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.