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
Filed under angel, angel investor, Business, Characters, Death, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Giving, Influence, Relationships, Startup Companies, Startups, Story, vc, venture capital
by John Jonelis
“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
Filed under angel, angel investor, Business, Characters, Death, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Faith, Giving, High Tech, Jim Kren, Relationships, Startup Companies, Startups, Story, vc, venture capital
by Mark T Wayne
“Whaddaya think is da best Christmas gift o’ dem all?” Loop Lonagan puts this puerile question in a peculiar verbal form he calls the American language just as Donatis Ludditis and I innocently raise a Christmas toast at that notable Chicago landmark, Ludditis Shots & Beer. The place offers several distinct advantages. Our host never presents a bill for our proclivities and the back room houses our magazine offices.
“I got best gift! Is this!” Ludditis states his case in his Lithuanian accent, and passes fancy boxes across the table. “This one for you, Mr. Wayne. Is Christmas!” Continue reading
This is outrageous. I’m concentrating on my computer screen when a huge mitt grabs me by the back of the belt and plucks me from my chair. Next thing I’m dangled high over the desk, arms and legs flailing till I steady my balance and end up nose-to-nose with Big Bill Blair, our urban Paul Bunyan.
“‘Scuse me, Mr. Jonelis,” he says in a slow polite rumble that carries with it a stale smell of corned beef and cigar.
Big Bill slowly chews gum. Looks disinterested. Acts like nothing’s unusual. Continue reading
TechBash – Part 4
I‘m at Chicago’s premier social incubator – i.c.stars. Fresh faces of their current crop of interns rim this boardroom-sized table. All neat. All professional. As the tea makes its rounds, I hear well-crafted introductions. Mannerly. In-depth. Heartfelt. Spoken by people who have known each other during months of intense struggle. It’s more like introducing family than business associates. Continue reading
John Jonelis – I knew something outstanding was going on, but when a friend raved about it, I had to stop procrastinating and find out more. Continue reading
Impact Engine – Part 5
Verbatim transcript from a special correspondent
Loop Lonagan back at Impact Engine Investors Day. The Chase auditorium’s packed with angel investors and venture capitalists AND philanthropists that’d rather invest in self-sustaining ventures than just dump their money down the old rat hole. Continue reading