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DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR … AND THE REALITY OF FAILURE!
Apr 14th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Just another wacky perspective from the mind of The Looney Executive!

– By Blake Glenn

 

Cash Register

Several years ago I launched my 1st tech startup venture with lots of enthusiasm, high hopes, and dollar bills dancing around in my head … millions of them!

I started off thinking I was driving a 1973 Porsche Carrera. By the time I watched the crash and burn of this once-promising venture a few years later, I realized I’d actually been driving a rusted out ’73 Ford Pinto. I had taken Porsche stickers from a Captain Crunch cereal box and taped them onto the Ford.

That way I could delude myself into believing this venture was something that it wasn’t.

Well you know what they say … Fake it ’till you make it baby!

And frankly, when the crash came I felt so ambivalent about the whole affair. I was simultaneously:

  • Relieved
  • Traumatized
  • Tired as hell
  • Optimistic

 

What? … Wait! … Optimistic?

Yes. Optimistic.

You see I continued to think that all of those small business customers who kept promising to buy a brand new local area network, and all of its pricey accessories, would keep their promises … if only I had been able to hold out long enough. The salvation of revenue and high profits was just around the corner.

But I was completely deluded. Again with that word. As it turns out most of those “clients” didn’t buy for years. But that’s the thing about entrepreneurs. We way too often believe in a delusionally optimistic scenario.

Once we come down from that magic-mushroom high we’re faced with the realities of our imploding dream. But that can be a good thing actually … even a great thing if we look at our failures with some perspective and then leverage them to reach success.

An article from Entrepreneur.com has an interesting take on failure.

It says there are 5 keys to succeeding with failure:

  • Call failure something else
  • Use failure as a stepping stone
  • Never fail alone
  • Don’t hide your failures
  • Redefine what you want

 

All of these seem to be good principles … except #1. The articles says to redefine failure as “experience”. I say if it’s a failure, then call it a failure. But maybe you can combine the two words into one dynamic term …

 

The Experience of Failure!

 

Now to end this tale, here’s what I learned from that first crash and burn:

  • Have at least 2 years of expenses tucked away before going full time … it would take another crash and burn for this to sink in!
  • If a customer check bounces the first time … it’s likely to bounce the second
  • Build a team of advisors that you trust to provide their real thoughts and opinions

 

But most of all I learned to …

Stay the hell away from those magic mushrooms!

Their powers of delusion are toxic AND addictive.

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive  blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

 ————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Ride The RocketP.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

Rust Belt Rising #6: Startup Weekend Rides To Town!
Apr 11th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A quest to create a vibrant tech startup scene in a traditional, conservative, hard-core rust belt town.

— By Blake Glenn

 

Blue Sky

 

You step out of your small wooden house on the prairie and look out over the bright sunny horizon. Off in the distance you can see a person sitting tall in the saddle on a big stallion. The horse with rider atop is galloping fast and furious, as if in a real damned hurry … headed straight toward you and your small town.

This is no accident. You knew the rider was headed your way. It was your request actually. You sent word that you wanted their presence in your town. It would be a great thing, you thought, to have the rider come to your humble abode. So you and a handful of other townsfolk have been anxiously awaiting their arrival. But you’re still a bit nervous. You’re just not so sure how the rider will be welcomed by your general community of neighbors.

Will the arrival be met with open arms and a key to the town?

Or, will the arrival get a tepid response that says the town isn’t quite ready yet?

 
Such is the anticipation as Startup Weekend heads to Dayton, OH for June 20th thru 22nd. A local programmer named Dave Best has pulled together a hard-working team to produce the first ever Startup Weekend for the local Dayton area. There have already been a few in the nearby markets of Columbus and Cincinnati. But this will be a new experience for Dayton.

In episode 106 of the Outside The Valley podcast show, I sit down with Dave to converse about Startup Weekend and its potential meaning for the Dayton area.

 

The burning question is really … how will Startup Weekend be received in Dayton?

 

This could be a pivotal moment in the region’s attempt to launch an energetic tech startup scene. In the last year to 18 months, a few activities have been bubbling up to jumpstart the community. They include happy hours, parties (well actually one large party), pitching sessions, co-working spaces, and other entrepreneurial gatherings.

And Startup Weekend could be the next step. If this event is sold out and filled by enthusiastic idea-machines, I think it does bode very well for the future prospects of the region. It’s a distance-marker. It would mean that at least there’s good potential for a sustainable grass-roots tech startup movement.

And if there’s a tepid response … it will not be due to the efforts of Dave Best and his team. They’re working hard to make this a success. It will likely mean that there is not, at the moment, enough of a concentration of idea-machines that are passionate and ready to take the next step.

And a tepid response will certainly not doom the regional tech community. It will just mean that the region isn’t where some people think it is. And it will surely say a hell-of-a-lot about our current state if such a popular national franchise as Startup Weekend doesn’t perform fairly decently here. It doesn’t have to be a big boom … just a decent turnout.

 

Man Flying PlaneOne thing’s for sure – long dead, and greatly admired, innovators like the Wright Brothers (Airplane – no not the movie!), Charles Kettering (Delco), and John Patterson (NCR) ain’t walking thru the doors … though their ghosts still seem to haunt the memories of many long-time current residents of the region.

 

The question is … What new founders, or potentials, will walk thru the doors on June 20th to help ignite a brand new slew of 21st century tech startups?

Guess that remains to be seen. And on June 23rd we’ll have a pretty damned good idea!

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive   blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Ride The RocketP.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas.

Build your connections.

 Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

 

 

 

Rust Belt Rising #5: The Beginning Of Something Damned Good!
Apr 1st, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A quest to create a vibrant tech startup scene in a traditional, conservative, hard-core rust belt town.

— By Blake Glenn (aka Blakey G.)

 

Networking

 

On the early morning of Feb 22nd, right on the outskirts of downtown, a motley group representing the tech scene in the Dayton, OH region convened a Tech Mini-Summit. This historic summit occurred in an area of Dayton known as Tech Town. The purpose of the mini-summit was to bring together the leaders from various regional tech groups to share ideas and Pow Wow on how to build an energetic, dynamic tech scene.

While there’s a lot of membership crossover between groups, the regional tech community is quite siloed (maybe not a word but sounds like … “sigh load”) or insular. The groups tend to focus on their own area of technology without much contact or partnering with the other groups. And I believe this was the first such attempt, if not ever then certainly in a number of years, to herd the cats into one room for a roundtable discussion.

Actually, it was really a bunch of short tables strung together neatly to represent more of a semi-rectangle, rather than one large round table. But I’ll not digress with those details.

So with coffee (but no Bailey’s or Kahlua … damn!), bagels, and ideas in hand a small but passionate group of people pitched their groups and talked for 3 hours about the regional tech community and how we could all work together more harmoniously to build the tech scene.

The 10 people in attendance represented groups that included:

  • .Net
  • City of Dayton (economic development group)
  • Code for Dayton
  • IgniteTech
  • New Media Dayton
  • Startup Weekend Dayton
  • Technology First
  • Tech Town

 

In the Dayton area alone there exist about 17 tech-focused groups that I identified. They represent about 1,700 members. Even accounting for crossover between groups that’s a goodly number of brainpower. And I invited all of the group leaders to the table, except for the 2 or 3 that appear not to be active. I even invited about 10 or so groups from the Cincinnati area. So of the 20-something tech group leaders I invited, only a handful responded and actually participated.

I’m not sure if this means anything yet. After all it’s only the first event. But surely a lack of even a “sorry … but I can’t attend” response from the majority of the groups is a bit curious.

But for those of us that did come out, the ideas were a flyin’. And before the smoke settled from all of the brainstorming and such, several had been put forth. These included:

  • An app or widget that would provide tech event information to all group sites
  • A tech summer camp for young people
  • A common donation/sponsor button that potential sponsors could click to get info on various tech groups
  • Directory of tech groups and organizations
  • Each group create a biz plan to focus their mission and strategy

 

There was also consensus on one issue in particular … we need to do this again. And so we will. Likely later this year.

By the way, despite the intense Pow Wow, there was no evidence of peyote or peace pipes to be found at the scene. But certainly can’t guarantee that for the next time!

DVD On Fire

 

 

 

 

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive   blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Ride The RocketP.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

 Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

 

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