Thanks Prayatna for pointing out GalleyCat’s article. I know the publishing industry is undergoing fundamental changes right now and this article states that A major U.S. distributor Advanced Marketing Services is filing chapter 11 bankruptcy with over 132 million in debts to the largest U.S. publishers.

The Business Development Corporation of Provo holds a monthly Xcelerator Forum for local entrepreneurs. The discussion today proved useful and fascinating. During the discussions, Mark listed the gotchas that many entreprenuers overlook:

  1. Illegal public offerrings. Don’t have your friends or others pass around email saying that you’re trying to raise money.
  2. 83B Election with the IRS. If you have stockholders whose stock vests over coming years, the stockholder must file an 83B Election with the IRS within 30 days of the contract (not of when the stock vests). Otherwise, that stockholder could get nailed with taxes as a company grows. Not fun. This topic generated a lot of questions and discussion. I was glad to learn that we had handled things properly with our stockholders. Here’s a form that will create the 83B Election document for you.
  3. Giving an unregistered finder a commission on an offerring.

All the panelists seemed competent in their fields of expertise:

Panelists:
Mark Bonham–Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati– He called himself a Securities Lawyer. Has a lot of experience in Silicon Valley.
http://www.wsgr.com/WSGR/DBIndex.aspx?SectionName=attorneys/BIOS/416.htm

Jon C. Christiansen–TechLaw Ventures — Calls himself an IP lawyer that doesn’t do patents. Tip from Jon: post a visible policy in the company that states, “we respect the intellectual property of others.” To watch your back if your employees screw up with illegal downloads or something.
http://techlawventures.com/

Brent J. Hawkins–Bennett Tueller Johnson & Deere, P.C. — I didn’t catch what Brent’s speciality is because the conversation got too intense after Mark and Jon got started.
http://www.btjd.com/attorneys/hawkins_brent.html

Frantz gave me the idea of hand delivering our Utah funeral home clients gifts at the beginning of this year (funeral homes have found iMemoryBook a great service for grieving families). Theron gave me a fantastic promotional product idea of giving funeral directors a frame that both represents memories and iMemoryBook and becomes useful to the director.

I had decided to take their advice but was unable to prepare the gift in advance because I’ve been sick lately and demands in sales have pulled me away from putting something together.

I started work at 6am yesterday with an appointment scheduled for 9am with Broomhead funeral home and then at 10am with Serenicare funeral home. Even though I had only three hours, I decided to purchase a frame, create a photo with a great quote to go in the frame, and then make it to the appointment 30 minutes away. Because I needed this so fast, there was no way I could even ask American Promotions to help me (they helped me with this stuff in the past but need more than 3 hours notice).

The finally quote and photo created in the GIMP.

I now run SUSE linux on my home desktop and only have Photoshop at work. I fired up the GIMP (free photo editing program) instead and whipped together a nice photo. By the time I figured the GIMP out, choose a quote and a photo and was ready to print, it was 8am. No time for one hour photo. Ahhh…I remembered Alpha Graphics receives files online and prints. A trip to their website revealed a store 5 minutes from Broomhead. “Yes!” I thought. I called, they said they’d have it done before 9am. I jumped in the car and headed for my appointment. Right by Alpha Graphics, I saw Michael’s, an Arts and Crafts store. I picked up my print and bought frames for half off. $13 later and 9 minutes late, I had a beautiful gift for the funeral home. I like the way it turned out well enough that I’m going to give it to all the other locations I’m visiting this month.

In under 3 hours and spending only $13, I gave two gifts that looked like they cost $49.95 each. It was created on free software. Printed in a flash. I love the way our world works today. This wouldn’t have been possible to pull off five years ago.

Two notes for folks:

  1. Although less expensive, the printing at Alpha Graphics didn’t look as good as printing an 8×10 at a digital photo outfit. I’m experimenting with Yahoo Photos and Wallgreens (powered by Snapfish) for printing the rest of these for the other funeral homes. I’ll let you know the quality comparison. I’d rather pay a few extra bucks for better quality.
  2. As far as online systems, Yahoo’s was smoother throughout the ordering process and finding a Target store to pick up my photos next to my next funeral home appointment was very well done. 8×10 at Yahoo was $2.89 when picked up at Target, $1.99 when ordered online. Wallgreens had more locations to choose from by seeing the locations next to my destination was difficult. I had to go to Google Maps to see where each store was in relation to my destination. Wallgreens wanted $4 for an 8×10, but when I ordered 2 on checkout, they dropped to $3 each.

Well, there, I blew 15 minutes bragging and giving you a couple tips that could give you ideas and save you a few bucks. LOL. Enjoy.

Jeffrey asked me to write about why people are more important than material at a University.

As a freshman in college, I worked my tail off to understand each and every course completely. I practically memorized the texts. I answered questions in class. I studied long, hard hours on my own. I got great grades.

During my junior year I took a class from Dr. Ed Green in the school of education. When he announced that he’d recently attended conferences that have made him question the way the U.S. runs its public education system, I couldn’t help but like the guy from the start. He started talking about Home School as a viable alternative in the School of Education (a real no-no given the politics at BYU). When he asked any in the class for help on some projects he was working on, I immediately volunteered and found myself at his house talking about my non-public school past, he drinking in my every word. We became fast friends and worked on tons of projects together in Home School curriculum, ESL, reading, etc. He even hired me to work at Family Literacy Centers, Inc. right out of school. He made me successful. He also knew that my success meant his success.
Dr. Green didn’t have the research record of some of his peers. He would be the first to say that he’s not an expert in any material. In my years watching him, I’ve learned that he IS an expert in relationships with people. I see time and time again how many people he knows and connects with in all of his interactions. I didn’t understand how important this is until I applied for graduate school and took the GSE examination. I bombed it at BYU’s standards and shouldn’t have gotten into the program, but I wanted to study in the Instructional Psychology and Technology department, which was in the school of education. I applied and became the lowest score in the department. I don’t think my score even qualified. Dr. Green was on the committee and vouched for my character and skills, both of which didn’t show up on the test. The department didn’t regret Dr. Green’s recommendation; I was the first of my group who graduated. I moved through the program in one year and thoroughly enjoyed my Master’s Program.

Later, planning to attend Penn State for a Ph.D., the Penn State chair visited BYU for a conference. I volunteered to give her a ride from the airport. We hit it off well and when I applied to Penn State, I was admitted without having completed the entire application. They, however, told me I’d need to complete the application over the next year to meet their requirements (bureaucratic formality). They let me in because they knew me. They even offered a full-tuition intership with salary. I was beginning to see things differently.
One day, Dr. Green told me the story of a man who helped him through his Ph.D. program. Dr. Green associates all his success with people. He honors his mentor in giving him the break that made his career. He knows that subjects and materials go obsolete very quickly, but relationships never do.

I realize, looking back, that I passed up the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY EDUCATION…PEOPLE. Today, now that I understand the web and its capabilities, it makes sense. Why put people physically together at all? We can learn the material without being in the same room. But cyber friendships have a different strength of cement than in person friendships. If I were to do it again, I would have spent my time and energy building lasting relationships with my peers and professors like Dr. Green built with me. Those relationships are the vehicle for accomplishing any meaningful cause in life. I also look back at people I admired in school (Bryan Johnson, Richard Culatta and others) and I think that they understood this principle better than I.

Want a crash course in creating lasting relationships and real value for causes in which you’re involved? Here are my favorites (in no particular order):

Enjoy! Please share any other insights or great books related to this topic.

I spend an hour or two each week reading topics that interest me in the blogsphere. About three weeks ago, I found a man, whose name I don’t even know how to pronounce, that is a man after my own heart. K Satyanarayan loves education and is very vocal about moving the progress of his country forward in the face of a government that doesn’t know how to educate its kids. His next venture will be in education, he says. I read his bio, his goals and his comments, and I can’t believe how I feel like I’ve already met the guy (it’d be nice to help each other on a venture some day).

I’ve been reading The World is Flat and an experience “meeting” K Satyanarayan makes me believe that Thomas L. Friedman is really onto something. Cheers goes out to you K Satyanarayan from Neal in Utah.

Not that anyone ever missed me, but I miss the growth that comes from keeping my blog consistently. I’ve finally got things set up again. I took a vacation from blogging until I could find time to properly upgrade wordpress or retrieve my year of entries I lost. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get back to it and so I’ve decided to start blogging again anyway. You can still read many of my March 2004 to December 2006 entries at www.nealsblog.net.

This will be my last post here. I’m moving my blog to www.nealharmon.net for two reasons:

  1. my old blog software, I’ve discovered, is still messed up after the upgrade and I don’t have the time to change it.
  2. I might as well switch to my name :). Though 2004-2007, it was fun to do nealsblog.net. Maybe one day I’ll get it all switched over.

I helped Jason and Aaron get started blogging on private fleets this last week. I should be practicing what I preach. They bought books about it and are very excited to make their first post on January 1, 2007.