loco parentis" it put up a kiosk where anyone could post any thing. It quickly became a vital part of the campus.

Coffee houses have been the center for such things since the founding of this country, vital places for neighborhood communications. Until Starbucks.

Please, please at least put up a community bulletin board in each store. Or even better, put up a kiosk in front of each store so it is available to the neighborhood 24/7. Strip it of all messages once a week or so, other than that just let it be self-regulated by the community. If you want to know how to best manage it talk with the owner of the Tattered Cover bookstores here in Denver which do a great job with their community bulletin boards.

Do you think Starbucks will listen? Probably not. A few years ago I invited the local Starbucks PR person to be on my radio show (John Wren's Journal. Never heard of it? You are not alone!) to discuss bulletin boards in coffee shops and the Starbuck policy of not allowing them. Starbuck's reaction was to contact my sponsor, with whom I'd made the big mistake of inviting to co-host the show, and he used their concern that the topic not be discussed as an excuse to fire me from my own show!

I'm thinking of putting the show back on the air, but I need to find a sponsor first. Starbucks? I'd certainly consider it if they'd put up community bulletin boards in all their stores. Starbucks's John Wren Hour-- Practical wisdom and applied creativity of, by, and for the grassroots. We could brainstorm, talk with people about their startup experience.

It's unlikely Starbucks will go for it. How about you? Please, no co-hosts.