A Turkish Shepherd and American Yogurt Entrepreneur is Changing the World

If you are like most Americans you have never heard of Hamdi Ulukaya. And, if he was in an immigration line today and disclosed he was a Turkish-Kurd “political science” major at Ankara University, he would most likely be sent home. But, what if I told you he created, here in America, the leading Greek yogurt brand, Chobani, would you want him deported? Ulukaya, who is nicely profiled in Rob Brunner’s article I’m a Shepherd and I’m a Warrior in Fast Company, grew-up in eastern Turkey in a family of shepherds and cheese makers. He immigrated to the United States [...]

By | 2017-08-17T12:36:19+00:00 August 17th, 2017|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

What if Your Summer Transportation was a Stagecoach?

We think nothing today of jumping into our air-conditioned cars and buzzing off for a 100-mile weekend get-away or even flying-off to Atlanta to visit friends. We certainly under-appreciate how lucky we are sometimes, especially when we are stuck in traffic. But what would it be like if you had to take a stagecoach to get to your destination? I enjoyed reading recently on the St. Croix Historical Society website about what a 36-hour, 100-mile stagecoach ride was like in about 1840 from Bangor to Calais, Maine, a trip I have made dozens of times. Imagine you are one of [...]

By | 2017-07-27T14:17:19+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Your Fireworks

Photo of fireworks by Alejandro Scaff What gets lost in the immigration rhetoric today is how many of our American businesses got started by immigrants. So as you watch beautiful fireworks this weekend, remember it was two immigrants to this country, Angelo Lanzetta and Antonio Zambelli, who created the two largest fireworks companies in the United States today -  Fireworks by Grucci and Zambelli Fireworks. If you would like to learn more about the fireworks industry in the United States you can read my article Business of Fireworks. Photo - Felix and Concetta Grucci - Grucci Website [...]

By | 2017-06-29T10:43:48+00:00 June 29th, 2017|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation, Uncategorized|

Six of Your Jobs Robots Might Replace

When I got home from work the other day, Patti, my wife, was still smiling about a text she received that day. When she got out of a meeting and checked her phone for text messages and e-mails, this text jumped out at her, “Jeeves needs your immediate attention. His right front wheel is stuck.” I’m sure you are wondering who “Jeeves” is, right? If you are older you might remember that “Jeeves” was a butler or gentleman’s gentleman in author P. G. Wodehouse’s stories from the early 1900s. In our house we have no butler.  Jeeves is really what [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

I Think We Need More Mattress Stores, Don’t You?

Okay, maybe I am crazy, but the other day as I drove by the third Mattress Firm store within about 500 feet of each other I thought, “Why do we need so many mattress stores?” The next day I was visiting one of our client work sites in a Macy’s department store and learned that successful Macy’s mattress sales people can make $100,000 per year. I thought, “Excuse me, say that again, I think I misunderstood what you just said.” (But I heard correctly.) All this mattress business stimulated my sleepy business brain. I had to learn more about why [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 January 31st, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Learning from the Pivots Around Us

I find stories interesting about how entrepreneurs and businesses pivot and change directions. Later in this article I’ll share four of my favorite “pivot” stories from brands you will likely recognize. But first let me tell you about Barry Sansoucie. Barry Sansoucie was one of the most interesting entrepreneurs I knew in my early banking days. He was a person who saw every glass as half full. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, where his job was to parachute solo behind enemy lines and clear areas of jungle vegetation for helicopter landings. After the war Barry joined his father’s [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:47+00:00 December 1st, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

I Am Just Curious

Curiosity is interesting. Have you noticed that what makes you curious sometimes is of no interest to other people? While other times you discover that you and others are curious about the same thing? For example, I took this photo of floating homes a few years ago in Victoria Harbor in British Columbia. To this day I am still curious about the orange-haired manikin sitting on the second story deck in the upper-left corner. The owners must be interesting people. Why did they do this? Where did they get the manikin? When I share this with others, sometimes, they think [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:48+00:00 September 22nd, 2016|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

No More Tips for You

The Modern restaurant at the Modern Museum of Art in NYC The first night Patti and I were in Friedrichshafen, Germany last fall I noticed there was no place on the credit card slip to give a tip. When I asked the waiter about this, in broken English he said something like “no tip on receipt.” So we left him a tip in Euros on the table. Little did we know then that Germany was pretty much a “no tip” country. We proceeded to give tips even though none of the credit card machines let us. While we [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:49+00:00 May 17th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Warby Parker Makes Eyeglasses Cool to Wear

When I was nine or ten years old I got my first set of glasses. Like many kids at the time, I was embarrassed to wear them and was often referred to as “four eyes”. In fact, one of my very first and few fights was when someone picked on me for wearing glasses. Today, thanks largely to the upstart billion dollar business Warby Parker, wearing glasses is cool. Heck, there are people wearing glasses with only clear glass (plastic) in them – what a world! Warby Parker. In 2008 four MBA students at the Wharton School in Philadelphia were [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:49+00:00 May 5th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Leave the Driving to Your Car

Within ten years your car (or truck) is going to be put out to pasture. And, while it is there, your new car will drop you off at your restaurant and then go find the cheapest parking space to wait for your text to come pick you up. The automobile and its related industries are about to go through the largest inflection point in its history, which goes back 120 years. For you and me, it’s going to be fun and it is starting now. Inflection Point. I first wrote about inflection points in my article about universities and Massive [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:50+00:00 April 1st, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

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