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!