Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Entrepreneurial DNA: Joe Abraham at TEDxBend


Published on May 20, 2013
Joe is the founder/CEO of bosiDNA.com, featured in the Wall Street Journal for its breakthrough technology and award-winning accelerator.

Entrepreneurship has given us Edison and Ford, Branson and Jobs. But has entrepreneurship seen its best days? We'll learn why its best days are still ahead -- and how a breakthrough discovery about entrepreneurial behavior is unlocking entrepreneurship's greatest potential around the globe.

A serial entrepreneur himself, Joe has started, grown and exited three companies of his own and invested in over 20 growing startups. He is author of Entrepreneurial DNA: The Breakthrough Discovery That Aligns Your Business to Your Unique Strengths (McGraw Hill 2011). He has been featured on FoxNews, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, WGN and numerous nationally syndicated radio shows on topics related to entrepreneurship and small business growth. Joe also serves as an advisor to entrepreneurship programs domestically and around the world.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Monday, June 8, 2015

D + 25,932

Saturday marked the 71st anniversary of the D-Day. (No, not USD’s homecoming)

Operation Neptune, the landings in Normandy, France. “The greatest day of the 21st century,” according to Baylor University Professor Ray Starman.

I have, for many years, greeted my friends and comrades with “Happy DDays,” upon the anniversary much like people salute “Merry Christmas.” They always think I am a little off. But I believe that if any day deserves remembrance it was June 6th 1944.

In order to breach Hitler’s Atlantic Wall and raise the flag upon the rampart of fortress Europa the Allies would be assembling the most complicated international alliance, delivered via the most numerous littoral fleet, to assault the most heavily defended coastline, with the largest amphibious force ever uniformed, supported by the most numerous air-force ever to have taken flight.
All to defeat the most dangerous enemy we have ever known.

One heckuva case of The Mondays… And, of course, like so many things, the invasion was completely dependent upon the predications of a meteorologist.
 In overall command was General Dwight D. Eisenhower, future president of the United States. 14 nations allied together, 2100 transport planes, 6000 ships and landing craft, 2 million men. The weight of the free world brought to bare. An unstoppable force arrayed against an immovable object.

Just after midnight on June 5th, set as D-Day, CinC Eisenhower was standing at the window of his English cottage, chain-smoking, chain-worrying and counting raindrops as they fell against the pane. A penciled draft of a conciliatory note lay upon his bureau. It read:

"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone." (National Archives)

The forecast for the 5th was bleak, the operation postponed. That evening, upon hearing of a break in the weather Eisenhower gave the go ahead and distributed the following message to the troops:

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have

striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes

and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

“In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you

will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the

elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and

security for ourselves in a free world. 

“I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will 

accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty

God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Second Lieutenant William J. McCormick, 01295577, was one such soldier. My Grandmother relates his story to me: Her uncle, a paratrooper, landed with the 101st Airborne Division in France before dawn on that momentous day.

 “Red” McCormick, as his buddies called him, died defending a bridge against an armored counter-attack as the sun set on the Norman countryside. He was 22 years old, his birthday was June 6th.

In the end, it happened on a Tuesday. No one ever read the note General Eisenhower penciled while entertaining his darkest despair as history has written the victory of Operation Overlord into the books.

I say “Happy DDay,” not to celebrate the carnage of that day but to venerate the colossal undertaking and achievement of so many men and women 71 years ago. 332 of those men and women are honored at our memorial on Lake Arlington.

I never knew Red. The only two things we have in common, that I can be sure of, are some genetics and that I was, once, also a 22-year-old Second Lieutenant. From his sacrifice I gather strength in the understanding that nothing is impossible, if we can overcome Hitler’s Atlantic Wall – together we can accomplish anything we set ourselves to.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Why I Stopped Snacking (And Started Eating Meals Instead)

May 28, 2015

Why I stopped snacking (and started eating meals instead)
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am always hungry.
I think about food constantly (I’ll admit, probably too much), and if I don’t eat every couple of hours I get grumpy, fuzzy headed, and undoubtedly not much fun to be around.
It has taken me a long time to figure out how to eat properly to best fuel my body, keep my energy up, stay lean, and of course keep myself from “turning” on the people around me when I get too hungry. I’m always experimenting with new foods and trying new methods of eating to work towards reaching my full athletic (and mental) potential.
Yet despite fully knowing that I needed to eat every couple of hours, up until recently I still basically ate only three meals a day—with many, many snacks in between.
Here’s what would happen with that approach:
  • I’d constantly end up surprised when I’d get hungry not too long after breakfast and try to eat something unsubstantial (a piece of fruit, maybe a few almonds) to tide me over until lunch.
  • The same thing would happen to me in the afternoon after I ate a healthy lunch and I’d end up hungry just two to three hours later. This would usually result in me eating at least two small snacks in between lunch and dinner, and almost always resulted in feeling absolutely famished at dinner, so I would scarf down my food like I hadn’t eaten for days.
  • Post-dinner, I’d start getting really “snacky” feeling and pretty much just constantly raid the cupboards and graze for the entire rest of the night. Since I assumed I didn’t really need to be eating after dinner, I’d choose mainly snack and dessert foods, which left me feeling endlessly hungry and also zapped my willpower to make healthy choices.
All of this led to me feeling constantly hungry and unsatisfied throughout the day, would cause me to worry about not getting enough food, and worse, made me feel completely guilty when I ate outside of regular mealtimes.
Plus, at times when I was just plain hungry and my willpower low, it would often result in me picking unhealthy options that I wouldn’t have chosen if I’d thought about it more like a meal rather than just a snack.

Changing My Mindset

As I’ve worked hard to become a better athlete over the years, I’ve realized that at times my nutrition has held me back from reaching the level of fitness I’d like to get to. And as I’ve gotten more and more interested in sports nutrition, I’m always reading about how other athletes fuel themselves properly to perform the best that they can.
Although I have zero interest in ever doing a bodybuilding competition, one of the things that comes up over and over in their nutrition planning is that they almost always eat at least five to six proper meals a day.
Eating so often keeps fitness competitors’ metabolism running fast (due to the thermic effect of digesting food), and keeps them from getting overly hungry, which more often than not results in a binge eating session when your willpower is at its lowest.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was already eating six to seven meals a day—I just didn’t treat all the meals as actual meals, usually grabbing snacky, unsatisfying foods in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner rather than something that would actually satisfy me and keep me full.
I decided it was time to make a change.

Constant Snacking to Six Meals a Day

The first day I decided to try my new meal system, I sat down to plan out all my meals so I wouldn’t lose track (yes, I do typically count my calories—here’s why).
With a daily calorie budget of around 2,500 calories a day, I was shocked at how large my meals really could be. I quickly realized that with six meals a day, I could budget around 400 calories a meal, which seemed like a lot compared to my usual snacks of around 100-250 calories.
I can’t tell you how freeing this realization really was. All of a sudden, I started really thinking of food as fuel for my body, rather than feeling guilty when I ate between standard meal times.
Yes, I get funny looks when I break out one of my mini meals throughout the day. Yes, it’s a little more work to eat like this. But I no longer really care. I’ve finally accepted that feeding my body the right foods at the right time will help me stronger and fitter—and probably even make it easier to stay leaner in the long run.

A Typical Day on This New Meal Plan

Curious about what a typical day’s meals might look like on this new system? Finish the Article at: http://www.12minuteathlete.com/why-i-stopped-snacking-and-started-eating-meals-instead/

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to Create a Compelling Business Case Study: The Ultimate Guide & Template

Written by Carly Stec | @

Struggling to earn the trust of potential new customers?
Before you can expect them to open up their wallets, you need to start the sales process by demonstrating your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises. 
Sure, you could tell them that you're great at X and that you're light-years ahead of the competition when it comes to Y and Z, but at the end of that day, that's just lip service. What you really need to win new business is cold, hard proof
One of the best ways to prove your worth is through the creation of compelling case studies that chronicle the positive impact your product or service has had on one of your existing customers. To help you arm your prospects with information they can trust, we've put together a step-by-step guide on how to create effective case studies for your business -- as well as a free template for creating case studies of your own. 

How to Write a Case Study: The Ultimate Guide 

How to Find the Right Case Study Candidate

In order to provide your sales team with truly valuable case studies, you need to have a definitive plan for selecting the most qualified candidates. Here's what you should look for in a potential case study candidate:
  • Product Knowledge: The more well-versed a customer is in the logistics of your product or service the better. This will help to ensure that they can speak to the value of what you offer in a way that makes sense for future customers. 
  • Exemplary Results: The companies that have seen the best results are going to make the strongest case studies. Not to mention, if you've done really well for them, it's likely that they'll have the enthusiasm you're looking for. 
  • Unexpected Success: Non-traditional customers that have seen positive results can help absolve any doubts potential customers may have.
  • Recognizable Names: While small companies can have powerful stories, bigger or more notable brands can help increase credibility. 
  • Switchers: Customers that came to you after working with a competitor help highlight your competitive advantage and sway decisions in your favor.

Read the complete Article at: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33282/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Creating-Compelling-Case-Studies.aspx?utm_campaign=blog-rss-emails&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=17980732

How to Ensure You're Asking the Right Questions

When it comes time to execute on the questionnaire and actual interview, you want to be sure that you're setting yourself up for success. In order to end up with a strong use case, it's important that you're prepared to not only ask questions, but also ask the right questions. 
In terms of the questionnaire, here are a few sample questions to get you started:
  • What are your goals?
  • What challenges were you experiencing prior to purchasing our product or service?
  • What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
  • What did your decision-making process look like?
  • How have you benefited from using our product or service? (Ask for specific numbers if applicable.)
Keep in mind that the questionnaire is designed to help you turn up the insight you need to ask strong, success-focused questions during the actual interview. 
As for the phone interview, we recommend that you follow the "Golden Rule of Interviewing."
Sounds fancy, right?
It's actually quite simple: Ask open-ended questions. 
If you're looking to craft a compelling story, yes or no answers are going to get you nowhere. It's critical to maintain a focus on questions that invite elaboration such as "can you describe ..." or "tell me about ..."
In terms of a structure for the interview, we recommend breaking down the process into six specific sections -- The Customer's Business, The Need for a Solution, The Decision Process, The Implementation, The Solution in Action, and The Results. These focus areas allow us to gather enough information to put together a rich, comprehensive study. 
Here's a deeper dive into what these sections look like:
  • The Customer's Business: The goal of this section is to generate a better understanding of the company's current challenges and goals, and how they fit into the landscape of their industry. 
    • Sample questions: How long have you been in business? How many employees do you have? What are some of the objectives of your department at this time? 
  • The Need for a Solution: In order to tell a compelling story, you need context. This helps match the customer's need with your solution. 
    • Sample questions: What challenges and objectives led you to look for a solution? What would have happened if you did not identify a solution? Did you explore other solutions prior to this that did not work out? If so, what happened?
  • The Decision Process: Exploring how the customer arrived at their decision to work with you helps to guide the decision-making process of potential customers. 
    • Sample questions: How did you hear about our product or service? Who was involved in the selection process? What was most important to you when evaluating your options?
  • The Implementation: Your focus should be on exploring their experience during the onboarding process. 
    • Sample questions: How long did it take to get up and running? Did that meet your expectations? Who was involved in the process?
  • The Solution in Action: The goal of this section is to better understand how the customer is using your product or service. 
    • Sample questions: Is there a particular aspect of the product or service that you rely on most? Who is using the product or service?
  • The Results: This is where you want to uncover impressive measurable outcomes. The more numbers, the better. 
    • Sample questions: How is the product or service helping you save time and increase productivity? In what ways does this enhance your competitive advantage? How much have you increased metrics X, Y, and Z? 

How to Lay Out Your Case Study: Sample Case Study Format 

When it comes time to take all of the information you've collected and actually turn it into something, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
Where should you start? What should you include? What's the best way to structure it?
To help you get a handle on the layout, we recommend focusing on building out the following seven sections: 
  1. Title: Keep it short. Focus on highlighting the most compelling accomplishment.
  2. Executive Summary: This should be a 2-4 sentence summary of the entire story. You'll want to follow it with 2-3 bullet points that display metrics showcasing success. 
  3. About: This serves as an introduction to the person or company and can be pulled from their LinkedIn profile or website.
  4. Challenges: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs describing the customer's challenges prior to using your product or service, as well as the goals that they set out to achieve.
  5. How You Helped: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs that focus on describing how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
  6. Their Results: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs that prove how your product or service specifically impacted the person or company and helped them achieve their goals. Include numbers to quantify your contributions. 
  7. Supporting Visuals or Quotes: Pick one or two powerful quotes that you would feature at the bottom of sections above, as well as a visual that supports the story you are telling. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Arlington senior is determined, has bright future



Sunk: How Ross Ulbricht ended up in prison for life

Inside the trial that brought down a darknet pirate.

Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock
Our own Joe Mullin attended every session of Ross Ulbricht's criminal trial in New York and filed a series of dispatches for Ars Technica earlier this year. They form, along with additional reporting, a complete account of the cybercrime "trial of the century"—which ended today with Ulbricht's sentencing in that same New York courthouse.
On October 1, 2013, the last day that Ross Ulbricht would be free, he didn't leave his San Francisco home until nearly 3:00pm. When he did finally step outside, he walked ten minutes to the Bello Cafe on Monterey Avenue but found it full, so he went next door to the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library. There, he sat down at a table by a well-lit window in the library's small science fiction section and opened his laptop.
From his spot in the library, Ulbricht, a 29-year-old who lived modestly in a rented room, settled in to his work. Though outwardly indistinguishable from the many other techies and coders working in San Francisco, Ulbricht actually worked the most unusual tech job in the city—he ran the Silk Road, the Internet’s largest drug-dealing website.
Shortly after connecting to the library WiFi network, Ulbricht was contacted on a secure, Silk Road staff-only chat channel.
"Are you there?" wrote Cirrus, a lieutenant who managed the site's extensive message forums.
"Hey," responded Ulbricht, appearing on Cirrus' screen as the "Dread Pirate Roberts," the pseudonym he had taken on in early 2012.
"Can you check out one of the flagged messages for me?" Cirrus wrote.
"Sure," Ulbricht wrote back. He would first need to connect to the Silk Road’s hidden server. "Let me log in... OK, which post?"
Behind Ulbricht in the library, a man and woman started a loud argument. Ulbricht turned to look at this couple having a domestic dispute in awkward proximity to him, but when he did so, the man reached over and pushed Ulbricht’s open laptop across the table. The woman grabbed it and handed it off to FBI Special Agent Thomas Kiernan, who was standing nearby.
Ulbricht was arrested, placed in handcuffs, and taken downstairs. Kiernan took photos of the open laptop, occasionally pressing a button to keep it active. Later, he would testify that if the computer had gone to sleep, or if Ulbricht had time to close the lid, the encryption would have been unbreakable. "It would have turned into a brick, basically," he said.
Then Cirrus himself arrived at the library to join Kiernan. Jared Der-Yeghiayan, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations, had been probing Silk Road undercover for two years, eventually taking over the Cirrus account and even drawing a salary from Ulbricht. He had come to California for the arrest, initiating the chat with Ulbricht—who had been under surveillance all day—from a nearby cafe.

Finish the rest of this crazy interesting article at:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Generating New Ideas

Think Differently and Spark Creativity

Switch on your creativity!
© iStockphoto/NREY
"We need to think differently!" "This needs some fresh ideas!" "We have got to be more creative around here!" Are messages like these popping up more and more in your workplace?
Faced with complex, open-ended, ever-changing challenges, organizations realize that constant, ongoing innovation is critical to stay ahead of the competition. This is why we need to be on the lookout for new ideas that can drive innovation, and it's why the ability to think differently, generate new ideas, and spark creativity within a team becomes an important skill. You need to work actively on building and cultivating this skill, and it can be done!
Often, though, we make the mistake of assuming that good ideas just happen. Or worse still, we get caught in the mind trap that creativity is an aptitude; some people have it, others don't. Then there is the other self-defeating belief – "I am not intelligent enough to come up with good ideas."
These assumptions are rarely true. Everyone can come up with fresh, radical ideas – you just need to learn to open your mind and think differently. This article shows you how to do so.

How to Generate New Ideas

Standard idea-generation techniques concentrate on combining or adapting existing ideas. This can certainly generate results. But here, our focus is on equipping you with tools that help you leap onto a totally different plane. These approaches push your mind to forge new connections, think differently and consider new perspectives.
A word of caution – while these techniques are extremely effective, they will only succeed if they are backed by rich knowledge of the area you're working on. This means that if you are not prepared with adequate information about the issue, you are unlikely to come up with a great idea even by using the techniques listed here.
Incidentally, these techniques can be applied to spark creativity in group settings and brainstorming sessions as well.

Breaking Thought Patterns

All of us can tend to get stuck in certain thinking patterns. Breaking these thought patterns can help you get your mind unstuck and generate new ideas. There are several techniques you can use to break established thought patterns:
  • Challenge assumptions: For every situation, you have a set of key assumptions. Challenging these assumptions gives you a whole new spin on possibilities.
    You want to buy a house but can't since you assume you don't have the money to make a down payment on the loan. Challenge the assumption. Sure, you don't have cash in the bank but couldn't you sell some of your other assets to raise the money? Could you dip into your retirement fund? Could you work overtime and build up the kitty in six months? Suddenly the picture starts looking brighter.
  • Reword the problem: Stating the problem differently often leads to different ideas. To reword the problem look at the issue from different angles. "Why do we need to solve the problem?", "What's the roadblock here?", "What will happen if we don't solve the problem?" These questions will give you new insights. You might come up with new ideas to solve your new problem.
    In the mid 1950s, shipping companies were losing money on freighters. They decided they needed to focus on building faster and more efficient ships. However, the problem persisted. Then one consultant defined the problem differently. He said the problem the industry should consider was "how can we reduce cost?" The new problem statement generated new ideas. All aspects of shipping, including storage of cargo and loading time, were considered. The outcome of this shift in focus resulted in the container ship and the roll-on/roll-off freighter.
  • Think in reverse  : If you feel you cannot think of anything new, try turning things upside-down. Instead of focusing on how you could solve a problem/improve operations/enhance a product, consider how could you create the problem/worsen operations/downgrade the product. The reverse ideas will come flowing in. Consider these ideas  once you've reversed them again  as possible solutions for the original challenge.
  • Express yourself through different media: We have multiple intelligences but somehow, when faced with workplace challenges we just tend to use our verbal reasoning ability. How about expressing the challenge through different media? Clay, music, word association games, paint, there are several ways you can express the challenge. Don't bother about solving the challenge at this point. Just express it. Different expression might spark off different thought patterns. And these new thought patterns may yield new ideas.

Connect the Unconnected

Some of the best ideas seem to occur just by chance. You see something or you hear someone, often totally unconnected to the situation you are trying to resolve, and the penny drops in place. Newton and the apple, Archimedes in the bath tub; examples abound.
Why does this happen? The random element provides a new stimulus and gets our brain cells ticking. You can capitalize on this knowledge by consciously trying to connect the unconnected.
Actively seek stimuli from unexpected places and then see if you can use these stimuli to build a connection with your situation. Some techniques you could use are:
  • Use random input  : Choose a word from the dictionary and look for novel connections between the word and your problem.
  • Mind map   possible ideas: Put a key word or phrase in the middle of the page. Write whatever else comes in your mind on the same page. See if you can make any connections.
  • Pick up a picture. Consider how you can relate it to your situation.
  • Take an item. Ask yourself questions such as "How could this item help in addressing the challenge?", or "What attributes of this item could help us solve our challenge?"

Shift Perspective

Over the years we all build a certain type of perspective and this perspective yields a certain type of idea. If you want different ideas, you will have to shift your perspective. To do so:
  • Get someone else's perspective: Ask different people what they would do if faced with your challenge. You could approach friends engaged in different kind of work, your spouse, a nine-year old child, customers, suppliers, senior citizens, someone from a different culture; in essence anyone who might see things differently.
  • Play the "If I were" game: Ask yourself "If I were ..." how would I address this challenge? You could be anyone: a millionaire, Tiger Woods, anyone.
    The idea is the person you decide to be has certain identifiable traits. And you have to use these traits to address the challenge. For instance, if you decide to play the millionaire, you might want to bring traits such as flamboyance, big thinking and risk-taking when formulating an idea. If you are Tiger Woods you would focus on things such as perfection, persistence and execution detail.

Employ Enablers

Enablers are activities and actions that assist with, rather than directly provoke, idea generation. They create a positive atmosphere. Some of the enablers that can help you get your creative juices flowing are:
  • Belief in yourself: Believe that you are creative, believe that ideas will come to you; positive reinforcement helps you perform better.
  • Creative loafing time: Nap, go for a walk, listen to music, play with your child, take a break from formal idea-generating. Your mind needs the rest, and will often come up with connections precisely when it isn't trying to make them.
  • Change of environment: Sometimes changing the setting changes your thought process. Go to a nearby coffee shop instead of the conference room in your office, or hold your discussion while walking together round a local park.
  • Shutting out distractions: Keep your thinking space both literally and mentally clutter-free. Shut off the Blackberry, close the door, divert your phone calls and then think.
  • Fun and humor: These are essential ingredients, especially in team settings.

Key Points

The ability to generate new ideas is an essential work skill today. You can acquire this skill by consciously practicing techniques that force your mind to forge new connections, break old thought patterns and consider new perspectives.
Along with practicing these techniques, you need to adopt enabling strategies too. These enabling strategies help in creating a positive atmosphere that boosts creativity.