Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Airplane Rant

The problem with airlines is they take advantage of you when they can and all with a smile. I wanted to change my flight arrangements last minute because of a business trip. I had 2 different airlines that I was working with. United and Southwest. Southwest was much better, but both were ridiculous.

First, the United story. Tomorrow I'm flying from Omaha to Denver, to Jackson Hole and back on Sunday to Omaha. I'm in California right now. I'm scheduled to get back into Omaha at 1 AM and leave at 6 AM. I figured, why not just fly to Denver and catch the 2nd flight. Or, why not just fly to Jackson Hole direct from California tonight and fly back to Omaha on Sunday. I called United to discuss "options". I was willing to pay some fee for the change in fair. Guess what the best "deal" they could get me? An increase of $1500!!!! Why, because everything had to be rebooked on same day fares. The entire trip. Event though 3 out of the 4 legs were the same if I caught the plane in Denver, the whole trip needed to be rebooked. Even if I made it to Jackson Hole on my own, the Sunday trip back had to be rebooked as a 1 way fare! What a joke. The nice guy in India that I was talking to, Neil, was very pleasant the whole time, but could do nothing. When they have you over a barrell, they sure stick it to you.

Second, Southwest. So, I'm sitting here in Orange County airport waiting for my 6 PM flight to Vegas to catch the 8 PM flight to Omaha. I had an idea...what if I caught an earlier flight to Vegas and had an 4 hour lay over there instead of OC? I could at least make a quick trip to a casino and have a little excitement. So, I went to the Southwest coutner and asked if the 4 PM flight was available. It was. I also expected to pay a change fee, I did. It was going to be $49. Perfect. But, since I was also going to Omaha, she had to rebook the entire fare and it turned out to be $195. I said I'm just wanting to go early on an plane that isn't full and it costs about the same as the whole original ticket. They said not an option. We have to rebook the whole trip. The lady was nice, and 2 other people I asked because I didn't give up, but the answer was still the same. Moronic!

So, here's my solution. Airlines should offer reticketing memberships. If you purchase an annual membership, you're allowed to rebook at any time provided there is room on the plane and pay a small incremental fee, not the new fare. The only problem will occur when there isn't room on the plane, then you're just out of luck. But, if they can accodate you, and your a paying rebooking member, then you can rebook at a flat fee, not the current ticket price. Sounds too simple doesn't it. They can charge different memberships with different priveleges and this may become an additional profit center and customer retention tool.

Let me know if you have any good ideas for the airline industry to improve their value and service to us helpless flyers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Does the Omaha Chamber support Entrepreneurs???

As we were filming a video on Mortgage Pledge and its history we realized it has a great tie into Omaha at many levels. We thought as we took it national it would be great to have an Omaha leader speak about it to really help give Omaha some kudos. So we asked the Chamber to have Dave Brown speak in our Mortgage Pledge launch video. We thought it would be a good thing for Mortgage Pledge and Omaha to have him participate because of the ties between the two. This was an excerpt from the email we sent him with our potential talking points:

  • Mortgage Pledge
  • The idea came from my year with the Leadership Omaha program. That program strives to get local leaders more involved in the community. I decided to use my entrepreneurial talents to come up with a way to create sustainable giving streams for any community through Mortgage Pledge.
  • Omaha is a city with great ties to philanthropy. The Omaha Community Foundation has agreed to facilitate the giving for Mortgage Pledge nationwide.
  • Mortgage Pledge is an example of social entrepreneurship inspired by community involvement. Mortgage Pledge and Omaha can be catalysts for more social entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Something along these lines would be good. Not certain what else might work.
This was the Chamber's response:

  • David Brown and his assistant, Alecia, asked me to connect with you about the videotaping request. I am trying to do research and I'm hoping you can help. I'm sending to all of you because you're listed on the various emails. Unless I am missing something (and I might be), David doesn't seem to know anything about this project. The email traffic I've seen doesn't have enough information for me to suggest he participate in this project - only a few comments about social entrepreneurship. I am not sure what you need from him, the purpose of the video production or why you want him to participate. I did check out the Mortgage Pledge Web site and have talked briefly with Sarah Boyd at the Community Foundation.

  • Based on what little information I have now, I'm not comfortable with David's involvement in a video and will have to decline your request for participation at this point in the project.

  • Karla Ewert
  • Vice President-Communications
This was my response:

  • Karla, I am a little upset with your response for the following reasons:
  • 1 I am an Omaha business person trying to start a grass roots business in Omaha. I would think the Omaha Chamber of Commerce would be in support of such a venture because of the potential benefit to Omaha. Especially a venture that has the potential national reach and recognition.
  • 2 I developed the idea for Mortgage Pledge initially during my time with Leadership Omaha, a Omaha Chamber of Commerce program. It was there I gained an appreciate for Community Leadership and the idea of giving back to communites.
  • 3 We reached out to David for an opportunity to promote Omaha in our Mortgage Pledge launch video. So that Omaha could be represented properly as a city that supported Social Entrepreneurial ventures, community leadership, and the new venture creation.
  • While I understand that David's time is valuable and that promtion of a fledging start-up Omaha Social Entrepreneurial Venture may not be a top priority, it is these very types of companies that fuel our local economies and make jobs for our city.
  • I have been a member of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce during my tenure as founder and President of Homesmartz. In fact, we were recognized by the chamber as the 7th fastest growing company in Omaha just a few years ago. Although at the time, David was not at the Chamber, I would think members there would still recognize the fact that I've been involved in business in this community for quite some time.
  • Although I disagree with your assessment of whether David should be involved or not, I will respect your decision. Mortgage Pledge will be a successful Omaha venture with our without the support of the chamber.
  • Joe Frost
  • Chief Go-Giver
So, does the Chamber support Entrepreneurs or am I just a little sensitive? Please let me know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I live in La La Land

So, someone just told me that some people think I live in La La Land. I'm wondering if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I know it was meant as a bad thing from the person that said it, but I'm wondering if I'm bad for appearing as if I'm in La La Land. I'd like to hear what you think.

Here's why. I choose to have a completely, freaky, positive attitude about most everything. Even in the face of many obstacles and challenges, I choose to believe in the dream - the vision - that everything will work out for the best. I don't let bad things weigh me down. I shrug off doubt and criticism. I choose every day to focus on the positive. To be happy even when I'm unhappy. I think I may be narcisistic and/or I have a large ego to be able to do this.

Now, what this does is make people think that I don't care about the obstacles and challenges. That I don't take them seriously. That I'm not focused on reality. That I'm avoiding the day to day issues. That I live in La La Land. Well, they may be correct.

But is it a bad thing?

I don't know sometimes, but I do know I feel better every day focused on a brighter future and enjoying the happy things in my life than dealing with the bad things and worrying about what the future will bring.

Am I crazy? They say mental illness begins in your early thirties. I might be delusional. I might be overly optimistic. I might be in La La Land (is that how you spell it?).

Let me know your thoughts. I'll dismiss them if they're critical and enjoy them if they're enabling (that's the other thing I was told today - that people around me enable me to live in La La Land).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

GivingReturns: The new Giving Returns

GivingReturns: The new Giving Returns

The new Giving Returns

I had what is sometimes called an AHA moment last Friday talking/tweeting with Jeff Slobotski (@jjsnyc on twitter). It goes something like this:

Giving Returns could become an online community for people interested in collaborating on Social Entrepereneurial Ventures aka Creative Capitalism aka Social Ventures aka Cause Marketing or what I call Community Capitalism - businesses that integrate a giving component in their plan. But, it would be more than just a blog - a social network and profit center with profits going back to the investment in Community Capitalist projects.

The online community would allow for people to share ideas about their business and the community aspect to it. It would be completely open source so those that shared would get feedback and ideas from anyone interested. The collaboration would lead to improved ideas and utltimately could help with implementation and execution.

Giving Returns could request that any idea/business that benefitted from the community would give back to Giving Returns. One idea is that Giving Returns could become an angel fund of sorts for Community Capitalists to go to for seed capital on their ideas. Giving Returns would then take a piece of the equity in hopes of creating larger returns eventually to the fund for future investment.

Giving Returns would be a grass roots social network made up of individuals that cared about Community Capitalism and wanted to make a difference.

Questions - what type of site should it be ... blog, wiki, Ning, other?
How would we get the word out to quickly and simply?
Should it be non-profit or for-profit?
Should we promote and sell community capitalist products/services -
Any other feedback or thoughts?

I hope we can get some momentum around this new ideas with @jjsnyc, @dustyd, and @secos taking the lead so we can get something new out to the public soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Rest of the Go-Giver Story

Time does fly by. I had every intention of more regular posts on the Go-Giver 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success. But, here I am feeling guilty and not being able to sleep because I haven't posted anything in awhile. There's a lot I haven't been able to do lately that is also keeping me from sleeping. Nonetheless, this is my opportunity to continuing to Give Back by making the time to blog. So, I've summarized the 5 laws below and will wrap up my take on the last 3 laws.

1. The Law of Value:
Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than take in payment.

2. The Law of Compensation:
Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

3. The Law of Influence:
Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first.

4. The Law of Authenticity:
The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

5. The Law of Receptivity:
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

I wrote about my applications of Laws 1 and 2 in my prior posts. Now, I want to share my applications and results from Laws 3, 4, and 5.

Over the last 6-8 weeks I've been working with Insured Title Agency in St. Louis and Tampa Bay to launch Mortgage Pledge in their markets. I've had the opportunity to be in a position of influence by speaking to many groups of Realtors, Mortgage Companies, and other Affinity Partners in these cities. I've taken this opportunity to not self-promote myself, Mortgage Pledge, or my agenda. Rather, I've taken this opportunity to help Insured Title Agency's business develop in these markets. My approach has been simple. I'm hear for you. You tell me how I can help you utilize Mortgage Pledge to enhance your relationships and your business. I've also taken this approach in our group meetings by sharing the story of Tom's Shoes with all the participants. Law 3 in action. The response has been terrific and the excitement about Mortgage Pledge is building as a result.

I've also been modifying my presentation on Mortgage Pledge to each group by adding more stories about my personal experiences and motivations for starting Mortgage Pledge. The feedback from the participants has been terrific. In fact, based on one of the Insured Title Agency reps in Tampa, I even revised my company's values to include the value of Sincerity. In a discussion with Kerry in Tampa, we determined that this is the core principal behind the success of Mortgage Pledge. Sincere members of the network believing in the concept of giving back as a means to enhance their communities and their business. She noted that when I presented my stories, my sincerity is what excited her most about the program. Law 4 in action. The result has been a stronger message and buy in.

Finally, the most amazing things have been happening with Mortgage Pledge recently. Robyn in St. Louis had an opportunity to talk with Senator John McCain about Mortgage Pledge. This came about because of a discussion with the owner of Tom's Shoes. Tom's Shoes has expressed a firm commitment in being a partner with Mortgage Pledge to work together to co-market and grow both our cause-based businesses. Greenwala and Mortgage Pledge are in discussions about co-marketing our cause-based businesses together. Mortgage Pledge has an opportunity to present to VISA about a national affiliation...and I fully expect this type of Karma to continue. Law 5 in action! The results speak for themselves.

Go-Give and experience it for yourself!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Go-Giver Law of Compensation

In my last post about the book, The Go-Giver, I mentioned I was going to implement the 5 laws of Stratospheric Success over the next 5 days beginning with the Law of Value.  Well, I started Friday and skipped Saturday and Sunday, so I'm revising my commitment to the next 5 "business" days.  Tomorrow I'm going to focus on the Law of Compensation:

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

I have an opportunity to meet with a real estate team tomorrow morning about Mortgage Pledge and then spend the rest of the day with my family at an EO Nebraska family event.  I'll let you know how my commitment to serve works in a future post.  But now, I'll share with you my experience regarding Law 1 on Friday.

On Friday I had 3 business meetings and I set out to implement the Law of Value.  I have to be honest I struggled thinking how I could give more in value in these different meetings.  1 was a meeting with co-workers on a Real Estate project.  1 was a meeting with prospects on a Mortgage Pledge opportunity, and 1 was a meeting with a banker that I needed money from.  How do I give more in value in each of these different meetings where I'm a co-worker, sales person, and prospective borrower???

Well, I'm not sure I succeeded 100% in giving something of more value to each party, but by preparing myself for each meeting with this outcome in mind, I found myself looking for ways to give value, rather than focusing on more selfish outcomes.  It reminded me of an old sales lesson I learned called "the Ben Duffy" approach.  You can find more details in this article, Win Win Selling, along with other great sales tools I learned years ago that still work. 

Ben Duffy was a salesperson that was trying to land a big Tobacco account (yes cigarettes).  Well, rather than focus on putting together his sales pitch and presentation to Wow the prospects, he sat and listed all of the questions that he would have if he were the prospect.  He then took the time to answer each one honestly and completely.  The next day before the meeting, he shared his list of questions and answers with the prospect and ended up winning a multi-million dollar account against much larger, more seasoned, advertising agencies.  In the end, the prospects told him it was his approach of putting himself in their position and leading with his list of questions and answers that set him apart.  In my opinion, Ben Duffy's empathy, is an example of the Law of Value. 

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Go-Giver

I had a chance to finally read the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann on a recent plain flight to Tampa Bay.  The book was given to me by Mary Anne OBrien (MAOB) with OBI Creative.  MAOB writes "Joe I saw this book and thought of you and Mortgage Pledge".  Her thoughtfulness is very much appreciated and reminded me of one of my favorite books, Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders.  

The Go-Giver is a quick read with a simple message - Giving is the secret to Stratospheric Success.  In the book there are 5 laws that the main character, Joe (great name) learns and takes action on over a 5 day period.  The result of course is stratospheric success.  I'm going to be evaluating the 5 laws myself over the next 5 days, starting with the first law:

The Law of Value.  Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

Tomorrow I have 3 scheduled business meetings.  I'm going to look to give something of considerable value to the other party in each of those meetings.  I'll post the results in my next post.  Meanwhile, let me know your thoughts on this book if you read it or on the Law of Value.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Omaha 2.0

Omaha 2.0
A Giving Returns Retreat

Target: Omaha 2.0 will bring 200 of the top entrepreneurs in North America to Omaha, NE in November 2008 to learn how to incorporate Web 2.0 strategy into their businesses.
  • Learning - The top business speakers in the country will present to our guests along with the the best Web 2.0 talent in the country.  Be inspired, collaborate, and implement.
  • Networking - Only EO and YPO members will be in attendance.  The retreat is limited to 20 total forums/groups throughout North America.  The goal is for 5 Canadian forums, 5 South American forums, and 10 US forums.  No EO or YPO chapter will be allowed more than 1 forum or group to attend for maximum diversification.
  • Experience - The retreat will be a masterful mixture of social opportunities for networking, learning opportunities for business building, and once in a lifetime experiences.  
  • Social Venture Creation - Throughout the retreat each group will work on applying the web 2.0 strategies learned to create a simple, high level strategic plan for a new Social Venture.  All 20 social ventures will be judged by Giving Returns and the forum that creates the winning plan will become the advisory board for this new business venture's launch.
Imagine, 200 of North America's best and brightest entrepreneurs and the top EO/YPO and Web 2.0 talent in America collaborating to build better businesses and creating 20 new social ventures all in 1 weekend!  That is Omaha 2.0!

Omaha 2.0 is the 2nd FrostKamp extravaganza geared at EO and YPO members.  Its first event was the recent EOBerkshire event, hosting over 90 out of town EO and YPO members with raving reviews.  This event will be equally successful with an emphasis on Web 2.0 strategies, social networking, and social entrepreneurship.  

We are currently contacting a small target list of the top speakers in EO/YPO and on Web 2.0 topics for availability to schedule this event.  We are targeting early November 2008 with a Thursday-Sunday schedule.

An investment of $1500 per person plus travel and lodging is all this retreat costs.  All transportation and lodging for the weekend will be coordinated by FrostKamp.  The retreat starts Thursday night with an inspirational key note speaker and social event.  Then Friday and Saturday days will be full of workshops with web 2.0 experts and EO/YPO's best guiding you through the collaboration and implementation of new strategies for your business and the creation of a new Social Venture.  Friday and Saturday evenings will be one of a kind, offering our guests with amazing opportunities for socializing and networking while experiencing a few of Omaha's own unique venues.  The take away value will leave you yearning for Omaha 3.0.

Next Action:

To submit your forum's request for attendance or provide feedback on the event, simply post a comment.  This blog will be the only information for this event.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kayak for Kids


The creation of a social venture concept:

The problem: sells kayak kits.  High end, beautiful, wooden, do-it-yourself kayak kits.  Buyers have to put the kits together or pay someone else to do it.  Kits cost in the range of $1500.  Labor runs $3000-$4000. only make a few hundred dollars selling kits, and the kit kayak business isn't necessarily booming. 


Sell the complete Kayak finished for a higher price and margin - $9500 with  $4000 respectively.  There is a small high end market for these kayaks.  Incorporate a social component into the business plan to give back to the community and create reason for a Cause Marketing campaign.


Outsource the labor to the Boys and Girls Club of America.  Pay the club for putting a kayak kit together the same 3000-4000 that would have been paid to anyone.  Create a nice team project for the Boys and Girls Club to work with their youth.  Put some money back in the kids hands (up to the local Boys and Girls Club).  Make a difference in the community by having the kayak built by kids that need a little extra help.  Also, these kids may now be introduced to kayaking as a sport or hobby.  Work with local boat dealers to put the Kayak on consignment with large photos of the Boys and Girls Club working as a team on the kits.  Pay the local boat dealer a 10-20% commission for selling the kayak's.  Prove up the concept and then take to other markets.


The Carter Lake chapter of the Boys and Girls Club in Omaha, NE has agreed to participate. is developing the Cause Marketing components for marketing (kayaks for kids, kits for kids, buy a kayak save a kid, built for kids by kids, etc.).  The owner of a marine center is being contacted for display of the kayak and marketing materials for test marketing. is inspiring all involved in this project on the GivingReturns model.

Contact Dan at for more information.

Phone: 402-708-9553

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back in the Big O!

It's good to be home.  I arrived late last night from a 1 week trip; yet, am refreshed and re-energized from my experiences away.  I met some great EO and YPO members in California doing some amazing things.  I can't wait to explore the relationships further.  With inspiration from Mark Moses, I came up with an amazing idea to drive awareness of Social Entrepreneurship and perhaps create 20 new social ventures in 1 weekend.  Here's the plan:  

Omaha 2.0

Invite 20 EO and YPO forums from around the world to visit Omaha, NE for a weekend of networking, learning, and once in a lifetime experiences.  The event would be focused around the web 2.0 phenomenon and how it can affect your businesses and your life.  Top speakers on the subject will be brought in to speak and facilitate break out workshops.  Top speakers from the EO and YPO circuits will be brought in to compliment as well.  The entire weekend would integrate, web 2.0 discussions, forum building opportunities, and top notch social events.  So, what's the social entrepreneurial catch?

At the beginning of the weekend, each forum would choose 1 social problem that they will use throughout the weekend.  Rather than each forum working on their business, the lessons learned will be explored while generating a social venture model using Verne Harnish's One Page Strategic Plan template.  Throughout the weekend each forum will be builidng their One Page Strategic Plan for a Social Venture of their choice.  All 20 of the plans will be developed in an open source, collaborative, wiki (yes all web2.0 stuff) environment.  At the end of the weekend, 20 plans will be submitted to a Super Panel for determining the top 3 plans and ultimate winner.  The winning plan will receive a Large cash price to invest in starting their Social Venture.

Now, this is just an idea, but here's how I think it can take off.  First, the prize has to be at least $50,000.  Second, the judges have to be highly sought after - I'm going for Warren Buffett first!  Third, the event needs to be top notch from start to finish with great venues, great food, and great experiences.  And finally, we just need great people to show up, that's where EO and YPO comes in!

More to come.  Post any ideas you have on the event as well.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I made a girl cry today

I made this girl cry today.  

She is my oldest daughter.  She called me 3 times from home when I was in a meeting in Walnut Creek (just outside San Francisco) and I didn't pick up.  I figured it was just home and I'd call back after the meeting.  When I called back, it wasn't just home, it was my daughter missing Daddy.  She said, "Daddy, I miss you.  When are you coming home."  I said, "I'll be home in a couple days, sweetheart.  I miss you too."  Does this sound familiar to any entrepreneurs out there?  

So, what did I do?  I asked her if she wanted me to send her a picture of me out of town via email that her Mommy could show her tomorrow.  I asked her to dream about me and I told her I'd dream about her.  The good news is she sounded pretty good after we talked.  But to think I have to email pictures and request dream time to be with my daughter is a little depressing.  I miss home.

It's times like these where I'm reminded of the story of the fisherman that would wake up late and start his fishing after everyone else had left early in the morning.  Then he'd go out to his usual spots and catch a small catch and get in early.  Than he'd sell just enough fish to get by for the day and give some of it away to the local kids that didn't have much.  One day he ran into a stranger in town that was looking to buy a fishing business.  The stranger told him he was looking for a small fishing company that he could grow.  If they partnered, he'd have to wake up earlier, get out before all the other fisherman to catch more fish than the others.  They'd take their proceeds and buy more fishing boats, and higher more fisherman, and grow to be a much larger company.  The fisherman asked why they would do all this.  The stranger said, so we could retire, sleep in, fish when we want to, share our catch with those that needed help, and live a nice easy life.  The fisherman replied, I already have that nice easy life.  

Sometimes, I just need to be reminded that the entrepreneurial pursuit needs to be balanced with living the easy life too.

I love you, Jossy.  Thanks for the reminder.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What's Your Why

If you ever get the chance to hear Simon Sinek speak about The Golden Circle, I highly recommend it.  I was fortunate enough to listen to him during the EO Global Leadership Conference in San Francisco this weekend, and his message was my top take away.  Also present was Ken Blanchard, author of the newly released One Minute Entrepreneur, Craig Newmark from Craig's List, and me :).

The Golden Circle is simply a 3 ring circle with the words Why in the center circle, How in the middle circle, and What in the outside circle.  The message was that great companies know their Why and focus their businesses around protecting and promoting their why.  They operate from the inside out.  Other companies tend to focus on what they do and operate from the outside in, and are less successful and sustainable.  This theory is grounded in biology.  The human brain at its core is Why based, not what.  People buy because of Why not What.  Simon explains it better, trust me.

So, I've been asking my self iteratively over the last few days, what is my why and my business why.  Here's some of the answers.  It's been quite powerful to me to be able to communicate it clearly in writing and to be able to share it with others.  I'm sure it will drive business and I recommend you ask yourself the same questions - what is your why?.


I believe Good Greed is Great.  

Ayn Rand championed the philosophy that Greed is Good in her book, Atlas Shrugged 50 years ago.  Alan Greenspan also believes that Greed is Good.  Gordon Gecko, the character in Wall Street played by Michael Douglas summarized this concept best:

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind."

Economist Walter Williams said on the subject:

"In a free market, you get more for yourself by serving your fellow man," said economist Walter Williams. "You don't have to care about him, just serve him. Greed gets people to cooperate. If you want to benefit from other greedy people, you have to make sure they benefit from you."

Political philospher and Ayn Rand expert, Dr. Edward Hudgins notes on the subject:

“Rand was virtually alone in celebrating the virtues of productive, innovative individuals and the wealth they create. She emphasized that businessmen at their best will first and foremost love their work and the challenge of creating products and services that earn them profits. If that’s greed, it’s to be praised! Rand also singled out for condemnation businessmen who seek money by any means, including fraud, or government handouts and special favors. If that’s greed, it’s to be damned!"

This last quote by Dr. Hudgins helps illustrate the difference between Good Greed and Bad Greed which is representative of my philosophy that Good Greed is Great.  

So, now that I know my why - Good Greed is Great, I still need to determine my How and my What in order to be in business.  You can't just have a why.  Consumers and Client interface with your what and your how, even though they buy the why.  So, my How is Creating Sustainable Giving Streams and my first What is MortgagePledge.  I will be developing my Creating Sustainable Giving Streams process further in future posts.

To summarize, Simon gave his version of an elevator pitch.  As many of us know an elevator pitch is that 30 second pitch you want to be able to give when you meet that key person that could be critical to your business.  The question is normally, "what do you do".  And then you're to give some dazzling answer that leaves the person asking the question eating out of the palm of your hand and never being able to forget about you (or at lease insure a follow up meeting).  Simon, said that he's been using the Why answer to make his elevator pitch more memorable.  When someone asks you what you do, answer with why you do it first, then finish with the what.  For example:

Joe, what do you do?

I have this big Idea.

I believe in the philosophy that Greed is Good, championed by Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, and Gordon Gecko in the film, Wall Street.  However, I believe there is Good Greed and there is Bad Greed.  I believe that if one focuses on the Good Greed, Great things will happen.  Therefore, my philosophy is Good Greed is Great.  To illustrate this, I am Creating Sustainable Giving Streams by collaborating with entrepreneurs with nonprofits.  My first social venture, is Mortgage Pledge.  My join the cause blog is Giving Returns.  And, I'm working on developing an open source model for others to use to create their own Sustainable Income Streams, called Good Greed is Great!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Entrepreneur Flavors

Rember Baskin Robbins 31 flavors?

I have the opportunity to interact with many different entrepreneurs.  And, one thing I've noticed is no two are alike, but some fall in similar categories as they approach their business.  

I've started to put together some ideas below of the different types of entrepreneurs or flavors if you will.  Remember, like icecream, these flavors can be mixed together in many different ways.  Please feel free to share your comments on these definitions and share your experiences.  

Ideapreneur - the person that can't stop generating great business ideas, but sometimes lack execution or follow through - that's me.
Entrepredoer - the person that just likes running a business, any business - often a franchisee
Oopspreneur - the entrepreneur that is tinkering all the time with the business making a few mistakes here and there but learning from them
Maneurpreneur - that person whose business just failed - the good ones are back again
Delegeneur - the person that doesn't do anything in business but delegate to better people and stays in charge
Developerneur - the person that takes a small company and grows it for great profit
Manicpreneur - every entrepreneur I know is a little manic, some more than others
Passionpreneur - the person that is so passionate about his company that he wears it on his sleeve, his forehead, everywhere and thats what drives the company

If you are one of the types above, share your story.  If you have an additional type, share it as well.  Let's have fun with this one!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Message Stack

This is a very cool tool I received from my EO Forum mate, John Lund, owner of Offwire.  John "borrowed" this message stack format from EO Global.  He uses it to simply state the key messages of his company to his clients, his employees, his vendors, and any other stakeholder.  I'm planning to use it to help me with my outsourced vendors so I can create a sense of culture amongst different companies servicing Mortgage Pledge.  

Feel free to adopt for your own use and tell me how it works.

Mission Profitably Seed and Su
stain Giving by Driving Real Estate Referrals

Wikid Business Planning

I have this idea for creating a collaborative business plan online using a wiki.  I'm testing (free) and (pay to play) right now for functionality and ease of use.  

How cool would it be if entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs could post their business plans online and get help from fellow entrepreneurs on their business plan?  Imagine if you were building a business to help the homeless in North America, you could be getting help from a European counterpart that has already been down the same path.  The site could link social entrepreneurs that want to create open source business plans for the greater good.  Other entrepreneurs that weren't afraid of the open source approach could share as well.  Each business plan/business would have its own wiki and be continually improved through collaboration.

I'd love comments on experiences about using wikis for business, along with any ideas that come to mind.  In addition, please visit my wikid business beta sites above to help me design and test the idea.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The 4-Hour Sleepweek

Tim Ferriss, best selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, is a genuinely cool dude (that's me with Tim and two performers from Saturday's EOBerkshire party).  I had the pleasure of hosting him for a weekend visit of Omaha, NE surrounding the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.  I invited Tim in for the weekend to speak to an entrepreneurs group I'm involved with, EO.  The concepts he teaches in his book are easily embraced by entrepreneurs, but can be applicable to anyone in any position anywhere.  Read the book or Listen to it as I did!

As I sit recovering from 3 nights of less than 4 hours of sleep each, I wanted to capture some of the lessons I learned from Tim over the weekend.  

Lesson 1 - True Friends vs False Friends

A guy like Tim has guys like me attempting to befriend him all the time.  Tim remarked in our Q&A event on Friday that he has to be very careful now that the book has been out to avoid what he called "False Friends".   People that go out of there way to be nice, offering him their hospitality, etc. only to get a request days, weeks, or months later that showed the true intent of their affection was to get something from him.  I had to ask myself, was I being a True Friend to Tim or a False Friend.  Did I have an underlying agenda, or did I simply want an opportunity to share a weekend without expectations in return.  My Answer -  I knew from reading his recent blogs that we shared a desire to give back to the community in unique ways.  Thus, I wanted him to know about Mortgage Pledge, a new Social Entrepreneurship company (shameless plug) I was launching; in hopes, when the time was right, I'd be able to get a post on his blog or something like that.  But, after hearing his discussion about False Friends, I told myself to be very sensitive to that issue and make the weekend about Tim and not about me.  In retrospect, this lesson is one I will continue to remind myself about.  It's not wrong to want to be friends with people that can help you, just as long as your a True Friend.

Lesson 2 - Be Aware of the Roller Coaster Curves

On Friday night, we had the pleasure of having Cameron Herold speak to our EO group at Frost Acres (shameless plug).  He spoke of the roller coaster of emotions an entrepreneur goes through.  From the top, to the bottom, back up to the top again.  This is a concept Cameron has shared with 1000s of 800-Got-Junk franchisees around the world.  What I took away from Cameron's talk was a reminder of how important Awareness of your emotional state is in all aspects of your life, not just business.  Awareness of whether you're up or down is more important many times than the emotional state itself.  Why, because you have a hard time controlling the ups and downs that life throws at you, but you can control your activities during those times.  Tim mentioned during this Q&A that when he finds himself stressed or getting down, he tends to write out everything that's contributing to the emotions at the time.  Then he asks himself what he can eliminate completely from his life that is on this list.  He then takes action to eliminate these things as long as the actions are reversible.  He doesn't want to eliminate anything without the ability to replace it if it wasn't the cause of the problem.  The earlier the awareness of the change of emotions, the more quickly and effective the identification and elimination can occur. 

Lesson 3 - Simplicity is Complex and a Life of Leisure is Hard Work

So, the contradictions in the title are obvious, but true nonetheless.  Watching Tim Ferriss operate over the weekend, interacting with different people, and listening to him intently, I am reminded of the above contradictions.  He lives a seamingly simple life.  During the entire weekend I saw him answer his cell phone once and that was a call he was expecting from his editor.  Meanwhile, I'm answering call after call, checking voicemail, trading texts, and running errands with him at my side.  Did he have any less going on with his business, his weekend, his upcoming events, than me?  NO, he just has put in a ton of complex and elaborate systems to take care of all the behind the scenes details for him.  And, he doesn't just hire out the tasks and be done with them like you might think.  Rather, he puts in the hard work up front, testing and retesting his complex systems, until they work together to allow him the Life of Leisure of the New Rich he talks about in his book. At one point he told me over the weekend that he really likes to work hard.  He gets excited about new projects and dives in and gets juiced up.  Simply put, his hard work to create complex and elaborate systems affords him his simple life of leisure.

Key Take Aways - Be a True Friend, Focus on Emotional Awareness and Elimination, and Work Hard to Simplify.

"China Man"
Joe Frost