New Blog Site

For those of you of whom used to follow the Weekly StartUp, I am excited to let you know that I now have another place for you to go to see the ramblings. jedejames.wordpress.com. On here, I will place all the articles, written by me, that are published by various sites and magazines. We’ll also include a few blog posts from here and there. It is here that I hope to include you on the journey, and to allow you to come to one place to see the work, rather than by having to travel through the abyss as i tweet out the article url’s on twitter.

Embarking on a New Beginning

With graduation day fresh on many people’s minds this week, I want to embark on new beginnings. I had the opportunity to go back to Ole Miss last weekend to see my brother graduate. While there, memories came back of my own graduation that took place two years ago [Was it really that long ago?].  That day, as I remember it, was met with such bittersweet excitement. So many of us had plans for right after graduation, and were extremely excited about our new lives. But the years of memories that had been created on those hallowed grounds in Oxford were some that we knew we would look back on as the best years of our lives.

It’s now two years from graduation day, and the friends I spent my days and nights with in college have moved to all parts of the world. Our communications, which used to be just dropping in at each other’s homes, have narrowed down to mostly GroupMe conversations. Some of us are still in Oxford, in Law School or at South Depot.  Some are in Jackson, in Med School, Nursing School, Dental School, Physical Therapy School, or working. Others of us have moved away, to DC, to New York, to Memphis, to Austin, to Nashville, to Boston, and everywhere in between. Some of us are married; some, no closer to being married than the day we graduated. Our lives have changed, our experiences varied, but our progressions have allowed us to experience life in new and innovative fashions.

In some ways, the past two years have allowed some friends to fall apart. In others, it has brought many friends so much closer together. You keep up with each other, guide each other through life’s decisions, and praise each other on new accomplishments. You stay informed on one of your friends new business. You ask about how Law school finals were. You just realize that you won’t see your Med School friends again until they get finished with the first year. We may not all be going to Econ together anymore, or swimming in the VCC pool at nights anymore, but we lead more interesting lives. Our difference paths and experiences provide us with so much more to talk about. And when we can get together now, our time together is cherished that much more.

For those of you who just graduated, if you are reading, be excited about this new beginning. Keep in touch with your good friends. Start a GroupMe if you haven’t already. Take on your next opportunity with a clear mind and an open heart, make new friends and have new experiences.  Remember to confide in your friends, they will always be there to help. You will find that your Ole Miss family will be one that you will cherish and brag on in every aspect on your life. As you create your new identity, remember who you are.

All in all, just have fun in your new ventures. This is an exciting time in your life, and the start of a brand new adventure. And know, that no matter where you go, you will always come back to the hallowed grounds in Oxford, where you made some of your most lasting friendships.

I leave you with a poem from Frank Everett:

“There is a valid distinction between The University and Ole Miss even though the separate threads are closely interwoven. The University is buildings, trees and people. Ole Miss is mood, emotion and personality. One is physical, and the other is spiritual. One is tangible and the other intangible. The University is respected, but Ole Miss is loved. The University gives a diploma and regretfully terminates tenure, but one never graduates from Ole Miss.”

-Frank Everett

Being Pete Campbell, Without the Pete Campbell

When you think of Pete Campbell, you think of a young, hard working ad man. the young man who has paid his dues, but has thrived in his business and now has power within his grasp. However, with that, you cannot help but be reminded of the philandering, self-serving attitude that rounds out Pete’s personality. You see the guy who got punched out by Lane Pryce only two weeks ago just for being himself.

In the world of entrepreneurship and in the world of business in general, how can we take this character, and apply his attributes to our success? How can we constantly thrive to have more power, have more success, but not step over everyone to get there? Sometimes the Pete Campbell in all of us can come out. We think that the only way to get to our goals is to be completely self-absorbed and self-interested. We get into the mindset that everyone else above us is in our way, and we need to find a way to get to their position.

The way to success, however, is through using these peers, rather than stepping on them. Be happy with where you stand currently…if not internally, at least on the surface. Show your boss, or your prospective clients, how excited you are to serve them. Given time, given enough service, your time will come. The happier you are in doing your job, the better job you will do on your work. This is where the positive attibutes of Pete Campbell can become visible.

Pete may be extremely self-interested, but he also has a work ethic that is unparalleled, except for maybe Don Draper. He loves what he does, and he loves the idea of success, so he excels at it. This is no 9-5 job for him, it is a lifestyle. This is the attitude that we must immerse into our working lives, so that we can be as successful in our positions as we hope to be. By thinking of our work as a lifestyle, rather than as a job, we will be able to take out the 9-5 aspect of the job. We begin making friendships surrounding our work, we begin making dinner plans with peers. Work becomes a lifestyle, not merely a commitment.

Maybe we should all work to become a more polished version of Pete Campbell [part of him, at least].

Social Media Chimps

I am excited to announce today that I am now a Contributor to a new, innovative online magazine named Social Media Chimps. This magazine, founded just over a month ago, provides in depth insights into social media, startup businesses, as well as political events. My first article has been published this morning, so I’d appreciate you going over to the site to read it. Thank you all for your continued support, and I look forward to taking this step forward together, as a community ready to learn. To find the article, please just click on the Social Media Chimps name in the first sentence.

Update on Kony 2012: Have your opinions changed?

So by now, the initial hype about Kony 2012 has subsided, and we aren’t seeing stickers and posters on every corner…big surprise, right? Actually, someone did spray paint a large “Kony 2012″ in block letters on the side of an office building right down the street from my office building a few weeks ago. Again, big surprise, right.

How has Kony 2012 altered our viewpoints toward this subject? We definitely have become aware of Kony’s existence, and the horrible acts that he has comitted. The US has begun looking into adding a few more troops, but no one knows if that will truly happen or not. Our government has a few other pretty big things going on right now (Healthcare in the Supreme Court) and (Jobs Act–>we’ll talk more about this on Friday).

One thing that we have learned over the past few weeks, however, is how not to act after you begin a movement this large. Most of us have heard of what happened to Jason Russell, one of the founders of this movement and Invisible Children. For PG purposes sake, let’s just say he went crazy one afternoon, and is now seeking treatment. If you want to know more, click on his name, above.

To make matters worse, there has been another video that has surfaced which sheds more  disturbing light into this organization. In this video, one of the founders talks about a million dollar donation, and in a jokingly (drunkenly) manner, talks about how he is going to keep $900,000 of it to himself. The video is fairly graphic, so I just want to warn you ahead of time before you watch it.

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I guess the biggest question that comes from this is….how has the action of the executives of Invisible Children tarred the Kony 2012 movement, if at all? Do you still support the movement, or is it now a laughable afterthought? Let me know your thoughts, and let’s gauge a public opinion right here on the Weekly StartUp.

 

Startup Weekend: Building a Business in 54 Hours

For those of you who have always looked for a way to get involved with entrepreneurs from all networks in your area, you now have your wish. Startup Weekend is an organization that started up that allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, network with others, and develop ideas from scratch. In 54 hours, you have the opportunity to take your raw idea, collaborate with five people with your interests, and develop a product that is ready to be put to market. At the end of the 54 hours, you even have a chance to try to get funding from some of the angel investors that are on the judging panel.

How far do you have to travel to find this Startup Weekend? Nowhere. Startup Weekend travels all over the globe, and features different cities almost every week. Even our own Jackson, MS, hosted a Startup Weekend a few weeks ago. Watch this video to learn a little more about what Startup Weekend does:

So you have your idea, and you are ready to make your next move? Take a chance. There is no idea too small to take a chance on. You never know if your pet idea is the next winner at a Startup Weekend. If you have an idea, go to startupweekend.org and see when they are coming near to you…. This is an opportunity that no entrepreneur should miss.

Finding Your Steady

Sometimes its incredibly difficult to maintain a high motivation level about something for an extended period of time. This can refer to your job, your hobbies, relationships, you name it. The problem with these highs and lows on motivation standards is that you leave people out to dry when you lose your motivation. Is this a “signing off” speech for me on this blog? No, no, it isn’t. But yes, I do know this has been a very slow week on the Weekly StartUp. But we’re back, and here we go…

Over the past few weeks, we have looked at a few different companies and non-profit organizations that are doing some incredible things. I believe we have learned a great deal from them. Hopefully? One thing that all these organizations have is a fearless leader at the helm that overcomes hurdles in order to get to that launch date. It can be so easy during the start up phase to lose interest as hurdles are continuously thrown your way. How do you keep the motivation to stick on, and know that you are not just wasting your time?

We come again to the word passion. I have said time and time again over the past few weeks that without passion, really believing in your cause, you have nothing. The dreadful 9-5 workdays in a cubicle…do they bring out a fire in you? If so, that is great! For me, not as much. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my work, I do. But there is a fire inside me that says I need to innovate, hence I am writing to you right now. What is it in your life that ignites that fire? Are you doing everything you can right now to fulfill it?

Once you find what you truly believe in, it becomes much easier to create in it a steady. The highs and lows of excitement and dread leave. Writing this for me has become a very steady practice, one in which I am able to learn, practice, and love. For you, it may be a sport, or starting a business. Whatever your passion is, find it, and it will relieve you of the stress brought out by a lack of motivation.

Where do your passions lie? This weekend and this coming week, I challenge all of us to look in the mirror, and to ask ourselves if we are on the path that we truly want to be on. If we aren’t, what can we do about it? In that answer, you will find your next pursuit.

Voters Act

In this weeks spotlight, we look at Voters Act, an online grassroots advocacy program available for candidates. This platform allows for fundraising to take place on both local and national levels. Though I will not delve deep into the platform, I do want each of you politicos to go into the site, create a platform, and see how you can make a difference in todays elections.

Thanks to Hudson Baird for spending time telling me more about Voters Act, as well as giving me permission to share a little about his site.

Just Get Up And Do It

There are countless times in my life when I had what I thought was “the next great idea.” I would get excited about it, talk about it, and then let the idea end right there, as an idea. How do you take that next step? What does it take to gain the courage to step out there, and allow yourself to be vulnerable?

Those questions have plagued me over the past few years as I have dreamed of entering the entrepreneurial world. It wasn’t until  a mentor of mine told me to start this blog that I finally realized the piece of the pie that I was missing out on. Just get up and do it. Having large dreams are only a small piece of starting a business. The main piece is the action taken towards molding this dream into a reality.

Before starting this blog, I had dreams of creating new sites that would greatly enhance the experiences of up and coming entrepreneurs as they were beginning their processes. In learning about the minimum viable product, however, I realized that I should begin working towards my dreams now. It is through this blog that I have begun to learn more about the entrepreneurial world by living it. I have also been able to hopefully teach a few of you about some new things happening within the start up world. I now know that through only giving a small piece of a product, you are able to reach out to new markets and establish a brand for yourself…something that could not have happened if I was still waiting to create a full product.

So as I begin this process, and as you progress with your lives, just remember that the best way to live your life is by the ole Nike saying, “Just Do It.” How will you ever know what was to be if you never took the risk? If you can’t take the plunge, then dangle your toes in the water, as I am, and try to find your niche. It is rare that your regret what you did, but you will overwhelmingly regret what you did not do.

What risk will you take today?

Originally posted on The Educated Entrepreneur:

A fellow entrepreneur gave me a slight nudge recently that motivated me to post this blog.  I think you will certainly find value in it as it incorporates some of the best minds of the 21st century.

Remember…..    The secret to learning as an entrepreneur is to mix equal parts of inspiration and perspiration. Hard work without a vision is futile, while a great idea without execution is similarly worthless. In these TED talks, you’ll find the inspiration you need and the know-how to get it done.

  1. Seth Godin on Standing Out: What makes you so special? Seth Godin’s talk is all about why people just ignore the ordinary. In order to stand out, Godin says, you must be either bad or bizarre. Boring will not bring you success.
  2. Alex Tabarrok on How Ideas Trump Crises: Economist Alex Tabarrok’s talk celebrates the practice of idea sharing. He explains that through…

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