Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I've set up a blog where I'll be posting my thoughts about the 2010 Colorado Caucus:

Hope you'll join in the conversation there!
I just posted this on Facebook:

John S Wren

Published on November 17, 2002. Despite having virtually no money to spend, John Wren helped lead the successful opposition to a well-funded Amendment 29, which would have abolished Colorado's caucus system. But victory was just the beginning, not the end, of his crusade. He's now embarking on an effort to improve the crippled system he played a part in rescuing. More power to him. In a letter to colleagues last week, he noted that caucus supporters ``seem to agree that the defeat of Amendment...
522 words, Rocky Mountain News (CO)

for complete article

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20 minutes ago · · · Share
John S Wren
John S Wren
What needs to be done now to encourage the informed participation of newcomers in our Colorado Caucus? I'm going to post my thoughts this afternoon on http://www.JohnWren.com
17 minutes ago ·
John S Wren
John S Wren
The deadline for affiliating as GOP or Dem to vote in the March 16 caucus is January 19. Wouldn't you think we'd be seeing something about this in the newspapers or at least on the Secretary of State website?
15 minutes ago ·

Monday, December 14, 2009

From:  http://www.mindfulness.com/2007/06/25/fifty-years-ago-a-concept-called-tec-was-born/
Bob Nourse around the age of 50 lost the family business. He had his brother managed it until Mongomery Ward found another vendor. It was over quickly.

Jim Handy, later hired by Bob, recalled that “Bob found himself on a profound search personally (What am I really about?) and professionally (What do I do?)”

TEC (The Executive Committee)  remains the name used by several of the partners of Vistage which is the name in the US except for Michigan and Wisconsin (where Bob Nourse started TEC in 1957).

Vistage/TEC is the world’s largest CEO membership organization with over 14,000 members in 16 countries.
Lee Thayer speaks of the Vision having the man. This was most true in the case of Bob Nourse.

The following is excerpted from Robert Nourse’s typed autobiography and family history: History of the Nourse Family, Volume II. It speaks to the spirit behind an idea of one man that has continued to grow over the past 50 years.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I just posted this comment on an interesting discussion about an article in the Denver Post about Adam Smith and what he really meant, for the complete article and discussion click here: http://www.denverpost.com/allewis/ci_13930270

My rights end where your nose starts. Government's role is to protect us each from force, fraud, and harm individual actions do to a 3rd party. Big business, especially, needs oversight by government. But I go back to my original question: What do we do when big government has become just as much a problem as big business? Eisenhower warned us about the industrial/governmental alliance.

Our system of government demands informed and active citizens who think of the common good. Adam Smith never said there is an invisible hand in politics. The problem today, it seems to me, is with the grassroots. Too many people just wait for someone else to do the job, myself included. It's like the Pogo cartoon, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

First, we need to each be "all that we can be." Self-government demands ongoing self-directed learning. It would be a big improvement over what we have now if each citizen just read their local newspaper every day. It is vital that we each be in what 12-step programs call a "fit spiritual condition" in whatever way we each find helpful. There is to be no state religion, but all the political organizing in the world won't help us if we don't really trust in God, and not just give that foundation for personal freedom lip service such as printing it on our money.

Second, we need to be part of the solution through political action. Thomas Jefferson said we'd need a revolution every 20 years or so, and the founding fathers provided for a bloodless battle in the way we choose our candidates for elected public office at every election. The full flowering of that system is our Colorado Caucus. Affiliate with the party of your choice by January 19, and you can be part of the solution starting next spring. It's no accident, in my opinion, that Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was published in 1776.

To find out more about how you can get involved with the political party of your choice (to me it's like playing touch football, it doesn't matter if you are a red or a blue), attend Denver Speakers Corner this Sunday or any Sunday at 4 pm in Denver Civic Center Park, where someone almost always uses their turn on the soap box to talk about our wonderful neighborhood Colorado Caucus and answers questions about how to get involved. http://meetup.com/Denver-Speakers-Corner

Monday, December 07, 2009

The difference between the inventor and the entrepreneur?

Two caveman were standing around the first fire. One shouts "Hurray, I discovered fire!" The other shouts "Hurray, I discovered insurance!"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reuters Blogs:
With their feet and their purchases, individual consumers are revolting.  Scholars have started to call this trend, “brand avoidance,” as consumers worried about the larger social and economic impact of brands on society look for other options, even if those options cost a bit more.  In growing numbers, buyers are choosing the local over the brand, the farmers market over the supermarket, the Main Street strip over the mall.  Same with coffee.

While Starbucks closed down outlets in 2008, citing the New Recession as the cause, independent coffee houses, the Seattle Times noted, brought in new customers and they didn’t cut prices.  Over the last few years, in fact, the number of independent coffee houses in the U.S. has jumped past the number of chain store outlets, and now represent 54 percent of the coffee market.


I posted this comment:

In the early 90s I hosted a weekly business radio show in Denver, Colorado. To promote the show I distributed a free newsletter to libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, etc.

SB stores wouldn’t allow my newsletter. SB had a policy of only distributing SB printed material, and they had no bulletin boards for community information.

This really grated on me. Coffee shops have always been community hubs for the dissemination of newsletters, posters about events, etc.

The SB policy may have loosened slightly, but SB and the other chain outlets are a far cry from the community coffee shops that were so important to the healthy growth of this country.

The great good places, as one writer has called them, have been disappearing. Is there a revival taking place? I hope so.
"Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered — either by themselves or by others. But for the Civil War, Lincoln and Grant and Sherman and Sheridan would not have been discovered, nor have risen into notice. ... I have touched upon this matter in a small book which I wrote a generation ago and which I have not published as yet — Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven. When Stormfield arrived in heaven he ... was told that ... a shoemaker ... was the most prodigious military genius the planet had ever produced." 

Mark Twain pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens born this day. (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910)

Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent much time together in Tesla's laboratory.

Twain himself patented three inventions, including an "Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" (to replace suspenders) and a history trivia game.Most commercially successful was a self-pasting scrapbook; a dried adhesive on the pages only needed to be moistened before use.

Twain made a substantial amount of money through his writing, but he squandered much of it in bad investments, mostly in new inventions, particularly the Paige typesetting machine. It was a beautifully engineered mechanical marvel that amazed viewers when it worked, but was prone to breakdowns. Twain spent the enormous sum of $300,000 (equivalent to almost $7,000,000 today) on it, but before it could be perfected, it was made obsolete by the Linotype. He lost not only the bulk of his book profits but also a large portion of the inheritance of his wife.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

(Today, Sun, Nov 29) is the birthday of C.S. Lewis, (books by this author) born Clive Staples Lewis in Belfast (1898). He's best known probably for The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven-volume series of children's books. The first in the series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), begins: "Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids."

C.S. Lewis is well known also for his essays on Christianity. He'd been baptized and raised Anglican (in the Church of Ireland), became atheist as a teenager, then a theist in his 20s, and then, in his early 30s, he converted wholeheartedly to Christianity.

His great many religious writings include Mere Christianity (1952), based on theological talks he gave on the BBC during World War II; The Screwtape Letters, a novel of letters from a demon to his nephew (1942); and the allegorical novel The Great Divorce (1945), in which dwellers of hell ride a bus up to heaven. In an essay called "Is Theology Poetry?" he wrote: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

He taught English and medieval literature for three decades at Oxford University, where he was good friends with The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.

C.S. Lewis died a week shy of his 65th birthday in Oxford, England, the same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

He said, "Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness."

From The Writer's Almanac

C. S. Lewis's life had a profound impact on me and at least one of my friends. I bought a biography of Lewis and gave it to the friend, who was going through Denver on vacation, before I'd read it myself. Later I did read it and wondered if I'd done the right thing; the story was not light vacation-type reading.

My friend  called me years later and said, "I wanted you to know I never read that book you gave me until just a few days ago. I took it down from the shelf recently, and was blown away by it. I just got back from talking with the Pastor at my church here, and I've given my life to Christ."

Lewis believed in putting his faith into action. I think he'd like what we are trying to do here in Denver with Denver Speakers Corner. (Does anyone know if Lewis ever attended the Hyde Park Speakers Corner in London?) Our little group got some publicity in this morning's Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_13876192

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Denver Speakers Corner 

"Cor ad cor loquitur."
(Heart speaks to heart.)

Take the soap box and give us 3 to 5 minutes straight from your heart, or just listen to what others have to share about issues, candidates, causes, and local Denver community news.

It's like a poetry reading for politics.

The sign up sheet is out at 3:30 p.m. Those who RSVP and come by 4 p.m. speak first.

Denver Speakers Corner Meetup
Tomorrow, Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 4:00PM

Each Sunday we gather at 4 p.m. under the center arch of the Civic Center north pavillion on Colfax just across the street from the Denver Post.

Then we go to some other part of Civic Center, most of the time right between the state capitol and the Denver city and county building. That way we can point! :)

This is a lot of fun. Poets are welcome to read when they take their turn, or talk about the candidate, cause, or concern you have about government, politics, or anything that's happening here in our city, state, nation, or world.

What's on your mind?

RSVP is optional, but there are several advantages: 1) It gives you priority on the speakers list, 2) Makes sure you get a reminder of the meeting each week, and 3) gives you a vote as we make decisions about the group.
Join us now, while it's on your mind! Or just be there Sunday. Either way, we are glad to have you with us!
Civic Center Park (North Pavillion)
Colfax & 15th Street
Denver, CO 80201

See the full event details at http://www.meetup.com/Denver-Speakers-Corner/calendar/11709180/.

Check out what members are saying about Denver Speakers Corner:

"Come out and polish your skills. Rehearse a line a speech, or even an excuse you plan on giving your significant other. (LoL on the last one. "No really honey I was just joking!)

Express your thoughts, worries, anger (but please no violence), or just introduce yourself as you support those around you taking a chance.

Its free, so come on out and meet some pretty cool folks." - charles ballew
"Because there is no better way to keep free speech alive and kicking." - keith
"It will engage their interest, since we speak about current issues. Further, it will give people who like to speak a chance to do so, while giving people unskilled at speaking a chance to improve their skill." - G. P.
"This has the potential of becoming a great source of local news about Denver." - John
"This is my favorite meetup." - Michelle Fire Eater

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! For my Thanksgiving message (and to invite me to be
your Facebook friend if we are not already) click below:

John S Wren | <-- Click.  Happy Thanksgiving! Invite me to be your Facebook friend.

Yes, the Denver IDEA Cafe will meet this Friday, Nov 27.
Great speaker! For more and RSVP at http://meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The longer I taught in the public school system, the more I came to think that schools were concerned with everything but teaching. Teaching was the last priority, something you were supposed to do after you collected the milk money, put up the bulletin boards, straightened the shades and desks, filled out forms in triplicate, punched the cards, charted all the reading levels so they could be shipped downtown to the Board of Education. Everybody was test crazy. It seemed as thought the administrators only wanted to probe IQs and rank test scores. It didn't matter whether the children learned anything at all. Nothing was important except their performance on standardized tests. Teachers were supposed to teach skills specifically for those tests. Marva Collins, The Marva Collins' Way, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1982.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Very interesting discussion: Can B-Schools Teach Entrepreneurship? http://bit.ly/4sjUrN\

What has been your experience?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

John E Wren died 30 years ago today.

His hospital bed surrounded by family and friends, Pop did not pass quietly. If not a rage it was certainly a struggle there in Denver's Porters Hospital.

This morning, it suddenly dawned on my why the struggle. Pop must have finally realized it was time to go, as the hospice ladies were encouraging us to tell him, and with that realization he must have decided to get off the stage quickly. He played his part well right to the end of this life.

His last words to my mother had come earlier, that day or the day before if I understand correctly: "Don't worry honey, we'll whip this."

Pop always had whipped back adversity, right up until this final stuggle when it suddenly became clear that it was time to go. So he did.

He'd married my mom, Jane Edwards, a year or two behind him, a cheerleader and the most popular girl at Amarillo High School (I know she was and is because I got to see how they treat her at the 50th high school reunion). Mom a couple of years out of school, dad on a leave from the Navy, March 16, 1944 they eloped. I was born in 1947, they moved to Colorado in 1949, and had two more sons as they built a successful business which they sold in 1969 when I graduated from DU.

Dad was a Christian, but he never could find a church that met his standards. He left one when he offered to pay for Sunday school teachers who did more than just babysit, and they wouldn't do it. 

His deep faith and regular attendance from church to church seemed to help him be a high achiever, but it didn't appear to be a real comfort to him at the end. His then current pastor left his room with tears in his eyes and told me, "You dad just said a very profound thing. 'It's hard to fight two battles.'"

Pop we still miss you. Your 55 summers were not enough. Facing 30 winters without you has been hard for us all.

But this morning I take comfort in the prayer of a poem you recited so often:

As going through life,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the donut,
And not upon the hole.

I'm grateful Pop, for all the good lessons and the time we did get with you. And don't worry, Mom, we'll whip this. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw

Friday, November 06, 2009

My old economics professor at the University of Denver used to tell us there is no such thing as unemployment. "If you don't believe me," he'd say, "anyone who considers them self unemployed can come with me this afternoon, I'll put you to work pulling weeds in my yard."

The problem is the economists pie chart. There is no pie. We are not so much in a ocean liner as a canoe; we each have to paddle our own canoe.

Yes, there is a need for temporary charity and a safety net. But the objective is to recover. In football, players are taught to hit and recover, to get back up into a good hitting position. If you need help getting back up in a good hitting position, if you're not sure what you are going to do Monday morning, join us any Friday afternoon for the Denver IDEA Cafe.
"Even the labor of humility is rest."
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Want to turn your inspiration into effective action? Whether you are part of the 10% unemployed, or the 90% who have a job, if you are starting a new career, a new project or campaign, or a new business, join us this afternoon or any Friday afternoon for the Denver IDEA Cafe. We meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, here in Denver Colorado. Contact me if you want more information.

Monday, November 02, 2009

"What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day."

"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

George Bernard Shaw, who died on this date in 1950 at 94.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In response to my previous post here:

Here's a podcast of me talking about how to find a good job fast:

I just got this email from the Dean of my alma mater:


That was a great podcast! Thank you for sharing. I have passed 
it along to folks within Daniels. I hope you are doing well!

All the best,


Christine M. Riordan, Ph.D.
Professor of Management
Daniels College of Business
University of Denver
2101 South University Boulevard, Suite 664
Denver, CO 80208
Phone:  303-871-4324
Here's a podcast of me talking about how to find a good job fast:
It was on this day that Martin Luther (books by this author) published his 95 Theses in 1517, an event that led to the Protestant Reformation. He was protesting corruption within the Roman Catholic Church, and he was particularly upset by the selling of indulgences, which the Church was doing to raise funds for restoration work on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Luther's initial goal was not schism nor even confrontation; he was operating more in the mode of muckraking (a tradition that would become popular centuries later). Luther was hoping that his statements would shame the Church into mending its ways.

In Thesis # 86, Martin Luther posited: "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?" But the selling of indulgences was the iceberg tip of a deeper theological issue: a debate over the doctrine of Justification, and its role in salvation. The Roman Catholic Church's position was that man could not be saved by faith alone; good works must accompany the faith. And at the time, buying indulgences to save one's soul and help achieve salvation in the afterlife counted as something somewhere between good works and spiritual insurance.

Luther insisted that this was wrong, theologically so, because only God could grant salvation. The pope could not, Luther said, and the practice of selling and buying indulgences was harmful to Christianity because the false assurance misled people from being faithful Christians. His language grew stronger over time, and he wrote: "All those who consider themselves secure in their salvation through letters of indulgence will be eternally damned, and so will their teachers."

There were attempts at mediation and counseling by the Vatican, but slowly a virulent confrontation between Luther and the pope developed. Luther was called to Rome and asked by the pope to recant 41 of the sentences from his writings, including some from the 95 Theses, or else he would be excommunicated. He refused and grew increasingly outspoken. He proclaimed: "The Roman Church, once the holiest of all, has become the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of brothels, the kingdom of sin." He was excommunicated, declared a heretic and an outlaw. He was a hero of many German townspeople.

And it was on this day just 10 years ago — in 1999 --- that Lutheran and Roman Catholic clerics signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. It's an 8,000-word document that aims to explain misunderstandings and resolve differences over the very doctrine that was at the heart of the of the Protestant Reformation. The document's preamble states that the two churches, Lutheran and Catholic, "are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ." The document is not all encompassing when it comes clearing up issues about Justification, it disclaims, but does say that no one will be excommunicated over the issue of Justification anymore.

From: The Writer's Almanac

Friday, October 30, 2009

Humility is a virtue, not a neurosis. It sets us free to act virtuously, to serve God and to know Him. Therefore true humility can never inhibit any really virtuous action, nor can it prevent us from fulfilling ourselves by doing the will of God. Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Speakers Corner again this Sunday, 4 p.m., Civic Center Park. What's on your mind?
I just posted this on Craig's List. Please forward to your friends who might be interested, OK?

Also, we have good speakers at the Denver IDEA Cafe and the new Franklin Circle open meeting this afternoon, hope you can join us! More info on the links to the left here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

"The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work."  Christopher Robison

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Denver IDEA Cafe Announces Speakers.
Since 1994, free help for people starting a new career, project, campaign or new business.

DENVER—The Denver IDEA Cafe startup workshop meets from 2 to 3:30 p.m. each Friday at Panera Bread, 13th and Grant in Denver. More information and RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe or (303)861-1447.

Upcoming speakers:

This Friday, Oct 23: J. Brad Bernthal http://caete.colorado.edu/coursedb/view-instructor/161
Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Technology Policy, Entrepreneurial Law, University of Colorado Law School.

Oct 30: Dawn Todd www.DawnTodd.com, founder of Wildly Successful Women; business coach Jerry Chesser www.ActionCoach.com.

Nov 6: Suzanne Kaller, Arapahoe Library District, about startup resources available in public libraries. http://www.arapahoelibraries.org/go2.cfm?pid=8169

Since 1994, the Denver IDEA Cafe has been helping people who are starting in a new direction by providing a free forum where successful people share their startup experience and then brainstorm specific questions or problems.

IDEA is an acronym for: I= Inspiration or Identify the Problem; D= Develop Alternatives; E= Evaluate the Alternatives; and A= take Action. The meeting is free and open to anyone who is starting a new career, a new campaign or project, or a new business.
This is why I say I'm a recovering M.B.A.:

Sony's founder, Akio Morita, was a master at watching what consumers were trying to get done and at marrying those insights with solutions that helped them do the job better. Between 1950 and 1982, Sony successfully built twelve different new-market disruptive growth businesses. These included the original battery-powered pocket transistor radio, launched in 1955, and the first portable solid-state black-and-white television, in 1959. They also included videocassette players; portable video recorders; the now-ubiquitous Walkman, introduced in 1979; and 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, launched in 1981. How did Sony find these foothold applications that yielded such tremendous up-side fruit?

Every new-product launch decision during this era was made personally by Morita and a trusted group of about five associates. They searched for disruptive footholds by observing and questioning what people really were trying to get done. They looked for ways that miniaturized, solid-state electronics technology might help a larger population of less-skilled and less-affluent people to accomplish, more conveniently and at less expense, the jobs they were already trying to get done through awkward, unsatisfactory means. Morita and his team had an extraordinary track record in finding these footholds for disruption.

Interestingly, 1981 signaled the end of Sony's disruptive odyssey, and for the next eighteen years the company did not launch a single new disruptive growth business. The company continued to be innovative, but its innovations were sustaining in character-they were better products targeted at existing markets. Sony's PlayStation, for example, is a great product, but it was a late entrant into a well-established market. Likewise, its Vaio notebook computers are great products, but they too were late entrants into a well-established market.

What caused this abrupt shift in Sony's innovation strategy? In the early 1980s Morita began to withdraw from active management of the company in order to involve himself in Japanese politics. (This information was recounted to us in a July 2000 interview with Mickey Schulhoff, who worked for over twenty years as CEO of Sony America and served for much of this time as a member of Sony Corporation's board of directors.)

To take his place, Sony began to employ marketers with MBA's to help identify new-growth opportunities. The MBA's brought with them sophisticated, quantitative, attribute-based techniques for segmenting markets and assessing market potential. Although these methods uncovered some underserved opportunities on trajectories of sustaining improvement in established markets, they were weak at synthesizing insights from intuitive observation. In searching for an initial product foothold in new-market disruption, observation and questioning to determine what customers are trying to do, coupled with strategies of rapid development and fast feedback, can greatly improve the probability that a company's products will converge quickly upon a job that people are trying to get done.

From: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/maney/2003-11-12-innovators-solution-excerpt.htm

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine."

Arthur Miller, born this date in 1915, considered by many to be the greatest American playwright. From his 1949 play, Death of a Salesman.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"It was at Rome, on the fifteenth of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted fryers were singing Vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the City first started to my mind. After Rome has kindled and satisfied the enthusiasm of the Classic pilgrim, his curiosity for all meaner objects insensibly subsides."

Edward Gibbon, writing about his inspiration to write The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. His six-volume work, published between the years 1776 and 1788, covered more than a thousand years of Roman history, from 180 A.D. to the fall of Constantinople.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Speaking at the Denver IDEA Cafe this Friday, Oct 16: Author Joe Clark www.CommonSenseRetirement.com, a former Texas State Trooper, Joe owned a private investigation company for 15 years, now consults with people who are turning 65 about their retirement choices.
What are you creating?

Whether it's a new project, a new campaign, career, or new business, you can get help each Friday afternoon at the Denver IDEA Cafe.

The IDEA Cafe is designed to be helpful to the person who is not sure what they are going to do Monday morning. If that's you this Friday, please join us.

Also join us if you have startup experience you'd be willing to share. But please, don't come to just network. For more information and to RSVP see: http://meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe The meeting is free and open to everyone, we just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming.
See our meeting announcements in the Denver Daily News.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.  George Bernard Shaw  http://www.quotes.net/authors/George%20Bernard%20Shaw

Friday, October 09, 2009

I just confirmed Wendy Norris (photo to left) will be with us this afternoon at the Denver IDEA Cafe. Wendy was the managing editor of the Colorado Independent, one of the first online newspapers in the country. She currently has a Knight Foundation grant and is researching new media. She'll share her startup experience and her perspective on the entrepreneurial opportunities that are available for journalists. There is an item about the meeting in the Denver Daily News today on p. 5, take a look, then pass it along to a friend. More info and RSVP at http://meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe.
Right after the IDEA Cafe, at 3:45 p.m. today (Fri, Oct 9) or any Friday we have a free, open meeting of the Denver Open Franklin Circle. At each meeting enough information is distributed to those attending that they can start a new Franklin Circle with their friends and business associates on a topic of their choice. For more information and to RSVP for this afternoon or future meetings, see http://meetup.com/Franklin-Circle-Denver-Open

Thursday, October 08, 2009

  1. We have a great speaker tomorrow (Friday, Oct 9) at the Denver IDEA Cafe. Wendy Norris is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced journalists in the country regarding new media. If you or someone you know wants to turn your talent for writing and reporting into a business, join us! http://meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe
  2. Have you thought about starting a peer advisory or master mind group with your friends and business associates? Join us any Friday for the Franklin Circle Denver Open group. You'll get enough information at the first meeting to start your own group over the weekend, or meet with us each Friday until you get your own group started. More info and RSVP at http://meetup.com/Franklin-Circle-Denver-Open
  3. I'm meeting with Scott Heiferman, the founder of meetup.com tonight (Thursday, Oct 8). Watch for improvements in my meetup.com groups as a result of our meeting!
  4. Rocky Mountain Inventors Association http://rminventor.org  has asked me to be their Executive Director. If you already have experience with the group, or if you'd like to become involved, please contact me.
  5. It is possible that my work with RMIA (see #4 above) will result in me discontinuing my consulting practice. But for now, I'm still available to be of assistance to you as you start in a new direction with your career or business. If you might like help, contact me. But please, do it now. I'd hate for us to miss this opportunity. And I need the money!   John@JohnWren.com or (303)861-1447

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

October 6, 2009

Contact: John Wren cell (720)495-4949

University of Colorado Prof Speaks to Denver IDEA Cafe October 23.
Since 1994, free help for people starting a new career, project, campaign or new business.

DENVER—The Denver IDEA Cafe startup workshop meets from 2 to 3:30 p.m. each Friday at Panera Bread, 13th and Grant in Denver. More information and RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe or (303)861-1447.

Upcoming speakers:

Oct 9: Reporter, editor and entrepreneur Wendy Norris linkedin.com/in/wendynorris on journalism and her startup experience.

Oct 16: Author Joe Clark www.CommonSenseRetirement.com, a former Texas State Trooper, Joe owned a private investigation company for 15 years, now consults with people who are turning 65 about their retirement choices.

Oct 23: J. Brad Bernthal, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Technology Policy, Entrepreneurial Law, University of Colorado Law School. Brad leads the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (LAWS 7619) and the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic (LAWS 7809). In addition to his clinical instruction, Brad teaches doctrinal courses in the areas of telecom policy, spectrum management, and entrepreneurial finance.

Prior to law school, Brad conducted legislative research as a staff assistant to United States Senator Robert Kerrey. Brad started his legal career in San Francisco with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP. He then returned to Denver where he practiced at Hogan & Hartson, LLP before most recently working for the Boulder law firm of Berg, Hill, Greenleaf and Ruscitti. http://lawweb.colorado.edu/profiles/profile.jsp?id=192

Since 1994, the Denver IDEA Cafe has been helping people who are starting in a new direction by providing a free forum where successful people share their startup experience and then brainstorm specific questions or problems.

IDEA is an acronym for: I= Inspiration or Identify the Problem; D= Develop Alternatives; E= Evaluate the Alternatives; and A= take Action. The meeting is free and open to anyone who is starting a new career, a new campaign or project, or a new business.


John S. Wren, MBA http://www.JohnWren.com is the founder of the Denver IDEA Café, the Denver Startup Forum, and Franklin Circles. He is a business consultant and adult educator. Wren is also the new Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association http://www.rminventor.org/

October 6, 2009

Contact:  John Wren cell (720)495-4949

Adult self-directed learning groups may have been Ben Franklin’s best idea, says John Wren.     

DENVER— Franklin Circle Denver Open Group, each Friday, 3:45 p.m. at Panera Bread, 1330 Grant, Denver. Free. More information and RSVP at http://meetup.com/Franklin-Circle-Denver-Open or contact John Wren at (303)861-1447 or John@JohnWren.com.

In 1727, young Ben Franklin formed a group in Philadelphia for “the purpose of mutual improvement” as he puts it in his famous Autobiography. In 1996, inspired by Franklin, entrepreneur and long-time community activist John Wren formed the first Franklin Circle here in Denver, and he’s now actively working to spread the concept.

“I’ve conducted startup workshops and done consulting with small businesses for years,” said Wren. “This experience has convinced me there is a real need for these peer advisory groups for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and creative managers. The intention is to help people to start and grow their own business, and to help them become better citizens through active participation in local government and politics.”

Each group is autonomous, and those who are interested are invited to attend one of Wren’s free meetings. Help is then available to start or join a free or tuition-based group.


Attachment: What is a Franklin Circle?

John S. Wren, MBA   http://www.JohnWren.com   is the founder of the Denver IDEA Café, the Denver Startup Forum, and Franklin Circles. He is a business consultant and adult educator. Wren is also the new Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association http://www.rminventor.org/

Sunday, October 04, 2009

About the Alumni Symposium yesterday:

Corey Ciocchetti spoke yesterday at the University of Denver luncheon. Prof. Ciocchetti told us why he walked away from a $120,000 per year job as a successful lawyer with a big firm to become a teacher, and the rewards he's found since he entered that new profession at DU.  He then gave a very inspirational talk about how we can each live our days to the maximum advantage for ourselves and others by being honest with ourself, living with integrity, and doing our best each day by keeping things in perspective as we hustle, fight for things that matter, listen, and laugh often through out the day. www.coreyspeaks.com

I also attended sessions on spirituality and education, the rise and appeal of Islamic fundamentalism, and Lincoln and Colorado (there is a very good reason Lincoln Street runs right in front of the Capitol.)

It was a great day. I connected with old friends, made a few new ones, and got a lot to think about that will be influencing the topics for discussion for the next several weeks!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I'm at the University of Denver Alumni Symposium today, posted about last night's speaker Roger Birnbaum on Facebook. Caught end of Dr. Daniel Lair talking about the importance of dialog and discussion in forming values, and the positive side of social networking in facilitating it. Are you on Facebook? www.Facebook.com 

More here tomorrow morning about what's new on campus.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

“You can’t. You can never be sure. You die without knowing.” Poet John Berryman's answer to poet W.S. Merwin's question "how do I know if I've written a good poem" when they were both students at Princeton. Merwin was born on this date in 1927. http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/

Is this true for all writing? Will we ever know the true value of a Twitter or a blog post in this life?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I just sent out this release to the media:

September 29, 2009

Contact:  John Wren cell (720)495-4949

Since 1994, free help for people starting a new career,  project, campaign or new business.           

DENVER—The Denver IDEA Cafe startup workshop meets from 2 to 3:30 p.m. each Friday at Panera Bread, 13th and Grant in Denver. More information and RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Denver-IDEA-Cafe or (303)861-1447.

Upcoming speakers:

This Friday, Oct 2:  Inventors day at the IDEA Cafe. Speakers are both board members of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association (RMIA). Patent Attorney Roger Jackson www.RogerJacksonEsquire.com  is President of the RMIA; and Past President of the RMIA and President & CEO of Innovative Consulting Group Bonnie Kaake www.bizconsult.com. John Wren was recently elected Executive Director of the RMIA by its board of directors.

Oct 9: Reporter, editor and entrepreneur Wendy Norris linkedin.com/in/wendynorris on journalism and her startup experience.

Oct 16: Author Joe Clark www.CommonSenseRetirement.com, a former Texas State Trooper, Joe owned a private investigation company for 15 years, now consults with people who are turning 65 about their retirement choices.

Since 1994, the Denver IDEA Cafe has been helping people who are starting in a new direction by providing a free forum where successful people share their startup experience and then brainstorm specific questions or problems.

“We help people who aren’t sure what they are going to do Monday morning to find their own path,” says entrepreneur and long time community-activist John Wren, the founder of the group.

Wren says the name IDEA Cafe name comes from a four-step business creativity model he developed when he was Mountain Bell in the 70's.

IDEA is an acronym for:  I= Inspiration or Identify the Problem; D= Develop Alternatives; E= Evaluate the Alternatives; and A= take Action. The meeting is free and open to anyone who is starting a new career, a new campaign or project, or a new business.

Why does he do it? Wren explained, “Dan Brogan, publisher of 5280 Magazine, says the group has infused Denver with a spirit of entrepreneurship over the past decade. I hope that is true, for the sake of my grand kids.”


John S. Wren, MBA   http://www.JohnWren.com   is the founder of the Denver IDEA Café, the Denver Startup Forum, and Franklin Circles. He is a business consultant and adult educator. Wren is also the new Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association http://www.rminventor.org/

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In case you didn't notice, I've been asked to be the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association. We have a meeting tonight (Thur, Sept 24), I hope you'll join us. See calendar for address and other details:

Yes, I'll still be facilitating the Denver IDEA Cafe and the Franklin Circle Denver Open meetings each Friday. More info about those meetings and optional RSVP at:

Denver IDEA Cafe, 2 p.m., Panera Bread, 13th & Grant

Franklin Circle Denver Open, 3:45 p.m. Panera, 13th & Grant

Last call for my book?
My little book Daring Mighty Things-- The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business is still available on this site (look <--- to the left) but this may change. Also, my consulting services continue to be available for now, and that is subject to change. Depends on how final negotiations go with the RMIA board. So if you want the little book and some of my time, act now!

Is the Franklin Circle the ultimate "happiness board"?
Tal Ben-Shahar in his best selling book Happier-- Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment says

"Create a personal happiness board-- a group of people who care about you and your well-being, and who will hold you accountable to the ultimate currency (happiness). Ask your board members to keep track of your commitments and ensure that you follow through on them. Meet regularly to discuss your progress, where you have made significant improvements, where you would like to put more effort, or where you would like to change course.

"Following up on our commitments and goals isn't easy. It takes time for a practice to become a habit, a ritual-- and therefore most efforts at change ultimately fail. Change of any sort-- be it starting an exercise regime, overcoming procrastination, or getting to spend more time with our family-- is more likely to last when we enjoy the support of others.

"In addition to creating your own happiness board, become a member of other people's boards (you may have one small group, in which you serve on one another's boards). By doing so, you will be helping them as well as yourself: by holding others accountable to the ultimate currency and reminding them to pursue meaningful and pleasurable activities, you will be indirectly strengthening your commitment to your own happiness."

When I'm upset with someone if I stop and think about it my upset is the result of either: 1) Me projecting my faults onto that person (this is why we teach what we most need to know, like me writing this to you now); 2) Truth the person is telling me I just don't want to hear; 3) Unrealistic expectations of mine; or 4) Unresolved conflicts in the past the other person is taking out on a safe target (me), they aren't doing it to me, they are just doing it. Who are you upset with right now? Can you see one of these four reasons behind your emotion?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This should be worth listening to Wednesday.

I just got this from my friend Ashleigh Brilliant:

Sunday September 20, 2009

Dear Friends,
If you are among those huge hordes of people who have always wanted to hear my voice, you may like to know that, through the magic of modern technology, you will soon be able to do so – and it won’t cost you anything!

I am going to be interviewed on a local Santa Barbara radio station which now “streams” its signal so that anyone anywhere in the world with access to the Internet can pick it up, live and direct.

This momentous event will occur on Wednesday, September 23, between 9 and 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. I realize that this may not be very convenient for some of you in distant time-zones – but please ask for only one miracle at a time. (And don’t expect to hear me constantly during the hour, since this is a commercial news station, and there will be several breaks for news and advertising.)

The interviewer is a local radio personality named “Baron” Ron Herron. I have been on his show before, but this “streaming” capability is something new, and we are interested to see how far the program may reach. It’s a “call-in," so (in theory at least) you can actually talk to me while I am on the air, and you and I will both be heard by everyone tuned in.

From outside the local area, the number to call is (866) 564-1290. (The local number is (805) 564-1290, but quite honestly I'd rather hear, this time, from people I'm not likely to encounter every day.)

If there is anything in particular you'd like to hear me say or do on the air, please let me know now by email.

Here’s all you have to do to listen in:

Make sure your speaker is turned on.

Go to www.newspress.com (This is the website of Santa Barbara’s main daily newspaper, which owns the radio station.)

Go down the right-hand column to the section headed “News-Press.” In that section you will see six small boxes, 2 rows of 3.

Go to the upper-right of those 6 boxes, which is headed “AM 1290,” and which says inside (in red in 2 rows) “AM 1290 LISTEN NOW”

Click anywhere in that box.

The sound should then come up, but may take some seconds before you hear it.

All the best,
Ashleigh Brilliant

ASHLEIGH BRILLIANT, 117 W. Valerio St. Santa Barbara CA 93101 USA. Phone (805) 682-0531 Orders:(800) 952-3879, Code #77. Creator of POT-SHOTS, syndicated author of I MAY NOT BE TOTALLY PERFECT, BUT PARTS OF ME ARE EXCELLENT. 10,000 copyrighted BRILLIANT THOUGHTS available as cards, books etc.World's highest-paid writer (per word). Most-quoted author (per Reader's Digest.) Free daily Pot-Shot cartoon: www.ashleighbrilliant.com CATALOGS:[h&m included]. Starter $2. Complete Printed version: $18 Electronic Text-Only (emailed $25, on CD $30). Electronic Illustrated Catalog/Database (CD only) $105 (includes shipping anywhere). Details: www.ashleighbrilliant.com/IllustratedCatalog.html

Friday, September 18, 2009

“The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear, keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”
 Douglas MacArthur
The most successful people are lifelong learners; they constantly ask questions and never cease to explore the wonder-filled world around them. Regardless of where you are in life-- whether you are fifteen or a hundred and fiftenn, whether you are going through a rough patch or are thriving-- create an education program for yourself. 

Your program can include the following two catagories: personal development and professinal development. Under each category, commit to learning material that will yield both preent benefit (that you enjoy reading and thinking about) as well as future benefit (that will contribute to your overall growth). Ritualize your program by putting aside regular times each week for your education.

Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier-- Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.  p. 95. 

What have you learned this week? That's the question we ask ourselves each week at Franklin Circle. Join us this afternoon at 3:15 p.m., right after the Denver IDEA Cafe. More information and optional RSVP for both groups, click on:

Denver IDEA Cafe

Franklin Circle Denver Open

Another group that I've found helpful is Socrates Cafe. I've been leading the Thursday evening group that meets at Trinity Church, but I've had to resign because of conflicts with my new job as Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association. John Hart has agreed to take it on, and I'm sure he will do a great job. I'll be at the RMIA Denver meeting next Thursday evening, thanks John!

Looking at yourself, are you more connected with others in groups like these now than you were September 11, 2001? I certainly am, maybe to a fault. What is the effect of online social networking such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they bringing us together or drawing us into even deeper isolation?

What are you finding helpful right now? What encourages you to be a lifelong learner? Does reading this and posting a comment here help you right now?

I'd be very interested in your thoughts on this. When you have a few minutes, read back through posts here since September 11, 2009 when I started to attempt this online dialog. Does this have the potential of being helpful to you? If so, let me know and I'll continue. If not, this next week will probably be my last with you here online each morning.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all bretheren. 
Matthew 20:8

You can get someone to teach you things mechanical or scientific or mathmatical. But in things that really matter, life, love, reality, God, no one can teach you a thing...So put your books and formulas aside; dare to abandon your teacher whoever your teacher may be and see things for yourself. Dare to look at everything around you without fear and without formula and it won't be long before you see. 
Anthony de Mello, The Way to Love

A nurse told me that nurses are taught how to keep learning new procedures: watch one, do one, teach one.

The best way to find the combination for a lock is to have someone write it on a slip of paper for you.

But other things just aren't that way.

I went to a conference about the future of newspapers here in Denver last night. There are a lot of reporters and editors waiting for their next assignment.

God bless my Aunt Opal, who is being buried today in Amarillo, Texas.

"It is difficult/ to get the news from poems,/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there." William Carlos Williams, born this date in Rutherford, New Jersey (1883).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Love is to be found only in fearlessness and freedom. How do you achieve this freedom? By means of a two-pronged attack on your dependency and slavery. First, awareness. It is next to impossible to be dependent, to be a slave, when one constantly observes the folly of one's dependence. But awareness may not be enough for a person whose addiction is people. You must cultivate activities that you love. You must discover work that you do, not for its utility, but for itself. 

Anthony de Mello, The Way to Love

Yesterday this release went out to the media:

September 15, 2009
Contact:  Joshua Duignan
                Association Management Group
DENVER, CO - John S. Wren, MBA has been elected the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association (www.rminventor.org) by the RMIA Board of Directors.

John Wren (www.JohnWren.com , 720-495-4949) is a graduate of the University of Denver (BA’69, MBA ’79), where he was President of the Graduate Student Association. He is also the past President of the Denver City Club, the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association, and the Metro South Denver Optimists Club. He has served on the board of directors of the Denver Lions Club and 1311 York Street Club. Past employment includes: Secretary/ Treasurer, Western Merchants Wholesale Company; Assistant-to-the-President, Outdoor Sports Industries; Telemarketing Manager, Mountain Bell Telephone Company; owner, Wren Marketing Corporation; Marketing, Director for the Denver Symphony Orchestra;  Business Analyst, George S. May Company; and Sales Manager, Villager Newspapers and Sentinel Newspapers. He now does business consulting and he manages the IDEA Cafe/ Franklin Circles, which will continue.

The RMIA, formed in 1978 as the Rocky Mountain Inventors Congress, is a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping people with new ideas achieve their greatest potential.
Maita Lester | president
association management group, llc
www.amanagementgroup.com  |  twitter: @amgmtgroup  |  303-831-4133  |  maita@amanagementgroup.com

Thanks to the Denver Post for picking it up this morning:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mystics storm against ideas and structures that have become entrenched in their societies and cultures when awareness awakesn them to evils their contemporaries are blind to. Anthony de Mello, The Way to Love

This comment to yesterday's post here was made on Facebook:
 My big question is this. Just what is so bad about the USA that we need to make big changes. 

A good friend of mine got so angry with me during a discussion that he pushed me over, out of my chair, and we both fell to the ground. Only a good friend would do such a thing. It was a learning moment for me, and his point will never be forgotten.

One of the strengths of our two party system in the United States is that we regularly engage in full out, open debate. It has been this way from the very start of our country. Only good friends can argue as we do in this country.

This kind of vigorous debate is healthy when it starts with self-reflection, what is called in 12-step programs personal inventory.

So the big question for each of us this morning is: What is so bad that we need to change? Only with that awareness will healthy growth take place.

If this is to continue, it needs to be a conversation. I'd be very interested in your comments on this. Post here, or if you'd rather email your comment to John@JohnWren.com and I'll put it up here tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"So be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16  

Our challenge is to recapture the simplicity and wisdom of the dove without losing the cunningness of the serpentine brain.

Think of some change that you wish to bring about in your life or in your personality. Are you attempting to force this change on your nature through effort and through the desire to become something that your ego has planned? That is the serpent fighting the dove. Or are you content to study, observe, understand, be aware of your present state and problems, without pushing, without forcing things that your ego desires, leaving Reality to effect changes according to Nature's plans, not yours? Then you have the perfect blending of the serpent and the dove. Take a look at some of those problems of yours, those changes you desire in yourself, and observe your way of going about it. See how you attempt to bring about change-- both in yourself and in others-- through the use of punishment and reward, through discipline and control, through sermonizing and guilt, through greed and pride, ambition and vanity, rather than through loving acceptance and patience, painstaking understanding and vigilant awareness.  

Anthony de Mello, The Way to Love.


Last Friday was the start of this new dialog here on JohnWren.com to encourage a year of reflection about the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the 8 years since then, and the vital importance for citizens to read the printed version of local newspapers, magazines, and books and to engage in face-to-face discussions. I will post my thoughts here each morning Monday through Friday and encourage you to post your comments. If you'd like me to speak at your book club, library, or bookstore about what we are doing, contact me at John@JohnWren.com or (303)861-1447.

After talking with some of my friends, I’ve decided to go ahead with this. The idea is to have a year long online dialog about the personal effects of 9/11, and the changes that have been brought about in each of us since then.

The Internet now makes this kind of world-wide conversation possible, it’s an amazing tool. Writing something and getting immediate feedback from around the world opens up huge possibilities for human advancement.

But the Internet is no substitute for reading the printed word and discussing what is read in face-to-face dialog. I’m encouraging local papers to direct their readers to this conversation, and for their readers to connect us to their efforts to move the conversation of our global village from talk radio to thoughtful reading and discussion.

I look forward to our conversation here online each morning.

John Wren

Who is John Wren?

John Wren created the first online business bulletin board in Denver on Denver Freenet. He is a business consultant, adult educator, and community activist. He is the founder of the IDEA Cafe, Franklin Circles, Denver Socrates Cafe, the Denver Startup Forum, Denver Speakers Corner. He is a graduate of the University of Denver (BA’69, MBA ’78) and has served on the board of directors for the Denver City Club, the Denver Lions Club, and the South Denver Optimists Club. He was the founding President of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association. He has worked as a house wares buyer, human resource manager, small business owner, stock broker, advertising salesman, and sales manager. He has been on the staff and a columnist for local newspapers, and he is the author of DARING MIGHTY THINGS—THE SIMPLEST WAY TO START YOUR FIRST (OR NEXT) NEW BUSINESS. He can be contacted at John@JohnWren.com or (303)861-1447.