Friday, May 23, 2008

Did you see the ad for the Denver IDEA Cafe in
today's (Fri, May 23) Denver Daily News (p. 8)?

Today Joe Blake, President of Denver Chamber will be
with us with other interesting entrepreneurs, and we
will brainstorm. RSVP at


Big Talk: Good conversation about interesting topics
at Socrates Cafe, each Thursday, 7 p.m., Trinity Church,
19th & Broadway here in Denver. More info and
optional RSVP at

Can We Hear You Now?
Denver Speakers Corner, Sunday, June 8, 4 p.m., Civic Center,
North Pavillion in Denver. More info and optional RSVP at

How much are you investing in your own education through clubs,
associations, classes, etc.? Measure the benefit against these standards:

Does what you are doing now help you:

1. Understand yourself?

2. Develop a good attitude towards others?

3. Develop a dynamic attitude towards life?

4. Learn to react to causes and not symptoms?

5. Acquire skills necessary to achieve your potential?

6. Understand society and how to bring about change?

(From Malcolm Knowles, let me know if you'd like more.)

If what you doing now doesn't measure up, consider starting or

joining a Franklin Circle. Call me if you'd like to know more

about how I can help you.

Next Friday (June 6) I'm starting something new, an open
Franklin Circle. Just show up or RSVP to make sure
you have a seat. Email me with Open Franklin Circle & Date
in the subject line. It will be held each Friday, 4 p.m., at
Panera Bread after the IDEA Cafe.

Finally, I'm available to help your club, association, or group measure
itself against these standards with my interactive presentation
"Learn to Win."

For more information, contact me at or (303)861-1447.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What happens, actually, to public confidence when the public becomes aware (as it gradually must) that the leaders of industry and government are resolutely committed to a confidence-inspiring viewpoint, come hell or high water? How can you know what to believe? Vance Packard, born today (May 22, 1914--December 12, 1996), was an American journalist, social critic, and author.

In The Hidden Persuaders, first published in 1957, Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era. It also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. The book questions the morality of using these techniques.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On this day (May 21) in 1927, Charles Lindbergh's boyhood dream of flight was fulfilled when he landed in Paris completing the first transatlantic flight. Overnight he became the most famous person in the world.

We discussed fame at the Friday evening Socrates Cafe last week. It carries a high price, as Lindbergh's life demonstrated.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I just sent out this release to the media:

May 20, 2008

Contact: John Wren

FREE HELP FOR PEOPLE STARTING NEW PATH. What are you going to do Monday morning?

This Friday (May 23) and every Friday for over 10 years, long time community activist John Wren leads a free 1 1/2 hr. workshop for people starting a new project, a new career, a new business or a new campaign. Speakers this week will be: Joe Blake, Denver Chamber of Commerce,; Mari Christie; and Lissa Ann Forbes

The Denver IDEA Cafe meets each Friday (except holiday weekends) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the hospitality room at Panera Bread, 1330 Grant (the corner of 13th & Grant) in Denver. Successful people are invited to share how they started their career, project, campaign or new business, and the group brainstorms on topics about startup problems and opportunities. It is free and open to anyone starting something new. More information and optional RSVP at

The IDEA Cafe takes it's name from a 4-step business creativity model: I= Inspiration or ID the Target; D= Develop Alternatives; E= Evaluate the Alternatives; and A= Act! The model and the rules for brainstorming are explained at each meeting. Wren's little book about startup is available for free at

"The IDEA Café is for people who aren't sure what they are going to do Monday morning. I do it for two reasons," says Wren. "First, it really helps me. I invite speakers I want to hear, and the brainstorming is like taking batting practice for my brain. Second, the people who attend say it helps them, too. When we are successful, they are too busy to come back the next week."

Wren’s evaluation is confirmed with lots of quotes from past participants on the web site, here’s a sample:

"Other people should join if they have an interest in hearing entrepreneurial stories and in brainstorming - for themselves or other people in the group. I received great brainstorming assistance today!" — Mike Kraft (May 2, 2008)

"Motivation to get your business going, lots of ideas for your key problem area you need to address, meeting like minded people going through the same start up or growing pains you are experiencing." — Davyd Smith (Apr 19, 2008)

• "Great opportunity to share ideas with bright, motivated people." — Grayson Hill (Apr 4, 2008)

• "If you're stuck, If you need to jumpstart the process of moving forward with your entrepreneurial plan than The Denver Idea Cafe meetup is the place to brainstorm!" — Rob Reighter (Mar 31, 2008)

• "If your of an entrepreneurial mindset and you have a question you are stuck on - make time to be here." — Sean Bell (Jan 18, 2008)

• "The IDEA Cafe is a fun and productive group!" • — Michelle Fire Eater (Nov 30, 2007)

• "Good group, as offering of diversity and worthy exchanges" — Randi Levin (Jan 6, 2008)

• "Very helpful and motivating." — Johnny Swift (Sep 7, 2007)

• " Wonderful. I really liked the format. " — Sondra Carr (Sep 7, 2007)

• "Highly recommend this to others need a boost in their business or support for an idea." — Judy Browne (Sep 6, 2007)

• "Got some great ideas!" — David (Jul 23, 2007)
• "Enjoyed!" — Christina James (May 25, 2007)

• "It was a small but intimate group - very good input and I came out of it enriched." — Estelle (Apr 20, 2007)

• "Great time - thanks!" — Chuck (Dec 26, 2006)

• "People in attendance are very talented, well education, life exerienced and everyone participated." — Deborah (Dec 22, 2006)

• "Good people, lots of laughs, and we had a good time. I'd love to go back for my other "ideas"!" — Suzi (Oct 29, 2006)

• "Great group!" — Amy (Jun 25, 2006)

• "I like the group and leader a lot." — Mike O'Neil (Apr 28, 2006)

• "Mediated well to maximize time and facilitate great brainstorming. There was a wide array of people and interests." — Travis (Feb 24, 2006)

• "Efficient and thought provoking. " — Gena Dry (Jan 27, 2006)

• "It's a good place to get brainstorming help with your project and to learn from others who have had successful projects that require marketing, investment capital, and original ideas." — Bobsterz (Nov 26, 2005)

• "The organizers and participants were very welcoming when it came to discusssing new ideas. The location was reachable by bus, so there are no worries on not being able to get there. It would be nice if the meeting was a little longer, so that people could get to know each other beforehand and discuss more of their ideas before it ends." — Nadia (Nov 5, 2005)

• "Wildly varied group. Terrific range in industry, position, needs, expertise, etc. This is still true" — Nik Nikkel (Sep 23, 2005)

• "John Wren makes the City and County of Denver a richer place to live and work through his efforts to invite its citizens to gather in community circles to discuss certain aspects of the human condition." — Louis (Aug 27, 2005)

John S. Wren, MBA+ (303)861-1447 is an adult educator and consultant. Wren is the author of Daring Mighty Things—The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business that was sold for years in local bookstores and is now available on his website for free. He is immediate past 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 formed the first Franklin Circle in Denver in 1996, which is based on the group Ben Franklin formed in 1727 in Philadelphia. He held the first Socrates Cafe in Denver, and he now leads the Denver Socrates Cafe each Thursday evening at Trinity Church in Denver

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today (Sun, May 18) is the birthday of Frank Capra, born in Bisaquino, Sicily (1897). Capra lived in Sicily for the first six years of his life until his family immigrated to Los Angeles. He sold newspapers in the Sicilian ghetto in Los Angeles, and he made money playing the banjo at nightclubs so he would be able to go to college. He studied chemical engineering at Cal Tech, paying his way by running the student laundry, waiting tables and wiping engines at a power plant.

In 1922, he was poor and unemployed and living in San Francisco, when he read in the newspaper that a man named Walter Montague was launching a new movie studio in an abandoned gymnasium. Capra called him up and talked his way into getting a job directing his first movie, a one-reel film based on a Rudyard Kipling poem.

For the next six years, he worked as everything from a prop man to a comedy writer. In 1928, he signed a contract with Columbia. Five years later he made his first big hit, the screwball comedy It Happened One Night (1933), for which he won the first of three Academy Awards for Best Director. In the next fifteen years he made a string of successful movies, most of them about a naïve and idealistic man from small-town America who goes up against greedy politicians and lawyers and journalists. Capra said the moral of his movies was: "A simple honest man, driven into a corner by predatory sophisticates, can, if he will, reach down into his God-given resources and come up with the necessary handfuls of courage, wit, and love to triumph over his environment."

His movies were so distinctive and so influential that the word "Capraesque" has made it into the dictionary. The 2000 American Heritage Dictionary defined it as "of or evocative of the movies of Frank Capra, often promoting the positive social effects of individual acts of courage."

His movies include Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and It's a Wonderful Life (1946), which was also about a small-town hero who battles corruption, but it was darker and more cynical than any of his earlier movies, and it didn't do very well at the box office. For some reason, Capra didn't renew its copyright in 1974, and it fell into the public domain. PBS was the first network to play it every year around Christmas. Other stations started picking it up, and now watching It's a Wonderful Life on TV is a holiday tradition for families across the country.

Capra said, "I wanted to glorify the average man, not the guy at the top, not the politician, not the banker, just the ordinary guy whose strength I admire, whose survivability I admire."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch®.

From The Writers Almanac