Archive for the 'Enterpreneurs' Category

Lone Nut Leadership


June 9, 2010 by: michelle

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. A lot has changed since January:

  • I’ve added a few new titles to my repertoire: Curator, Producer, Alchemist, Partner
  • I’ve worked harder, longer hours than ever before – and never been happier
  • The number of completely amazing, truly brilliant people in my life has exploded
  • I have a new business partner and new business model
  • The words “pillow-fight”, “flute”, and “client” have deep new meanings for me – all underscored with Laughter

I blame Dan Pink and that night at Politics and Prose.

I blame, TED, of course.

But mostly, I blame Patrick Smith.

I’ll let Derek Sivers explain.

You see, Patrick Smith has been my Lone Nut. And TEDxPotomac our movement.

It consumed us. It challenged us. It transformed us all.

Even though it was his crazy idea to bring a real TED-like experience to DC, Patrick truly “embraced me as an equal” (hehe, not literally Daniel and Irita) that night at the bookstore, the first of many nights over the last 6 months where we were the last “men” standing – dreaming and scheming over the details and stories to tell on May 20, 2010.

It’s no wonder I couldn’t wait to invite others to follow along. As a result, I think, TEDxPotomac was more than a single event within the larger TED and TEDx movement, it has become a movement in itself. One whose momentum continues to pull me forward – with laughter and smiles so big my face hurts. Seriously, just look at those grins.

Yoko K., Neil Takemoto, Jill Foster, Michelle Hoffman

Team MindMeld

So Patrick, my friend, my Leader, my Lone Nut, what’s NExt?

I’ll follow you anywhere, and Jill’s coming along for the whole ride next time. Unless, of course, one of us is driving.



Leave it to Dan Pink to get me back in the swing of things here. I knew I’d be writing about Dan and his new book Drive today, because I saw him talking about it yesterday at Politics and Prose. If I had any doubts or thoughts of dropping the ball, he was on NPR this morning reminding me of yesterday’s plans.

Ironically, I heard the interview as sort of a driveway moment while pulling in to the ModernTimes Coffeehouse, P&P’s in-store cafe. (It’s kind of a neighborhood hang-out and lately my double-secret satellite lair.)

I’ve been a fan of Dan Pink’s for a long time, since first reading the Free Agent Nation article in FastCompany magazine twelve years ago before it became his first book.

I became a rabid fan when he came back several years later with A Whole New Mind.

And I began truly foaming at the mouth when his release of Johny Bunko coincided with the completion of the design work here for yours truly – TBD –  in the spring of 2008. I mean, seriously, it’s a business/career book – in manga!

What I couldn’t imagine is what other superhero of mine I’d be writing about today. I mean, who could possibly give Dan Pink a run around the rink while I think?

George, freaking, Foreman, that’s who!

My NPR/drive time/important lesson constellations were well aligned today, and I caught this interview with the former heavy-weight champion about his new book – Knockout Entrepreneur.

Although I haven’t read either of these books yet, the similarities between the two are interesting and exciting, especially when looking at what Pink refers to as one of the key ingredients to drive – “purpose,” and whether – or not – money is a good motivator.

Here’s an excerpt from the Foreman interview:

MARTIN: … Number one, you say money matters but not much. You say don’t let making money be your only motivation. I know it may be difficult to believe but money is not the best motivator for most people. If you find a product or service that will simply make money for you, you can pay the mortgage this month, but that will never be enough to motivate you to outstanding success.

Well, tell me a little bit more about that because it sounds to me though that the money was pretty important to you.

Mr. FOREMAN: Money is a good thing but every morning you have to get up with something no one else in the world gets up with, that’s that image. That face you see in the mirror, you got to love it and you better do some things that you feel good about inside of you. Of course, money is going to come, but make certain that you do some good with it.

I almost forgot about that and dropped the baton because with all of the millions I made the first time around as the heavyweight champ of the world, I had a swimming pool, Rolls Royce, Mercedes, you name the foolishness – I mean the successiveness. But I had all these things but I didn’t have anything to show that I had treated mankind the way mankind had treated me.

The second time around, I even went back into boxing because I had a youth center my brother Roy and I started in Houston, Texas, just for kids to hang out and stay out of trouble. And I’d literally run out of money and I had to go back into boxing for debt. I risked my life and for that I was given the gift of stamina and endurance.

When I was younger I got tired in the fight with Muhammad Ali in Africa and I lost because I got tired. But once you have a reason and something to fight for, you are gifted with this thing called endurance and stamina when you’re fighting for more than just yourself and money.

And here’s a view into what Dan Pink is saying about carrots and sticks and how most of the time businesses should throw them out because they just don’t work like we think they do.

I think it’s kickass kismet that these two guys are both fighting the good fight for making the world a better place, and I think Dan Pink should be glad they’re fighting on the same team. ;-)



Stoking the Fire


November 6, 2009 by: michelle

Over the last few posts I’m sure you could see the bite from the Entrepreneurial bug – though no radioactive spider – has been working its transformative power.  By the end of September, as the impending battle with HiringFreeze and LayOff seemed each day closer and more menacing, I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to sharpen my own super-networking and entrepreneurial powers by attending Network Solution’s Grow Smart Business Conference.

What an amazing day! If my super-boots hadn’t been holding them on, I’m sure my super-socks would have been knocked right off. I was so impressed by the program line up and the organization and presentation by the hotel. For the first time in many years, it felt like the “good ol’ days” in the online world.

When I arrived at registration and was invited to stop down the hall for breakfast before the conference began, I was expecting  the usual dregs of the half-bagle and stale croissant plate and warmed over coffee. Imagine my surprise – and delight – to find a beautiful full buffet with eggs, bacon, gorgeous pastries,  plenty of fresh fruit- and full table service.

And check out this beautiful table at the break – no generic granola bars here: instead mixed nuts, dried fruit, and plenty of TAZO Earl Grey.

Grow Smart: mmmm Snacks

Grow Smart: mmmm Snacks

From a customer standpoint I would definitely recommend and attend other events at the Renaissance Marriott. Kudos to the NetSol team for a conference that went above and beyond the expectations of everyone I spoke with.

The deal was well worth the $99 I paid for the event, but you can still catch most of the same goodies and great advice for small businesses and entrepreneurs – minus the delicious breakfast, lunch and snacks for FREE.

Some of my personal favorites -

Truly inspiring day. I found myself wishing that I had time to really dedicate myself to my renewed entrepreneurial energies.

Well, you know what theay say…