New for 2015: America's Pitch Tank

Since July, I've been planning a promotion I can finally talk about. More media coming soon but for now...

I've been in the audience of pitch events to investors and I've even been a competitor on stage. Now I will be a judge for a new national promotion called America's Pitch Tank, an event you can bring to your city featuring Kevin Harrington and me.

You've seen Kevin on Shark Tank on ABC and CNBC. He's the inventor of the infomercial and was the original Shark Tank investor in seasons 1 and 2. He’s vetted more than fifty thousand ideas in his 30-year career… cranked out five hundred products and billions in sales

We have our first America's Pitch Tank event on May 14th (Small Business Week) in Appleton, Wisconsin in partnership with Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh's Alta Resources Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. 2 local entrepreneurs/investors will join Kevin and me on stage to evaluate pitches, products and businesses. The front row of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will be filled with venture capitalists and investors from Wisconsin and beyond.

America's Pitch Tank is designed especially for chambers of commerce, universities, community foundations, innovation/entrepreneurship centers and economic development corporations. Contact me if you're interested in bringing this promotion to your city. 

The Best Speaker Introduction Ever

Very early in my speaking career, I was saying yes to every speaking opportunity. I had a J-O-B in marketing at the chamber of commerce, a great place to make a difference in the world -- or at least your own town. 

Saying yes to every speaking engagement puts you in some pretty funny situations. 

Read more: The Best Speaker Introduction Ever

Storytelling in the digital age means learning video production

Business owners shouldn't master everything, but you should know enough to be able to ask the right questions and direct your team on what you want. Derek Sivers believes you shouldn't have to build your own website, but you're a better boss and leader if you know how. 

These days, if you've got your hands in your marketing, this means being directly involved in the storytelling. And storytelling in a digital age means knowing a thing or two about video production. I've put learning video production and studio work into my own job description for the last 10 years. Having produced commercials, directed subjects on camera, written campaigns and the whole deal, it's fun to flex that muscle from to time to time. 

Read more: Storytelling in the digital age means learning video production

Innovative alignment versus institutional preservation

Why is it Starbucks instead of Maxwell House? Why is it an iPod instead of a Walkman? Why is it LinkedIn instead of the Chamber of Commerce? 

If the mission of Rosetta Stone is to teach people a new language, why haven't they offered to a six-month subscription to every non-English speaking household in America for free? 

Read more: Innovative alignment versus institutional preservation

Gifts given and received

I was having lunch with Chris Nordyke last Thursday when I asked a question I often ask people to whom I could listen for hours: "When is your book coming out?" He wondered out loud what the next steps would be, so I rattled some off as if I had written a thousand books. 

That afternoon, I called my friend Chris McLaran. I had been thinking a lot about Chris for the whole month of March. The first anniversary of Mike McLaran's passing would soon be here. I needed a healthy distraction, and I wondered if Chris did too. Friday morning, Chris and I hatched an idea that I had been sitting on all month, too afraid to say it aloud. 

Today, I celebrate the longest run of my life.

Read more: Gifts given and received