Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Entrepreneur Grows Up To Be Kid Again

Posted: September 9, 2015 by Jerry Malsh in Culture, People, Startup

“My name is Dan Berger.” “My name is Dan Berger.” “My name is Dan Berger.”

jerry-malsh-2015When asked to tell his senior class at Denison University about himself, Dan Berger mimicked the format of “To Tell The Truth”, a popular TV game show of the 60’s, by standing up and sitting down three times … each time describing a different aspect of his life.

First, there was Dan Berger the serious student. Next, there was Dan Berger the not so serious guy who loved to drink beer and play his guitar. Finally, there was Dan Berger who today has honestly forgotten whatever the third aspect of his life actually had been back then.

Yet what Dan didnt say about himself that day actually said more about who he already had become.

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Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for EntrepreneurshipRecently, I was thinking about the people who really made a difference in my life. A few mental pictures popped into my mind. As I remembered these individuals, one very important ingredient emerged – humility. All were individuals of the highest character. Their personal character was why I listened intently to and believed their message. As I matured, character was also the reason why I chose not to be mentored by certain people. It was difficult to embrace their message when I experienced their self-serving attitude in every situation. Their life motto was “my way is the right way.”

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An Entrepreneurship Revolution

Posted: July 5, 2015 by Chuck Matthews in People, Startup

Dr. Chuck Matthews“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

                     — John Paul Jones

On a recent trip to Philadelphia as I toured Independence Hall and stood in the very room considered to be the birthplace of the United States, I was reminded of the inseparable connection to commerce and the inevitable revolution at hand. In 1775, a host of economic, policy, and political issues fermented and festered until the colonists clamored for independence from the United Kingdom. It culminated in a secret vote by the Continental Congress declaring independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, quickly followed by the formal publication of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th with delegates stepping up to boldly sign their “treasonous” intentions on August 2nd. Commerce in the colonies was under attack often embodied in repressive taxation that limited both business and individual freedoms.

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Have your Ark Ready

Posted: June 28, 2015 by Tim Metzner in Leadership, People, Startup

TIM-METZNER-BWAs I was reading one of my favorite business/leadership books, The Bible (seriously, you’d be amazed how much relevant and insightful stuff there is for entrepreneurs), the story of Noah struck me as particularly relevant today.

There is no shortage of articles out there today about what Millennials are looking for in work/life, so let me summarize it for you: they want to do stuff that matters. This statistic from a CNN Money article is pretty telling: “A full 60% of 2015 grads — and 69% of 2013 and 2014 grads, who were also surveyed — said they’d rather work for a company that has a “positive social atmosphere” even if it means lower pay.”

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Running a Tech Company without the Tech

Posted: June 21, 2015 by JB Woodruff in People, Startup, Technology

JB-WOODRUFF-BADGEMy job is to help entrepreneurs.  The majority of businesses I encounter have technology-based solutions in the form of a consumer app or SaaS (software as a service) product.  It’s not surprising that we see a lot of founders of tech startups given the media attention and big payoffs. What is surprising is the number of founders that aren’t technology people.  This led me to ask the question, what’s it like to run a tech company without the tech? In the context of this article I consider tech to be a team member with developer skills that includes coding and infrastructure knowledge.  Instead of pulling solely from my own experiences, I decided to reach out to a few entrepreneurs to get their thoughts.  Here’s what I learned:

“How do I find good tech for my team?” You can never start looking early enough for tech on your team.  It can be a lengthy process that involves a lot of networking, referrals, dead ends and reboots. The difficulty is finding someone who has the skills, reputation and equal or greater passion for your business.  Amanda Kranias (Hello Parent) highly recommends, “talk to other companies/teams and listen to what others experienced using the developer.”  Casey Williams (Linkedü) offers another opinion, “I got burned by hiring someone based on a recommendation.  The two developers I’ve hired from within my own network have worked out well.”  Moral: You need to do your homework, meet a lot of people, trust your gut and move on when it doesn’t work out. (more…)

Patience and Perseverance Still Matters

Posted: June 7, 2015 by Tom Heuer in Leadership, People

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for EntrepreneurshipA few weeks ago, I was fortunate to cross paths with an older, delightfully engaging woman while having my car serviced.  As we were conversing, I sensed a major event was about to happen in her life.  Since 1996, she had been driving the same small, four door sedan. She claimed to have logged 245,000 miles on it. “It has been my goal for years to purchase a brand new, beautiful automobile.   I have been saving and investing a few dollars every month for the last 15 years.  Every month was a challenge.  I am now about to drive away in my brand new car.”  With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she shared, “This is one of the most important days of my life.”   Her pride and sense of self-worth was overwhelming.  She had come to the end of a seemingly endless journey with numerous detours and had achieved what she set out to accomplish.  The victory was hers – completing the journey by driving away in a new car.

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Leaders That Write Make History

Posted: May 31, 2015 by Bob Gilbreath in Education, Innovation, Leadership, People

Bob-G-2015It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May. Instead of lounging in the hammock or attacking weeds in the yard, I am writing this column for the Enquirer. Why? In case you wondered, there is no pay for this piece. It is rewarding to share perspective and get a pat on the back, but the selfish reason I write is that it makes me a better business leader.

If you look around you may notice that many of the most successful business men and women in the world broadcast and exchange ideas by publishing their thoughts. CEOs of top companies write books and take the stage. In the startup world, blogs by executives are featured on websites, and venture capitalists frequently predict where the world is going. You might think it is just an ego thing, and I know there is a bit of that in all of us. But when you ask writers why they do it, most will admit that habitual writing hones their leadership abilities and contributes to their companies’ success.

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An Entrepreneur As Catalyst

Posted: May 24, 2015 by Jerry Malsh in Culture, Ecosystem, Innovation, Leadership, People, Startup

jerry-malsh-2015By now you’ve probably heard about the young Seattle entrepreneur who recently raised the minimum wage for all 120 employees of his firm to $70,000 per year (phased in over the next three years) while lowering his own salary to $70,000 from its previous high of nearly $1million.

Why?

  1. Because he wanted to help the people who have helped him grow his business by making a positive, significant difference in their lives. Not just the difference between falling behind and catching up, but the difference between catching up and moving ahead.
  2. Because he knows how out of whack CEO-to-worker pay ratios have become. The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1000% since 1950, according to data from Bloomberg.

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Accountability: The New Body Odor

Posted: April 26, 2015 by Tom Heuer in Culture, Leadership, Operations, People, Startup

Tom Heuer, Miami University Center for Entrepreneurship

During my college days, I remember that hygiene often became an afterthought. Showering, washing clothes, having clean sheets and towels were not on the priority list. It just wasn’t that important to us. Rolling on the ban deodorant took care of everything. This one daily activity allowed us to attend classes without being repulsive. Working together was not inhibited by a foul, distracting odor. Our interests were not derailed by anything that distracted us or tempered our thoughts about the situation or individual. Ban deodorant always did its work.

In today’s business community, accountability seems to have become the new “body odor.” Whisper the word “accountability” and people run away and hide. Obviously, it isn’t the smell that turns people away – it is the personal commitment that is required. (more…)

Why I Hate Brainstorming

Posted: April 19, 2015 by Jim Friedman in Culture, People, Startup

JimFriedmanI hate to say hate, but … how else do you describe that nails-on-chalkboard spine shivering shrill chill reaction? I’ve stopped ignoring it. I vow to stand alone, if necessary, to right this creative wrong: I hate brainstorming.

It’s a daily occurrence. We have a problem to solve. The challenge has been identified. The project begins.

“Where do we start?” Someone always suggests brainstorming.

“Great, who has an idea?”

“How about this….” A couple of ideas are suggested… or, as is often the case, one idea is suggested.

“Good… let’s do that.”

Brainstorm completed. Meeting adjourned. Team moves forward ready to make an un-creative idea happen.

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