Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Follow Small Business Chamber on Twitter in 2004

Amar Bhide: In Defense of Human Judgment

Get rid of old mistaken ideas "root & branch," would be for the best, and an examination of why it does not happen in modern finance.

Charles Murray at Boulder

Last month (November 2013) Murray talks in Boulder about dramatic changes in characteristics founders felt essential for self-government (marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religious) separating between working and upper classes, leading to America coming apart (title of his recent book.)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book TV: Edmund Phelps, "Mass Flourishing"

Book TV: Edmund Phelps, "Mass Flourishing"

The Startup Show, today (Mon, Dec 30), 5 p.m. Mountain.

We're live by 5 p.m. Mountain time, Monday thru Friday on YouTube Live Events, Google+ Live Hangouts, or here on JohnWren.com. You are welcome to share this any way you'd like with friends who might find what we are doing helpful.

 If you'd like to be a guest on an episode of the new SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show we'll be doing after the 1st of the year, call and leave a complete, confidential message about who you are and what you'd like to share, and when a good time for me to get back with you via telephone in the next couple of days. It's ok to email me, but chances are I won't see it unless you've called and left a message, too. Call me at (303)861-1447

 Join us this Friday, or any Friday, for our Denver IDEA Salon, open discussion meeting about startup, and our Denver IDEA Cafe startup workshop. Also contact us if you'd like help starting similar groups in cooperation with your local chamber or other group. For more information and optional RSVP see link to Meetup.com on our Small Business Chamber site http://www.SmallBizChamber.org or call John Wren (303)861-1447. It's later than you think! But it's only too late if you don't start now! Just start!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top Ten Tweets for 2013

Are you using Twitter? I'll talk about Twitter on The Startup Show tomorrow, here live by 5 p.m. Mountain. Scroll down to see last Friday's show, I talked about the grassroots, why this is such a critical time in business and politics.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review: Just Start. Future best seller?

Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the FutureJust Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future by Leonard A. Schlesinger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations took 8 years to become a best selling book. I expect the same thing will happen with this ground breaking book.

The conventional wisdom is that business startup depends on market research and careful, formal planning.

Every college and university teach those working with startups to ask, "Have you written a business plan?"

If this conventional wisdom was valid we'd have a planned economy, not a market economy.

What's driven the phenomenal growth of this country until the early 70s was the fact that nearly all startup were boot strapped, there were not written business plans.

That fact was clearly demonstrated with the research of Dr. Amar Bhide, documented in a series of articles in the Harvard Business Review and culminating in his book "The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses" in 1994, at which time the publisher of Inc Magazine said it was the most important book about startup ever written.

He was also influence by the first hand experience he had growing up with a successful entrepreneur, from how he could observe what he calls in the book "opportunistic adaptation." We spent a day on the University of Denver campus talking with instructors and visiting classes, the way he would explain the process, "you don't want to buy this lamp, here, how about this rug."

Bhide's book was well researched, well documented, well written, but still it was ignored by the Small Business Administration, the tax-funded mechanism set up in 1953 by big businesses with the intention, I believe, to snuff out the entrepreneurial spirit of America, along with the entrepreneurship educational network across the country.

More recently Sarah Sarasvathy has reached similar conclusions to Bhide using a different research methodology.

The authors give credit to Sarasvathy, but not to Bhide. When I asked them about this on a webinar, Len admitted he knew Amar, had taught with him at Harvard, he was very much aware of his insights, and that it was a mistake not to have given him any credit at all.

What are the Bhide/Sarasvathy insights that are incorporated into this book? That in past years when the USA economy was flourishing, successful business did not start the way the SBA has said since 1953 that they should start. This SBA drumbeat has been picked up by every college and university entrepreneurship program. Show me one that requires Bhide's book to be read. Outrageous!

Insights include the fact that successful entrepreneurs in the past did not do formal market research or engaged in formal planning. The business plan competitions are an enormous was of time and money, and they teach the wrong lesson.

Insights include the fact that successful entrepreneurs bootstrap, they don't try and borrow money. As Mark Cuban has said, "only a fool would borrow money to start a business," yet students of startup today are being taught about how to impress venture capitalists.

Insights include the fact that successful entrepreneurs don't think long range, they for sure don't have an exit strategy when they are just starting. Recently a survey found that 87% of business owners do not have a exit plan.

So where does Just Start fit in? This bold book is a radical attempt to right the wrong, the festering wound that erupted in 1970 when Nixon went to China, the culmination of the disease that was spread by the SBA, that was perhaps was first allowed to infect this country in 1910 when Harvard awarded the first MBA.

And it has been virtually ignored. It should have been at the top of the best seller list, and in my opinion, as I said earlier, I believe that could still happen.

What will bring that about would be a changing of the guard at the Kauffman Foundation. Marion Kauffman was an entrepreneur very much in the classical mold, starting a very, very successful business out of the trunk of his car. He died, and it appears his well intentioned widow, now deceased, was misled, and a mechanism for pouring gasoline on the academic approach to entrepreneurship that is killing startup in this country just as surely as some see the academic approach to poetry is killing of real poets and poetry (see Epstein's column in last April 1st Wall Street Journal.)

There is hope. Steve Blank and his student Eric Ries have moved away somewhat from the academic approach to startup, at this point it's hard to tell if Startup Weekends, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Tech Stars, etc etc are helping or hurting.

What is clearly the major problem is the Small Business Administration. When I asked Steve Blank what he thought of the SBA startup efforts, the whole complex of activities from SCORE (I've suggested they should change their name to SQUASH), SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) across the country that disseminate the SBA research/planning propoganda, a network created by virtually bribing local chambers of commerce. Blank has told me that from his perspective at Stanford, he didn't know anyone who has anything to do with the SBA.

That may be true for the Stanford crowd, but the deadly network is having an impact, it is clear.

For proof of the deadening effect, the smoking gun, the statistics that show our stagnations, see Nobel economist Edmund Phelps recently published, very fine Mass Flourishing. When Phelps was introduced at Oxford, it was said the book will, "transform economics." Some have said it's the most important book since The Wealth of Nations.

Phelps effectively demonstrates that what he calls corporatism combined with socialism have just about killed off the new economy that build this country, research and planning have choked off the vitalism and dynamism that we saw from about 1840 or so to 1970.

Phelps offers some remedies worth considering, for one thing study groups in Washington DC that would take up his book, and I'd suggest they also read Bhide and this book that is under consideration here, Just Start.

As a matter of fact, I suggest that the DC study groups start with Just Start, or at least read the one page summary in the back. What do we want? To restore vitalism and dynamism into our economy. What are the smart steps we can quickly take in that direction?

The first thing let's do, let's kill the SBA!

If you are serious about startup, skip the SBA. Instead buy this book, take an afternoon and digest it, then the next morning Just Start!

The book suggests bringing other people along. I always suggest that those starting check with a good CPA before investing a lot of time or money. A good CPA will help you quickly see the financial implications of what you are considering, and they will make sure that you can skip going to a lawyer until you are further along.

But don't expect encouragement. For that attend one of our Small Business Chamber IDEA Cafe Startup Workshops. Or at least watch The Startup Show, live by 5 p.m. Mountain each day on my JohnWren.com or YouTube Live Events or Google + Live Hangouts.

This life is very short, so Just Start!

Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change

View all my reviews

"The Worldly Philosophers" Robert Heilbroner 1999 interview

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Startup Show Grassroots Friday

The Startup Show
Starting in a new direction?
Career + Project + Campaign + New Business
Start, grow, flourish!
Each day Monday thru Friday, 5 p.m. Mountain

Interested in the spirituality of startup?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Startup Show: Evaluation and Action

The Startup Show, live by 5 p.m. Mountain each day Monday thru Friday, sponsored by the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. "We help each other create a Good Living." Question? Request for a SPECIAL REPORT interview with a guest? Call me (John Wren) at (303)861-1447.

On the startup show today both Evaluation and Action from our IDEA Model.

How do you know when you are ready to start? What can you do to help yourself as you take those first few steps? Who can tell you?

Tomorrow, Friday (Dec 27) Denver IDEA Salon & Workshop. Free! Join us to help get 2014 off to a good start. Contact us if Denver's too far, we'll help you start a new group in cooperation with your local chamber or other group. More info and RSVP at http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Startup Show iDea Develop Alternatives

Christmas Eve, 5 p.m.

We'll talk about what to do once you have an idea. There is more than one way to go forward, taking a pause to think of alternatives can often yield big rewards. These moments in life, turning points, don't come every day. Which roads are possible now?

Join our Small Business Chamber of Commerce Meetup.com site, I'll go overboard to delight you. For details see http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber  or call me (303)861-1447. But do it now, I'd hate for us to miss this opportunity to work together. We are going to close memberships when we reach 100.

Only $1.50 right now, and that's guaranteed.

We'll be taking a new direction with the Small Business Chamber of Commerce in 2014. Media release will be made Thursday. In the mean time, you can get a hint by checking out our See http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber  site, where we are doing something very unusual.

For many reasons, we are going to start charging a monthly membership fee. If you are the first paid member it will only cost $1.50. Then $2.50 for the second membership, $3.50 for #3, etc. And the small fee is guaranteed, your money back if you are not satisfied for the first 30 days.

I'll be knocking myself out to delight these first few paid members. Check it out, if it looks like it might be helpful to you, give it a try, ok? See http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber 

John Wren
Founder & CEO, Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc
IDEA Salons & Cafes * The Startup Show * Consulting & Coaching.

Consulting & Coaching practice limited to startups: 1) individuals starting
a new career, project or campaign, or new business; and 2) corporations, chambers of commerce, service clubs and other groups who want to encourage employee or member creativity that leads to inspired action-- reactivate inactive customers/members; new customers/members; introduce new products/services to existing customers; collect past due accounts. Ask me to speak at your next event. Free or negotiated price invoiced in advance.

For more see http://www.JohnWren.com or call (303)861-1447

Noticing miracles, powerful form of economic development?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Startup Show

Inspiration Tuesday. What if your not inspired? 4-phases of business startup (for detail, Google "John Wren Daring Mighty Things" 99-cents on Amazon, $1 back if it's not helpful.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show: The Toy Business

Les Cosby shares how he and his wife have opened their new toy shop. Let me know if know anyone who'd be a good guest. (you) John Wren (303)861-1447


Friday, December 20, 2013

Release: : Mass Flourishing Point of Plan.

From:  Small Business Chamber 
            of Commerce, Inc.
            960 Grant St. #727, Denver, CO 80203

Contact:  John Wren 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Group to start study groups using Edmund Phelps’s new book. Mass Flourishing and James Martin’s Jesuit Guide.

Denver— At an IDEA Salon today, longtime community activist and adult educator John S Wren announced the preliminary 2014 plans for the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc, a Colorado non-profit. Everyone is invited to comment on the dynamic plans at the free IDEA Salon open discussion meeting, each Friday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, Denver. Free. For more see http://www.SmallBizChamber.org or call (303)861-1447

“Since 1727 our mission is to strengthen the grassroots in business and politics through adult education,” said Wren. “When people ask me who is our other co-founder, I tell them it’s Ben Franklin. He founded the first startup group in America, he called it the Junto.”

“We’ve now joined the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry and will be reaching out to the 70 or so local chambers in Colorado who are members of it and others, helping where we can to provide more real help to startups and small businesses, and helping to educate everyone in the community about the realities of the new economy, the return to the vitalism and dynamism that Nobel economist Edmund Phelps talks about in his new book Mass Flourishing, in light of James Martin’s Jesuit Guide, thinking in line with my Daring Mighty Things—The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business, and with what Ben Franklin advocated.

“To promote the study groups, next week we’ll announce a contest we believe will result in more media interest in the Colorado Caucus, the best chance for the common person to serve in elected public office, than we’ve seen in the past. More informed participation from those who are new to Colorado or just new to Colorado politics in our unique, wonderful neighborhood system for nominating to the primary ballot is needed if the grassroots is really going to be restored.”

Wren www.JohnWren.com (303)861-1447  attended Denver Thomas Jefferson High School, Cornell College, the University of Denver (BA’69, MBA’80) and Regis University where he studied adult learning with an education grant from Charles Schwab. He has been trained as a Great Books Discussion leader, and he is one of the founders of Denver Socrates Café, the IDEA Café Startup Workshop, Franklin Circles, and the Jesuit Guide Faith Sharing Groups. He is the co-founder & CEO of the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. whose purpose is to help people create a Good Living—a useful and necessary product or service, an adequate income, and personal growth. Edmund Phelps, Mass Flourishing, Princeton University Press, 2013.  James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, HarperCollins, 2010. John Wren, Daring Might Things, Creative Space, 1994.


Plan to Flourish will be announced in an hour.

Small Business Chamber Plans announce this afternoon at Denver IDEA Salon, http://Meetup.com/Small-Business-Chamber. This is how media release starts. Check back here later for more, or join us this afternoon, 2:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, Denver. 

At an IDEA Salon today, longtime community activist and adult educator John S Wren announced the preliminary 2014 plans for the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc, a Colorado non-profit. Everyone is invited to comment on the dynamic plans at the free IDEA Salon open discussion meeting, each Friday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, Denver. Free. For more see http://www.SmallBizChamber.org or call (303)861-1447 

The Startup Show

No broadcast yesterday or today. See you Monday!

Frequency of the use of the term "Alcoholics Anonymous."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Startup Show idEa Evaluate Wednesday

The Startup Show Each day we talk about IDEA business creativity model. Inspiration (Monday), Develop Alternatives (Tuesday), you get the idea. Watch recording later if you can't stick around now. Usually 5 or 10 minutes. Here's today's show: Join us for an IDEA Salon, new open discussion meeting about startup. Here in Denver or we'll help you start one near you with others. http://www.SmallBizChamber.org
Google searches this past year on "build a website", "telemarketing", "public relations", compared to "recovery" (#1 most popular) and "coaching" which is #2 most used, compared to these other terms. What does this mean? Using the words coaching and recovery hits consumer hot buttons. We know what to do, we just aren't doing it, that the help we are looking for now. At least, that's what this trend analysis seems to be saying to me, what do you think?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Developing Alternatives

The Startup Show-- iDea Developing Alternatives Tuesday
What's next after you have an idea, when you want the idea to become a reality?

Join us in Denver this Friday, IDEA Cafe Startup Workshops and Denver IDEA Salon Discussion Group. http://www.SmallBizChamber.org

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

We need return to what built this country, vitalism and dynamism. How can we best bring about the return. First, take a look at this short video, consider buying a copy of Mass Flourishing if you haven't done so already. It's in all the book stores, Amazon, etc.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merton Renunciation contemplation 9 9 09

How do we know God's will?

100% our effort, 100% God's direction, meet on the alter at the Eucharist, is the way one priest put it in a homily recently. "Trust love." Yes! 

Thomas Merton from "Who Cares About The Saints?" with Fr. James Martin, ...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

David Allen: Getting Things Done

ideA Act is our topic tomorrow on The Startup Show.

The Startup Show idEa Evaluation Wednesday

The Startup Show Each Monday thru Friday, 5 p.m. Mountain

Michael Porter at Babson: Role of Business in Society.

I hope Pope Francis finds 20 minutes to watch this. What is the role of business in society?

Action Trumps Everything - CreAction

Watch and learn how the power of CreAction can transform you into an entrepreneurial thinker who will make the right decisions in an increasingly chaotic world. Action Trumps Everything by Babson College President Leonard A. Schlesinger and Innovation Associates President Charles Kiefer with writer Paul B. Brown can be downloaded free at: www.actiontrumpseverything.com. Great 3-minute video that explains CreAction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZkaZYYxF_A&feature=share

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Startup Show iDea Develop Alternatives Tuesday

Join us Friday here in Denver or start your own IDEA Group with the
cooperation of your local chamber or other group. See Meetup link:

New (at least to me) video series, The American Mind.
Looks great!

Pope Francis Announces Global Campaign Against Hunger

I hope Pope Francis remembers the farmers who grow the wheat, the millers who make it into flour, the bakers who make it into bread, the wholesalers and retailers and restaurant owners who get it into the mouths of hungry people. Seems to me this process, year after year after year, is just as big of a miricle as Jesus feeding the 5,000 when he took the loaves, blessed, broke, and gave them. Only communist propaganda can blind us to this every day miracle.

"(Economic) production is essentially a form of cooperation among free individuals whose self-interested labor serves the best interest of all. The greatest “culture war” in history is to re-establish the moral significance of economic activity in the consciousness of modern political and cultural elites." 

Andrej Rapaczynski, The Moral Significance of Economic Life. Capitalism and Society, Vol. 8, Issue 2, Article 1, 2013. http://ssrn.com/abstract=2364655

Monday, December 09, 2013

12-9-13 The Startup Show Idea Inspiration Monday

We are here each day Monday thru Friday, live by 5 p.m. Mountain, or anytime via recording.
The Startup Show will be broadcast momentarily, or come back here for the recording any time.

SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show: Denver Speakers Bureau, Salute to Local Authors, Karen Loucks Rinedollar

Unfortunately we had a Google+ problem, couldn't get connected. So here's what we would have talked about: Karen is Executive Director or Denver Speakers Bureau (see web address on flier below) has a monthly speakers showcase on various topics, this month instead of the showcase they are having this book fair. This Saturday afternoon 10 authors (or more, call if you want to participate) will answer question, have books with free gift wrapping if you bring a can of food for the charity drive. Karen will talk about her book "Working for Peanuts: The LINUS Project. LINUS is a five-step guide for achieving success, Karen will decode for you Saturday and share her experience. Chris Natzke is a 7th level black belt Tae Kwon Do who has a studio in Aurora. He's written a book applying the lessons of Tae Kwon Do to achieving your goals no matter what they are. More information below and on Denver Speakers Bureau website.

Pope Francis Announces Global Campaign Against Hunger


My comment you'll see under his announcement video:

The Pope draws attention to this important problem. God has given us the means to feed all people, right now we aren't using what we've been given. "Mass Flourish" by Nobel economist, just published by Princeton University Press, clearly shows exactly what the problem is and what needs to be done.

I hope Pope Francis and his advisors read this new book, or at least watch the lecture at Oxford University on YouTube, see link to it and other info below.

When there are dead bodies in the river it's not enough to just remove the bodies, we go up stream to see what's the root of the problem. That's exactly what Nobel economist Edmund Phelps does with this new book: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10058.html 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

When the Bell Telephone System was broken up, in my opinion most of us didn't think fast or slow, we were just led by the nose to those in contol, some who ended up in jail.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is book I wish I'd read a year ago when it first came out.

Seems to me it's directly relevant to how ideas, usually the result of fast thinking, in my experience, actually get started, which involves lots and lots of slow thinking.

IDEA is the acronym for the four-step creativity model I've been using for decades since one of my former professors at the University of Denver and myself developed it when I was working for Mountain Bell, which became US West, eventually what we have now, Century Link, back then we were the local operating company for the Bell Telephone System which was broken up.

Back then most of us paid a very small amount of money for local telephone service, and it was predicted that long distance would soon be free.

Some of those who pushed the breakup went to jail, or should have, now telephone service costs an arm and a leg. Clearly phone service was and is a natural monopoly and should be regulated. Will we ever have political leadership who has the guts to take on putting the genie back it the bottle?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Startup Show ideA Action Thursday

We've had an inspiration, explored the alternatives, made a decision, now what?
Join us tomorrow? http://www.SmallBizChamber.org 

Birth of a Business: Infinite Buyer SPECIAL EDITION The Startup Show

In this 40 minute video I talk with Anthony Sanchez and Brian Grega, co-founders of a new business that launched this past Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, 2013. On the video below they talk about their backgrounds, how they got together and developed a friendship, and how they went from inspiration to launch with Infinite Buyer.

Brian and possibly Anthony will be with us tomorrow for our Denver IDEA Salon discussion group at 2:30 p.m. and our IDEA Cafe Startup Workshop at 3:45, both at the same place, Panera Bread, 13th & Grant, just a block from the Colorado Capitol. For more and to RSVP for either or both of the meetings see link to our Meetup.com site at SmallBizChamber.org (click)

Here's Anthony and Brian:

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Startup Show idEa Evaluation Wednesday

The Startup Show, dedicated to helping you start in a new direction with your work, starting a new career, a new project or campaign, or a new business. Broadcast live by 5 p.m MST Monday thru Thursday on YouTube Live Broadcasts and Google+ Live Hangouts and here on JohnWren.com

If you'd like to be on the show or if you have suggestions of who we should invite, call John Wren at (303)861-1447 or post your suggestion as a comment here.

Now here is today's show:

Join us Fridays for an IDEA Salon for open discussion about startup and/or an IDEA Cafe startup workshop. Information about existing groups and how to start a new one in cooperation with your local chamber or other group can be found via our Meetup.com site, see link on http://www.SmallBizChamber.org.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Startup Show iDea Develop Alternatives Tuesday

Tonight! 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. free! best Denver event, Integrated Alliances (click here.) More info, address, optional RSVP, just come! You'll be glad you did!

Today we discuss what to do with the initial inspiration, the I in our IDEA model.

D is Develop Alternatives, there is more that one way to skin a cat, so we let our mind and the minds of others help us see potential next steps, people we might bring along, etc.

Some call this green light thinking, chunking up, we think more and more. Might not take lot, but we consider our options. Trick is to not get stuck on this stage, paralysis from analysis is deadly to new ideas.

Join us Friday? http://Meetup.com/Small-Biz-Chamber  To far away? Call and we'll help you start a new group in cooperation with your local chamber of commerce or other group. Call (303)861-1447.

Considering an MBA? Or DBA? Get paid to learn.

If you are considering going back to school for an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) or a DBA (Doctorate in Business Administration) I hope you'll watch this, then give me a call if you are interested, call me at (303)861-1447.  John Wren

What is an angel investor?

Part of an interesting online interview today:


Monday, December 02, 2013

The Startup Show Inspiration Monday

We are here Monday thru Friday (usually), on live by 5 p.m. Mountain Topic is startup, career, project or campaign, or a new business. Join us at an IDEA Cafe or Salon, if there's not one near you start one, we'll help you. See link to our Meetup.com site on http://www.SmallBizChamber.org

Sunday, December 01, 2013

1st MBA, Harvard, 1910. That worked out well.

I say I'm a recovering MBA.

Much of what I learned in business school has to be overcome for me to be helpful to people who are starting something new.

The more planning was mentioned in the literature, the less other approaches were discussed. 

Methodology used to create this graph explained in this Wikipedia article (click here.)