Tyler Jorgenson

One Entrepreneur's Journey To Find Greatness

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Sunsets – 31 DoBA – Day 24

A lot of us set resolutions to lose weight and get out of debt.  A friend of mine shared with me her resolution for 2011 was to watch more sunsets.  I thought this was a great idea since it is both realistic and meaningful.  In a world where we are always burning the candle from both ends taking time to watch sunsets has a real therapeutic value.

Today I caught this sunset on the way to Irvine.  I pulled over to the side of the road and just gazed out at Catalina Island for a few minutes.  The break from freeway driving and worrying about work and school was amazing.

How are your resolutions coming along so far?  Maybe you should catch more sunsets.

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USC’s Shark Tank

The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC had a new venture seed capital competition this year.  Last night some classmates and I attended the finals and the awards ceremony.  Twelve entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to the five judges.  There were a lot more than twelve hopefuls originally but through some preliminary rounds these were the finalists.  In the end six of the budding entrepreneurs left with giant checks.   Three with $5,000 and three with $12,500.

The whole event of listening to the pitches, talking with the presenters and judges and eating the buffet (well, the buffet was just a bonus) was invigorating.   Sometimes I get tired and worn out.  I love being an entrepreneur and the who process of idea to testing to design to launch is a thrill.  But it can be tiring, especially when some ideas go all Matthew McConaughey and fail to launch.  Being there with all so many people that were at different stages of the process but all excited about the journey was just what I needed.  The wind is back and my sails are hoisted.

Lloyd Greif Logo

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Web Exposure

I’ve been thinking a lot about transparency and privacy in the world of an entrepreneur recently.  Really, the concern is present for anybody seeking to have a good reputation in business.  A few of my classmates went to a presentation the other day on personal branding and I asked them what their main takeaway was.  Most of them answered with some variation that you should not create an alternate personality online but you should be yourself and tell the story about what makes you unique.

How often do you google (or Bing if you work for Microsoft) your name?

It may feel vain to search your own name but you can rest assured that prospective employers are doing so.  They’re probably checking facebook, youtube and twitter as well.  When I was hiring people at my last company I was amazed at how much people left ‘public’ when applying for a job.

If you have specific questions about how you can grow your web exposure please leave a comment and I’ll do a blog post in response (or if it’s an easy one I’ll just reply in the comment thread).  How can I help you today?
Originally found on http://www.tylerjorgenson.com/2010/10/web-exposure/

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Speedreading – Update

In January I posted that I planned to read a lot this year so I figured that an update is required.

Books read:

The Four Hour Work Week

This is without a doubt the book with the most influence on my life this year. I have read the original edition once, the expanded update three times and listened to the audio book at least three times. I strongly recommend this book for anybody looking to live a little more and stress a little less.

Atlas Shrugged

Can somebody please explain why these books haven’t found their way into my life sooner?  Sure, it’s over a thousand pages but this book is amazing.  To many it seems prophetic since it was written in 1957 but mirrors the issues of our times so well.  This book motivates me and inspires me more than any other novel I’ve read.  My main takeaway is to take personal responsibility and to not make excuses.  A movie by the same name is currently in production.  Who is John Galt?

Good to Great
I really enjoyed the first few parts of the book and then it sort of died off for me.  I guess it went great to good.  My main takeaway was in making sure you have the right people on your team.  The concept of ‘first who, then what’ is something I consider whenever approached about a business opportunity.

The Purple Cow
This is one of Seth Godin’s 12 best sellers.  Each one that I’ve read is good but I enjoyed this one for reminding me that you have to do something different if you expect the market to notice your product or service.

Linchpin
This is Godin’s most recent, and possibly last traditional, book.  I had the pleasure of meeting Godin in Orange County and the advice he gave me when we spoke altered the course of my business and I am eternally grateful.  You can read more here about the concepts of the book Linchpin.

Robinson Crusoe
I started to read some classics and found a lot of great wisdom buried in their stories.  This book is about self discovery, survival, loyalty and determination.  It’s a classic for a reason.

Pride and Prejudice
Yes, I even read a Jane Austin book.  Pride and Prejudice was a great book.  For me it’s about being yourself and allowing others to be themselves as well.  It’s handle on the topics of pride and the prejudicial judgment is what makes this a must read classic.

Treasure Island
I read this just after I took a sailing class and so my increased sailing vocabulary added to my enjoyment of this book.  This was a quick and easy read but I enjoyed the journey.

There are a few other books that I’ve read portions of, even most of, but that I don’t feel need a summary.  Think & Grow Rich, Crush It, and a few select sections of my finance, stats, accounting and marketing textbooks.

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Working From Home – Difficulty #2

Seriously, how am I supposed to get any work done with this little guy around?  He’s too awesome to not hold.  With his older sister and his Mom taking their ‘turns’ holding him I have actually had some pretty productive days recently but who would blame me for stepping away from the office just to get my fix?

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How Far Can $750 Take You?

What could you do with $750?

This photo was taken by affixing a pocket camera to a helium balloon.  The photographer, Robert Harrison, attached a Canon Sure Shot camera to a high altitude helium balloon.  The contraption made it 22 miles up before the balloon burst and deployed the parachute.  Harrison then recovered the camera using a GPS device he’d installed.

See more photos here.

This may not change the world for most of us but I still think it’s meaningful work.  Harrison made a choice to do something remarkable and although it was simple in design it took some skill and diligence to execute.  His photographs are now circulating around the world and reaching people that they may inspire.  They’ve inspired me.  Next time I go to spend anywhere near $750 I’ll remember that some guy in the UK spent that much to fly higher than a spy plane.

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Changing Views

He who never leaves his country is full of prejudices.
- Carlo Goldoni

Living in South Africa for two years changed me in many ways. One major lasting effect that it had on me was the knowledge that material goods have very little connection to ones happiness.

During my time in Africa I worked in a variety of locations, each with their own sub cultures and sometimes different languages. At one point I was in a wealthy suburb with guard gated communities, fancy cars, maids and even milk and bread delivery services. I remember sitting down as a dinner guest at one particular house and being taken back that each course of dinner was brought out at the ringing of a bell which the lady of the house kept next to her plate. A week later I was in a remote area outside of Bloemfontein and was working with the people that would have been grateful to answer the bell and have a job.

More surprisingly was that, after my initial callousness wore off, I realized that the people in the new area appeared to have greater happiness than many of the people I had known in the rich suburb.

I share this story and the above quote because I think some prejudices are only removed through experience. It is for this reason that I want to travel the world with my children and let them see and learn first hand how people live outside of Southern California.

Have you ever traveled somewhere that has changed you?

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Eliminating Noise

When I was in Boy Scouts we went on a trip to the Palomar Observatory.  While touring the giant dome that holds the massive telescope the guide told us that one of the biggest challenges the ginormous lenses were up against was, not distance or space or anything natural, but the lights from the city.  Light pollution apparently is a big problem for astronomers.  As cities grow and more and more hotels offer to ‘leave the light on for you’ the cosmos get harder and harder to explore.

Palomar Observatory at nightThe world is a noisy place these days and it’s not the noise we hear with our ears that’s the problem anymore.  We’re connected 24/7 via cell phones, twitter, facebook.  We used to watch tv when a show was on, now our DVR’s stealthily record hours of television and plea for us to pass our invaluable hours plopped down on the sofa with a tub of cheese balls.  Add to technology the demands on our time from jobs, school, church and other social activities and one hardly has time to remember which flowers are roses, let alone smell them.

I recently eliminated 50% of my daily incoming email and stopped email from automatically ‘pushing’ to my iPhone.  It’s like I just got a piece of my life back.  In my minds eye I can see the classic Apple commercial with the chick throwing the hammer through the giant screen.  I’ve got a little piece of me, a piece that was stolen by technology, back and oh how I missed it!

Eliminate noise and start (again) listening to the thoughts in your head.  You may have an idea that’s been trying to get out, and who knows, maybe that idea can change the world.

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Not Hollywood Video

When I was a kid I remember going to the video store to rent a VHS.  (For readers under 21 those were what we had before DVD’s.  For readers under 16 DVD’s were what we used before streaming video).   Renting videos in the 80′s was fun.

I drove past a new video store yesterday.  Well, it wasn’t so much new as an old Hollywood Video store with a new name.

Hollywood Video owner filed bankruptcy this year and closed 805 stores.

I wonder what entrepreneur had this thought, “Wow, a major national video rental establishment couldn’t cut it in today’s market despite all of their experience and financial backing but if I can lease the building, buy the inventory and change the name I can make it work and be rich!”

Sometimes it’s best to just let sleeping dogs lie.

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Do You Have A Quarter?

payphonesNot too long ago selling ads in the phone book was a pretty lucrative sales position.  Not too long ago there was a pretty big market for payphones in public places.  Not too long ago people would search their pockets for a quarter to make a call.

Times have changed.

I took this picture of a wall full of empty payphone booths in a hotel the other day (5 points if you can name the hotel).  Change happens in business.  The trick is to not get left behind.  Take a look at your industry.  Chances are it’s going through some sort of change right now.  If you find that the market is moving away from your industry it may be wise to make a change.

Just because something was important yesterday, doesn’t mean it matters today.

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Between Punches

It’s easy to just show up and go with the flow, that’s probably why most people take that route.  There are certainly times when it’s ok to follow instructions and wait your turn.  Going through security at LAX is as good a time as any to just shuffle along.

But at work, why?

Most of us spend at least 40 hours of our waking hours week after week doing a job.  We punch in, we do some stuff, we punch out and go home.  Nobody said that ‘stuff’ in the middle had to be boring, but somewhere along the line we accepted it.  Somewhere it became ok to just do the stuff and go home.  I have an old habit of watching shows recorded on my DVR when I should be fast asleep.  Tonight I was catching up on NBC’s Thursday night line up and watched 30 Rock.  Jack Donaghy, Alec Baldwin’s character, pontificates at one point about how America has become a nation of consumers and that we need to start producing again.  I’m not taking the credit for the script or anything, but I’ve been saying this for the past couple of months.

I’ve never worked in a factory.  One summer I helped out a friend’s Dad that was a contractor.  Those two days were hard labor.  No, I’ve never been a roll up your actual sleeves and get to work guy.  I have, however, been a roll up your proverbial sleeve and let’s tackle this business strategy type of guy.  Producing can mean making widgets but it can also mean doing something meaningful with the time between clock punches.  Making a connection with a co-worker you barely know, discovering a more efficient process for handling a mundane office task, helping a customer have an extraordinary experience.  This is producing and it’s work that matters.  At least it’s work that matters to the co-worker, the office manager and the customer.  If you’re going to spend so many hours of your life punching the clock, don’t waste your time in the middle.  Do work that matters.

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Be Excellent To Each Other

1989 introduced the world to Bill & Ted, a couple of misfits from San Dimas, CA that ended up having a most excellent time traveling adventure.  My Father quoted a line from the movie for some years later.

“Be Excellent To Each Other.”

Sure, it’s the 80′s version of the rule “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” but there’s something more involved.  What can you do in your next interaction with a co-worker that would be excellent?  The next call you answer for work, how can you treat that customer with excellence?  When you get home from work how can you be excellent to your loved ones?

Too often the vice of apathy and complacency robs us of rich experience and weakens the connections we have with the world around us.

“Be Excellent To Each Other.”

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To The Dump

Starting the weekend off right with a trip to the dump with my best
friend.

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If your car could fly

I love this concept, but I guess it had a bit of a tough go after it crashed during a test flight. Still, bring on the flying car!

in reference to:

“The Convaircar (image via: David Szondy) If you think the other flying cars all look a little too much like airplanes, join the club. Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss decided to design an actual flying car in 1947, and the Convaircar was the result. It was, quite literally, a car that could fly. The car itself sported a lightweight fiberglass body and could seat four. The wings and engine/propeller snapped onto the top of the car, and when not in use were towed behind the car. The idea was well-received until the vehicle crashed during a test flight, killing the pilot/driver and scaring potential investors (and prospective customers) off.”
- Drive the Friendly Skies: The History of Flying Cars | Design + Ideas on WU (view on Google Sidewiki)

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How to stop worrying and start living

Wake up to this outside of your window:

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Options

1. Wait inside a stuffy old Dennys for my next meeting.
2. Wait here (see photo) and check email.

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