Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nudging into the future

The May 16th New York Times business section had an interesting article by David Leonhardt.

While not specifically about start ups, it points out an important piece about the opportunities all around us that are typically overlooked.

Mr. Leonhardt cites small changes made in otherwise un-notable parts of daily life that can prove life changing and even life saving.

Two profs from the University of Chicago are writing a book about this phenomenon tentatively titled 'Nudge'. It is about the creative application of simplicity and common sense.

From a micro enterprise perspective, this is yet more encouragement. The world is full of small, important opportunities. While most won't make headlines, many will change the world in small appreciable ways.

Your ability to fix problems and make the world a better place has never been more needed or more possible.

Here's how Mr.Leonhardt closes his piece. "There are a lot of problems that nudging won’t solve. It won’t keep Medicare from going bankrupt. It won’t lift stagnant middle-class incomes or reverse global warming. But there are also a lot of problems in which neither politics nor knowledge is the real obstacle and a whole lot of progress is just waiting to be made."


David Leonhardt’s article ’Sometimes, What’s Needed Is a Nudge’. May 16 NY Times.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Combining Ben Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt because I can

Hey, it’s the internet. If I want to string together a couple of quotes from guys I admire, who’s to say I can’t.

I’ve been thinking about the process of entrepreneurship lately and all that it implies for people who haven’t participated in it. The media make it out to be this do or die glory run toward an IPO.

Frankly, that’s idiotic. That’s like telling every kid on the schoolyard that they can play in the NBA or the NFL. That’s a cruel injustice to the kid and not a good way to approach life, or entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship in this society is flourishing at micro levels that have nothing to do with IPOs or mega-deals.

Entrepreneurship is much better represented by small scale, appropriately executed adventures that give the participants a chance to grow into their passions, meet new friends worldwide, pay their bills and fix some problems along the way.

The business media focuses on winners and losers, when in fact the entire process – if viewed with the right perspective – is highly beneficial for the participants and for society.

I like Theodore Roosevelt, and I really like Ben Franklin. I got two emails this week, both from overseas, with quotes from each of these gentlemen in their signatures.

They seem to me to represent a short, clear call to take the appropriate risks of entrepreneurship for your own benefit as well as helping the planet.

You learn something no one can ever take away and you prove to yourself that your life and your dreams are worth the effort.

I’ve switched the order of the quotes a number of times, but I’ve settled on Franklin to close because that’s the bottom line of any entrepreneurial effort.

So... Ben Franklin and TR, whose births are separated by more than 150 years, knitted together in an entrepreneurship rallying call, inspired by eMails from other continents a century later. Is this a great time and place to tackle opportunity or what?

"The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who strives valiantly... who at best knows the high achievement of triumph... who at worst, fails while daring greatly for he knows his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." --Theodore Roosevelt

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." -- Benjamin Franklin

Follow your heart – and your head – into your hopes for self enterprise. These guys are right.

I wish you well, friend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki evangelized me into the most productive parts of what I’m trying to pass off as adulthood.

I fell under Guy’s spell and bought our first Mac circa 1988. $6,000 for a Mac Plus with 256K of memory and a whopping 10MB hard drive. It was the single most productive purchase I’ve ever made. Family unit and I are now on our zillionth Mac and have never looked back.

I thank Mr. Kawasaki for his guidance then and now.

Guy Kawasaki’s blog is bright, fast, informative and always valuable. I highly recommend it. There is a permanent link on the right to get there (and I give those links up VERY grudgingly – two in two years)

You will love Guy’s current book ‘The Art Of The Start’, as well as his previous books. I especially liked ‘Rules For The Revolutionaries’.

In ‘The Art Of The Start’ Guy closes the last chapter with a great quote and then some wonderful (as always) writing.

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good”. – Samuel Johnson

From Guy:

(Chapter 11) “The Art Of Being a Mensch. The three foundations of menschhood are helping lots of people, doing what’s right, and paying back society – simple concepts that are hard to implement.”

Guy Kawasaki is an excellent writer. More importantly, he delivers a lot of valuable information in a great, no BS style.

My kind of resource.

Thank you, Mr. Kawasaki.

Guy Kawasaki's blog, How to change the world. A practical blog for impractical people

In today’s post (5/15/07) Guy interviews Penelope Trunk who writes a very interesting blog from my town of Madison, WI. Great writing style. Brazen Careerist. Advice at the intersection of work and life

wikipedia, Dr.Samuel Johnson