Saturday, December 18, 2010

Most Friday's I've been closing the Denver IDEA Cafe with this quote attributed to Goethe:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

We recently had a speaker with us at the Denver IDEA Cafe with a very strong background in the classics, and after I shared the above he laughed (In what to me seemed a bit of a Faustian way) and said "That's from Goethe's Faust, that's the advice of the devil."

So I woke with this on my mind and just Googled "Begin it now." German Language has this to say:

The Goethe Society of North America investigated this very subject over a two-year period ending in March 1998. The Society got help from various sources to solve the mystery of the Goethe quotation. Here's what they and others have discovered:

The “Until one is committed...” quotation often attributed to Goethe is in fact by William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), from his 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition. The actual final lines from W.H. Murray's book end this way (emphasis added): “...which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

So now we know that it was the Scottish mountaineer W.H. Murray, not J.W. von Goethe, who wrote most of the quotation, but what about the “Goethe couplet” at the end? Well, it's not really by Goethe either. It's not clear precisely where the two lines come from, but they are only a very loose paraphrase of some words that Goethe did write in his Faust drama. In the Vorspiel auf dem Theater part of Faust you'll find these words, “Now at last let me see some deeds!”—which we quoted at the top of this page. You can read that full passage and other works by Goethe on our Goethe-Gedichte page.

It seems that Murray may have borrowed the supposed Goethe lines from a source that had similar words labeled as a “very free translation” from Faust by a John Anster. In fact, the lines quoted by Murray are just too far from anything Goethe wrote to be called a translation, although they do express a similar idea. Even if some online quotation references correctly cite W.H. Murray as the author of the full quotation, they usually fail to call into question the two verses at the end. But they are not by Goethe.
Bottom line? Can any of the “commitment” quote be attributed to Goethe? No.

I still like the quote, it sums up very well the "just do it" attitude that at some point is necessary to get something new started, I'll just change the attribution to the mountain climber William Hutchinson Murray. It not the advice of the devil, quite the opposite.

Fear is the tool of the devil, whispering in our ear "who do you think you are, you can't do that now, you'd better wait." Yes, be cautious, not fool hearted. Don't skip the Evaluate step in the idEa creative thinking model. But don't get stuck. Many good ideas die on the shore of endless analysis. If you are selling Christmas trees, it's much better to be a week to early than a week too late.

As my childhood hero Davy Crocket said, "Be sure you are right, and then go ahead."

Typing the above I wonder, is my memory foggy, or did these words really come from Crocket? Using Google again I find that answer on  Yes they did. :)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ken Wyble did a great job leading the Denver IDEA Cafe yesterday, he'll be back again next week and this time he'll bring a couple of entrepreneurs with him to share how they got started. Join us if you're starting in a new direction, and please let your friends know about it who might be interested. More information at

Your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce is about to get underway. We are going to have our first Second Saturday "Big Event" when the Denver Group gets to 1000 Facebook members, and we are approaching that now. Help us hit it by joining yourself and letting your friends know about it who might be interested. See link to the Denver group at, and while you are there check out the very interesting and informative video "Where Good Ideas Come From and "Like" the SBCC Page, if you haven't already.

I'm still recruiting members for the Franklin Circle Alpha Group, please let me know if you're interested. If you've told me you are interested before and I haven't gotten back to you, please ask me again, OK?

Hope you have a great week, and remember:

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

Thanks for the great memory, Pop.

Now let's get started!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Enough celebrating Thanksgiving, now let's get back to work for at least a few days until the Christmas celebration picks up steam. :)

My efforts are more and more focused on developing your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce. I've gotten lots of encouragement. Just got this email today:

"I support what you are doing. The chamber of commerce has not, for many years, offered much support for small businesses, and your organization is a much needed asset. The national chamber has focused on medium and large businesses for years, and only used the truly small local businesses as a revenue base to support the local offices while they became a lobbying arm immersed in crony capitalism at the higher government levels."

The new Denver Facebook Small Business Chamber Group is now nearly 700 members, when it hits 1000 we'll schedule our first Second Saturday "Big Event," probably in January. You can get to it via our Facebook Page at, and please invite your Facebook friends to join us, too.

Not using Facebook yet. You will at some point. :) In the mean time you can follow what we are doing on our blog  Or just give me a call, it would be good to talk with you. :)

I'm forming the Franklin Circle Alpha Group, the last Franklin Circle I'll ever personally organize and facilitate. It's open to entrepreneurs, business owners and creative managers who are serious about their success and want to be part of a group of similar people in a well organized peer advisory or mastermind group. Let me know if you want more information about it. As always, contact me at (303)861-1447 or

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanks to the Colorado Statesman Newspaper published my essay on "Real Recovery" that I posted below as a guest column, you can see their edited version at

Our new Small Business Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page is showing some growth, but not as much as I expected. You can see it, and I hope "Like" it, at

If you can see anything I'm doing wrong that might be keeping people from "Like"ing the page, please let me know.

Ken Wyble from the South Metro Chamber of Commerce will be our guest chair at the Denver IDEA Cafe on December 3 and 10. If all goes well, he'll help us start a 2nd session of the Denver IDEA Cafe in the South Metro Chamber Offices starting in late December or early January.

I'm still looking for a couple of more business owners, entrepreneurs, and creative managers for the new Franklin Circle Alpha Group, this will be the last peer advisory group that I will personally organize and facilitate. If you'd like more information about it, please let me know. Contact me at (303)861-1447 Monday or Tuesday morning, or email me at

Life's short, let's get started!

Monday, November 08, 2010

"In a weak moment, I have written a novel." Margaret Mitchell, born this date (Nov 8), 1900, author of Gone with the Wind, her only book. The manuscript submitted to the publisher was 5 feet high.

Friday, November 05, 2010

What are you going to do next?

Real Recovery—5 things concerned citizens can do now to help restore the true American Dream.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” President Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

The spirit of the true American Dream has been stirred again. New representatives have been elected, new solutions are being discussed, new legislative sessions are on the horizon, and each of us who has been active in politics, some for the first time, are left with the question: what’s next?

Let me suggest a few things that we citizens, from new tea-party members to veteran activists, might consider as we decide what contribution we can make between now and the next election to be more than just a critic:

1. Take stock of yourself. Real recovery starts with personal recovery. In football this is called getting back up into a good hitting position. If there is a mental, physical, or spiritual problem, now is the time to address it. If you don’t know where to go for help, call 211, help is just a phone call away if you really want to change. If you do nothing else, get more rest and exercise, eat better, and use recreation to recharge.

2. Connect and reconnect. None of us can do much in isolation. If you don’t already, subscribe to your local newspaper, become a more active reader, post online comments and send letters to the editor. Completely commit yourself to your church, temple, or synagogue and/or your 12-step recovery program. Join or become a more active in your service club, chamber of commerce, trade association, neighborhood, or other group that is important to you. Go back to school or become more active in your alumni group. Join or start a peer advisory group or book discussion group.

3. Do good work that allows you to be an active citizen. If you are a business owner or manager, create a new job and hire an assistant who will allow you the free time to participate. If you are unemployed or underemployed in a job that makes your life all business look for an opportunity to become that assistant or another job that allows community participation and insist part of your compensation be time to be a good citizen. Or start your own business.

4. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Run for elected public office, party leadership, or just help other good people get elected. Google Republican or Democrat and your ZIP code, make a phone call, and volunteer to help in your neighborhood. In 2012 you’ll be in position to make a real difference.

5. Finally, become more computer literate. If you don’t know how, ask your local librarian.
In the spring of 2012, across the state in over 3,000 neighborhoods we’ll once again have the opportunity to gather again for our potentially wonderful Colorado Caucuses. If colleges, high schools, libraries, service clubs, church, neighborhood, and other groups and clubs across Colorado would make active citizenship a major focus between now and then, we can convert the enthusiasm of the moment to bring about a major advance towards the recovery of our American Dream. For more information about it see
"The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." The first usage of the term “The American Dream,” James Truslow Adams , The Epic of America, 1931

John Wren is a Denver resident and long-time community activist, business consultant, and adult educator. He is the founder of the new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce which is now the sponsor of Wren’s Denver IDEA Café startup workshop for people starting a new career, new project or campaign, or new business which he has been facilitating for over 10 years. For more contact him at or (303)861-1447

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I just spent most of the morning getting the word out about upcoming Denver IDEA Cafe speakers, emailing a release to the media, posting it on the Small Business Chamber of Commerce blog, updating the site, updating the SBCC Facebook page, and announcing this week's meeting on the Denver IDEA Cafe Facebook group, you'll find a link to it on the SBCC Facebook Page.

For over 10 years I've been holding these free, open to everyone startup workshops for two reasons: 1) I enjoy the meetings myself, they are the highlight of my week, and 2) people who attend tell me they find the meetings very helpful.

It's not meant to be a regular stop for anyone, just a one time boost when starting in a new direction with a new career, a new project or campaign, or a new business. Please join us any Friday afternoon when you aren't quite sure what you'll be doing Monday morning. And please share it with your friends when they have a bump like loosing a job or when they have a bight idea and aren't quite sure what to do next.

It's certainly not a secret. Thanks to the Denver Post, the Denver Daily News, the Villager Newspaper, Westword, the Denver Business Journal for helping us get the word out about it.

It's now part of your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce, so this will be the last you see me write about it here. Maybe. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thanks to the Villager Newspaper for getting the word out about your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce to their readers in Cherry Hills and Greenwood Village. To see the article online, click here:

Mike Littwin's very informative and entertaining article about the tea party phenomina was the front page story today in the Denver Post. In case you missed it, read it here:

There has been a big increase in the level of interest in local politics, should mean a real strengthening of the grassroots with new leaders at the precinct, district and county level with both major political parties. Helping make sure that happens will be one of the major goals of your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce. I'm going to stop writing about it here, you can follow developments with it on

Monday, October 11, 2010

Last week was hectic because of some personal business, hope to get more accomplished this week.

Never got notes from DU Symposium posted here, but here's a summary of the weekend put up by the alumni department, including a couple of pictures of me taking the notes if you go to the 6th page or so of the photos. The videos of the chancellor and the Friday evening speaker (see my notes about him below) are very much worth watching. Click Here

Your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce is making some progress. There were announcements about it in the Denver Post and the Denver Daily News. If you haven't "liked" our new Facebook Page, please do so now at and while you are there join our Facebook group where I'll be doing several posts a week about upcoming events and news that I think you'll find interesting.

The Jesuit Guide Discussion Group is in it's 4th and final week, you have one last chance to join us this Friday, 4 p.m., at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant St. For more info and optional RSVP see

I'm the speaker this week at your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce's Denver IDEA Cafe startup workshop. I'll be sharing my own career, project, campaign and new business startup experience, and I want to brainstorm a couple of topics related to your new SBCC and our monthly "Big Event" that will be starting in November.For more and optional RSVP see

Hope you have a great week, and please let me know if you'd like a speaker for your service club, church group, neighborhood organization, or other gathering. My favorite talk is "Learn to Win with Ben Franklin's Best Invention, the Mastermind Group."

"Education is the best investment." Ben Franklin

Friday, October 01, 2010

Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of the New York Time spoke tonight at the University of Denver Alumni Symposium.

Rosental graduated from DU in 1978, "I didn't go to an Ivy league school, but a lot of the people I've hired did."  He wrote for the Clarion, the DU school paper, "which was not so much of a newspaper as a club." He soon was hired by the Rocky Mountain News as a part-time police reporter, after graduation by the Associated Press, then the New York Times.

He gave a very interesting talk, followed by an frank, open, and long question and answer session. Here is a recap of some of his thoughts:

The print edition of the New York Times is not about to stop. The prime measure of print subscribers, 2+ year subscribers is up, But we could still use more, please subscribe using your credit card.

The Internet is the biggest printing press in the world, but it is easily stopped by governments. We own our printing presses and no one can stop us from printing what we want. Google now has a very interesting webpage measuring government censorship, partly to inform and partly to shame the governments involved. (I think Rosenthal is refering to Repressive regimes require licenses for Xerox machines which they know can be used as printing presses.

The Internet could be controlled here. What would happen today with the Pentigon Papers?

You can do more with online ads, take an immediate sale, but they make it really hard on news organizations. CNN fills dead air time with live coverage of bus crashes and other stories that really shouldn't be reported, we can get pulled into the same thing. "It's out there," can be an excuse to cover rumors like the CIA pushing cocaine to exploit certain groups.

Citizen journalists aren't journalists, they are witnesses. Internet powerful tools for reporters, sometimes its better to look for witness online rather than with shoe leather at the scene of a fire. But the opinions posted on blogs aren't news.

Political strategy in Washington right now is "shut this guy down," and the nature of politics right now that nobody debates anything, and that's too bad.

I asked Rosenthal if he'd attended a precienct caucus while he lived in Colorado, he didn't. He doesn't see  how the debate he feels is so important is stimulated by neighborhood caucuses, so I suggested that he read Grassroots Rules and ME Springlemeyers series on the 2008 Iowa Caucuses

This afternoon he shared his thoughts with journalism students at DU
Contact Managers

There are so many choices today, it's hard to know how to keep track of business and personal contact information. What works for you?

I've signed up for the single user version of, but have found it just too hard to learn. Has anyone else had that problem?

Highrise is great in many ways, very user friendly, but I had a telemarketer working from home using it and she made a big mistake. She followed my instructions! As a result the tagging system is clogging it up, and I haven't been able to figure out a quick fix. Has anyone else had that problem.

Outlook 2010 looks much more powerful and I'm going to give it a try. I'm on Plaxo and Linked In, but don't spend much time with either one.

Some days I wish my old index card system was still in place! How about you? Are you using the computer to keep track of contacts? If you know of a good current article about this topic, if you'd post a link here or email it to me I'd be very grateful!

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Another change for me: I'll be posting here and on our Small Business Chamber of Commerce blog more often as a result of attending Splashmedia's CEO Bootcamp on Social Media yesterday. For more see what I just posted on the SBCC blog.

Many of the posts I've been making on Facebook will now be here, and I may even set up a real website that I control rather than relying on the goodwill of and for my posts.

How about you? Where do you invest most of your online time? Website? Blog? Linked In? Facebook? Twitter? The choices are endless, how do you decide which tools to use, and how is that working for you.

Today I'm attending the University of Denver alumni weekend, if you are there let's sit together at dinner, OK?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I've set up a new blog for your new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Everything having to do with it will now be posted there, except for the link to the left. The new address is Check it out and let me know what you think, especially if you see me doing something stupid! :)

I'm starting the new, free SBCC as a one-man band, but intend to share leadership of it ASAP, probably after our first 2nd Saturday Big Event which I'll announce as soon as we have 1000 members on our new Facebook Group, see link on

After our first Big Event here in Denver, I want to use my time to start the next Big Event, probably in Seattle or Houston. If you are interested in being part of the Denver Committee, please let me know and I'll share more of the details with you. Contact me at or (303)861-1447.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Small Business Chamber of Commerce
Accomplish More!

September 16, 2010

Contact: John Wren cell (720)495-4949,, or

Mission of the founder is to reduce the unemployment rate in Denver and around the world.

Denver-- A new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce is being created by entrepreneur and long-time community activist John Wren. Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and the organizations and people who support them can join now. For more information see or call (303)861-1447.

Announcing the formation of the new group, John Wren said, "Today Denver. Tomorrow the world! Your new, free, self-organizing Small Business Chamber of Commerce will use the Internet to connect with people who are starting in a new direction with their career, starting a new project or campaign, or starting a new business, to help them successfully start and grow.

"We will cooperate with all existing chambers of commerce, trade associations, service clubs and other groups that have a similar mission, but we will affiliate with none of them. We hope to popularize the proven concepts of a free, weekly startup workshop similar to the Denver IDEA Cafe and the Franklin Circle peer advisory group.

"The group will be self-organizing. Members will be encouraged to get started, and then to help others get started. We hope to have a volunteer leader for an IDEA Cafe in every chamber of commerce group.

"If we are successful we will reduce the unemployment rate in Denver, in Colorado, across the country, and perhaps even around the world.

"A monthly face-to-face meeting, a combination job-fair, trade show, and networking group will be held the second Saturday starting in November here in Denver. A meeting place and sponsors are now being finalized. This Denver meeting will become the world-wide model, which we will share on a monthly online meeting. To keep things simple I'll operate the group for now as a sole proprietorship, but this is very much a group effort, please contact me if you'd like to help." said Wren.

John Wren is the founder of the Denver IDEA Cafe, Franklin Circles, and the Jesuit Guide Discussion Group. He has done business consulting and adult education in Denver since 1979. Wren graduated from Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School ('65), he attended Cornell College and Regis University, and he is a graduate of the University of Denver (BA'69, MBA'78). He is past President of the University of Denver Graduate Student Association, the Colorado College Republicans, the Denver City Club, and The South Metro Denver Optimist Club. He has been a member through his employers of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, and he was one of the early members of the South Metro Chamber of Commerce. He has been a teacher for the American Management Association, colleges, and adult education programs. He is the author of Daring Mighty Things-- The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business. To schedule him as a speaker for your business or civic group or for more information about his new, free Small Business Chamber of Commerce, contact him at or (303)861-1447.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's the birthday of short-story writer O. Henry, (books by this author) born William Sidney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on this day in 1862. He penned the witty, surprise-ending short stories "The Gift of the Magi," "The Ransom of Red Chief," "A Retrieved Reformation," and "The Cop and the Anthem."

In 1909, the year before he died, he conducted an "autobiographical interview" of himself for The New York Times. It appeared under the title: "'O. HENRY' ON HIMSELF, LIFE, AND OTHER THINGS; For the First Time the Author of 'The Four Million' Tells a Bit of the 'Story of My Life.'"

He wrote:

"What advice would you give to young writers?"

"I'll give you the whole secret of short-story writing. Here it is. Rule I: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule II."

Asked by himself about writer's block, O. Henry answered:

"Yes, I get dry spells. Sometimes I can't turn out a thing for three months. When one of those spells comes on I quit trying to work and go out and see something of life. You can't write a story that's got any life in it by sitting at a writing table and thinking. You've got to get out into the streets, into the crowds, talk with people, and feel the rush and throb of real life — that's the stimulant for a story writer."

From The Writer's Almanac for today.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I've decided to start a new Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

For over 10 years I've been holding meetings of the Denver IDEA Cafe
startup workshop and helping people start or join peer advisory groups
I call Franklin Circles.

The new Small Business Chamber is a way to expand these activities.

I'll continue the weekly Denver IDEA Cafe meetings and encouraging
others to form similar groups in cities and towns across Colorado and
in other major cities.

We'll have a face-to-face membership meeting here in Denver once a
month, and we will have a monthly online meeting.

Small business (EF Schumacher defined a small business back in his day
as having 300 or fewer employees, today I'd say that's grown to 500)
has always created most of the new jobs.

If we are successful we could have an impact on the high unemployement rate.

Will you join us in this important work?

You can join for free at

If you have any questions, contact me at or (303)861-1447.

Together, we can accomplish more!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Denver IDEA Cafe Startup Workshop Friday (Sept 10)

We invite successful people to share their startup experience and we brainstorm. Free and open to all, we just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming!

To see who the speakers are this week (one is in the picture to the right, do you know who she is?) and to RSVP if you want a seat at the brainstorming table, see If you have any questions, and if you'd be willing to have us announce you as a speaker at an upcoming meeting, contact John Wren at or (303)861-1447.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tomorrow (Fri, Aug 27) attorney William F. Robinson III (in photo to left, with Denver historian Phil Goodstein who we hope will also be with us tomorrow with his new book about South Denver) will share how he started a fraternity, his law practice, and his new Center for Fraternal Advance at the Denver IDEA Cafe, 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant here in Denver. Free and open to all. More info and optional RSVP at

Bill was the adult sponsor of a high school leadership fraternity that had a big impact on me when I went to Thomas Jefferson High School here in Denver. He's been very active in fraternities at Princeton and the University of Denver, and he is very active in the Masonic order, what some call the best fraternity in the world, and the Knights of Pythias.

Bill knows more than anyone I know about voluntary mutual aid associations, and he's been a big supporter as we've worked towards getting Franklin Circles started here in Denver over the last 10 years or so. Hope you can join us, and please let your friends know about the meeting who might find it helpful. They will thank you, and so will I if you'll let me know what you've done.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I just posted this on Facebook:

John S Wren: Susan Kildahl is our speaker this afternoon (Fri, Aug 20). Please join us if you're not sure what you are going to do Monday morning as you start in a new direction with your career, a new project or campaign, or a new business. Please share with your Facebook friends, you never know who may have just had a bump or a bright idea. Today's meeting was announced on the front page of the Denver Post business section, today's Denver Business Journal and the Denver Daily News. More info and optional RSVP at

Radical Business Triage
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't plan ahead. Make decisions today based on information you have today. If you made the decision with yesterday's information it's not going to be nearly as good. You'll be more successful if from day one get good at making money, not good at spending money. That's why bootstrapping works best. Rework by 37Signals

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The big winner Tuesday here in Colorado was our wonderful neighborhood caucus-assembly system for getting nominated to the primary ballot. Lots of people will be encouraged to get more involved with their local community and to get prepared for the 2012 Colorado Caucuses.

For more watch now and after the elections in November, or call me about the Franklin Circle I'm organizing for serious citizens who really want to make a difference using the caucus-assembly system to get elected to public office or to help other good people get elected. Contact me at (303)861-1447,, or attend the free, open Denver IDEA Cafe any Friday afternoon, for more about it see

Together, Colorado citizens can use the 2012 Colorado Caucuses to break the strangle hold of the ruling class!

Monday, August 09, 2010

I just got this book after reading a very favorable review of it in the Wall Street Journal, and I think we'll be hearing a lot more about it. More here after I've read it.

“Renowned sociologist Andrew Hacker and New York Times writer Claudia Dreifus make an incisive case that the American way of higher education, now a 420 billion-per-year business, has lost sight of its primary mission: the education of young adults. Going behind the myths and mantras, they probe the true performance of the Ivy League, the baleful influence of tenure, an unhealthy reliance on part-time teachers and the super-sized bureaucracies which now have a life of their own.

As Hacker and Dreifus call for a through overhaul of a self-indulgent system, they take readers on a road trip from Princeton to Evergreen State to Florida Gulf Coast University, revealing those facilities and institutions that are getting it right and proving that teaching and learning can be achieved—and at a much more reasonable price.”

More at

Friday, July 30, 2010

I just release this to the media, and will be making the following announcement at the Denver IDEA Cafe at 2 p.m.

For Immediate Release
July 30, 2010

Contact: John Wren (720)495-4949


DENVER-- Entrepreneur and community activist John Wren today challenged chambers of commerce across Colorado to offer their members and potential members a free, weekly IDEA Cafe startup workshop and encourage the formation of Franklin Circle peer advisory groups or to be faced with competition from a new Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Chamber staff and board members are invited to contact Wren at (303)861-1447 or

“My mission is to reduce unemployment in Colorado by encouraging new business startups. Dr. Amar Bhide’s research and the experience of myself and most who have actually started a new business proves that businesses just don’t start the way the SBA says that they should start. I say that I’m a recovering MBA because much of what is taught in graduate business school is useless to people who actually want to start a business and not just go to cocktail parties and talk about starting,” Wren said today at the weekly IDEA Café which he hosts each Friday.

“The first step in this project will be for a representative from a chamber of commerce to attend one of my free Friday IDEA Café meetings in August to learn about it and the Franklin Circle, which both follow a simple format and can easily be duplicated for no cost.

“ If I don’t get a significant response to this challenge by noon on the first Moday in September, I’ll go ahead with the formation of the new Small Business Chamber of Commerce which will offer an IDEA Café in each major population center across the state, work towards the formation of a Franklin Circle in every neighborhood, and fight for lower taxes, less regulation, and other issues in the interest of small business and entrepreneurs, in particular the strengthening of the Colorado caucus-assembly system which is the best networking event in the state for small business owners, which is the reason so many powerful interests hate the system,” said Wren.

“To make sure I have enough time for this effort, I’m in the process of discontinuing my consulting practice, and I’ve resigned from being the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Inventors Association, the facilitator of the Denver Socrates Café, and the organizer of Denver Speakers Corner.

“During the month of August, I’m going to form a Franklin Circle Alpha Group comprised of business owners, entrepreneurs, and creative managers who commit to financially supporting what I’m doing. Anyone who is interested in joining me in this is invited to call me at (303)861-1447.”

John Wren graduated from Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School in 1965 where he was in the Hall of Fame and named “Most Like Thomas Jefferson.” He attended Cornell College and the University of Denver BA’69, MBA’79. His career has included serving as Assistant to the President of Outdoor Sports Industries, Director of Marketing for the Denver Symphony, and instructor for the American Management Association, Arapahoe Community College, Casper Junior College, Colorado Free University, and other adult education programs. He held the first IDEA Café in 1994 and the first Franklin Circle in Denver in 1996. He was one of the founders of Save the Caucus which defeated Amendment 29 in 2002 which would have killed the Colorado caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot. Wren is the author of the self-published Daring Mighty Things—The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next ) Business, available free online at, endorsed by Dr. Amar Bhide.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gerard Manley Hopkins, born on this day in Stratford, England (1844)
wrote this about finding our purpose in life:

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Hearing Hopkins poetry read at a luncheon on a beautiful spring day years ago changed my life.

The poetry reading was one of the final nudges towards becoming Catholic, something I'd considered since reading Thomas Merton's biography 7 Story Mountain in Wichita, Kansas.

This was the Hopkin's poem that most caught my attention that day. It's about a simple man who'd lost his wife and children, who became a saint greeting those at the door where he served as a porter, seeing Christ in each person.

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Laybrother of the Society of Jesus

Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.
On Christ they do and on the martyr may;
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.

Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.

When read, this captures the beauty of a simple man doing
the duty he'd been assigned, a beauty I remember that inspires
me in the work I do to this day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My computer is down. If you want to talk, give me a telephone call. Thanks!

I remember this day in 1969, just graduated from the University of Denver, Janet and I married almost 2 years, just back from a trip to Europe which had been a graduation gift, just back down from the mountains where we'd gone for the day and watching our new RCA TV in the De Medici apartments as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, part of the Apollo 11 crew, became the first people to walk on the moon.

600 million of us watched them and it seemed anything was possible.

Little did we know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Advertisement I just posted on Craig's List:

The Denver IDEA Cafe Meetup Group

Starting down a new path with a new project or campaign, a new career or new business? Want to get more involved with grassroots as an entrepreneur or newly-active citizen, or to share your experience with newcomers? Then join us! Each week we invite people to share their career, business, and political startup experience and we brainstorm. Since 1994 we've heard from people such as: Dan Brogan, 5280 Magazine; Jared Polis, entrepreneur and U.S. Representative; Kenton Kuhn, Black-tie; Paul Lewan, Lewan & Associates; John Youngquist, Principal of East High School; John Brackney and Joe Blake from the South Metro and Denver Chambers of Commerce; and hundreds of others. Free and open to all, we just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming. Our mission is to help you increase your ROI (Return on Inspiration)! Some of the best networking in Denver almost always takes place right after the meeting. But please, join us to learn, never come just to network. Join us any Friday you need a boost as you get started in a new direction with a new career, new project or campaign, or a new business! Right now we take part of each meeting to talk about the upcoming Colorado Caucus and the January 19 registration deadline.

The Denver IDEA Cafe & Franklin Circle Information Session
Friday, July 23, 2010 at 2:00PM

Speaker, member Jo Guerra This is a combined meeting with NeighborhoodChalk, we'll be brainstorming the ways to get the group started in Denver.

Since 1994, we help people turn their inspiration into effective action.

Anyone who is starting a new project, a new business, a new career or a new career is invited to join us. How do we help? We share startup experience and we do brainstorming. Meetings are free and open to all, we just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming.

Also, we give you information about how to start or join a Franklin Circle peer advisory group, see

If we are successful, you will be too busy to come back next week to the Denver IDEA Cafe!

An RSVP is NOT required, but it's helpful if you do RSVP f...

Panera Bread Cafe
13th & Grant Street
Denver, CO 80201

See the full event details at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How do businesses really start?

Not the way the SBA and SCORE says they should start, that's for sure.

I've heard hundreds of people share how they started, and yes from time to time there is the rare exception, the person follows the venture capital model of market research, strategic planning, and raising money.

But nearly every successful business starts with bootstrapping. What do you need to start a business? A customer!

A woman joined us at the IDEA Cafe when we were starting years ago. At the end of the meeting she said to me, "I'm so happy I came today. My husband wouldn't let me start until I'd done market research and written a business plan."

"What do you want to do?" I asked.

"I work for a doctor doing medical transcriptions. He has three other doctors who would like me to do their work too," she said.

Yes, before anyone spends a significant amount of time or money on a new business it's a good idea to set down with a good CPA. A good CPA won't tell you whether you have a good idea or not, who know? In our market economy, the market renders the final decision. But a good CPA will quickly help you see the financial implications of what you are thinking, and they will help keep you legal. If you need to see a lawyer, and most businesses don't in the beginning, the CPA can refer you.

So get started now!

If you want a boost, join us for the Denver IDEA Cafe tomorrow (see link to the left) or read my little booklet on startup, it's free if you read it online, see Daring Mighty Things--The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business (click here.)

It may be helpful to you to become part of a small group of people who help each other, something I can facilitate for you through my Community Room College, I'll tell you more about it at the Denver IDEA Cafe or call me any time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I just spoke with Dr. Henry Crichlow, former head of the department of petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma. The solution BP is implementing now is identical to what he proposed to them and the Federal government through multiple channels. "This required no new equipment, just that they draw together about 4 pieces of equipment they already have," said Crichlow. "The problem now is they may do it in too sudden of a way and create a disaster. It has to be implemented properly."

The New York Time contacted Crichlow, but never reported on his proposal. I called the Houston Chronical and talked with their oil industry reporter the day Crichlow, with his own money, ran an ad trying to get the attention of BP and the government. They never reported the story.

Why virtually no coverage of his idea outside of my little blog and the Norman Oklahoma paper? "BP spends so much on advertising, no one wants to make them angry," said Crichlow.

Maybe so. But way didn't the federal government pay attention? The stonewalling of Henry Crichlow is still a big story, in my opinion.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Henry David Thoreau (1817) and Julius Ceasar (100 BC) were both born on this date. Which do you think had a bigger impact on the world?

14 years ago I had an insight that changed my life. If you want to know more, give me a call.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Powerful secrets to accomplishing more revealed!

This is the front cover of a new book I think you'll be hearing a lot more about in the days ahead. It's called The Jesuit Guide to (Practically) Everything (click here for more) by Fr. James Martin who is the editor of America Magazine (click here for website). You don't have to be Catholic or Christian to benefit from the insights in this book.

450 years ago Ignatius of Loyola discovered some methods for connecting to his higher power and then translating that connection into action. He taught others, and they taught others, and now the world benefits, with 28 Jesuit colleges in the US and 58 Jesuit high schools across the country.

I started getting help at Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat Center in Sedalia (click here for website) nearly 20 years ago, meeting with spiritual directors, attending days of prayer, mass, and weekend workshop, and doing the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life about a year ago. That help is what shaped my thinking about the Denver IDEA Cafe, Franklin Circles and the consulting work that I do.

To continue my own growth, I'm going to lead a discussion of the new Jesuit Guide each Friday at 4 p.m. right after the Denver IDEA Cafe (click here) at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant.

The new discussion group is called simply the Jesuit Guide Discussion Group (click here). At each 1 hour meeting we will read a passage from the book and then share our own experience around the topic raised.

A second group meets at Loyola Church (click here) Sunday mornings right after the 10 a.m. mass.

We've started a Facebook group (click here), and we hope to encourage online discussion there and an easy way to share what we are doing with your friends who might find it helpful.

I hope you'll join us! If you have any questions contact me at (303)861-1447 or Or post a comment here if you have something to say that might be of interest to others. Thanks!

Monday, June 28, 2010

From my friend Chuck Blakeman:

A Business Plan Will Not Make You More Successful

Palo Alto Software, which makes business planning software, just did a survey to their own users to show that those who completed business plans that they started with Palo Alto were nearly twice as likely to successfully grow their businesses or obtain capital as those who didn’t finish.

This research is a classic example of “there are lies, damnable lies, and statistics” (stolen from Twain who got it from someone else). An even more reasonable conclusion – people who DO SOMETHING and follow through on it are twice as likely to successfully grow their business.

My second book (to be published in December 2010) is titled “Bad Plans Carried Out Violently” and promotes the idea that DOING SOMETHING trumps pre-planning almost without exception. I’ve talked with hundreds of successful business owners and asked them two questions:

1) Did you do a business plan before you started your business?

2) If you did, how well did it project what actually happened over 1 yr, 3 yrs and 5 yrs?

The number of successful business owners who do a business plan before starting their business is statistically insignificant – well less than 1%. The only reason the small minority gave for doing one is because they had to in order to get money from a bank or investor (almost no one does one just for themselves). That should tell you something about the classic “pre-planning” Business Plan we’re all taught is so important.

Of those very few that did do a Business Plan before starting, virtually none of them say their Business Plan projected accurately what actually happened in the next 12 months, or 3yrs or 5 yrs. To the contrary most said their Business Plan was wildly off from what actually happened in the real world.

The conclusion is that successful business owners don’t do a classic Business Plan unless banks or investors are involved, and that they never look at it after that. So it has real value for getting a loan, but not for running a business.

Stop planning and get moving! Do a simple 2-page Strategic Plan and revise it every month with the input your business gives you – you’ll be better off.

“Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction” and “Implement Now. Perfect as You Go.” – two concepts from my next book – are much more instructive to success than pre-planning. Knowing the end goal is extremely important – knowing beforehand the path for how you will get there is fortune-telling.

See the new book from called “Rework” for others affirming this as well.
Steve Adams recently attended the Denver IDEA Cafe and wrote this:

Phone power
From: Steve Adams, author of Back To Work!

I know, I know. The telephone is so Old Media.

Like you, I only use the phone when I have to. I can IM with a friend just about as fast. And you can’t beat the convenience of e-mails that can be replied to when we’re good and ready–or ignored. The phone is a jangling intruder.

Those of us who still have land-lines don’t necessarily answer them when they ring. We’re just as likely to screen these calls by Caller ID or voice mail because–uh, because we can.

John Wren would have you think a little differently about that. “With social media, we tend to overlook the power of the telephone,” he says. John, a business and career coach of sorts in Denver, has a nifty five-minute podcast about that’s linked in the upper left of his Web site at

He also runs a weekly confab called the Denver IDEA Meetup Group for the exchange of start-up and new business ideas, where I’m tentatively fixing to speak in a few weeks.

John WrenEssentially, whether you’re looking for work in the form of projects or a fulltime gig, don’t sell the phone short. This might be a time when you want to intrude a bit. This isn’t getting your five job contacts for the week for unemployment–dogmeat jobs you’d hope you didn’t get. Those you do by electronic submission, right? But when you really want something, you Make the Call.

John is talking more upstream–not so much phone calls to employers or clients, but calls to friends, to tap into their network. “People who know you well and want to help you.” Apparently, our friends are able to help us more than we–or even they–think, until prodded.

John tells about multiple positions he’s snagged just calling a friend and asking who they know who might be able to provide a valuable connection to the right person or place. That’s how he became, for example, director of marketing and public relations for the Denver Symphony Orchestra.

But now he’s doing his own thing. I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t give his particulars:

Do you want help as you start in a new direction? Since 1979, I’ve helped hundreds of people find a good job quickly, or to find their first or next great new client. If you or someone you know wants to start a new career, a new campaign or project, or a new business, contact me about how I can help. Contact: John S. Wren, MBA+, 960 Grant St. #727, Denver, CO 80203., (303)861-1447.

Note the phone number. You could, like, pick up the phone and call.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Biennial of the Americas Startup Story Friday.
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 
(303)861-1447 or

 This Friday, June 25:  “How the Denver Biennial of the Americas came into being,” by Donna Mullin Good, President of Operations

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Father's Day, and I've been thinking about my dad this morning.

Pop passed on November 15, 1979, he was just 55, far too young.

I married in 1967 and started working full time in his business as print shop manager doing a weekly sales bulletin for the salesmen, the invoices and other forms, and creating signs and point-of-sale promotional materials.

When I graduated from the University of Denver in 1969, at a sales meeting Pop gave me a 10 year service pin (I'd worked for him each summer starting in elementary school, you can imagine how much help I was when I was 11!) and he promoted me to personnel manager, housewares buyer, and corporate treasurer.

Last night I was going through some papers and found the TMA directory for the meeting they had at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas in April, 1967 when dad served as President.

That year I'd won the 1967 NCAA Mid-West Conference wrestling championship, but a Psychology 101 class had convinced me that I'd be much better off working for dad in his small company than becoming a cog in some bureaucracy. Also, Janet and I had decided to get married and Cornell College did not allow married students then.

Last night I also found the notes from the talk I gave after the funeral at the reception for the family at mom and dad's condo where she still lives now. They'd moved there a few weeks before in anticipation of dad's immanent death from cancer. From the notes and my memory, here is what I said then, standing in front of the fireplace in the living room:

I've tried to think what Pop would want me to say to everyone today. I know he wouldn't want me to miss an opportunity to give a talk! Anyone who ever attended one of his sales meetings knows he believed in the power of sharing. One time his business partner Sam Newton who was the sales manager left and went home from one of the Saturday sales meetings, and dad kept talking with the salesmen for another two hours!

I have many memories of Pop. The trips we took as a family to Disneyland and Hawaii and the World's Fairs in Seattle and Montreal and fishing in Twin Lakes and Granby and one summer in Yellow Stone Lake, and the business trips he and I took to Chicago, Miami, and New York. On all these trips, he was always teaching and giving advice. 

I can remember riding to and from work with him time after time, starting when I was just a little boy not so much working all day as playing on top of the tall stacks of boxes in the warehouse and drinking coffee with Eagle Brand Milk. And I remember the sales meetings, his monthly talk with the 100 or so men; those of us who got to hear him were very, very lucky. As a result of dad's influence and the profit sharing plan he and his partners had created early on, several of his employees went on to start successful businesses themselves.

What I'm sharing with you today is some of the Pop's wisdom, in a way a chance for one last sales meeting with him. Dad would never waste an opportunity like this!

Pop would have liked your sermon Bob (Bob Eli conducted the funeral service at Welshire Presbyterian Church, he was then Pastor at Trinity Methodist Church, he and dad had gone to school together in Amarillo). You encouraged everyone to use the tragic, all too soon death as a time to turn to Christ. Dad was no theologian, but Christ was a real and important foundation for his life. He urged me to go to church each Sunday. He read the bible. I think he waited to die until I'd found my faith in Christ, the greatest gift he ever gave me.

Pop had a practical faith. I vividly remember him telling me about sitting in the parking lot of Derby Market in Loveland, where he and mom were visiting Aunt Lillian and Uncle Jerry. He'd gone in the store and seen they didn't have the non-food items the company he worked for in Amarillo was putting in grocery stores. He saw an opportunity. He went to his car and prayed, he told me, asking for guidance and getting the inspiration coming to move to Colorado and start his business. (I'll be forever grateful that he talked it over with my Uncle Jerry who owned a barber shop, and not the Small Business Administration!)

Dad insisted on a positive outlook. "Be thankful for the good things in life." "As going through life, whatever be your goal/ Keep your eye upon the donut, and not upon the hole." 

He insisted there was always a good job available to anyone who wanted one. He was just a little boy selling Eskimo Pies from his wagon when he over heard two bums talking with each other and one said, "If anyone would offer me a job I'd take it." Even as a little boy dad could see the insanity of that statement. Pop's advice: "When you don't have a job, your job is to find a job," and  "Take pride in your work. Always do your best!" And "The only difference between the boss and the worker is that the boss understands the value of thinking, of looking for a better way to do things."

Pop knew the great value of families. He knew he could never have achieved the great success he did without moms help and support. She always had dinner on the table, he always had a clean shirt, she was a constant inspiration for him. 

Dad always wondered why he and I just couldn't work together.  His ideal was the Jewish family that helped each other become successful. I think he liked that idea because he saw himself as the boss! Pop, we will miss you. Thanks for all the great memories and all the great lessons.

In New Orleans they have a parade and celebrate when someone passes on. So let's do that now, let's celebrate this great life, and be thankful for it! Thank-you pop!

To my surprise, everyone got up then and went and ate. I've always been disappointed that the others who were there didn't share more. Maybe they will now.

Happy Father's Day, Pop! I love you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

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, (303)861-1447 or
Today (June 18): On the topic “My startup experience,” public speaker and entrepreneur William Cummings; and sales trainer and entrepreneur Merit Gest

Join us yourself if you are starting something new, please share with your friends who've had a bump or a bright idea. They will thank you, and so will I if you'll let me know what you've done.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

 He knows how to stop the Gulf spill, no one will listen!

I just spoke on the telephone with Dr. Henry Crichlow, the former head of the department of petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He explained to me that he was hired by Kuwait to direct the efforts to put out the oil well fires there in 1991.

Crichlow says the list of experts put forward by the Obama administration does not have one oil flow expert capable of stopping the Gulf leak. Since a few days after the start he has been trying to make a connection with BP or the government. 

Crichlow has placed an ad today in the Houston Chronicle with a link to this new blog Please forward this along to whoever you know who might be able to get the information into the hands of someone with authority to take action now!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Denver IDEA Cafe Meetup Group

Starting down a new path with a new project or campaign, a new career or new business? Want to get more involved with grassroots as an entrepreneur or newly-active citizen, or to share your experience with newcomers? Then join us! Each week we invite people to share their career, business, and political startup experience and we brainstorm. Since 1994 we've heard from people such as: Dan Brogan, 5280 Magazine; Jared Polis, entrepreneur and U.S. Representative; Kenton Kuhn, Black-tie; Paul Lewan, Lewan & Associates; John Youngquist, Principal of East High School; John Brackney and Joe Blake from the South Metro and Denver Chambers of Commerce; and hundreds of others. Free and open to all, we just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming. Our mission is to help you increase your ROI (Return on Inspiration)! Some of the best networking in Denver almost always takes place right after the meeting. But please, join us to learn, never come just to network. Join us any Friday you need a boost as you get started in a new direction with a new career, new project or campaign, or a new business!
Group PhotoThe Denver IDEA Cafe Meetup
Friday, June 11, 2010 at 2:00PM
Today's speakers: Denver City Councilperson Marcia Johnson on “How I started my political career;” and entrepreneur and computer expert Barry Robbins on “How I started by IT consulting practice.”
Since 1994, we help people turn their inspiration into effective action.
Anyone who is starting a new project, a new business, a new career or a new career is invited to join us.
How do we help? We share startup experience and we do brainstorming.
If we are successful, you will be too busy to come back next week!
An RSVP is NOT required, but it's helpful if you do RSVP for a couple of reasons: 1) It reserves your seat; and 2) You'll get a reminder each week you can forward to friends, family, and business associates who you think might find the meeting helpful.
Special speakers are announced each Wednesday, the first 14 to RSVP each week are guaranteed a seat until the start of the meeting at 2 p.m., others are welcome to attend and either take the seat of a no-show or to sit in the
See the full event details, including location, at
Check out what members are saying about The Denver IDEA Cafe Meetup Group:
"The Group was warm,friendly,as well as caring. If you are looking for a group of people that will not only provide excellent business wisdom,and doing while genuinely caring...then this is the place for you!" - Dale Henderson
"We all think we can't take a couple of hours to get and share ideas. If you don't do that the business world will pass you by. This is a refreshing look at new ideas and new energy around start ups." - John Gies
"There is no reason in the world why any of us has to go it alone. The support is completely non-judgmental and I guarantee you will walk away with many many ideas. It's up to you to do the rest." - Melissa Bennett
"It is a good grounding meeting" - Jacqueline Kimble
"You may get an idea that you would have never thought
of before." - John

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Latin, meaning: unconquer, unconquerable, undefeated.
Found on

`Invictus` is a short poem by the British poet William Ernest Henley.
It was first published in 1875.
Found on

INVICTUS: Community Room College Newsletter
Vol I No 1  June 8, 2010
"The human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead—because ideas are having sex with each other as never before."  Matt Ridley, author of  The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves.  From an article based on the book (which I've just ordered, I was so impressed with the article, it will be a future featured book with 3 tips) in the Wall Street Journal (click here for article.) 
Today's Featured Book:  Art Linkletter's How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life.
You may have noticed in the new that Art Linkletter passed away last week (click here for obit.)

Linkletter was 97 when he passed on a few days ago, after living a full active life to the very end. For the last 3 years he's been on a national book tour for this book he wrote when he was 94, telling us how he did it. It's a great book, I highly recommend it.
Here are three tips from the book to use now:
1.  Don't stop living and learning.
2.  The only thing you should re-tire is your car. Retirement kills!
3.  It's part of our collective wisdom-- along with eating your vegetables and getting a good night's sleep-- that keeping a positive attitude is good for our health.
The new Community Room College is helping people start Franklin Circles or similar adult self-directed learning groups in their neighborhood. A free meeting, a sample of the Franklin Circle meeting format, is held each Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. right after the Denver IDEA Cafe. For more see
The Denver IDEA Cafe is a free, open startup workshop held each Friday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Speakers are invited to share how they started their career, a project or campaign, or a new business, and we brainstorm. The only cost is your brain for the brainstorming. Speakers are announced each week on Wednesday or Thursday on, you can RSVP now to make sure you get a seat.
My free podcast How to Find a Good Job Fast: You can listen to it via the link on  Please forward this email along to any of your friends who you know are looking for a new job. They will thank you, and so will I if you'll let me know what you've done.
How may I be of service to you?
John S. Wren, MBA+
Life's short, start now!
Contact at:
Twitter/ JohnSWren
office (303)861-1447
cell Ask Me

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Garrison Keillor column today in the Denver Post print edition (for some reason it's not to be found on, so link is to the same column in the Chicago paper) seems to be giving up any hope of things getting better.

Right next to Keillor in the Post's print edition is David Sirota's column with him complaining that no one is calling for belt tightening today like they used to in the good old days.

Taken together, these two thoughts compound into a bitter pill. Things are bad and they are only going to get worse. Is it any wonder that few people want to subscribe to the newspaper today?

John Wooten and Art Linkletter both died this week. Both were upbeat, wonderful men. Linkletter's most recent book was How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. He and Wooten certainly did just that, not turning into the grouchy old men like Sirota and Keillor.

Last Sunday for Memorial Day PBS had a wonderful special. The challenges we face today are just as great as those faced in World War II, maybe even bigger. But they are not insoluble. "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right." Abraham Lincoln

Friday, June 04, 2010

 The Bell Curve
Joseph Bell

On the surface, Art Linkletter was a lightweight thinker, working early on with kids who supplied his richest material, then shifting to motivational speaking and finally turning both specialties into highly profitable businesses. That was the limit of my knowledge of him when I was first assigned to do a profile of him for a national magazine. And never had I been more wrong.

All of this came back to me when I pulled my Linkletter file and got reacquainted with him. Never far distant from his thinking was the suicide of his 20-year-old daughter, Diane, which he blamed on an LSD flashback frenzy. It set a course for Linkletter, from which he never wavered, to define and attack drug abuse out of knowledge, not emotion. In this process and his subsequent motivational speaking, I never detected a phony word or action.

"The idea of my being old," he once told me, "is the last thing I ever think of. I go to these senior citizen places to comfort people and suddenly realize I'm older than a lot of them. It's all in your attitude. You must set goals no matter how limited they are, and when you get to them, try the next thing. If you were to sit back and look at it coldly and dispassionately, you'd say this is like made work. Not real, so it isn't important. But that's not true as long as it is something to hope for."

So R.I.P., Art Linkletter. You've helped build a myriad of hopes. And you've earned a rest.

Monday, May 31, 2010

John T Wren: It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — General George S. Patton


Why is this expert being ignored? He's ideas have been used in over 700 oil well fires, he's the former head of the petroleum department at the University of OK:

Denver Post reports the Obama administration is OK with just letting it go until August!!! Where is the political will to get the leak stopped now?

Friday, May 28, 2010

O'REILLY: How come you didn't turn into a Hollywood phony?
LINKLETTER: Because I was a communicator not an actor.
LINKLETTER: Who do you think has a better life, men or women?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I think men are dirty.
LINKLETTER: After 70, skiing is the perfect sport. Everything is downhill after that.
You're pretty much on your way to the top.
O'REILLY: Me? Myself?
LINKLETTER: Yes. You give the other guys a chance, and if you don't give them a chance, you say, "I'll give it to you later."
O'REILLY: And I do give it to them later, don't I?
LINKLETTER: Say "Art Linkletter" like you're mad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Art Linkletter like you're mad.
O'REILLY: Everybody knows you. You say Art Linkletter, and they say, "Ooh." And you walk around and everybody knows you.
LINKLETTER: Keep going.
What would you do first if you were president?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep my mouth shut.
LINKLETTER: I laughed at myself when I made movies. I'm out there, tied to a stake and the Indians are marching around, and I'm saying to myself, "What the hell am I doing here?"
O'REILLY: You never took it serious?
A great guy, a patriot, loved talking to him.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Advice offered to 2010 graduates in the newspaper of a small town in Nebraska:

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able entertain a thought without accepting it.
— Aristotle

Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final.
— Robert Babson

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
–Winston Churchill

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
— Art Linkletter

Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.
— Albert Einstein

You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
— John Wooden

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
— Henry Ford

Do not fear — only believe. All things are possible for him who believes.
— Jesus Christ

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
— Oscar Wilde

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. — G. K. Chesterton
No man can be good without the help of God.
—Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher

Monday, May 17, 2010

On this day in 1792 the Buttonwood Agreement was signed in New York City, which began the New York Stock Exchange. Twenty-four New York City brokers and merchants decided to meet outside underneath a buttonwood tree, more commonly called a sycamore.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I just found out my nephew Jason Wren's story is posted here (click on his name) along with other young people who have lost their lives to alcohol.

Jason, we miss you.

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.
Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces. 

GM Hopkins
         Parry Burnap and Andy Duvall spoke with us at the Denver IDEA Cafe yesterday about their startup experience and the start of the new Denver Bike Share program.

Parry was in charge of the effort to make the DNC convention here in Denver in 2008 as green as possible. She'd drawn together a large committee, and was working with them in the initial stages of the effort to identify possible projects. "My approach to management is to get good people and then provide a structure where they can share," she told us. One day she got an email from one of the committee members that just said, "bike sharing," and that was the light-bulb moment.

1000 bikes were donated, along with enough staff to ride herd on them and keep statistics. At the end of the DNC convention there was about $4 million left over, and the bikes were such a hit that Mayor Hickenlooper and others decided that $1 million of it should be used to launch a Denver bike sharing program.

Andy Duvall and Parry met each other at about that time through a local bicycle enthusiast group. Andy was doing a PhD dissertation at University of Colorado Denver on bike sharing, and had proposed a project he figured would have to be done in another city. He was delighted to find the project here in Denver, where he could apply what he'd learned visiting bike sharing programs around the world.

Andy had gone back to graduate school after being in the Peace Corp for two years and a 10 year career as a business executive. While doing his Master in urban planning he connected with one of his professors as a mentor who alerted him to a National Science Foundation grant on a Friday that had a deadline the following Tuesday.