Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good article on how to apply for an SBA loan today from (click here) Vistage, the new brand for what used to be called TEC, The Executive Council.

Of course the big question for the startup and small business owner is whether or not it makes sense to invest time and money to try and get a loan.

Amar Bhide, who was here in Denver with us last week, makes a convincing case that chasing money doesn’t make nearly as much sense as chasing customers in his seminal Harvard Business Review article, “How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work” and/or his book The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, which has been called the most important book ever written about startup by the publisher of Inc Magazine (click here to see quote).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I just sent this email to all members of the Denver Startup Forum, the new community of practice for entrepreneurs and their advisors, with members from around the world. Join us (free) at

Here's the email I just sent:

Dear Denver Startup Forum Member,

Visit with Amar Bhide here in Denver was terrific. Watch here for details from a writeup expected in the Denver Daily News, thanks to them, the Denver Lions Club, The Burnsly Hotel, and the Daniels College of Business for making it such a success!

We are now going to have monthly Denver Startup Forum meetings, once a week was just too much. Watch for our next video the 2nd Thursday of each month, or if you are going to be in Denver the meeting announcement the Saturday prior.

If you are in Denver (or if you have friends who are) you might be interested in 1) New peer advisory group, 2) weekly startup workshop, and/or 3) annual conference:

1) New Franklin Circle now forming. In 1727 Ben Franklin started meeting with his friends for "mutual improvement," new group forming now in Denver
Interested? For more info email

If you're not in Denver and would like to start a group with your business associates, check out

2) This Friday (May 1) Daniel Perlman, MD and Carol Barbeito will share their startup experience with us at the Denver IDEA Cafe. Details and RSVP at

If you are not in Denver, I'd love to help you get an IDEA Cafe going in your part of the world. Contact me for more information if you are interested.

3) May 12 I'll be at the Rockies Venture Club 21st Annual Colorado Capital Conference. They are looking for presenters:

Do you want help finding your next great customer? Call me and let's brainstorm how I might be of service to you.


John S. Wren, MBA+
Life's short, start now!

Please forward this along to any of your family, friends, or business associates who might be interested, OK?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

((Please forward to your associates who might be interested, OK? Thanks! John))

April 21, 2009

Dear Friend,

Dr. Amar Bhide will be with us in Denver this week on Thursday and Friday, April 23 and 24.

Dr. Bhide is the top expert in the world on the topic of startup.
His research over the past couple of decades has revealed some big surprises. His book The Origin and Evolution of New Business has been called the most important book ever written about startup by the publisher of Inc. Magazine. One columnist writing about his new book The Venturesome Economy called him the new Malcolm Gladwell. You have several opportunities to learn from his this week:

1) To hear Dr. Bhide talk about innovation and his new book The Venturesome Economy (Princeton University Press), you are welcome to join us Friday in the morning for the Daniels College of Business Power Breakfast. It's free and open to everyone (not just DU alumni), details (including a free parking pass!) and RSVP at or call me with any questions at (303)861-1447

Thanks to the Denver Daily News and the Denver Lions Club for helping us get the word out about this!

2) Dr. Bhide will be our guest at the Denver IDEA Cafe in Friday afternoon. For this one time only, we will be meeting at the University of Denver, the location and link to a map are on the site when you RSVP. As always, we ask that you attend the IDEA Cafe only if you aren't sure what your are going to do on Monday morning as you start a new career, campaign, or new business. We are now limiting attendance to the first 14 to RSVP, so RSVP now to make sure you get a seat at

3) Finally, a few of us are getting together with Dr. Bhide for a no-host dinner at the Denver Press Club the evening before, email me if you'd like the details at

4) I'll be arranging media interviews with Dr. Bhide throughout his time with us here in Denver, please forward this along to any report who you think might like to talk with him and/or who might like to attend any of these events.

One way or the other, I hope you'll take advantage of these great opportunities to learn from Dr. Bhide.

And please forward this email along to any of your family, friends, or business associates who might be interested in Dr. Bhide. They will thank you, and so will I if you'll let me now what you've done! Call me if you have any questions.


John S. Wren, MBA
Founder, Denver IDEA Cafe and the new Denver Startup Forum
This life is short, let's get started!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Go to 6:00, see me at DEN Tea Party.

Love the CO Caucus? Join us at Denver Speakers Corner, each Sunday afternoon in Civic Center Park. Details and optional RSVP at:

Friday, April 17, 2009

He was the first American! Shouldn't this day be a national Ben Franklin celebration? What do you think?
On this day in 1790 Ben Franklin died. He was 84, back when the average life span was 35. Each year, the Ben Franklin Birthday Committee, part of the Denver Startup Form, will commission a new portrait or icon of Ben. For the first, see yesterday's post here.

Win a free copy! To help remember Ben today, as a comment here post your favorite quote from Ben Franklin or Poor Richard (Franklin's pen name in his almanack). Each entry will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Ben's new icon (see below). The drawing will be held at the Amar Bhide talk at the University of Denver next Friday. For quote ideas, see

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tomorrow (April 17) is the anniversary of the death of Ben Franklin. To remember the occasion, I'm going to start inviting an artist to do a commemorative portrait or icon each year. To get them all, you have to get the first, and here it is! Order yours now, half the proceeds will be donated by the artist to the Ben Franklin Birthday Committee. Thanks Mike!

I was talking with my friend Andy Cleary who does branding about an interview I had with a consulting firm years ago before they hired me and I went to work for them. They liked the variety of experience I'd had even at that time, "you are what we call the beachboy of business" which helps me quickly understand the current situation of a business and what needs to be done, just as a surfer has to understand the ocean.

"That could be your brand," Andy said to me. So I'm giving it a try here on this page. What do you think? Should I start wearing Hawaiian shirts?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do you know Dr. Amar Bhide? If you don’t now, you will soon. He’s the author of what the publisher of Inc. Magazine says is the most important book ever written about startup.

Dr. Bhide will be in Denver next Friday (Apr 24) to speak about his new book The Venturesome Economy at a breakfast that is free and open to everyone, sponsored by the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. RSVP at

Also, a reception and book signing will be held for Dr. Bhide at the Denver Press Club the evening before, check back here tomorrow for the details.
When people ask me who's behind Franklin Circles, I say "me and Ben".

Ben Franklin started the first in Philadelphia back in 1727. Franklin's group called themselves The Junto, it met each week for over 30 years, and Franklin called it "the best school."

I started the first Franklin Circle here in Denver in 1996, and I've been learning more about small groups and adult learning ever since.

This week I'm starting a new open Franklin Circle, it will give newcomers a sample meeting right after the Denver IDEA Cafe each Friday. Also, a new closed, confidential Franklin Circle is also forming for Denver Startup Forum members. For more info, email me at or call me at (303)861-1447.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ginger White was with us yesterday at the Denver Speakers Corner. Here's a video of her opening remarks.

Take a look at the video now, then join us for the very interesting follow up discussion at, click on "Forum" and you'll see the discussion thread that I've started there and the audio recording you can listen to online or burn a CD.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Kauffman Foundation likes Dr. Bhide's new book:
Can you join Dr. Bhide and myself for breakfast at DU? I just sent out this media release. RSVP right now to make sure you get a seat, then forward it along to any of your friends who might like to join us, OK? John Wren

April 6, 2009

Contact: John Wren (303)861-1447


Columbia University Prof. Amar Bhide Brings His Recent Oxford University Talk to the University of Denver.

Denver—Startup expert and author Dr. Amar Bhide is the featured speaker at the April Daniels College of Business Power Breakfast. His talk, “How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World,” is taken by his book by the same title that has just been published by Princeton University Press. The free breakfast will be held Friday, April 24, 7:30 a.m. at the University of Denver, Main Dining Room, HTRM.

The breakfast is sponsored by the Daniels College of Business, the Denver Startup Forum, the Denver Lions Club, and The Denver Daily News. More info (map, parking permit) and RSVP, or John Wren, 303-861-1447

Amar Bhide is the Glaubinger Professor of Business at Columbia University, editor of Capitalism and Society, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses. A former McKinsey & Company consultant, Bhide was educated at the Indian Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar and later served as an associate professor. He has lectured widely on the topic of innovation, most recently at Oxford University.

Daniels College of Business, University of Denver is proud to be ranked among the best by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times.

The Lions Club of Denver is among the 46,000 clubs in Lions International with more than one million members around the globe…the world’s largest service club.

The new Denver Startup Forum is a community of practice for entrepreneurs, business owners, creative managers and their advisors.

John Wren is a community activist. He is a graduate of DU (BA’69, MBA’79), a member of the Denver Lions Club, and the founder of the new Denver Startup Forum.

About Dr. Bhide’s new book, The Venturesome Economy—How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World”.

“If I were asked to recommend to our new president just one book on the trajectory of the U.S. economy in the next several years, it would unhesitatingly be Amar Bhide’s The Venturesome Economy. The book is an utterly original interpretation of the nature of the complex process of innovation.” Thomas J. Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies.

“This book deepens radically our understanding of how the global economy functions.”
Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics


Note to media: Dr. Bhide is available for interviews by telephone now or when he is in Denver. To arrange an interview, contact John Wren, (303)861-1447.

Friday, April 03, 2009

From NASA to First Sale: How to Convert Space Technology into a New Business.

Burke Fort talked with us about space entrepreneurship yesterday at the Denver Startup Forum. Burke heads up the 8th Continent Project at the Colorado School of Mines that is helping entrepreneurs convert space technology into new business ventures. For more about Burke and 8th Continent go to

At the end of the video Burk refers to an early remark you can hear on the audio recording, the four requirements for startup, usually a team: 1) the idea person; 2) the entrepreneur; 3) the money person; and 4) a support community, accountant, lawyer, marketeer, etc. To get the audio recording of the complete talk, the follow up discussion with Burke yesterday, and to continue the discussion with him online over the next few days, go to

Here's Burke talking about how the experience in space can be turned into a business on earth: