Saturday, February 27, 2010

John Steinbeck, was born on this date in Salinas, California (1902). He is the author of many books including the epic novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and also Of Mice and Men (1937).

The book of his that had the greatest impact on me was his Travels with Charlie, the story of the trip started September 1960, by Steinbeck and his dog, Charley, a trip across America.

It was the first serious book I can remember reading, I took the paperback with with us on a family trip to Disneyland where we celebrated my brother Randy's birthday. The next time I was in the Disneyland Hotel was about 6 years later with my now ex-wife Janet on our honeymoon. She was sick and wanted to go home early. I've often thought of writing Travels with Janet.

People sometimes ask me why I don't write up what the speakers share with us at the Denver IDEA Cafe. We meet each Friday and over the last 15+ years we have had some excellent speakers, ranging from Lloyd Lewan to Joe Blake, from Sam Newton to Bonnie Kaake.

The group started as a way to promote the radio and TV shows I took from station to station in the early 90s, I suppose as part of my misguided efforts to recover from my divorce from Janet.

I modestly called the radio/TV show John Wren's Journal. I still have tapes of the shows. Seemed to me the recordings of the successful guests on the show talking about how they had done it would be incredibly valuable.

After appearing on the show, the guests would be available to listeners at the next IDEA Cafe meeting, where they would briefly retell their story and brainstorm with us.

What I discovered was that the story on the record as the guests were recorded was far different from the story they told in the closed, confidential IDEA Cafe Meeting.

Dr. Amar Bhide tells me he experiences much the same thing. Successful entrepreneurs who he invites to talk with his entrepreneurship classes almost always start off giving advice, telling what the students should do, market research, careful planning, etc.

When Bhide asks if that's what they did as they actually started, they uniformly say, "no, it's not what I did, but I would have been much better off doing it that way."

The letter kills, but the spirit brings life. That's why I don't record what IDEA Cafe speakers share. That's also the reason I don't write Travels with Janet.

It's the spirit in the Denver IDEA Cafe meetings that makes all the difference. Please join us the next time you are starting in a new direction with your career, your next new project or campaign, or a new business. Or call me any time and let's talk about how I might be able to help you. I promise not to write about our work together. :)

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