Sleep never comes easy when you’re building the next great tech giant from scratch. Every idle moment gets overwhelmed with a flood of notions, fears, and phone calls. You know what I’m talking about. Those extra hours you squeeze out every day and all that risk you carry on your back are killers. Keep pushing and something’s gotta give—brain, body, business—one of them goes belly up for sure. What’s that I hear? That won’t happen, you say? Believe me, whenever you tough it out too long, your personality gets so severe that nobody can stand working with you. From time to time, a CEO has to refresh, rejuvenate, reboot. You know it and I know it, so listen up. Continue reading
Category Archives: angel investor
For a week I have endured close association with that foul animal, Loop Lonagan. The more I learn about the man, the more I like my dog. Now, Old Man Ludditis wants a rundown on our trip to Chicago’s hottest startup, so we’re both here at his bar, drinking his liquor. Continue reading
Today’s business culture is more strongly creative and entrepreneurial than at any time in history, posing new organizational opportunities and challenges. That calls for a new way to think about and implement design management. This is the final installment of a four-part series introducing the Controlled Design Management Model. Using the language of the digital age, this model applies a radically different technique to managing the creative process. The history and theory was discussed in Parts 1 through 3. Now let’s set up a working model. Continue reading
Our business culture has evolved and attitudes have re-aligned. In sharp contrast to the past, creative employees have finally gained the acceptance and respect they deserve for the crucial role they play in organizational success. The business climate is faster-paced, than ever—rapidly changing, and multicultural. Staunchly individualistic leaders backed by a computer savvy workforce characterize our high tech companies, and increasingly, our entrepreneurial ventures. It is important to appreciate that sequential charts of managerial jargon are no longer well received. Such things impose uniformity, and uniformity is anathema to today’s creative workforce. Under these circumstances, it is extremely challenging to manage product design using yesterday’s managerial paradigms. Continue reading
In the early 2000s, after the internet bubble burst, it became abundantly clear that the US needed a new competitive edge. A product management philosophy took hold, called Lean—Lean Development, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Planning, Lean Sigma, Lean Start-up. 2 Lean is a management philosophy that considers any part of the enterprise, which does not directly add value to the final objective, as superfluous—be it product development, customer service, or for that matter, the entire enterprise. It examines all processes and eliminates the ones that do not add value to the end objective. Lean is an attempted departure from the traditional way of doing business. It found favor in the US and, to one extent or another, became a dominant model. This is the second installment of a four-part article about managing creative enterprises. Continue reading
I’ve asked it before, “The way you conduct business—is it meaningful to those left behind?” Is it?
I’m here at the Levy Entrepreneurship Group, talking with some of the most brilliant business minds in Chicago. This group’s been meeting for over 60 years. It’s the genius of Joe Levy, the prolific entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist—the son of a south Michigan Ave car dealer. Joe was an endless entrepreneur—constantly learning, constantly experimenting—the quintessential gentleman who gave everybody an at-bat—who spoke quietly but directly and told the truth as he saw it. He pushed people off the bag. “You’re lousy at this. What are you good at? Contribute. Help somebody.” People found inspiration and hope. Never a disparaging word about Joe. “If you don’t have a satisfied customer, you’re compromising your future.” He was the original automobile mega dealer, angel investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. “God put me on this earth to produce, not to consume.” Joe Levy is dead at 92. Continue reading
comments by John Jonelis
Wow! Who can resist this? Take a look-see at this invitation from John Bueter, famous fly fishing personality.
I’ve printed the letter below along with recent local photos so you can see what’s going on over there. This is the perfect getaway for a Chicago entrepreneur! Check it out:
We catch 647 fish here in 4 days. On average, that’s a pike every 2.8 minutes. This place is wild, unspoiled, perhaps like this continent a thousand years ago and summer feels like spring.
Huge northern pike. Gorgeous scenery. What man can resist a fishing expedition?
“Admirable! Superlative! Top of the list! Gentlemen, you are indeed fortunate that I invited you here!” I study the greedy faces of my two compatriots—the estimable Donatas Ludditis (good old Don) as well as the execrable Loop Lonagan and his stinking bull terrier, Clamps. (Claims it’s a therapy dog.) We are here as judges, along with a crowd of luminaries from Chicago’s startup community for the finals of the tenth annual POWER PITCH competition. Today we will hear pitches from a host of exciting new companies. Yes sir! The enthusiasm is riveting.
by Howard Tullman
It’s not your strength, or maybe not even what you enjoy doing. But being there to close the deal isn’t something you can simply hand off to the sales team.
Remembering the Olympics
by John Jonelis
“That’s just wrong!” says Loop Lonagan as he grabs his remote control, skips ahead on the DVR, and a major Olympic event flashes by the screen too fast to recognize. We immediately voice our outrage—all of us: Mark T Wayne, William Shakes, Donatas Ludditis, and me.
T.WAYNE – “Go back—go back you idiot!”
ME – “What’d we just miss?”
T.WAYNE – “The entire race—that’s what we missed! Execrable!” Continue reading
“Tell me a story, Uncle John!”
“A story eh?” My pal Loop Lonagan got in big trouble telling stories to Jim Kren’s little girl. “Y’know, Princess, in this case, maybe discretion’s the better part of valor.”
“But I always get a bedtime story. I can’t sleep without a bedtime story. Please, Uncle John! Pleeeeeeeeeze!”
How can a guy turn this kid down? “Okay Princess, just lay back and pretend you’re sleepy.”
“Make it a Christmas story!” Continue reading