Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out." Anton Chekhov, born this day in 1860.

"Strategy is worth nothing if you can't execute it. If you are good at execution and it isn't working you can change course until you find something that does work. And the reality in today's world is you have to adjust strategy every once in a while anyway as the market and your competition changes." Fred Tomczyk, CEO of TD Ameritrade.

From Wall Street Journal survey of CEOs on the question, "There's a philosophical debate going on in academic management circles these days about whether strategy or execution is the more important focus for a CEO. Do you have a view?" Most CEOs ducked the question.

Strategy vs execution is the question Chekhov speaks to in the above quotation. Execution is the day-to-day living, emergencies bring about a change in strategy.

That most CEOs, unlike Tomczyk, couldn’t see that strategy is useless without execution explains why business in America is such a mess today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brain storm: A violent, transient mental derangement manifested in a maniacal outburst. Popularly, any transitory agitation or confusion of mind.
1934 Edition, Webster’s Dictionary
Wall Street Journal editorial today:

Obama Should Acknowledge His Roots
(his Catholic school education)

Simply by acknowledging Catholic schools as a national treasure that should be preserved, Mr. Obama would give them a badly needed shot in the arm.

Bishops wondering about devoting so many of their scarce resources to people who are largely non-Catholic would be encouraged to work harder to keep their schools open. Business leaders who donate millions to support change in our public schools might devote at least some of these dollars to places that are already working. And good men and women who make it their mission to teach children others have given up on would be inspired to keep going.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Easy to say, hardly ever done.

Stop me, before I write a six-word story again!
Six-word love stories:

My contributions:

Traditional marrage:
You first, me last, we always.

Modern "marrage":
Me first, you free, no we.

Applies to any relationship, not just marrage.
Whoever wants to become great must become a servant. Mark 10:43.

As for me:
Clearly see—yes. Do it--no.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Planning a Start-Up? Help and Advice Abound says Wall Street Journal:

I ask, is it good advice? (See comments to above article.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The new Denver Startup Forum (DSF) community of practice for people interested in startup is off to a great start. Our mission is to stimulate dialog and learning about the startup process, how ideas become effective action. We'll do it through a weekly meeting (attendance limited to the first 12 to RSVP), posting a video and audio recording of the weekly meeting online, and continuing the dialog throughout the week online.

DSF went online about a week ago, already has 58 members. There are still a couple of seats left for tomorrow's first weekly luncheon meeting near I25 & Colorado Blvd. here in Denver.

Membership and attendance at the luncheon are both free now, to join and RSVP for the luncheon go to

IDEA Cafe Startup Workshop will continue. It's a one-time boost for people when they are at a turning point starting a new campaign, project, career, or new business.
Vince Carroll in the Rocky Mountain News notes the same thing I heard in yesterday’s Inaugural Address (and posted here yesterday, see below), Pres. Obama sees our powerful market economy as the way out of the current financial mess. From:

What's that he said? "It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom." Was that President Barack Obama channeling the free-market economist Milton Friedman in Tuesday's inaugural address?

And then this: "Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control . . ." The two surprising but comforting words in that sentence are "expand freedom."

After all, most any liberal Democrat would acknowledge that markets generate wealth; by no means all, however, or perhaps even many, would agree that markets' power to expand freedom is "unmatched."

If the president really does appreciate that markets are uniquely powerful agents of freedom, as a man of his discernment should, it is a very good sign indeed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

Pres. Barack Obama Inauguration Speech

Today we are all Obamiacs.

Let's give him a chance.

It may be that Pres. Obama can use his great popularity to accomplish things for the grassroots in business and politics a Republican could never have.

We'll see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy birthday Ben Franklin! It's his 303rd today. I don't see much in the papers about it. I've formed a Colorado not for profit Ben Franklin Birthday Committee, we hope to make it a big annual event starting in 2010, good way to draw peoples attention to our wonderful Colorado Caucus.

Tonight we are celebrating at the Mercury Cafe, hope you can join us! Details at

Also, first Thursday lucheon meeting for the new Denver Startup Forum community of practice for entrepreneurs and their advisors is next week (Jan 22) click on the boxes to the left for more information about it or the weekly Denver IDEA Cafe, the one-time startup workshop which will continue to meet as it has since 1994.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What do you think Mike Shanahan should do now? See my idea in comments on:

I give full credit for my idea to my son John, who gave it to me at last night's very exciting DU hockey game. DU beat Michigan Tech in the last 16 seconds of overtime!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Interesting debate of the question, “Does science make God obsolete?” at
Twitter for journalists:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I just sent out this release to the media:

January 8, 2009

Contact: John Wren (303)861-1447


DENVER__John Wren announced today the formation of the new Denver Startup Forum to connect people and exchange ideas and experience about how to start a new career, campaign or new business. For more information contact John Wren at or (303) 861-1447. Wren has hosted the weekly Denver IDEA Café startup workshop for over 10 years.

“Successful people like Ben Franklin have always known that it’s impossible to something new without help. For instance, I tell people starting a new business to check out their idea with a good accountant. An accountant can’t tell you whether or not you have a good idea, in our economy the market sorts that out. But he or she can quickly chart the financial implications and let you know if you need to see a lawyer,” said Wren. “This new group will help connect people starting in a new direction with the help they need, when they need it, to be successful in today’s world.”

Free membership in the new group is open to all entrepreneurs, business owners, and CEOs as well as public accountants, lawyers, consultants, and people who are interested in entering these fields. Representatives from organizations such as chambers of commerce, schools, colleges and government programs that have a special interest in entrepreneurship and startup are also welcome.

The group will have a weekly luncheon meeting for sharing startup experience, information, and research. A video of the speaker each week will be posted online for members at Unlike the Wren’s IDEA Café, members will be encouraged to participate in meetings as often as possible in person or online.

Since 1994, Wren’s Denver IDEA Café startup workshop has met to give a one-time boost to people starting in a new direction. It now meets each Friday, 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant St. in Denver. It is free and open to all. (More info at or call (303) 861-1447) Wren also organizes closed, confidential business peer advisory groups based on the unique Franklin Circle model, what Wren says “may have been Ben’s best invention.”


“Every Friday for the last 10 years, local business consultant John Wren has infused the city with entrepreneurial spirit by hosting Idea Cafe, a conversation group for anyone starting a new career, business, or campaign.” 5280 Magazine

John S. Wren, MBA+ is a business consultant and adult educator. He is the founder of the Denver IDEA Café and he started the first Franklin Circle in Denver in 1996. He attended Cornell College and the University of Denver (BA ’69, MBA ’79) where he was President of the Graduate Student Association. He studied adult learning theory with Raymond Wlodkowski at Regis University, and has been a seminar leader for the American Management Association. He served as President of Colorado College Republicans, the Denver City Club, the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association, and the Denver South Optimists Club. He has started several businesses, which he writes about in his book on startup, endorsed by Dr. Amar Bhide, now available for free on


Please sign up now yourself on and forward this along to anyone you know who might like to join us, OK?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"Work is love made visible." "You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." From The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, who was born on this date in Lebanon (1883). He was and is the third best selling poet, behind William Shakespeare.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

We have a lot of people who have worked very hard passing good public policy and building the grassroots of the Democratic Party for years here (many who are named on the list of aforementioned potential candidates). Looking at this bench, and then selecting a person with almost none of those qualities confirms that what gets rewarded in politics today is not legislative accomplishments nor even political ones - what counts is money, inside connections, Ivy League pedigree and a Beltway-padded resume.
David Sirota
Denver Post article online: Bennet pick shocks some in Colorado.
I posted this comment:

(Do reporters ever enter into these discussions? I'd very much like to hear more about yesterday from Arnie Parnes in response to what's been posted here. If they don't enter into the discussion, why not? Is there a journalistic standard that is violated in their mind?)

I attended the announcement yesterday. Those who spoke, including Ritter, Bennet, Salazar, Udal, talked about the importance of setting party politics aside.

Yet everyone who spoke was a Democrat, Bennet used the occation to announce that he's now a candidate for the 2010 election, and it was clearly a partisian political event. Pat Waak, our State Democratic Party Chair was recognized by Gov. Ritter and thanked for her work, but the very visible Dick Wadhams, Waak's GOP counterpart, was not.

What does it mean in Bennet's mind to be bi-partisan or non-partisan? Does it mean he just does whatever he wants and ignores the grassroots of our party?

Want to take a turn on the soapbox to tell us what you think about Micheal Bennet? Micheal Bennet, will you join us? Each Sunday, 4 p.m., Denver Speakers Corner, Denver Civic Center, North Pavillion on Colfax, right across the street from the Denver Newspaper Agency. More info and optional RSVP at

Hope you can join us this afternoon for Denver Speakers Corner, be sure to wear a heavy coat and your boots!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Here's Gov. Bill Ritter introducing Denver Public School Superintendent Michael Bennet as his pick to take Sen. Ken Salazar's seat when Salazar becomes Secretary of Interior as expected.

Standing with Bennet is his family. News release distributed at the event states: "Michael married Susan Daggett, a successful natural resources lawyer, in 1997. Micael and Susan are the proud parents of three daughters, Caroline (9), Halina (7), and Anne (4)."

Nearly everyone who came to the podium (Ritter, Bennet, Salazar, Sen.-elect Mark Udal, and DPS Board Pres. Theresa Pena) praised Bennet's abilities (creative, problem solver, brings people together) and recognized the importance of a bi-partisian approach.

My question: If it's so important to be bi-partisian, why was Pat Waak recognized and not Dick Wadhams?

Friday, January 02, 2009

My friend John, President of one of the largest and fastest growing chambers of commerce in the country, recently joined and his first post said "I can't believe I'm on Facebook. Don't tell anyone!"

That's just the way I felt about a month ago when I joined (membership is free at and started posting.

Now I find this ebook on social networking for small business. I plan on reading it over the weekend. Too late?