Sunday, November 29, 2009

Randy Papadellis of Ocean Spray

In "The Boss" column of the November 29, 2009 New York Times Business Section, Randy Papadellis discusses his professional journey from working in his family business as a middle schooler to becoming CEO of Ocean Spray and all the stops along the way.

In discussing his decision to leave a more traditional role at Frito-Lay and take a position building a new marketing department at Cadbury's confections division, Papadellis states, "I knew Frito-Lay would be successful with or without me. I was intrigued with the idea that I was going to make a difference as an individual rather than through a process."

That decision to pursue the roles that would make a difference have certainly contributed to his success in leading the Ocean Spray organization for the past 5 years.

In an interview posted in Prendismo, Papadellis further expands on his thoughts on business and leadership. In this clip, he states, "I had to learn that quite often the best answer isn't the first answer, and business problems aren't solve sequentially."


Click here to see Randy Papadellis' entire interview in Prendismo.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Corner Office" with Drew Gilpin Faust

In a November 1, 2009 New York Times "Corner Office" piece entitled Leadership Without a Secret Code, Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust discussed the importance of open communication when in a position of leadership.

Faust states, "I spend a huge amount of time reaching out to people, either literally or digitally, and with alumni networks all over the world, so that I can connect. Leadership by walking around - that's a digital space now, it's a virtual space. An enormous amount of my job is listening to people, to understand where they are, how they see the world so that I can understand how to mobilize their understanding of themselves in service of the institutional priorities."

Her desire to reach out and continually understand the position of her stakeholders is very much in line with a comment she made a few years back in our collection when she stated, "Be ready to be surprised and take satisfaction from those surprises."



In a related discussion on communication with Cornell University president, David Skorton, he shared the importance of communicating openly and spending a greater portion of time observing rather than speaking. In this clip from a sit-down interview, he shares an amusing anecdote from a brief conversation with a Cornell student - whose input made him re-think the way he wrote his weekly newspaper column.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Forbes.com Showcases Prendismo Content

Beginning October 2009, Prendismo has agreed to provide select video content to Forbes.com to be showcased as part of their “Thought Leaders” initiative. Prendismo’s content will change monthly based on Forbes.com’s different editorial target areas.

Forbes is an American publishing and media company whose flagship publication is Forbes magazine. Forbes.com, launched in 1996, has become a trusted online resource for senior business executives by providing them real-time reporting as well as business analysis and commentary. Forbes.com and its associated sites are estimated to reach 27 million business people each month. By sourcing digital media content from Prendismo, Forbes.com is continuing to deepen the value provided to the business community while simultaneously offering more innovative digital formats that customers are demanding.

We are excited that Forbes.com is making the Prendismo collection available to its online consumers and we look forward to broadening our base of delivery by being featured on their site.

Click here to see an example of Prendismo content on "Thought Leaders".

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review: "Kidpreneurs"

When Adam Toren offered me the opportunity to read "Kidpreneurs", a book that he authored with his brother Matthew Toren, I jumped at the chance. As an entrepreneur - and a mother of two sons (ages 7 and 10), I have always struggled to explain to my children exactly what it is that I do. While they have met my co-workers and could tell you the names of my clients from overheard dinner table discussions, their best description of my job is that I am perpetually attached to my laptop and cell phone. Not exactly the parent they want to bring into class for "career day" when the other option is their father who is a pediatric cardiologist and can take them on tours of the hospital and show them pictures of their hearts.

Adam and Matthew Toren have compiled an easy to understand outline of how a child or young adult can start a business of their own. They walk the young reader through a simplified concept of what it means to be an entrepreneur and then provide guidance for how to come up with a business idea, target a customer base, price a product and provide customer service. The book even provides a streamlined outline of how to create a one-page business plan which would actually be a helpful exercise for many older entrepreneurs I know!

I was particularly impressed by the Torens' decision to discuss ethics and integrity. While their target audience of 7 to 13 year-olds probably don't keep an eye on the front page of the Wall Street Journal each day, most savvy kids are aware of the current economic climate and the more precocious ones might even understand the basics behind terms like "ponzi scheme" and "salary cap". Bringing up the importance of ethics in business is an important message to deliver to kids - especially those interested in building their own startup.

What was most meaningful to me as an entrepreneur though, was the final chapter that shared a list of the real challenges that entrepreneurs face. From coping with failure and rejection to having to learn from your mistakes, the Torens truly captured the everyday struggles of entrepreneurs. While delivering some hard realities, they also include positive messages like never giving up, keeping a positive attitude, learning to manage your cash flow and most importantly, having fun.

After I finished the book, I gave it to my 10-year old to read. His reaction was, "That is a great book if you want to start a business, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to be a doctor like Dad."

Somewhat disheartened that my business-bug had bypassed him, I asked why he had decided on that as a career path.

"Well, in a bad economy, you never have to worry about having customers as a doctor. People always get sick."

Smiling to myself after his reply, I thought maybe there was a "kidpreneur" in him after all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bill Bradley and Ken Dryden

On September 10, 2009, Cornell University's campus was honored with the presence of two legendary athletes-turned-politicians – Bill Bradley, Princeton ’65, and Ken Dryden, Cornell ’70. They appeared together on one stage to discuss “Lives on the Run: Sports, Service & Leadership”, an event that was moderated by Jeremy Schaap, Cornell ’91 and Emmy award-winning ESPN sportswriter and host.

Former Sen. Bradley (D., N.J.) and the Hon. Mr. Dryden, member of Canada’s Parliament for York Centre, Ontario, both exemplify the true meaning of scholar-athlete. In athletics, both were record-setting collegiate stars in basketball and hockey, respectively, who became Hall-of-Famers and members of championship teams. Their athletic accomplishments were only matched by their distinguished lawmaking careers in Washington, D.C., and Ottawa, respectively. In addition, both are successful authors and continue to embrace the opportunities that continue to unfold before them.

While both discussed their paths, successes and failures, there were two clips from the evening that seemed to capture the essence of what made each of these men the living legends that they are.

In this clip, Bill Bradley discusses his personal thoughts on integrity:


In this clip, Ken Dryden states the importance of living life to your own expectations.


To hear the entire session in an audio podcast, click here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Other Half

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof and former Times correspondent Sheryl WuDunn published an article on August 17,2009 entitled "The Women's Crusade". Published in the New York Times, this essay was adapted from their book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” which will be released in September.

The main point of the piece - and the book - is that one of the main challenges that the world faces with regards to poverty and peace is the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. Their belief is that the best way to fight this problem is through educating women and helping them unleash their potential as an economic force.

Per Kristof and WuDunn, "With education and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money and support their countries as well as their families. They represent perhaps the best hope for fighting global poverty."

Prendismo was fortunate to sit down for a one-on-one interview with Sheryl WuDunn. In this clip, she discusses why her new book "Half The Sky" is so meaningful.



"In this modern day, we still have the moral issue of not empowering women." - Sheryl WuDunn

To see all the clips from the interview with WuDunn, click here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Home Sweet Home For Entrepreneurs

The August 13, 2009 issue of BusinessWeek featured an article entitled, "Keeping the Faith in Silicon Valley".

The article shared the story behind Silicon Vallley-based incubator, Plug and Play Tech Center. Plug and Play was founded in 2006 when it moved into a 150,000-square-foot former research-and-development facility south of Palo Alto in Sunnyvale, CA.

Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play's CEO and co-founder, set up the incubator to provide startups in the area with everything they need to get up and running quickly: office space, data and telecommunications services, networking events, recruiting services, and most of all, contact with fellow startups and potential investors.

This past June, some 30 startups moved in, bringing the total to more than 220 companies that have collectively raised more than $700 million in funding since Plug and Play began in 2006.

Interested in learning more from the CEO himself?



"The surprise for me has been that there is a formula to this." - Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play Tech Center

Click here for more comments from Saeed Amidi

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shedding Light On: Failure

Here's a new video showcasing clips from Prendismo's collection on failure.


Interesting in watching more? Visit www.prendismo.com to access the entire Prendismo library!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paying for Unpaid Positions

Today, I found myself particularly interested in a New York Times article about the challenges of attaining internships. “Unpaid Work, but They Pay for Privilege” reveals a frustrating situation faced by many college students today. It’s no secret that it’s not easy to get to get a job. The competition is vicious as graduates are put up against peers as well as laid-off employees for paying and nonpaying positions. The fact is if your resume isn’t remarkable, your interview skills aren’t flawless, and you don’t “know the right people”, you’re out of luck. This is the very reason parents are willing to doll out thousands of dollars for services to help their children secure internships.

One organization the article discusses is the University of Dreams. This company is the "largest and most visible player" in the industry and advertises:

“a guaranteed internship placement, eight weeks of summer housing, five meals a week, seminars and tours around New York City for $7,999.”

The money goes to the University of Dreams and middlemen involved in the process. The University of Dreams places 1,600 student interns in 13 different cities. Their staff knows the ins and outs of the business and because of their strong working relationships they know who to call where. The article goes on to discuss how the process is equally attractive to parents who want to secure the success of their child’s future, and employers who have recognized the benefit of using these middlemen to save them a lot of “time and hassle”. In the following Prendismo clip, Marissa Goodman discusses the importance of networking in helping secure a job.


"...people today don't want to waste their time. They want someone to vouch for them and it's a lot easier to get your foot in the door if you have a solid kind of referral from someone who works at the company." - Marissa Goodman, Steve and Barry's

This process of paying for an unpaid position may not only be confusing to many people, but educators and students also argue that these programs put many families at a disadvantage. Not everyone is able to afford to buy his or her internship position. As Eric Normington of the University of Dreams states, “Students don’t have problems finding internships, students have problems getting internships.” Despite their fairness, this is why services such as those provided by the University of Dreams are in such high demand. Internships provide experiences outside the classroom and they give graduates a competitive advantage. In the following Prendismo clip Alissa Livingston discusses the importance of internships.

"Internships are critical both for you in figuring out where your interests lie or your skills lie, but also it's more important because it will make you more competitive." - Alissa Livingston, Merchandise Planner, Ralph Lauren

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Entrepreneurial Alphabet

Do you know your entrepreneurial ABC's? Check out this new video containing 26 words that describe what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It showcases clips and quotes from Prendismo's video library. Agree with our choices for each letter? Let me know at kjb@prendismo.com



If you want to watch more videos on business, leadership and entrepreneurship visit www.prendismo.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What's in a Name?

During these difficult economic times companies, with traditionally strong customer loyalty, are looking to take a new approach to marketing. More specifically they’re rebranding, giving their companies a fresh new look.

  • Aside from recently changing their logo, Pepsi launched a "Pecsi" campaign in Argentina, a name which it has been called there for years, due to differences in pronunciation.
  • Starbucks has decided to strip its brand name off remodeled stores, in order to create a “local personality”.
  • Pizza Hut, now serving more than just pizza, will be renamed “The Hut” (on boxes and select stores only)

Rebranding isn’t a new fad. As Paul Farhi of the Washington Post points out, "Cable TV networks have been doing this for years." (The Nashville Network became Spike TV, the SciFi channel was recently changed to SyFy, etc.)

According to an article in USA Today “RadioShack would like you to call it ‘The Shack’” the 88-year-old electronics company is looking to reintroduce itself so as to attract more tech-savvy customers. RadioShack's advertising initiative will focus on the company’s “knowledgeable sales staff and wireless products.”

The article goes on to discuss the dangers as well as benefits of rebranding.

“But Bishop warns of possible trouble. When Federal Express changed its name to FedEx, he says, ‘FedEx had no other meaning than Federal Express. With The Shack, there is a contrived familiarity that I'm not sure is helpful.’ ”

Branding is extremely important and as John Bello, CEO of SoBe Beverage Company said, “If you don’t go out there and make yourself known, your brand will die on the shelf because nobody is going to love you the way you love yourself.” In the following clips from Prendismo's Brand and Branding Collection various entrepreneurs and business people share their thoughts on branding.


"Bad branding to me is something that does not convey the message immediately and clearly." - Barbara Lang, Founder, RTR Ideas





"I think the more creativity you give people and the more ownership you give them of design, the more energy you're going to get around that." -Bill Shore, Founder, Share Our Strength

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shedding Light On: Cash Flow

This video post showcases some of Prendismo's cash flow and cash management collection...


If you're interested in viewing more clips on cash flow check out www.prendismo.com
You can also access the entire Prendismo library for videos on business, leadership and entrepreneurship!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shedding Light On: Strategies for Women in Business

Here's a mini-video that showcases some of Prendismo's collection on women in business...


Interested in watching more? Visit www.prendismo.com to access our entire library!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shedding Light On: Social Entrepreneurship

Here's a new video showcasing clips on social entrepreneurship. The speakers include Muhammad Yunus, Jessica Flannery and more! Their organizations are inspirational and have set the bar for social change.



Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Mancession" Speaks for Itself

In a recent Newsweek article, "What Mancession?"issues faced by both genders in today's economy are revealed.  As the article states,the term “Mancession” was coined by an economics professor this spring in an attempt to describe the growing gap between male and female unemployment.

“By mid-July, several media outlets from Foreign Policy took the term one step further, calling it the death of the macho, or the he-cession. If you Google mancession now, it'll turn up 13,500 hits.”

The article recognizes the unemployment gap to be the largest since World War II.  It’s true that men have been hurt by the recession, but as the article points out women have suffered as well.  Throughout the article author Nancy Cook discusses the differences between men and women in the workforce.  Specifically,  Cook discusses how women have a tendency to choose less risky careers, have fewer benefits and lack retirement savings plans or pensions.  Women’s wages are still lower than that of their male counterparts and some hope that the recession will force people to “rethink paid employment.”

Cook goes on to tell the story of Greg Jimmie, a vice president at a medical manufacturing company, who lost his job in late December.  Although Jimmie's wife has a stable job as a cardiovascular nurse she receives a significantly lower income than Jimmie did.  As a result the family has had to cut back on all unnecessary expenses.  Jimmie has also taken over most of the housework.  The shift from a stay-at-home mom to a "token dad" isn't easy, but appears to be growing more and more common.

In the following Prendismo clip Jean Hill discusses social norms in corporate America and decisions commonly faced by both men and women. 


"I think you actually need another generation where the kids have seen Mommy working because Mommy wants to work."  - Jean Hill Executive Director, Morgan Stanley

It's interesting how gender inequality issues differ internationally.  In the United States as the media focuses on the recession and issues of unequal pay or lack of benefits other parts of the world haven't even reached that level.  In the following clip Sheryl WuDunn discusses gender inequality in developing countries.  It really makes one stop and think about how far our society has come and how far others still have to go.



"In the rest of the developing world it's [gender inequality] a matter of life and death." - Sheryl WuDunn, Trustee, Cornell University

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shedding Light On: Business Partnerships

Here's a video showcasing clips on the characteristics of a strong business partnership...



Interested in watching more?  Visit www.prendismo.com to access the entire Prendismo collection.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kudos to ProQuest Entrepreneurship

The 2009 ALA (American Library Association) Conference kicks off July 9th in Chicago - and is attended by close to 20,000 librarians, educators, writers, publishers and special guests.

While we won't be at the conference this year, we did want to take a moment to spotlight a recent Library Journal article, where the new ProQuest Entrepreneurship product was cited as a "Best Reference" product for 2008 in the area of Business and Economics. ProQuest Entrepreneurship provides an extensive collection of multimedia resources aimed both at academicians and practitioners investigating start-ups and the growth of businesses.

The most exciting part of the product (from our perspective) is that Prendismo content is a core part of the multimedia component. We are very pleased to be part of such a well received product!

So if you are at the ALA conference and run into some ProQuest folks (at Booth 2826), ask about this great new resource! Or just pat them on the back and buy them a beer!

Shedding Light On: Bootstrapping

Here's a new video post highlighting some of Prendismo's clips on bootstrapping.



Interested in watching more? Visit www.prendismo.com to access the entire Prendismo library!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Levi's Calls on Gen Y to "Go Forth" (and buy jeans)...

Advertising has drastically evolved over the past few years.  Moving from print to digital, dealing with a widespread recession, and of course pitching to a completely different generation have all influenced the way companies choose to reach out to consumers. 

One company that refuses to get left behind is Levi Strauss & Company.  The Levi brand, known for it “501 blues” and “501 U.S.A.” campaigns is once again reaching out to the next generation.  Their target market:  Gen Y males ages 18-34.  In a recent New York Times article, “Levi’s Courts the Young With a Hopeful Call” Levi Strauss & Company’s new campaign “Go forth” is revealed and dissected.

The new campaign will attempt to reach out to consumers from every angle.  Commercials will be on television, online, and in movie theaters.  They will also use print advertisements as well as transit signs and posters.  Finally, they will utilize the power of social media sites by placing “Go Forth” advertisements on Facebook.

In the campaign Levi hopes to rally the patriotic “we can do anything” spirit of Gen Y and combine that with their brand name to appeal to the new consumer market.  As the article states Levi's goal is to deliver “the authenticity, and the price, the customer wants.”  All while keeping in mind that “A brand is worth what you pay for it.”

It is apparent that Gen Y has greatly changed the consumer market.  Levi’s new campaign is a direct example of that.  In the following Prendismo clip Elliott Garlock discusses how companies are adjusting for Gen Y's attitude.


"We're innovative.  We're efficient.  We don't believe that your performance is measured by how early you come into the office and how late you leave." - Elliott Garlock, Assistant Brand Manager, Procter & Gamble

The article places emphasis on Levi as a brand name.  Levi is a well-known trusted product and the company needs to leverage that name in their advertising.  In the following Prendismo clip, Kenneth Shields discusses the importance of making your brand relevant to consumers.




"First moment of truth is when it's purchased, second moment of truth is when it's used." - Kenneth Shields, Director, Procter & Gamble

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shedding Light On: Leadership

So we are trying something a bit different...

Instead of writing one of our usual blog posts, we've created a short video highlighting great clips from Prendismo's leadership collection.

Hope you enjoy!



Interested in watching more? Visit www.prendismo.com to access the entire Prendismo library!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Business Plan Faux Pas

So you want to start a business? Well now’s the time to do it. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, an economic downturn provides ideal conditions for becoming an entrepreneur. Low costs, talented individuals and prospective clients are abundant and available. Now all you need is an idea, a product, a team, and…a business plan. Unfortunately, poorly written business plans can make or break your entrepreneurial dream.

In his article, “Why Business Plans Don’t Deliver”, John W. Mullins reveals the five most common flaws found in business plans. Not only does Mullins accurately describe the flaws, he provides suggestions that will prevent business plans from facing a quick scan and toss into the recycling bin.

The first mistake addressed in the article, Mullins refers to as the "Here I Am Never Mind The Problem" flaw.

“In this kind of plan, the writer is smitten with the elegance of his or her technology. The plan begins not with the identification of a customer problem to resolve, but with a detailed explanation of how the technology works, why it is cutting-edge or state-of-the-art, and how it is better, faster and cheaper than current solutions.”

Just this weekend I told my dad I wanted to start a business. He began questioning me, asking what it was I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it and how my business was going to solve a problem. As I stuttered an unintelligible response he cautioned me with these words: “Don’t start a business just to say you did. You need to be passionate about it and you need to have a product that will solve a problem.” Of course he was right. Too many companies fail, because they are absorbed in the amazingly innovative technology they have. However, if they are unable to apply the technology so it has consumer appeal they won't be successful.

Mullins continues to explore the four other flaws and reveals many business plan "dos" and "don'ts". In the following Prendismo clips various speakers discuss the importance of a business plan and how a successful plan should be written. Essentially, a good business plan must be clear, clean, concise, and realistic.


"But, the first thing you look at is that executive summary, if that doesn't catch the eye and if that doesn't sell the story I don't go any further." - Richard Saltz, Principal, Business Innovative Strategies, Int.



"You rarely hit what you don't aim at." - Sharon Dauk, Founder, Dauk/Wagner Investments


"Sell the deal - that's probably as much as I'm going to read." - Anita Stephens, General Partner, Opportunity Capital Partners

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Great Mom Debate

“Should I stay or should I go?” is a question asked by nearly every working mother. In a Forbes article this week, Time Off Debate: Infancy Vs. The Teen Years author Jenna Goudreau discusses the timeless struggle of balancing both professional and personal lives as a mother.

As the daughter of two working parents, I know first hand that there are pros and cons to taking on both a career and a family. Today, some women, like Nancy Shenker, are taking an alternative approach and staying home with their children while they are teens instead of the more traditional approach of staying home with infants. Shenker, founder and CEO of theONswitch, has two children now 21 and 17. While there isn’t much research on the topic, some experts argue that it is more important to be with your children when they are going through the “rocky years of young adulthood.” The article proceeds to go through different age groups, discussing the pros and cons of working during those time periods, as well as the impact it can have on both the mother and child.

Interestingly, many moms such as Shenker, are turning towards entrepreneurship to provide more career flexibility. “Entrepreneurship has afforded me the ability to be more flexible with my schedule and to be around for times in the girls’ lives that truly matter,” Shenker said.

Ultimately, the article poses the following questions: How can I have both a family and a career? How can I be a successful businesswoman and a good mother? What is the perfect balance? In Prendismo’s video collection there are many clips of women discussing how they chose to balance their career and family. The following video clips share the personal struggles some women have had to face in learning to maintain this balance.


"In managing this work/family balance, the other thing I think you need to really recognize is that guilt sits forever on this shoulder." - Christine DeVita, President, Wallace Foundation


"I love my work, and I love my family, so there's a lot of time shifting and blending and integrating the two." - Linda Mason, Chairman, Bright Horizons


"Work is life, life is work." - Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Microfinance Loans Meet Higher Education...

These days, loans are not easy to come by. In a New York Times article, “I’m Going to Harvard. Will You Sponsor Me?” writer Allen Salkin tells of three Harvard graduates, Joshua Kushner, Nimay Mehta and Tanug Parikh who set out to minimize the financial burden faced by Harvard students through their development of a direct donor-to-student loan site called Unithrive. Unithrive provides interest free loans, donated by generous alumni, to “cash-strapped” students. Inspired by the Kiva.org model, Unithrive provides student photographs and biographies to donors who can search for and match up with a student, making the donation process more personal and rewarding. (Kiva is a person-to-person micro-lending website, that allows individuals to lend to entrepreneurs around the world, specifically in developing countries.)

According to the article, Unithrive, like Kiva, uses crowd-financing. In other words, multiple lenders are pooled together to meet an individual’s total request, therefore donating amounts as small as $50 up to the full amount. Currently Unithrive has a maximum request of $2,000, but they are hoping to raise this maximum in the future.

The article reveals justified skepticism about the success of Unithrive’s repayment rate. Kiva’s repayment rate is high because farmers in developing countries don’t have many other credit options. How true is this for Harvard graduates?

Interestingly, Unithrive’s loans are not purely for academics. One student, Ricky Kuperman wanted a loan so he could visit Japan, the birthplace of karate, in the summer of 2010. Kuperman told his interviewer that the loan would allow him to “stay in shape and make getting cast in films or in dance projects that much more possible.” He also noted that if he did not get the loan he would have to work longer next summer or during the academic year. Whether or not donors will be as likely to spend money on foreign excursions as they would towards a students tuition is unclear, but Unithrive is willing to provide the opportunity for needs inside and outside the classroom.

In a Prendismo lecture series, Kiva co-founder, Jessica Flannery discusses her company and explains more about micro financing and how Kiva is expanding internationally in many developing nations. In the following clip, Flannery describes how a loan via Kiva goes directly to an entrepreneur.


"These are real individuals, not marketing material." - Jessica Flannery, Co-Founder, Kiva


In the next clip Flannery talks about why Kiva works. This is true for Unithrive as well. Both organizations are providing lenders and borrowers with a personal experience and this drives people to these organizations.



"We've watched and people who have no identity, no record of identity or paperwork get Kiva because the loan officer explains it to them." - Jessica Flannery, Co-Founder, Kiva

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stanford Breeds Social Entrepreneurs

A recent Business Week article, “A Bull Market in Social Entrepreneurs” discusses students’ efforts to create businesses that will leave a positive mark on the world. The article gives hope to 2009 graduates. While it isn't financial hope, the article provides hope that Gen Y can do something positive in a rather unsettling time.

The article tells the story of 22 year old Stanford graduate, Josh Nesbit, founder of Frontline SMS: Medic, a company that develops communication systems in rural areas with the goal of promoting health. This philanthropic start-up’s focus is “less making money and more doing good.” Frontline SMS: Medic is a low budget company primarily run by volunteers and students. Even though they may not be making millions, they’re making a difference. The article explains how the economic downturn is actually providing an opportunity to students, freeing them to use brainpower and spur creativity. Startups that deliver results will grab attention.

In the following Prendismo clip, Linda Mason, Chairman of Bright Horizons tells students to “really follow your heart and your passions,” This is exactly what Stanford students are doing. They are becoming social entrepreneurs, combining intellect and their passion to help others in order to create an innovative and sustainable business.



"There's some real value in having some wandering time, to really explore different skills, different areas, to broaden your vistas." - Linda Mason, Chairman, Bright Horizons

Fortunately for philanthropic start-ups, the trend is towards more funding for companies looking to “save the world.” In the following Prendismo clip, Khanjan Mehta a Senior Research Associate at Pennsylvania State University, discusses how funding for his Mashavu Project was provided. The Mashavu Project is a similar project to Frontline SMS: Medic.


"We got some seed funding to get started and get validation, but the Sustainable Vision program really provides us the funding that we need to get to that next level..." - Khanjan Mehta, Senior Research Associate, Pennsylvania State University

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Social Networking, A Small Business Promotor

Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are revealed to be “fast, free and efficient” tools for small businesses looking for turn around in this economic slump. In a recent New York Times article, "Small Businesses Are Taking Tentative Steps Towards Online Networking" the opportunities presented by such social networking sites are revealed and explored.

Mickey Meece's article discusses a start up business from Vermont called Brighter Planet that has begun to incorporate social networking into their business model. Brighter Planet has sponsored numerous online events through Facebook and Twitter, which have helped broaden their customer base and develop relationships. Brighter Planet is further looking to improve their online presence by creating a customer interactive site by way of a Web application where visitors can calculate the status of their carbon footprint.

Currently 260,000 business in North America use online social networking as a tool to promote their business. The online marketing industry is rapidly growing and according to the article, small businesses had better consider participating in this virtual marketing world.

Below are two clips from an interview with Willy Franzen from Prendismo’s 10GoodMinutes podcast series, which further expand upon the use of Facebook and Twitter as social networking tools.



"I actually worked with some readers in my web site to use Facebook advertising model to reach employers." - Willy Franzen, Founder, One Day, One Job



"All of a sudden you have a network of even thousands of people who are seeing interesting things and might be able to help you with your career or anything that you need." - Willy Franzen, Founder, One Day, One Job

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If You Can't Take The Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

The lead article in this Sunday, May 17, 2009 New York Times Business section was entitled "From Frisée to Finance, It Has to Be Perfect". The article shared some of the challenges faced by famous chef and restauranteur Daniel Boulud as he works to open a new restaurant that will extend his gourmet brand from the high end to the affordable.

The article discusses many challenges in the marketplace - from the tough economy to handling debt in restaurant ownership. One amusing anecdote was the forensic accounting that needed to take place to determine why bad margins existed at one of Boulud's venues:

“A few years ago, at Cafe Boulud, we couldn’t figure out why margins were so bad month after month,” says Lili Lynton, one of Mr. Boulud’s two partners. “Even the chef was baffled. We looked at everything and we finally realized — it was this reduction sauce, a really expensive reduction sauce, with truffles and mushrooms, which was in a bunch of dishes. Who would have thought? We figured it was the fish or the chicken or the meat. It was like a game of Clue, and the culprit was the gravy.”
Prendismo's collection includes a specific topic on this issue which is called Maitre D'emons - Challenges of Being a Restaurant Entrepreneur We've included a couple of our favorite war stories on handling cash flow in the hospitality industry below:


"One of the keys to operating a restaurant and any business really, but a restaurant especially, is keeping track of what is coming in and what is going out the back door." - Kurt Zitzner, Founder, Mugzee's


"I basically say you have a choice you can go into the restaurant business or you can take that cash and burn it." - John Metz, Chairman & CEO, RREMC, Ltd


"So within our third delivery, our foods started showing up either wrong products, it started showing up four pounds missing out of a 40 pound case, then six pounds missing, then ten pounds missing..." - Kurt Zitzner, Founder, Mugzee's

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Power Struggles in Marriages

In an article in the Spring 2009 edition of "Forbes Woman", authors Helaine Olen and Kiri Blakeley share an article about how couples are negotiating power in their marriages entitled My Turn, Your Turn.

The assumption that the woman in the relationship will sacrifice her aspirations for the benefit of the man's career is no longer a given. According to the article, 26% of wives earned more than their husbands in 2006 which was up from 22% in 1999. Though, the question of who is bringing home more bacon is only one item in the power struggle. Which partner handles more of the household chores, child responsibilities and "frying the bacon in the pan" are part of the new power struggle as well.

Per the article, the most successful couples have learned to "view themselves not as individuals in opposition but as partners in the same enterprise...working toward the goal of mutual fulfillment."

This issue has been one debated by both men and women continually over the pat ten years that we have been capturing their stories. Below, we feature some clips from the collection where entrepreneurs and business leaders discuss the impact of personal relationships in professional success.


"Who you marry has such a profound effect on the choices you get to make and the work life balance issues that you deal with." -Patricia Warner, President, Global-eze Inc


"You've got to be able to communicate with each other." - Debbie Mace, Hotel Architect



"The sacrifices that are a part of that career have to be something that the spouse buys into." - James Dicke, Chairman and CEO, Crown Equipment Corporation

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life Is A Sales Call

There was a wonderful piece by Ben Stein in the Sunday, April 26, 2009 edition of the New York Times entitled "Attention Must Still Be Paid"

In the article, Stein reminisces about his brief experience as a shoe salesman and his appreciation for those who can sell well. He states, "Sales — when done right — is more than a job. It is an art."

For many who think that they aren't good at sales or would chose a career that didn't involve selling, Stein offers, "Lawyers and doctors and dentists and politicians and accountants and actors — all of us sell something, every day and every time we meet someone."

The truth is that selling - and selling well - is one of the biggest challenges that one will face in life. Whether it is selling a product, selling an idea or selling yourself, we all become salespeople. Learning how to do it well is a skill that most of us will work on throughout our professional careers.

The topics of sales and selling are popular ones at Prendismo. It seems people are always trying to polish up their understanding of the process or gain more insight in how to become more effective. Below, I've shared some clips on the topic of Sales. If you are interested in seeing more, check out Prendismo's collection of clips on sales.


"In American business, and in business anywhere, nothing happens until something gets sold." - Kathy Koultourides, Aramark


"If you want to really make a mark in whatever industry you're in, I would really recommend that you try to get sales experience." - Jeff Parker, Founder and CEO, CCBN.com


"When a customer says no, that's when the selling begins." - Norb Mayrhofer, General Manager, Procter & Gamble

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making the Leap To The Nonprofit World

A recent New York Times article from Sunday, April 19, 2009 entitled "So You Want To Work For A Nonprofit?" discussed how Kip Schaefer made the jump from the profit world of Bear Stearns to his new job as director of institutional business development at the National Philanthropic Trust.

As the scene in the financial services market changes, many young professionals are questioning their career direction and considering the world of nonprofits. A March 14, 2009 article in the Boston Globe states,

"At elite universities such as Harvard, where about half the graduating class would enter finance and consulting in years past, many students say they feel liberated to consider alternative career paths, crediting not only the tanking economy but also President Obama's call for public service."

Experts we have captured in Prendismo who are involved in the nonprofit sector have weighed in on this issue...

According to Russ Finkelstein of Action Without Borders, "there has probably never been a better time to work in the nonprofit sector."


Ilene Lang, President of Catalyst, states, "everyday that I have the chance to make a difference to people and I have a chance to help others."


Finally, Jessica Flannery, co-founder of microfinance organization Kiva, states that all organizations can grow and learn from each other regardless of being for-profit or nonprofit.


In the end, it may be most important to approach your career - be it in the profit or nonprofit sector - the way that Kip Schaefer has...by aligning "your intuitive spirit with your career goals".

Want more clips on this topic? See the "So You Want To Work At A Not-For-Profit?" collection of clips at Prendismo

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Epic Failure?

On April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. This "indestructible" ship was making its first voyage across the Atlantic and ended up on the ocean floor after sinking in less than two hours...leaving more than 1,500 people to drown in the 30-degree water.

Titanic's sister ship, the Brittanic, sank in 1915 after being torpedoed. Just like the Titanic, it sank in less than two hours. Fortunately, only 26 people died because immediately after the Titanic disaster, regulations were changed so that there was a lifeboat seat for every passenger.

The Titanic was a monumental failure - but the lessons learned ended up saving lives in future ocean crossings. On a much smaller scale, the same can be said about the failures that entrepreneurs contend with on a daily basis. The missteps and mistakes that happen early in the startup often provide the experience needed to create a stronger enterprise down the road.

Here are some favorite quotes on the topic of failure from the Prendismo collection:


"Every great success is a combination of learnings that you had from failing." - Bob Alter, Chairman of Sunstone Hotel Investors


"That's just how entrepreneurs think - they don't think of failure as the end, they think of it as a new beginning." - Kurt Zitzner, Founder of Mugzees


"When you fail, where you pick yourself up from is a lot further ahead than the last time." - Tom Szaky, Founder of TerraCycle

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Embracing Your Inner Entrepreneur

An article from March 13, 2009 in the New York Times states:

"Economists say that when the economy takes a dive, it is common for people to turn to their inner entrepreneur to try to make their own work. But they say that it takes months for that mentality to sink in, and that this is about the time in the economic cycle when it really starts to happen — when the formerly employed realize that traditional job searches are not working, and that they are running out of time and money."

Are you in the process of channeling your inner entrepreneur?

Prendismo has some candid clips that capture the excitement and often the angst that surround the decision to take the leap and embrace the risk of launching a startup.

Laura Colosi, co-founder of educational toy company, ThinkWorks shares that for her, risk of a startup is both scary and motivational.



Young social entrepreneur Tom Szaky shares his personal struggle in making the decision to drop out of school at Princeton to pursue his business idea...and how that decision went over with his parents...



Finally, young entrepreneur James Ioannidis shares his decision to walk away from a job offer at Microsoft to become Chief Technology Officer at Course Hero.



While each of these entrepreneurs came from different life experiences prior to "making the leap", it is clear that they all faced some uncertainty about their decisions. Having no employment opportunities can certainly force the hand of anyone considering a startup...but regardless of the reason for taking the leap, the sense of risk and excitement is common!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reid Hoffman on Charile Rose

Entrepreneur, angel investor and founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, appeared on Charlie Rose on March 4, 2009. The interview covered discussion of social networking, the future of technology, status of the economy and his company LinkedIn. One of the best parts of the segment though was Hoffman's thoughts on entrepreneurship.

He stated that whether you are a small business owner or a professional who is moving from job to job every two years, perpetually wondering and planning how your career or business will progress creates a situation in which, "every individual is now an entrepreneur, whether they recognize it or not"



Along those lines, in a recent phone interview, young entrepreneur Willy Franzen discussed how he has leveraged social networking tools such as Twitter to help in building his professional network and his business. Apparently, Hoffman's thoughts are completely on target!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Topic of the Day: Challenges of Entrepreneurship

I wasn't able to get a blog post out on Friday because I was dealing with the many balls an entrepreneur has to juggle. Finding a way to balance operations, strategy, fund raising and business development is a huge challenge - and it made me think that a good topic to showcase would be clips on the challenges that face entrepreneurs.

I've included some of my favorite clips on this topic below:

"Certainly the first few years of the business were going from one near-death experience to another." - Linda Mason, founder of Bright Horizons



"If you are passionate about what you are doing, you do not let the setbacks set you back as much." - Seth Goldman, CEO of HonestTea




"The isolation of being an entrepreneur is something you also have to manage." - Patricia Warner, founder of Global-eze



"I think I'm working harder now than I think I ever worked in my life." - Paul Breitenback, CEO of Quickstore24 Systems

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Topic of the Day: Enthusiasm


"Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success." - Dale Carnegie


Enthusiasm is critical to being successful in business - and even more critical to being successful as an entrepreneur.

David Eson is the founder and owner of Isidore Foods which coordinates the purchasing, packaging and delivery of orders and established buying relationships with 40 local farms and businesses in the Pittsburgh area. In the clip that I chose to showcase enthusiasm, Eson discusses the passion that drove him to start and grow his own business. He states, "There's got to be a passion in your belly or in your heart or in your mind that you want to make a change, and you've got to seize the opportunity to do that. It's amazing what you can do."



That power of enthusiasm is not only limited to entrepreneurs getting a startup off the ground. According to Susan Youngblood, an HR Manager at IBM, there is incredible change that can happen when people bring an enthusiastic attitude to the corporate environment.




It is tough to keep that persistent enthusiasm going - especially in today's economy - but those who can will be the success stories of tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Topic of the Day: Creativity

While on Twitter today, I saw a bunch of folks that I follow discussing the refreshing talk that Barry Schwartz gave at TED on the topic of "practical wisdom". In his 20 minute presentation, Schwartz makes the claim that the bureaucracy of rules and incentives that we have created are actually preventing us from being more innovative and productive.



What we need is the practical wisdom of individuals and small teams doing the right things for the right reasons. This is the same sentiment shared by Scott Belsky, founder and editor of Behance. In the clip below, Belsky expresses surprise that even in large organizations with heavy layers of bureaucracy, creative and transformative change can often come down to "just a few people in a room with an idea and the commitment to make it happen".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Topic of the Day: Failure

Out of all the clips in the Prendismo collection, the ones that discuss failure are some of my favorites. While I am in awe of (and sometimes amused by) the mistakes from which various entrepreneurs have learned and recovered, I am also encouraged and inspired to become better at my own personal risk taking and realize that falling on my face isn't the end of the world.

In thinking about which clips to choose, I reflected on a quote from Colin Powell, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

In light of that, I’ve selected two clips to showcase. The first clip is of PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi who states, “If you don't make mistakes...if you don't have failures...you'll never learn.”



The second clip I chose is of Matt Russo, Managing Director at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. I love this clip because he shares a real story illustrating that even in the darkest hour, he still tries to remain positive. This persistence, optimism AND ability to learn from his failures are undoubtedly what enabled him to be the successful entrepreneur he is today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Topic of the Day - Courage

As I was listening to President Obama’s address to the Nation last night, I was struck by the fact that he mentioned the word “entrepreneur” three times in his speech.

It is true – at least in my mind – that entrepreneurship is what has built America - and it is that level of creative, disruptive and innovative thinking that will launch the country and the world out of the current downward economic spiral we face.

In reflecting on that speech, the importance of entrepreneurship to the American economy and considering the topic I wanted to choose for today's blog, I remembered a quote by Peter Drucker: "Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."

So today’s topic is “courage”.

I picked two clips to showcase. The first is from a lecture by Danny Stein, a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as President of JDS Capital, an investment firm based in New York. He shares a anecdote about the seemingly outlandish and courageous decision that Walt Disney made to produce his first animated film.




The second clip is from an interview we added to the collection yesterday. Anne Loehr has owned and managed eco-friendly hotels and safari companies in Kenya for over 15 years. She is also a Partner in Riverstone Endeavors which provides leadership, team and individual coaching to leading businesses around the world.



"...you have a vision and you know it is going to impact the world and it is going to help people in some way by giving him jobs, by giving an opportunities, a new product..."

Let's hope that all individuals with visions to change the world also have the courage to move forward with their decisions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Topic of the Day - Bootstrapping

In business, the term "bootstrapping" means that one is able to start a business without external help or capital. The initial funding comes from the entrepreneur and costs are carefully controlled as the organization is "pulled up by its own bootstraps".

In the current economic environment, bootstrapping is becoming a more common reality. But is that a bad thing? According to many entrepreneurs, bootstrapping is the BEST way to start a business

Listen to Scott Blackwell, founder of Immaculate Baking Company as he shares the following insight:

"If I'd had funding from day one... if somebody had given me 3 million dollars and said, 'Start your company,' I would have blown the 3 million dollars on a completely different direction and probably not gotten to the real soul of it."




Click here to see more clips where entrepreneurs discuss the advantages and challenges of Bootstrapping.

You can also listen/download a 7-minute podcast at Prendismo entitled Bootstrapping Builds a Better Business

Friday, February 20, 2009

Topic of the Day - Innovation

Two things on my mind today...

First, after listening to NPR, reading the papers, following Twitter updates...it seems as though no one is talking about anything positive anymore. Sure, the stock market is in disarray and the economy is nearing "great depression" status...but we live in a country that doesn't count you out if you fail. The expectation is that you will stand back up and keep trying. It is that determination and acceptance that has made the US such an incredible source of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Second, I have been struggling with how to best convey all of the incredible content stored in the almost 13,000 clips in Prendismo. I realized that one of the uses of this blog should be to showcase some of my favorite clips (yes, I have actually listened to ALL of the clips in the collection) to enable you to understand and learn from the passion, energy and enthusiasm of the 600+ entrepreneurs and business leaders we have interviewed.

So starting today, I will pick a few topics each week...and pull some of my favorite clips from each topic to share.

Thought I would start today with a clip from the topic "Innovation". In this clip, John Bello, co-founder of South Beach Beverage Company (SoBe), discusses how entrepreneurs are the true innovators in America and that the best innovation often comes from having nothing.



Steve Leveen, CEO and co-founder of Levenger has a great clip on the topic too. Following Bello's thought, Leveen states that most innovation in business happens when people and organizations "don't have the resources they ought to have."



Given the current state of the economy, seems like the country is ripe for some innovation!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome!

Welcome to the Prendismo blog!

Many have asked, "What does 'Prendismo' mean and how did you come up with the name?"

The name Prendismo (pronounced "pren-deez-mo") is our own creation. It was inspired from the word 'entrePRENeur" and the Spanish phrase "PRENDer la luz" ("turn on the light"). We liked combining the "PREND" with the "ISMO" because it expressed our desire for people to learn that there "IS MOre" behind every professional journey than meets the eye.

Our website has used digital media to capture the passion, stories, failures and dreams of over 600 entrepreneurs and business experts. Their stories are transcribed and broken down into 2 minute video clips. Our goal is that their knowledge can be used by others to shed light on entrepreneurship and business.

Browse the collection by topic, check out our list of podcasts or enjoy our highest rated clips to get a feel for what the collection has to offer.