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Three NWEN Authors on Sex and Intimacy, Interpreneurism and Foundering Founders

Friday morning I attended another inspiring NWEN Venture Breakfast, headlined by three authors -- all of whom are NWEN members -- sharing their insights and experiences in the entrepreneurial world.  Due to the short time frame (one hour), each author was asked to focus on 5 takeaways from their respective books.

Prior to the three authors' presentations there were two excellent five-minute forum presentations, one from Tom Eng, CEO of Healia, on his company's specialty search engine that focuses on high-quality medical information, the second from Jim Sutton, EVP of MicroGREEN Polymers, on his company's low-cost, high-yield and eco-friendly insulated cups.

SibcoverLindsay Andreotti, co-author (with Brian Hilgendorf) of "Sex, Intimacy, and Business: The Revolution Is Starting. . . It's Time to Get Undressed", highlighted the benefits of openness and honesty in intimate relationships, whether they be personal or professional.  The cover of the book shows a pen and its cap, and Lindsay started off with a Rorschach Test, asking us what we see in that cover.  She made numerous other connections between sex, intimacy and business (beyond the obvious one illustrated by the book cover) that were both humorous and insightful, and summarized the book using the acronym BEACH:

InterpreneursjourneyTom Eckmann, author of "An Interpreneur's Journey: The Birth of a 'New Economy' Business", wrote his book in order to set more realistic expectations on the part of prospective entrepreneurs, and to draw attention to the growing trend in using the Internet to build a [virtual] business (hence the term "interpreneur").  My favorite quote from the entire event (and there were many good ones) was Tom's observation that "The biggest challenge faced by an entrepreneur is convincing your spouse that it's a good idea."  His five-point summary included the following:

  • You don't need a new invention or proprietary technology in order to succeed
  • You don't need to hit a "home run"; "lifestyle" businesses can also be worthwhile
  • Write a business plan
  • Don't seek other people's money unless/until you really need it
  • Recruit good advisors

FounderfactorNancy Truitt Pierce, author of "The Founder Factor: Insider Secrets to Growing a Billion Dollar Business", emphasized the need to redefine "success" for a founder.  The traits that often serve the start of the company (being unreasonable, arrogant, impatient, opportunistic, irrepressible, visionary, compelling, scary smart) often do not help the company grow beyond an early stage, and it would be in everyone's best interest to celebrate an entrepreneur's success at a mid-point (before the founder founders) and bring in someone who has a different set of skills to carry the company forward.  Nancy's five-point summary included:

  • Build a great board
  • Set up balanced evaluations
  • Hire top talent
  • Find a right role for the founder (in later stages of the company)
  • Define decision authority clearly

Brian Hilgendorf joined the panel during the Q&A session, and shared his observation that the entrepreneurs who succeed are so clear in their vision that they have no fear, and other people want to be around -- and help -- people like that ... reminding me of an inspiring quote from W.H. Murray on commitment and providence.

Nancy Truitt Pierce shared her own analogy to this concept (originally articulated by another entrepreneur, whose name I did not catch): entrepreneurism is like getting into a car, driving 200 mph at a wall, and hoping it opens at the last minute, just like the bat cave.

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