Saturday, September 20, 2008


I just saw the Cohen Brother's new film Burn After Reading in the great tradition of their previous films from last years No Country for Old Men to Fargo and Raising Arizona.

Once again the Cohen's make us laugh at selfish, self-centered people and the life they create for themselves. "Don't sweat the little stuff, and it's all little stuff." Little stuff like marital fidelity, humility, and following the rule of law.

Upton Sinclair (it's his birthday today 1878-1968) would approve.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 is a new website that will provide: news on ballot initiative activity across the country; the capacity to search for information by state or issue; historical information and context; and research and resources on the ballot initiative process.

Some think that initatives are undermining our representative form of government, with sledge-hammer direct democracy that gives too much power to certain individuals who are to profit from their ablity to gather the resources required to force issues onto the ballot and then pass them with massive advertising expenditures.
“All the news that is fit to print.” Slogan of the New York Times, which was founded on this date in 1851 as the New-York Daily Times, by journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond, who had been fired from the New York Tribune and bitterly wanted to drive them out of business, and former banker George Jones . The paper changed its name to The New York Times in 1857. The newspaper was originally published every day but Sunday, but during the Civil War the Times, along with other major dailies, started publishing Sunday issues. The paper's influence grew during 1870–71 when it published a series of exposés of Boss Tweed that led to the end of the Tweed Ring's domination of New York's city hall.

It's lucky Raymond & Jones didn't have the "benefit" of the government programs designed to help new businesses get started. They were all on parade yesterday at the annual SBA small business fair at the Denver Public Library. I'll be talking about the day, and comparing it to what I've learned about the startup process since 1979 and recent research findings on the startup process in my talk tomorrow at the Denver IDEA Cafe, 2 p.m., Panara Bread, 13th & Grant. It's at least worth the price (free), hope you can join us. More info and RSVP at or check back here over the weekend for a copy of my remarks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Today is Constitution Day in the United States, because it was on this day in 1787, at the old State House in Philadelphia, that the final draft of the U.S. Constitution was finalized and Ben Franklin gave a talk urging the states to adopt it.

There is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and (I) believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. Ben Franklin

SMALL BUSINESS FAIR The U.S. Small Business Administration will hold a free Small Business Resource Fair and Expo from 10:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. today (Sept 17) at the downtown Denver Public Library, 10 W. 14th Ave. Parkway.

Commercial lenders, angel investors, business-assistance organizations, chambers of commerce and government agencies will offer counseling on starting, building and expanding a business. There will also be panel discussions on finding startup capital, choosing a lender or investor and winning government contracts.

I’ll attend to ask the startup panel my annual question: "Who has read Dr. Amar Bhide’s The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, what the publisher of Inc. Magazine has said is the most important book ever written about startup." Last year finally the business librarian at the Denver Public Library said yes she had read it, “only because you ask that same question every year.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

David Skaggs, executive director of Colorado's Department of Higher Education, who from 1987 to 1999 represented Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, writes in today’s Denver Post:

The creation of an informed and engaged citizenry was a core reason for founding universal public education. Twentieth-century education reformer John Dewey reiterated the public education system's commitment to the civic mission of schools: "Democracy must be reborn in each generation," wrote Dewey, "and education is its midwife."

Despite this commitment, education for and about democracy has suffered over the past generation. As the emphasis on literacy and math has dominated school reform discussions, schools are offering fewer required classes in social studies, civics and government.

Here’s the comment I just posted on Skagg’s column:

Every two years we get a chance for a state-wide civics lesson with our Colorado Caucus.

How about a program to send high school Sophmores to observe and report on every caucus meeting in the state starting in 2010. They could then return as Seniors to vote, on a "learners permit" if they weren't yet 18.

The Colorado Press Association through their members across the state could provide training for the Sophmores, and compile the Sophmores caucus-night observations into an overnight report that would provide valuable, much needed information to the media while providing great experience for the students in civic participation and journalism.

In the mean time, I hope Colorado students will take advantage of the free lessons in civic participation that are provided each week at Denver Socrates Cafe and Denver Speakers Corner Both of these could be spread across the state with just an encouraging email from Mr. Skaggs.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Have you seen Tim Berry's surprising new book The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan? It's available for free right now online at:

I say it's surprising because it is in part an apology for much of the work he's done over the last decade or so in being part of the "you must write a business plan" choir. Tim is the founder and president of Palo Alto Software, the manufacturer of Business Plan Pro, the best selling business planning software, and he has published books and written many magazine articles on planning.

I've gotten to know Tim over the last couple of years through an exchange of emails and a couple of telephone conversations.

On my first phone call to Tim, I said that it seemed to me that much of what the Small Business Administration and others have to say about planning is just plain wrong.

I asked him if he had done formal market research and if he created a written business plan before he'd started his business. "No" he said, and I like to think that is part of what got him thinking about what has resulted in this new book.

There is no mention of me in the book, and that's OK. But it's hard to understand how he could fail to cite the important work of Dr. Amar Bhide who I have repeatedly drawn to his attention. Dr. Bhide has written what the publisher of Inc. Magazine has called the most important book every on the topic of business startup, The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses.

In it, Dr. Bhide makes the case that successful businesses don't start the way that the Small Business Administration and most academic programs say they should start, with formal market research and formal strategic planning. If planning worked that well we'd have a planned economy and not a market economy.

I'll be digesting Berry's new book, and also the manuscript of Dr. Bhide's new book which he recently sent me, The Venturesome Economy this week and be talking about them, along with my own advetures in startup, at the IDEA Cafe this week. More info about the free meeting and RSVP at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

RINOs & DINOs Unite!

The Denver Post has an article this morning about the Palin phenomena, see and I posted this in response:

RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) unite!

Party loyalty is just a form of mental illness, in my opinion.

It will not be the end of the world if either Obama or McCain is elected, either one will do about the same thing, and that's the way it should be.

And because of that, party loyalty is not a virtue but rather a vice. Kool-aide Democrats and kool-aide Republicans with their politics of hate are what is killing this country. They are the cause of the negative ads that sane people hate.

At their best, both political parties are just tools for the grassroots, platforms for we the people to express our will. In the long run it does not matter which political party you pick, just that you choose one and participate.

I have NO respect for the people who hated Obama right up until the time it became clear that Hillary was not going to get the nomination. Same with the pre-nomination McCain haters. These fools are what's wrong with our potentially wonderful two-party system.

This year is a water-shed year for our country not because of what happening at the top of either ticket, but because the millions of new people who have been drawn into the grassroots. We have a chance for the renewal, but only if people who love their country more than their political party get involved.

Each major political parties over the next election cycle will either take us further into the hate and confusion of kool-aide leadership, or start the renewal of the reasonable and a return to true hope and real change.

As a conservative Democrat who was a state delegate for Clinton, I'll wait until after the debates to make a final decision about who I'll support in the privacy of the voting booth. And no, please don't pass the kool-aide.

Do you want to be an agent of real change? Join us this afternoon in Civic Center for the Denver Grassroots Rally. RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) unite!

For more information and optional RSVP see

What do you think? Is party loyalty just an easy substitute for thinking?

I hope you’ll join us this afternoon for Denver Speakers Corner! More info and optional RSVP at