Evan Williams at TED talks speaks about Twitter

I love it when you talk to someone about twitter and you get that blank stare.  It’s funny because I think most of us can relate to feeling that way when we first heard about Twitter.   It’s still an evolving entity, but is becoming more mainstream everyday.  We don’t know how it will evolve in the future months, but it is being used in new ways every day.

After watching the video I think it’s safe to say Evan, like the rest of us, feels  a little disoriented by this new beast.

What I use twitter for:

I use twitter to distribute my blog post and to stay connected with friends.  I also try to follow people with common interests.  I have met some really interesting people who have quickly become resources for my personal growth and developing my core interests.

My Twitter account.

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Interview with Drew Harding of Senai

I valued enterprise and organizations that produce valuable products before, but my three week trip to Ethiopia changed the way I look at business forever.  In the United States we talk about how we take things for granted.  Is it even possible for us to be conscious of all that we have?  Many in our country actually despise business owners.  Yes, there is greed and many other negative symptoms, but what do we have?  Going to another country and seeing needs that we are not used to seeing helps us begin to understand what we lack and what we have.  At the same time that there is a great need in Ethiopia there is also a great challenge and a great opportunity.   On returning from Ethiopia, I began looking for ways to connect back.  Through a friend I met Drew Harding ,the founder of Senai.  I was beside myself at how I could connect so quickly with Drew’s vision.  I look forward to you having the chance to learn more about the inspiring work of Senai.

The following is an interview with Drew the founder of Senai

SE  What was your favorite thing about growing up in Ethiopia?

DH  The people and the language:  there isn’t another country I have been to where the people are so radiant and hospitable.  They literally will give you their last meal if you come to visit them.  In America, we tend to  give if we have abundance, rather than giving/sharing as a part of who we are as individuals and families.  Being able to connect to the people in their native language of Amharic instantly creates friendships and breaks down any walls of communication.  This continues to draw me back to help the people of Ethiopia.

SE  Was there anything in particular that set you on the path of building Senai?

DH  Seeing the impact of water on the communities in Ethiopia from the time I was 5 years old had a huge impact on why I started Senai.  But being able to empower indigenous business, and provide safe water for communities really launched Senai, creating a non-profit that uses Social Enterprise to meet the needs of the poor.

SE  Where did the idea for Senai come from?

DH  The name came from the Amharic word “Senai” that means “charitable and blessed”  It also was  one of a few words that could be pronounce in the Western Hemisphere!  Senai was birthed out of a passion to empower people through creating and supporting economic engines to lift people out of poverty.  I have witnessed many forms of “aid”.  Empowering people to help themselves always proved to be the most sustainable, thus Senai focuses on being the impetus to creating sustainable economic growth.

SE  What kind of people and organizations are you looking to partner with?

DH  This is a great question.  One of the other reasons for creating Senai, was to not do things on our own, but through partnerships with other businesses and non-profits.  We are currently wanting to launch a Micro-Finance division of Senai, so I am looking for people interested in MFI’s and also people to help fund the creation of communities banks in developing countries.  I want to engage businessmen and businesses to partner with Senai to empower indigenous businesses in the developing world –  tracking their impact, creating sustainable change.
 
SE  Is there anything that you would want to share with others who are considering starting an organization or social enterprise?

DH  Start serving or volunteering where you are at, whether in school, work, or retirement.  Then as opportunities come up, connect with existing non-profits that need your expertise and help.  If a niche market develops for your own non-profit, go ahead and incorporate, but be ready for a long road of paperwork and fund raising!

For more information visit senaiglobal.com

Get Real! It’s time to evaluate.

womenface2In times of crisis we want to circle the wagons and hide ourselves from adversity.  We try to protect ourselves to make ourselves feel like everything is going to be OK.  That’s all great except your business needs you to take a hard dispassionate look at it’s position and then to take decisive action.  You can’t lead the same way you do in good times.

I am not saying that I have mastered this yet, but I see clearly the need for this.  The longer it takes you to see, the more damage is done.  No, it’s not fair.  No one is going to make it fair for you or consider your past accomplishments.  You better get after it.  Is your business worth fighting for?

So how are you going to fight this fight of your life?  Start with you, the leader.  Who are you?  What are you doing well and where can you improve?  Do you believe in your organization and your product?  You better.  If you don’t you better continue to develop and find ways to stand out.  You better make the corrective actions that are necessary.  Make the most of this new environment.

How is any company going to survive?  By allowing this season to make you and your product better.  By fighting and reaching deep down to find courage that you didn’t know was there.  The biggest threat to the United States is affluence, comfort and apathy.  In times of affluence and peace we can trade passion for something bigger than ourselves for lusts and fear.  It’s time to shed our own personal fears and work to create great products and services for ourselves and our customers.  It’s time for new models that will sustain our passion to create and invent.

Get hungry again.  Get real and take action.  This is a different time and this new market demands our attention.  It’s time to brush yourself off and get to work creating something great.

The Entrepreneur’s Muse

girlundertree1

When we think of a muse we often think of someone who is the object of a creative flow for an artist. What would be the equivalent for an entrepreneur? It’s simple really. It’s that real life friend or family member with a problem.

Magic happens in a creative person when confronted with a problem they start to dwell on. A muse can be the focus of attention and even a passion. In the same way we have real live people in our lives with real life problems to be solved.

Looking out and observing those we care about most can be a gold mine for the entrepreneurial mind. So my suggestion for the budding entrepreneur is to take a look at the people you love most and ask the question, “what is it that is lacking or hurting? What problem could I solve?”  The answers for one person has the potential to benefit thousands or maybe even millions. So get out there and find your muse.

It’s not like you can’t hear people complain every day!

Kiyosaki seeks involvement in book project

The book is called “The Conspiracy of the Rich”.  In it Robert is discussing our current financial issues.  The interesting twist is that he is creating a network to recruit involvement.  I am signing up to see what it is all about. 

Visit the Web Site

Can an orgainization be moral?

What do you think?

You can come at this from many different angles, but my personal opinion is that we can easily lose our concept and way when we generalize.  When talking about business, government, corporations and all kinds of different organizations we often talk about them as if they are human.  They have emotions and guilt.  In business we gearsoften blame problems and issues on the market.  It was “market factors” that caused this.  In reality the market is made up of real living breathing people just like and organization.  If we want to understand the market or an organization we have to understand people.

Why are some organizations creating great value while others are being killed by parasitic CEO’s?  Why are some organizations making a killing by selling products that harm your health?  Not because of “the market” or the corporation but because of us.  These things reflect us the individuals.  It’s people who trade in order to satisfy both positive and negative desires.  We are the one who bless and curse ourselves, our markets and our businesses.

So, if we have some measure of power ,why not find out how we can be a positive market factor and a positive business force?  It is in your hand every time you shop.  When we build an organization, we have thousands of choices.  By doing the right thing, by being the best at serving and producing value, you can make a profit.  The best artists are driven to create.  They give far more then they take.  I am crazy enough to believe I can give more then I take and still be happy. And in the ways that are truly important, I’m rich.  When we look to take more than we give, that is, in itself, a form of poverty.  Our own hearts will be divided and our passion will wain.  Isn’t creating the next great innovation or organization more fulfilling to you then creating some ponzi scheme.

You have choices today!  Who are you and where are you going?

Interview with E.Factor

Whether or not you are comfortable with it, the world is changing and it’s changing fast.  New designs and technologies are changing the way we connect and take in information.  Social networking, blogs, one lap top per child and on and on.  This is an exciting time to be alive.  It is also an exciting time to be an entrepreneur.  Even in the midst of this current economic crisis many are looking to entrepreneurs to be the creative force to lead us out of this period.  If we need entrepreneurs then we need tools to empower them and help them reach their potential.

E.Factor recently celebrated their one year anniversary so I thought it would be a good time for an interview to get to know more about this service to entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Stephanie Frasco of E.Factor for taking the time to chat with me.
S.E.  What Is E.Factor?
S.F.  “E.Factor” stands for “The Entrepreneur Factor” and represents a vibrant online community and virtual marketplace designed for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs love E.Factor.com because it’s a place where they can focus exclusively on making business connections, negotiating deals, exchanging information, and advertising their products and services.
Comprised of businesspeople and investors across an array of industries around the globe, the E.Factor community is ideal for entrepreneurs looking to increase their brand exposure, establish a network of high quality contacts, and acquire the funding needed to take their enterprise to the next level.
With over 250K members in 78 different industries ranging from Web 2.0 startups to Lifestyle to “green” and eco friendly companies.  We represent a virtual economy and don’t leave anyone out.
S.E.  Do you see the state of the economy as a problem and/or an opportunity for entrepreneurs?
S.F.  I see the economy as a huge opportunity for Entrepreneurs right now.  As we see big business schemes failing(unfolding) everyday it gives Small Business and Entrepreneurs a more even playing field.  Historically speaking it is during times of economic redefinition that more millionaires are made.  There is a need for new innovation in business and new products and this is the best time to go for it!  Without Entrepreneurs we would be living in a dictated society.  The backbone of America has always relied on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs and it is our time to shine.  Entrepreneurs will be making more jobs for those who have lost theirs and I believe the next two years will be pivotal ones.  Especially with our generation as we have our whole lives ahead of us a little hiccup in the economy is only going to make us stronger and work harder for what we believe in.
S.E. As someone with a background in social networking how important do you think networking is to new start ups and funding?
S.F.  Social Networking is the most important thing one can do for themselves.  No matter how good an idea may be if you don’t know the right people you will be stuck with a good idea and thats about it.  You need to rely on your network and help eachother to find a way both can benefit from the relationship. The world is flat and that has never been more true than with the internet and social networking. Previously, before social networks and social tools were available one’s networking was limited to the geographical location that they were in, or the places they were able to travel to.  Today, we can meet people from all over the world and communicate easily and effectively.  It is the beauty of Social Media!
Furthermore, the E.Factor also understands that offline networking is crucial to maintain relationships. Where you may start relationships online, it is offline, with the eye to eye contact, the shake of the hand, the physical aspect that really brings the relationship into one that can be trusted.  That is why the efactor holds over 100 events a year, for our members to meet one an other and bring their relationships to the next level.
S.E.  Is there any story from E.Factor’s history that entrepreneurs and investors might find interesting?
S.F.  The founding of the E.Factor is very interesting.
E.Factor was formed in 2007 by Roeland Reinders, Adrie Reinders, and Marion Freijsen – all highly skilled and well-connected entrepreneurs serving Fortune 2000 companies with innovative IT business solutions.
The trio had started work on their second book about Entrepreneurship (Adrie and Marion’s first book, The N Factor, was published earlier in 2007). The website began as a small virtual community where the authors could share info and ask for feedback by other entrepreneurs. It proved to be the beginning of something wonderful: the E.Factor. In time, the group was joined by “serial social networker” Rodney Sampson, and they went on to broaden the scope and function of the site to attract entrepreneurs globally.
With all three founders hailing from OHM, Inc., a global enterprise dedicated to assisting emerging technology companies in selling their products to Fortune 2000 corporations throughout Europe and the United States, E.Factor was founded in the idea that strategic business networking can vastly impact the future of global business and your company’s role in it.
S.E.  Any other tools you would like to mention?
S.F.  Our Master Classes.  We have several master classes on topics such as Business Development, Social Media, Marketing, Achieving Customer Service Excellence.  Each is taught by an expert in the field.  All of the classes are taught via virtual sessions.  You can find out more details on the web site.