"Entrepreneurial Thinking" was created to provide personal experiential advisory and rich information resources to entrepreneurial executives in order help open their minds, enhance their vision and extend personal perspective. Further, we will try to help navigate the evolution of the entrepreneur's businesses in the areas of equity/debt financing, M&A, strategic planning, new product or business model development, market timing and related sales/marketing efforts. Finally, we will also attempt to provide some wisdom in order to help balance the entrepreneurial workload with family.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Ten Paradoxical Commandments

I'm in San Francisco this week for The American College of Surgeons and was fortunate enough to attend Mass this morning at Old Saint Mary's Cathedral...the first Catholic Cathedral built in California.  The priest closed his Homily with Mother Teresa’s recap of “The Paradoxical Commandments” as written on the wall in her "Home for Children" in Calcutta, India:

1.     People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered...Forgive them anyway.
2.     If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives...Be kind anyway.
3.     If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies...Succeed anyway.
4.     If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you...Be honest and sincere anyway.
5.     What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight...Create anyway.
6.     If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous...Be happy anyway.
7.     The good you do today, will often be forgotten...Do good anyway.
8.     Give the best you have, and it will never be enough...Give your best anyway.
9.     In the final analysis, it is between you and God...It was never between you and them anyway.

Dr. Kent M. Keith created the original version in the late 1960’s with a total of 10 "paradoxical commandments". I understand Mother Teresa leaving one of these off but was an extrememly important and paramount to the advancement of our species as well as our understanding of the Universe and of God…and, especially to entrepreneurs...

10. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

The rest of the original version from Dr. Keith is included below:

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
    Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
    Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
    Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
    Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  7. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
    Build anyway.
  8. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
    Help people anyway.
  9. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
    Give the world the best you have anyway.
May we all remember these as we go through our lives each day...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Entrepreneurial Thinking: My Father's Obituary - June 28th, 2011

Entrepreneurial Thinking: My Father's Obituary - June 28th, 2011

My Father's Obituary - June 28th, 2011

Thomas P. Lennon Sr.

On Father’s Day morning, June 19th, 2011 just two days after his 74th birthday Thomas ‘Skip’ Lennon died unexpectedly. A memorial Service will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sandy Springs on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 11:00 AM followed by a reception at the home of Barry and Libby Lennon.

Skip had been an Atlanta area resident since moving his family to East Cobb in 1974 and entering the Insurance industry as an executive with CIGNA. He and his wife Patsy have been living in Roswell for the past 12 years. Although his 40 year struggle with diabetes took its toll on Skip’s body, he always remained incredibly upbeat. He was always making friends and family laugh with a new joke or through his hilarious tales about the “Hoyas that never grew up…”

Skip grew up in Hot Springs, Virginia where his father was the President of The Homestead Resort. He was an incredible athlete playing baseball and basketball throughout his scholastic career. Skip was also a AA1 tennis player and scratch golfer winning multiple championships throughout his life. He attended Stanton Military Academy in Virginia and then went on Georgetown University where he received his B.A. in Accounting and became a CPA with Arthur Young & Company in Chicago., Illinois. After graduating from GU Skip entered the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged. In 1961, Skip then married his wife of 50 years Patricia Anne Boysen in Chicago, Illinois.

Skip remained very active with Georgetown as a member of the Athletic Board and as a member of the famous and beloved “Class of 59’”. Georgetown fostered lifelong friendships within that Class of 59’ that remain as impenetrable as Hoya Saxa (Georgetown’s cheer literally meaning “great rocks”). At Georgetown the key members/friends in the Class of 59’ each had nicknames…Skip’s was the “The Whale” which he is still answering to among his friends like “The Barrel”, “The Carrot “and “Schizo” who have also left us.

Skip was incredibly proud of his Irish heritage giving the Irish Blessing over his friends and family whenever he got the chance. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He is preceded in death by his brother Patrick Lennon, Father Thomas J. Lennon and his mother Anne Lennon. He is survived by his wife Patricia Boysen Lennon, his sons Tom, Barry and James, his five grandchildren as well as his sisters Theresa Lennon Gardner and Kathleen Lennon Pampillonia and their children and grandchildren.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Perspective On Aging (and life) from George Carlin

I had to borrow this from Nina Ford Richter who posted this on Facebook. It is really great and shows our tendencies on perspective development and serves as a reminder to live life to the fullest. One should also remember that it is not "what happens to you" in life but how you react (or don't react) to it... Count your blessings everyday and there are usually many more than you think. Marry that with what Richard Carlson wrote in his 1997 book; "don't sweat the small stuff...it's all small stuff".

From the late/great/hilarious George Carlin...

On Aging:

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

'How old are you?' 'I'm four and a half!' You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key..

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

'How old are you?' 'I'm gonna be 16!' You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life ! You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony.YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling.. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone...

But! wait!! ! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and make it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; 'I Was JUST 92.'

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. 'I'm 100 and a half!'
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3.Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever, even ham radio.. Never let the brain idle.. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's family name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6.... The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it.. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity..

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day!!

Life's journey is not to
arrive at the grave safely
in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways,
totally worn out, shouting
'..holy sh*t ....what a ride!'

TPLENNON: "Also remember that life is not a dress rehearsal...Expect and plow through your mistakes because there will be many along the way. More importantly it's not how you start, it's how you finish! I personally hope the ride lasts a very long time..."

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Great Entrepreneurial Story

Here is a story about a classmate of mine from Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. As many struggle through this very difficult transition for the US and other first world economies to a truly global economy driven by offshore collaborative knowledge workforces and global wage equalization, Forrest's story of taking the adversity of losing his job/career with a large multinational corporation, embracing new media marketing and turning his entrepreneurial dream into a successful venture should make all stand up and take note. This is a prime example of adapting to an inevitable and fundamental shift in how we approach starting and running a business. He was staring a pretty dire situation in the face but as he states, "it's how you react" to the cards that life deals you. Instead of allowing the panic of being unemployed with several mouths to feed overwhelm him, he took a step back, embraced the global shift, realized that he had a multitude of free tools to help him market not just to the folks in Helen, Georgia (with a resident population of less than 1,000) but to the almost 6.8 billion residing on this planet. Now that's entrepreneurial thinking! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SEO Trends and Tips for 2009 and 2010

The following is a very good presentation on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the current onine environment...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Keys to getting VC Funding

At Watermark, I get the same questions time and again from entrepreneurs looking for additional capital for their companies from VC and private equity sources. All these questions can be distilled down to one… ”How do I get additional funding for my business”
Five Keys to getting VC Funding:
1.       Company projects a minimum of $50-75M in annual revenue in 3-5 years.
2.       Elevator Pitch clear message explainable in 15-20 seconds.
3.       Should be a very clean balance sheet, capital structure (not several different classes of stock), etc.
4.       Stick to a 10 to 12 slide and no more than 20-25 minute PowerPoint.
5.       Show a deal that has proven out the business model(s) through driving revenue and just needs capital to grow/scale the business.
PPT Slides (Make sure there is some visual representation or “eye candy”):
1.       Title and contact information
2.       “State of the World” as it relates to your business and the “Problem”
3.       Clear definition of “The Problem” with specific example
4.       “The Solution” with example (backed by case study and revenue drivers)
5.       “Business Model” (how you make money)
6.       The “Secret Sauce” (showing your strategic advantages)
7.       Sales and Marketing Strategy (give current and historical with how you adapted if applicable)
8.       Competition (current major industry players and up-and-comers)
9.       S.W.O.T. Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (tie all of the above together with bullet points)
10.   Management Team (Make sure there are at least 2-3 senior executives with operational experience and a track record scaling a business – preferably to a liquidity event)
11.   Projections (metrics/benchmarks/timelines are very important)
* Be prepared to immediately send backup materials to interested parties including detail business, strategic and marketing communications plan as well as historical financial statements (audited if possible) and a detailed proforma based on those historical financials and real market data from industry researchers (i.e.: Forrester, Gartner, Frost & Sullivan, IDG, et.al.)

I hope this helps...

All the best,


Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Timely Quote...

My old friend and entrepreneur Rick Lackey forwarded a great quote to me this week. It speaks to an issue that I sometimes have to deal with when working with start-up companies and CEOs (usually younger and a first time CEO) that will likely have a difficult time transitioning from "visionary" to a real life operating CEO. The problem usually stems from an ego with underlying insecurity that unfortunately hinders this transition. In order to evolve from start-up (especially one that is implementing new technologies, products or innovative business models) to an operating ongoing concern that will scale, the CEO must surround himself with and actually listen to executives that are smarter and more capable than he or she is in their respective fields. The key is to listen. It is also extremely important not lead through intimidation and to be surround by any "yes men". When I do encounter this situation I immediately recite the Serenity Prayer...

Great examples of a few well known entrepreneurs who made the transition are Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Michael Dell. Each of these guys have confidence and ego (you have to in order to lead and execute) but each also possess true self-awareness specifically of their own strengths and weaknesses. Each surrounded themselves early on with a management team and advisors smarter and more capable than themselves (yes, even Gates...) in order to evolve and drive their respective companies into what you see today. So, here you go...

"It's better to be in a room where everybody is getting smarter than to be the smartest person in every room."
- Dan Sullivan

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Amazing and Infinite Universe - The Hand of God

The Hand of God

My brother James has gone through a spiritual journey over the past many years that have made me the recipient of many great emails. He sent the photo below after we were discussing God's design of our Universe. This photo was captured by NASA’s orbiting ‘Chandra’ X-Ray observatory. It is truly incredible...talk about "reaching for the stars." The magnitude and physics of the energy particles streaming from this pulsar are pretty amazing. The pulsar is the remnant of the Supernova B109 which was formed almost 2000 years ago when its massive star predecessor exploded roughly 17,000 light years from Earth. It is rotating seven times a second which has thrown particles across an expanse of 150 light-years! The star that collapsed was many times larger than our sun with the resulting pulsar that has a field 15 trillion times stronger than the Earth's magnetosphere.The rotation rate is what has created the nebula's finger shaped pillars transferring energy to the gas cloud nearby making it resemble a huge explosion in orange and red.

While doing a little research on this I also came across a Hubble photo taking in 04' of the Helix Nebula which definitely resembles an eye and has been dubbed "the eye of God".

I also came across an article that discussed how primitive we are when looking at an image from the Cosmos such as this. The article discussed the fact that we "apes" interpret such awesome images as "divine" activity or God "tinkering" in the Universe in the name of searching for deity based meaning to our lives. My belief is that God doesn't tinker on any level but He certainly allows us the ability for independent thinking and free will.

Although I am a faith based, extremely spiritual but quite imperfect being...definitely a "work in progress", I am also a futurist along the lines of a Ray Kurzweil (with a fraction of his intellect, however) or Peter Theil. I have had several theological debates with clergy and theologians on "singularity" and God as I believe that science and our logarithmic acceleration of knowledge is all part of the "Plan". Over the weekend I was talking with a like minded friend of mine about the journey and about missing any of the incredibly exciting things happening all around us. We concluded that we, in the spirit of Kurzweil's book, what to "Live Long Enough to Live Forever". If we do through medical advancement and are able to eventually "transcend biology" eventually moving toward "the singularity" what does that mean? Well, most of my friends in the Church talk about being "one with God..." We all have our own individual interpretations of God as well. One things that seems consistent across all religions is that "God is everywhere" and in everything, right? Than the singularity (all things truly connected) means...? Yeah, usually leaves the theologians speechless... :-)
In any event, I find the science behind the natural beauty and mystery of our infinite Universe direct evidence of intelligent design. What we fail to grasp is the moment of creation ("the Big Bang") and the mathematical driven outcomes from the deliberate "randomness" due to the sheer scale of our Universe. It's absolutely incredible to ponder. I just don't understand why certain people are so bent on disproving the case for a creator. Einstein, Strobel, Hawking and many others had/have a very different perspective.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Utility of Advanced Unified Communications...Really!

For the past several months I have been working as the EVP of Corporate Finance and "CFO" of Darkstrand, Inc. As the commercialization agent for the National LambdaRail there appeared to be limitless possibilities. Also as an early proponent of the "ASP" (Application Service Provider) which was declared "dead" by Information Week in 2002 and what is now known as SaaS (Software as a Service), Cloud Computing (a misnomer, really), etc., I was well aware that the limiting factor at this point for true commercialization and utility was no longer cost but was connectivity (bandwidth). The NLR network mitigates the bandwidth issue (if connected at 10Gbps) and is demonstrative of what the world will eventually come to know as personal high performance computing (or "PHPC"). The starting point for PHPC where HPC becomes "utility" will be in the office. This will come in the form of telepresence based unified communications. Take it a couple decades into the future and you have yourself walking into the Holodeck on the USS Starship Enterprise where Jean Luc Packard says, "Computer...I want to shoot sporting clays in Antigua"...and you are there!

With the promise of unlimited bandwidth and grid computing coupled with data center virtualization and 10Gb+ Ethernet between supercomputers - everything becomes possible... Now, back to basics and the beginning of the "(r)evolution". As I have been putting together strategic initiatives for Darkstrand and talking to investors it has become evident that will likely become evident in the office over the next few years through perfected unified communications coupled with integrated HD and then 4K telepresence.

You should also check out the iTV wall in Babylon A.D. - the movie is a little hokey but the technology it's just around the corner...

Instead of picking up a phone and dialing a number, you will point & click or use IVR (intelligent voice recognition) to engage a contact in your database (Skype on steroids with all the associated data captured and intelligently stored) and work collaboratively as though you were part of the same computer (remember Tron?). Before you even try to call a colleague, you will know his or her status (the colleague opting in with preferences, of course) including location, availability and perhaps even mood (wouldn't that be a welcomed forewarning?). With "mood" you will immediately know whether to call, email, text or video conference, etc. :-)

I love the promise and prospect of the future... The best part is that we are on a logarithmic path to getting there...

With several open source platforms(that's really the key - mass collaboration accelerating innovation...) downloadable for "FREE" and supported by large developer communities (M1's StarPound, BroadSoft [no quite as open :-)] and others) these capabilities are here now with forward thinkers/companies reaping the efficiencies and increased productivity of and through unified communications. Imagine a completely virtual office with cloud based intelligence helping you manage your business/personal relationships and recommending exactly how to interact based on circumstances. Anything from anywhere access and interacting seamlessly therein...VERY COOL...

If you want the ultimate history lesson and direct analogy or object example (applicable to numerous things including computing) you should read Nicholas Carr's "The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google". This book directly compared the way companies previously and are now looking at their IT infrastructure and computing resources. Many look to this book as a very influential example to even a manifesto for the inevitable migration for all of us to cloud computing on every level. Carr demonstrates exactly how technology changes industry by analysing the effect of power (originally starting with the dynamo and DC migrating to AC) on companies and how they migrated/innovated to survive. Eventually the power "industry" was formed and power became utility. It is no different with the eveolution from main frame >> PC >> networked PCs >> internal intranets georgraphically dispersed >> web services integration therein >> true cloud/grid computing eliminating internal IT infrastructure and data center (dynamo in power) >> 10Gbps fiber to the home and personal HPC >> and who knows... Imagine walking into your home and your personal cloud based advisor/monitor tells you, "I have monitored an anomaly in your biosystems indicating a possible aneurysm and have notified your personal health services provider" (all HIPAA compliant of course).

Or...you could really go for it and read Ray Kurzweil's, "The Singularity is Near - When Humans Transcend Biology"

Fasten you seatbelt...

All the best,


StomperNet Internet Marketing University - Going Natural 2.0

The first product announcement and launch from our internet marketing gurus at StomperNet for 2008 was - SMARTS (Social Media Marketing Training). From beginner tutorials to the most advanced internet marketing information, StomperNet is renown for the following disciplines: (1) Search Engine Marketing (SEM). StomperNet's expert faculty represents the very best Search Engine Optimization talent in the country. (2) Customer Usability, Testing and Analytics. How to deploy tracking mechanisms and analyze data in order to increase visitor value and ultimately, conversions and sales. (3) E-Store (E-Commerce) Creation.

Registration for StomperNet Going Natural 2.0 opened on January 11th and SOLD OUT IN ONE WEEK! StomperNet may be opening up later this year... So Stay Tuned! More...

If you missed out this time you can get overview information at the following links:

1) Social Media Marketing - StomperNet White Paper

2) SMARTS (Social Media Marketing - Free Video)

3) If you missed the"SMARTS" Coaching Program