Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Art and The Public Purpose: A New Framework

In Art, Author: John Cimino, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Leadership on November 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm
Arts Leaders and Activists Converge on the Whitehouse

More than sixty activist artists, community artists, and creative organizers took part in a conversation with the White House.

The public dialogue on the arts and our national economic and cultural recovery is one in which all of us should and can have a voice.  Some of our most thoughtful cultural leaders have been bringing this public dialogue directly to the White House.  The exchanges there and elsewhere have fermented the drafting of new frameworks document for the arts in the context of what is being called “The Public Purpose”.   The document is authored first to last by a brave contingent of artists and cultural leaders committed to the arts and the potency of their survival their value to all of us in a democracy. 

Chief among these arts voices is Arlene Goldbard, author of The New Creative Community, and whose own blog site is richly steeped in this public dialogue.  For my money, she is one of our most gifted and incisive voices for the arts, creativity and community to be found anywhere.  I am, therefore, handing over the remainder of this blog entry to Arlene’s own eloquence. 
The three links will set the stage for your own exploration of these issues: (a) a perspective on cultural recovery Cultural Recovery, (b) a report on the White House Briefing, White House Briefing on Art, Community, Social Justice, National Recovery and (c) the New Framework document itself , Art & The Public Purpose: A New Framework.  
 
Do consider adding your name to those endorsing the New Framework and, by all means, forward it through your personal networks to get the word out.   Working together, we can make a difference!
John Cimino
Creative Leaps International
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Big hearts come from Art

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Writing on September 18, 2009 at 5:25 am

Let Your Heart SoarWhat the world needs more than ever is to discover who we are.

Do you know who you are?
Still holding your one-way ticket there?

Big hearts come from Art.
YOUR IMAGINATION won’t dream small.

Wear your art on your sleeve with me.
Let me see you soar into the person you most want to become.

Today was a great day…. how about for you?

Meet me in the land mine field…

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone on September 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

dreamstime_3947474Are you ready to learn how to dance your way through a land mine field for your best entrepreneurial idea? Or perhaps you need a better one to be willing to try….

Remember my friends from my post An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic? Well, they seem to have fox trotted right past more than a few explosives. They have managed to find new space at a price they can finally afford, allowing their business to survive, but not with the landlord I referred to in the post. Of course many weeks of negotiation and uncertainty had to pass to bring them to this point.. and I am sure a few sleepless nights as well wondering if they would get through this…

Remember those 200 film editors I told you about in my post 200 Resumes, $1200.00 dollars? Well, I have received a total of 373 resumes from out-of- work or under employed freelance film editors wondering how they too can get through this period of time and make the bucks they need to survive.

Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart. You need an original idea or a new twist on an old one to stand out from the crowd in your field. This alone can seems difficult to find, as evident by 373 film editors in Chicago alone- and counting- looking for work.

And yet having entrepreneurial vision does NOT mean your entrepreneurial idea will work smoothly, quickly or be easy to scale, let alone survive, no matter how good and valuable it is– as my entrepreneurial friends from the first post I mentioned demonstrate.

Having vision ONLY means you see a unique path that you feel will have value to others and are inspired to try and turn into reality. The REAL HEAVY lifting comes from actually beginning to navigate your way THROUGH the obstacle filled field in front of you to turn your vision into a valuable resource for others and, as such, an income producing path. (Let the rumba begin!)

So, how long does it take to do this? And how difficult is it, really? ( Funny you should ask. It seems I have been in need of reminding myself of the answer to this very same question lately.)

It all depends on:

How much time you spend daily focusing on what you uniquely have to deliver and who will want it.

Your sense of urgency to generate income.

Your willingness to actively interact and learn from every interaction with potential customers until you identify how to explain and deliver your goods or services to your audience and profit.

Your willingness to fail with skill and grace, but openly and publicly, until you get it right.

Having a source of income to be able to keep at it until things click in place.

Your willingness to accept that a good idea is not enough… you need self confidence, tenacity and to figure out exactly how to market the hell out of your ideas without running out of cash until they resonate with others.

None of these skills, in my opinion, are any harder than learning how to excel at your artistry. They just are riddled with different problems, new challenges and a few explosives. What in life isn’t….

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Batteries Included

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

horse
bug
viagra

While there are lots of ways to feel like your batteries are super charged in life, I think the only one that really works is following your heart.

Unlike your camera, computer, watch, or the clock you own that needs batteries to run, you are self-empowered and come with a life long battery included.

You see your heart never needs a new battery to super charge your life. Nor does it need the thrill of riding on a mechanical horse, or zooming around on the wings of a battery powered bug, or the jolt of a pill to get your juices flowing.

If you think you need any of those things to jump-start your life, your taking your one ever-lasting battery for granted. Don’t do that. It won’t stay super charged anyway for very long if you do, unless you give it the energy it really needs by fueling your life with passion.

Yeah, I know. We have talked about this a few times before: passionate pursuits are never easy. It sounds great to pursuit what you love, doesn’t it, until you find yourself riddled with moments that don’t seem passionate at all- times when you simply are grateful you do come with a battery included so you can just keep on running.

Sure we all have moments like these on the road to our adventure. But keep your eye on your vision, pursue your passions, sleigh your dragons anyway, beat back the bushes with your home made machete, and be the first to walk where only your dream can see.

After all, this is why you do come with batteries included…

Rodney Hatfield, Artist- His Story

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 20, 2009 at 3:05 am

"The Girl from Someplace Else"
I love Rodney Hatfield. I bought one of his paintings when I was in Santa Fe this past spring at my favorite gallery- Selby Fleetwood. His work, The Girl From Someplace Else, hangs over my desk and I just love her binocular view. She is my entrepreneurial gal- always looking for opportunity through the multi- lenses she sees through…

Here is a link to a video about Rodney’s story. Check it out. You’ll like it.

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

Music Entrepreneurship Helps Young Musicians Chart Careers in a Crowded Market

In Author: Lisa Canning, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

This article is about ETA blogger David Cutler and his new book, The Savvy Musician. It was written by Andrew Druckenbrod and ran in in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday August 9th, 2009. The picture was illustrated by Stacy Innerst/Post-Gazette. I highly recommend David’s book if you want to learn how to become a “savvy musician!”

20090809musicianmoney_si_160Overpopulation, poverty and stagnation: The way the classical music industry is described these days you’d think it’s a Third World country. The recession has made an already tough existence even tougher for music students and those already looking for jobs.

“It is an extraordinarily difficult time to compete for traditional full-time jobs, like those in academia and in orchestras,” says David Cutler, a music professor at Duquesne University. “The market is over-saturated with talent, people are keeping their jobs for longer and orchestras are cutting back, not adding.”

But have things really gotten so bad that a student should follow that classic parental advice and go to medical or law school instead?

Not according to a new movement called music entrepreneurship that is gaining ground at schools around the country. Cutler is among several professors at the forefront of this change in attitude; his book, “The Savvy Musician” (Helius Press, $19.99, due out in November) is a guide to navigating these uncertain waters, targeted to those facing the “real world.”

More information about “The Savvy Musician”
• Advance copies of “The Savvy Musician,” to be released widely in November, can be purchased at http://www.savvymusician.com.
• Have you ventured off the beaten path for your musical career? If so, we would like to hear about it. Go to ClassicalMusings to share your story.
Among the topics, the book discusses details of marketing, recording and grant writing, but it spends most of its time articulating bigger concepts of the “entrepreneurial mind-set.”

For years, conventional wisdom has been that leadership in the classical music industry should work to increase demand so that more young musicians can get jobs. Better funding, it is said, should be found to expand orchestras and develop audiences, and music should be cultivated at all levels. But for advocates of entrepreneurship such as Cutler, it is the musician who must adapt to the shrinking and changing marketplace.

“The days of being just a classical violinist or jazz saxophonist are over,” says Cutler. “The musician of the future considers the whole package. You should be a great player, but that is not the goal, but the minimum.”

Many feel that music education in America — slow to change in the past half century — has failed students in this regard. “We have created more extremely talented musicians than ever before,” says Cutler. “But in curriculum, we have completely ignored many other essential issues such as how to make a living or how to make an difference in society.”

Cutler and others see the new environment brimming with possibilities, even as it has shut down or backlogged traditional routes. “It is hard, but there are opportunities that weren’t there before,” he says. “If [your quartet] tries to get a gig at Carnegie Hall, you might be up against 300 quartets, but if you go to a smaller community you can make it work.”

One sterling example is the Ying String Quartet, which began its career in the 1990s as the resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2,000 people. It performed in homes, schools, churches and banks, with a philosophy that “concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life.”

The Ying Quartet’s off-the-beaten path garnered national interest and forged its musicality as a group so that today the quartet is considered one of the top in the world, playing more typical venues such as Carnegie Hall.

Another alternative route was taken by a group of Chicago musicians who created a split business model. They formed two companies, a nonprofit called Fifth House Ensemble that gives concerts and education and a for-profit called Amarante Ensembles that plays parties and gatherings. Having both puts the musicians on more even financial footing and spreads out risk.

Other examples of innovative thinking abound, from the genre-bending and branding-savvy Kronos Quartet to John Cimino, a baritone who uses music-making as a metaphor for creativity and leadership in presentations to Fortune 500 corporations.

So, the problem isn’t that there is a glut of musicians, Cutler and others argue, but that there are too many seeking traditional jobs without really considering the alternatives. Colleges and conservatories traditionally have not equipped students with the right tools to prosper in a shrinking marketplace.

Gary Beckman, founder of the Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network, realized this deficiency firsthand long before the economy laid it bare for all to see.

“I went through undergrad and grad school, and I saw many musicians who were more than capable, but because they didn’t get training and information about economic reality they didn’t go on to play,” he says. “So many are lost each year.”

Beckman, Cutler and others at schools, such as the University of South Carolina, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Colorado, are on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship programs and courses emerging to train students to forge their own paths.

“We need students that have a broad view about their careers,” says Beckman, who is a visiting professor in South Carolina’s Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music. He estimates that as many as 100 colleges offer at least one course in arts entrepreneurship. “In the context of 6,000 universities with arts departments, that it isn’t taking [academia] by storm, but steps are being made and the seeds are starting to germinate.”

“Entrepreneurship is gaining traction because it offers something significant to every student considering a career,” says Jeffrey Nytch, director of the University of Colorado’s Entrepreneurship Center for Music. It’s not just about sending musicians to the campus career center, he says, but totally rethinking their career.

“Deans and provosts are behind it,” says Beckman. “Everyone realizes there is a problem, but it is a very delicate negotiation between faculty, accreditation, community, students, funders, administration. About half a dozen colleges add a course every year, and I think there will be a explosion in the next three to five years.”

Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music will offer its first classes on entrepreneurship and leadership this fall, coordinated by Cutler, who joined the faculty in 2001. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh do not offer entrepreneurship courses, but both bring in speakers on the subject and address the business of music on a one-on-one manner. “Many people have great ideas, but if you have the skills to make them a reality, then it is a success,” says Noel Zahler, head of CMU’s School of Music.

“We have an ethical responsibility to address these issues,” says Cutler, who also will re-configure Duquesne’s contemporary ensemble to be student-driven to “function like a chamber ensemble would in the real world.”

“This is about empowering students,” says Beck. He thinks Cutler’s book brings that same confidence to those in schools or already struggling to make a living as musicians. “What David has done has helped to outline how broad an education one needs to have a career in music.”

An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Leadership, Legal, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on July 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

Lisa 2009Today I drove into Chicago to meet two women who run and own a two-year-old-child- development center. For the purposes of this post, they and their business will remain nameless, but the jist of their story I will share because it holds a few really important entrepreneurial lessons…. and a little bit of magic.

First- a little bit of background: My meeting with these women was my first. I was referred to them by another client. They expressed interest in finding a business coach, so I made the trip to meet with them.

What I learned while I was there: These two women have created a center that over the past two years has grown from an idea, into a business plan, to a real physical location that now 100 families 3-5 times a week use weekly for their children to play and learn through arts based experiences.

These ladies are extremely intelligent, well educated, hold advanced degrees, and have had very successful careers. They were inspired to start a business together based of their common interests and past lives where they realized the importance of arts education and what it could bring to a child’s developmental learning through play. Childs Play Touring Theater, which I have written about before, has a similiar focus through theater- another extraordinary business in its own right.

But my point in sharing their story with you, is to reveal how close they are to failing in their business. While they bravely and fearlessly invested their time and money for the past two years, and risked their futures while passionately embracing their mission, they are finding themselves feeling uncertain about their future in business mostly because they did not plan for change in their business plan.

Every business plan changes. We start with one on paper and then need to keep revising it as we go. These women wrote their plan and then when it no longer made sense to follow it, stopped using it as a measuring stick.

What I mean by this is that a business plan is written with both intellectual mastery of your venture and emotional mastery of your understanding of what it will take to accomplish. It is written with a certain level of profitability to achieve, sales and specific offerings in mind. When any one of these elements is not being achieved, as a result of economic conditions, clients needs and desires or for any other reason, it is extremely important to revisit both your thinking and emotional understanding of what has changed and why.

This allows you to not only figure out how to get “back on track,” or find an equally new parallel track, but it also educates your “gut” –increasing your awareness– about what it looks and feels like when the sand under your feet is shifting and you need to zig or zag, right then. This awareness becomes critical as your venture grows, and remains critical through out the life of your entire venture.

So, as a result of having distanced themselves emotionally from their plan, and not continuing to revise their course, NOW they have a real problem- their business might not survive.

What created their problem? Where was the zig they missed acting on?

With an extraordinary economic downturn looming unannounced before they opened, plain and simply- their passion lead them to open in a large location and spend more on space than they now can afford. The business did not grow as quickly as they had projected. While they have retained customers through this downturn, they have not added them, as predicted in their plan. Having not taken a salary in two years, they are now weary, their planned savings has run out and their landlord wants his money for rent past due and frankly wants them evicted.

So what would you tell them to do? Pray? Close their doors and run?

Sometimes, in key moments in a venture- when everything can turn to dust ( and everyone has these moments) the chemistry is perfectly ripe for magic to happen. Let me explain.

You see when I was driving down to meet them, I was following the directions my GPS was giving me. As I left the expressway and turned on a major road that intersected with their street, I looked to my left and saw a business that sold kids furniture that had a name that was extremely similar to theirs. At first I thought maybe it was their location. But then I realized, while the name of this business complimented theirs nicely, it was an entirely different business.

Thinking nothing more about it I drove to my meeting. Well, as their stress filled tale unfolded before my eyes, and we began to brainstorm about how they could avoid bankruptcy and closing their doors, I remembered the building with the sign I saw around the corner from them. I quickly asked them if they knew the owner and the business and they said yes. In fact the owner of that business had made a point, on several occasions, of coming to visit and offering advice and encouragement. In turn, they had referred business to him.

It was right then it popped into my head that their business was an excellent marketing opportunity for the owner of this childrens furniture business. His store would benefit from having a play center inside of it. Why? Because nothing but parents walk in and out to pick up their kids. Parents could browse while they wait for classes to finish or as they come and go with their kids.

By pitching the idea of moving their business into his store- which by the way is a huge store with lots of extra space- not only could their synergy help each of them, but potentially these women could negotiate a free place, or almost free place, to run their business because of their ability to bring in clients to the furniture store daily and build traffic and interest for his products. Not to mention the fact that currently the owner is not open Monday through Friday- but only by appointment- and by allowing these woman to run their business in his space, he would have built in store hours and be open for business as these women easily could allow people to browse and set up the owners appointments.

It turns out that this owner is a furniture manufacturer first, and a retail store owner second. He also runs large print advertisement in major publications–the same ones that would help these two women and their business. By encouraging him to include in his advertising that he hosts a learning development/play center for children inside his store, it will only add to the communities positive impression of his business and interest in it.

Seems as though, magically, we might have stumbled into not only a clever marketing proposition for both businesses but also a way for these two women to not close their doors. And the most magical part about it was that for the most part, the idea that held the most promise and quickest fix for them was right there for the taking– if they could have been a little more able to zig and zag.

It just took them inviting a total stranger in to speak with them, with a good mind for out of the box ideas, and a lot of experience “zigging and zagging,” to let them see the connections they already had and could leverage.

Next week these two ladies have asked me to take the lead in negotiating this vision over lunch with the owner of the furniture store. I hope the cosmos keeps the fairy dust sprinkler on until then–when your parched enough to die, a little goes a long way to restoring you to life.

What Happened, President Obama, to the Idea of an Art Czar?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on March 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm

The following updates appeared on Judith H. Dobrzynski’s blog, Real Clear Arts

I know we all want to believe that the Obama Administration will do wonders for the arts and humanities. But so far, the news is not so good.

Yes, the $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus bill was great news. But while we wait for appointments to head the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the appointment of Kareem Dale (below) as mini-czar — which is now likely to be temporary — and two lesser appointments suggest politics-as-usual.

Yes, you heard right- late last week, the White House seems to have appointed an arts czar — but no one seems to have noticed. His name is Kareem Dale, according to a short item in Saturday’s New York Times. As of 1 p.m. on Monday, there’s no press release on WhiteHouse.gov and no reports of the appointment at the Associated Press or Reuters.

I don’t know Mr. Dale, a lawyer from Chicago who is partially blind, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a profile. Searches on Google and Kosmix and in Factiva (which has articles from most major newspapers and many minor ones) turned up very little.

According to published reports, Dale hails from Chicago, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and stayed there to earn a law degree and an MBA, which he received in 1999. He founded and is CEO of The Dale Law Group, which has no website. Campaign finance records show that Dale contributed $2,300 to Obama’s campaign in 2008 (and about the same during the primary season); then he volunteered for it. At some point, he became the campaign’s Disability Vote Director. The only mention of arts I could find was during his campaign volunteer days, when Dale was a member of the campaign Arts Policy Committee, plus service on the board of Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater.

I can’t help but think this is not what many people in the cultural world had in mind when they asked President Obama to appoint a powerful person in the White House to raise the profile of the arts in the U.S.

Another oddity: in mid-February, the White House announced that it had named Dale to the post of Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. He still seems to hold that post.

Last night, The Daily Beast published my report on this and his appointment is not likely to last very long. It’s sad that his name was discovered by, or leaked to, The New York Times in the first place.

The most disappointing element of the story, however, is the appointment of Hollywood fundraiser Jeremy Bernard as the NEH’s White House and Congressional liaison; it’s an important job. Bernard claims a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College on his website, but Hunter says he did not graduate. When queried, the NEH said the degree is not in his documentation for the appointment. But the whole thing, not just the resume inflation, makes him a bit of an odd fit for the scholarly NEH.

I am pretty sure, by the way, that the White House has recognized this whole situation as a personnel snafu that has to be fixed. And it will — the question now is how and when.

Innovation in the Arts: ArtPeace Inc.

In Leadership, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 27, 2009 at 12:41 am

Thank you, MARK LEWIS from Strategic Ideas.Org for passing this along! There are many ways to bring the community together here at ETA. One of the ways you all can participate is by forwarding on websites, articles, blog posts that remind you of the issues that get bounced around here at ETA. Please keep sharing!

july4-2004-046_homeArtPeace, Inc. is a 501(c3) not-for-profit organization founded in Rochester , NY who is devoted to transforming education and creating social change by developing strengths in under served youth and adults, through the integration of arts, recreation, technology and entrepreneurship.

Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW, a social worker and therapist with a background in the arts conceived the idea for the organization based on her beliefs, that are also those of ETA, that we must envision a rise of the creative class in the 21st Century. We must create a generation of critical thinkers, innovators and responsible citizens of all ages who are prepared for life and work in a global community.

ArtPeace has seen tremendous growth since they became a not-for-profit organization in 2003. They went from being a “tribe of one”, providing creative arts therapy and producing public art works, to employing 90 youth and professionals in 2005, when they ran their first “young entrepreneurs” program.

The idea for ArtPeace came to Founder,Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW in 2000 when she was working with kids in foster care and figuring out that the traditional ways of handling problems in young people – counseling, medication and mainstream educational methods – were not as effective as they could be. These kinds of students needed to be engaged in productive activities that were meaningful to them with caring adults who could see their strengths.

ArtPeace was founded based on the premise that everyone is innately creative and that expression is the opposite of depression.

ArtPeace originated having therapeutic underpinnings and it continues to be the foundation of what they do. With their goal being to create healthy, well-adjusted and responsible young adults who elevate into peacemakers and agents of social change, they accomplish this through offering innovative education and youth employment that develops entrepreneurs, leaders and more effective workers.

“By targeting a person’s strengths, interests and dreams, ArtPeace helps young people see that they have a legacy to build and can craft their lives into something great because “all things are possible…” when they use their gifts and work hard.”

In fact, developing an entrepreneurial spirit is essential in a flattening world. In order to be employed and marketable in a global economy, young people will need to be creative and flexible individuals who can think on their feet, even if an opportunity is lost due to downsizing or outsourcing. Arts and technology skills further the rise of the “creative class.”

In addition, ArtPeace instills the “soft skills” that are needed in life and that employers are looking for. These include the ability to listen, communicate, make decisions, work collaboratively, be responsible to yourself and others, resolve conflicts and solve problems. They also build stepping stones to the “hard skills”, including using up-to-date technology and developing math and science skills, in creative ways.

“We want to develop individuals who take their civic responsibility seriously, give back to others and work together to make their community better, starting with themselves”.

Inside The Philosophy of ArtPeace
At ArtPeace, we don’t shy away from working with some of the most challenged youth, including chemically dependent, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, developmentally disabled and those in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. We like to integrate low and high achieving youth. There are gifted and talented youth all along that spectrum and we realize that creativity is inherent for all. The arts and technology reach out to even the most isolated, nonverbal or troubled youth. We make every effort to wrap supports around our kids and to engage their families, realizing that they need support and opportunity as well.

Young people are immersed in a world of media, but we want them to be critical thinkers about what they are exposed to. We provide opportunities for them to be active creators of art and media and not just a passive audience.

The most effective interventions are those that are engaging, positive and practical. The arts and technology are powerful vehicles in this media-savvy world and the quantitative research, as well as qualitative and anecdotal evidence, backs this up.

Young people who participate in some form of artistic expression for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week for at least one year are:

* 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
* 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
* 4 times more likely to participate in a math or science fair
* 2 times more likely to read for pleasure
* 2 times more likely to perform community service

When engaged at school, truancy is prevented, performance is improved (grades go up), kids stay in school and are promoted. It is proven that the arts improve concentration, math and science skills, reasoning and discipline. Many national arts-based youth development programs site impressive test scores, advancement to college, leadership skills and elimination of maladaptive behaviors. The arts and technology tap into the myriad of developmental assets (outlined by The Search Institute in Minnesota ), higher order thinking and provides authentic opportunities to apply literacy, including visual and media literacy.

ArtPeace is building a model that develops strategic partnerships with successful businesses and in the corporate sector to train our future workforce. We also work with local colleges, in order to prepare diverse young people for higher education and to further develop their skills. Through the advancement of the products that ArtPeace entrepreneurs develop, we strive to become self-supporting, with consistently building revenue. By creating a workplace that is non-hierarchical, based on the “Sanctuary Model,” where power is shared, communication is open and honest input is valued from all, ArtPeace strives to become a top employer.

If you are interested in learning more about ArtPeace click here. To email Kristin: kris@artpeace.org

What Grammy Can Learn from 3 Innovators

In Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music on February 2, 2009 at 12:36 am

This article appeared in The Chicago Tribune on Sunday February 1, 2009
It was written by Greg Kot greg@gregkot.com

****************************************************************************************************************
If the sagging music industry really wanted to turn itself around, Radiohead, Lil Wayne and Paul McCartney would be doing more than just performing next weekend at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. They also would be dispensing business advice on innovative distribution models.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which represents the 20,000 industry professionals who vote on the Grammys, signed those high-profile artists to boost ratings at the nationally televised awards presentation (7 p.m. Feb. 8 on WBBM-Ch. 2). But the Academy should also study how these artists have continued to remain relevant and commercially successful at a time when the Grammys and the mainstream music industry are struggling.

Like the major labels the awards have represented for the last half-century, the Grammys need a makeover. Ratings are down; last year’s telecast drew 17.5 million viewers, down 12 percent from the previous year, and down 42 percent from the all-time 1993 high of 30 million. The music industry isn’t doing much better; it has lost one-third of its business in CD sales since 2000. The biggest losers have been the Big Four labels: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music Group, which traditionally back most of the Grammy nominees.

But the music world itself has never been more vibrant. Artists, many without major-label affiliation, are pioneering new avenues for releasing their music and building an audience. Radiohead, McCartney and Lil Wayne speak to different generations of listeners, but they have all expanded their careers in recent months by working around the stodgy music industry and releasing music in a wide variety of platforms.

Radiohead’s “In Rainbows,” nominated for album of the year among several awards, was initially released on the band’s Web site at a price of the consumers’ choice. Since then, the band has solicited and received thousands of fan-generated videos and remixes of the album’s songs. McCartney ended a four-decade partnership with the major labels in 2007 and revived his career by releasing his last two albums, one under the name of the Fireman, through independent outlets, including a coffee retailer. And Wayne paved the way for his multimillion-selling major-label release, “Tha Carter III,” also nominated for album of the year, with a series of unauthorized mix tapes distributed for free through the Internet.

In years past, independent artists had no place at the Grammys. Though the awards purported to honor “artistic excellence,” they focused primarily on big-budget releases from the handful of major labels that had dominated the business in the last half of the 20th Century.

The majors’ grip on music distribution loosened as peer-to-peer file sharing exploded on the Internet at the start of the decade. Illicit downloads now outnumber paid downloads 40-1, which means that more people are listening to more music than ever, but the mainstream industry hasn’t been able to take advantage of this extraordinary marketing opportunity. Radiohead, Wayne and McCartney were among the artists quick to recognize the potential of this new distribution model, and they operate as independent entrepreneurs rather than major-label vassals.

Another innovator the industry should be getting to know better is Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, who received two relatively minor Grammy nominations but is not scheduled to perform at the awards ceremony. That’s a shame, because few artists had a more successful year. Functioning as a one-man music industry, he released five albums’ worth of new music through his Web site in myriad formats and price levels. After releasing a boxed set of instrumental music last March, he reported first-week revenue of $1.7 million. Because he didn’t have a major-label publicity and marketing machine behind him, Reznor kept most of that take for himself.

Of course, Reznor benefited from years of major-label investment in building his career, as did McCartney, Radiohead and Lil Wayne. But now these artists, and countless others, are starting to realize that they don’t need a major label to communicate directly with their fans. In the next year, major breadwinners such as Pearl Jam, 50 Cent, Metallica and Beck will become free agents, and they will certainly ponder whether they’d be better off without a label when they release their next albums. Though the big labels have the resources to expose music in the mainstream media, they have lost the trust of consumers by placing profit and expediency ahead of artistic accomplishment and long-term growth. Listeners no longer deem many CDs worth the $18 list price and have sought out alternative means of sampling music, including file-sharing. Instead of following the consumers’ lead, the industry has tried to stifle them by suing file-sharers.

Radiohead, Lil Wayne, Paul McCartney and Nine Inch Nails have chosen a different path, one in which they deal more directly than ever with their fans, and it has paid off handsomely. The music industry would be wise to learn from their example.

Eastman School of Music grad Maria Schneider jazzes up her musicianship with a keen business sense

In Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music on January 18, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Hey Eastman Institute for Music Leadership thanks for the great plug! It really is all about community!

Written by ANNA REGUERO • STAFF WRITER for The Democrat and Chronical • JANUARY 18, 2009
bildeI have such nostalgia for that school,” says Maria Schneider about the Eastman School of Music, where she received a master’s degree in 1985, studying closely with Bill Dobbins and Rayburn Wright. “It was just higher learning at its best. I worked so hard there.”

But Eastman wasn’t easy for Schneider, who did her prior studies at the University of Minnesota and University of Miami. She was rejected the first time she applied.

“I really, really appreciated it when I did get in,” she remembers. “I think one of the most valuable things about the school, the level of the musicianship is just so high. When you’re around other musicians striving and everyone’s at a high level, it just pushes everyone higher.”

Schneider returns to Eastman on Friday to perform a concert with her 18-piece jazz orchestra — the same band from her two Grammy-winning recordings — as a benefit to help deserving young jazz musicians afford tuition at Eastman. A number of Eastman graduates are members of her band, including Charles Pillow (alto saxophone), Rich Perry (tenor saxophone) and Gary Versace (accordion).

Schneider, who can’t help but speak openly about her insecurities, remembers fearing disappointment during her time at Eastman; she wanted to prove that she was worthy of being accepted to the school.

I think you can rest easy now, Maria.

Schneider’s musical voice has become unmistakable. Her compositions are mostly through-composed with specific solo sections, meaning that her music is written out much like a classical composition, rather than simply a head melody with chords. Yet the music remains within a complex jazz vocabulary and allows for areas of improvisation, using all the available sounds in a jazz orchestra. Her compositions are large works rather than merely tunes.

Most noticeable is that they’re melody-driven. Schneider creates unique beauty and expression through her warm-bodied compositions.

Since Schneider’s school days, she’s become more than just a composer of some of the most original big-band music out there. She’s also become a symbol of entrepreneurship, a hot topic now for the next generation of musicians.

After ditching a record company for fear of losing the rights to her own creative material, her 2004 recording Concert in the Garden was the first recording to win a Grammy (best large jazz ensemble recording) without in-store distribution; instead, it was dispersed solely over the Internet.

Using the same method, her composition “Cerulean Skies” (from Sky Blue), a piece inspired by bird watching, where bird calls fold into an atmospheric dreamscape, won a 2008 Grammy for best jazz composition.

Schneider was the guinea pig for a Web site called ArtistShare, which allows artists to not only sell their finished recordings but also documents the making of the project. Those who want a CD become participants who pay for different levels of access to Schneider and her creative process and ultimately fund the recording along the way. At the highest levels, for example, a fan could meet Schneider and even witness a recording session.

It’s Schneider’s willingness to try out an uncharted business model that’s brought her as much fame as her breathtaking compositions.

At Eastman, Schneider will also be a featured conference speaker in “Preparing the Generation-E Musician: The Place of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Music School Curriculum.” The conference, which runs Thursday through Saturday, invites music school leaders from around the country for timely workshops.

“She’s the poster child for this with all the work she’s done with ArtistShare,” says Ramon Ricker, the director for Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership. “I think this Internet thing where she is actually connecting with her audience by allowing them to be in the process with her, she has the kind of personality that can do that.”

Schneider advocates for musicians to be more than one-trick ponies. “Classical music and jazz, all these forces in schools need to come together,” Schneider says, giving her advice to schools. “The musical world out there is becoming integrated and eclectic.”

It would make sense, then, that Schneider’s latest entrepreneurial and musical risk has been crossing over to classical music. She was commissioned to write a piece for the soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra called “Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories,” which received a performance in October.

“Originally I was really scared,” she admits. “How am I going to bring my voice to the classical world? I’ve heard lots of jazz people write classical music and suddenly you wouldn’t know it’s the same person.”

Once she started writing, she realized how easily her ideas translate to classical music — the intricate harmonies, the counterpoint and especially her keen sense for melody. The hardest task was writing for voice.

Schneider has been known for her use of vocalese, where the singer sings a pitch without words, masked as another instrument in the texture.

“The next transition was writing for words,” she says. “I was surprised to find out that I love it. My initial thought was, it’s hard enough to write music; how am I going to write with this extra limitation on it?”

The musicians, she says, seemed to be taken aback with the freedom of expression she asked for, including Upshaw, who works with a number of contemporary composers.

“I’m not even talking about her improvising, just going ahead and behind the beats,” says Schneider. “It shocked her that I would give her that liberty.”

She expects to work more with Upshaw on future projects. She’ll also be doing a good dose of classical composition, as she’s just accepted a commission from the Kronos Quartet. She’s also in talks with Peter Sellars about writing a staged theater work.

“Everything is a first,” she says. “The thing I learned from the Dawn Upshaw thing was to just jump off a limb and do something different.”

Bridging the Ingenuity Gap with a Carrot?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music on January 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

How could you inexpensively contribute to reducing the growing epidemic of childhood obesity while simultaneously offering low income children, who lead statistically in childhood obesity, an instrument to learn how to play music?

If your not sure of the answer then watch this You Tube video. For the price of a carrot, and the use of a drill, well known Australian musician, instrument maker , composer, musical director and community music facilitator Linsey Pollak has found a creative solution, to me, for both of these two problems simultaneously by using his entrepreneurial creativity.

His solution: turn the carrot into a musical instrument and then what the heck- you might as well eat the carrot for lunch don’t you think? Play Carrot Music- Eat Carrot, Yum-Repeat Often

How much easier it might become for artists to contribute to bridging the gap to some of our most challenging world problems, if only we would teach the development of an entrepreneurial mindset alongside of artistic excellence. Tomorrow I need another carrot. Do you have one?

What is the ingenuity gap?
Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

A Creative Leap at Catalyst Ranch

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

John Cimino, from Creative Leaps International, and I are pleased to announce that Catalyst Ranch, an incredible creativity-driven meeting space provider and progressive business-thought-leader, has offered us the opportunity to use their facility as our home until we are able to have our own space for a Chicago based Renaissance Center. (OMG. Chicago Arts Incubator? Any of you remember me sharing my dream about creating one? Well, my “lucky” day may just be around the corner, with my friend, John. But don’t get too excited for me just yet.-

Those dang last-stretch-to-home corners are not that lucky to actually get-off-easy, catch a break, and make a quick turn around. Most of the time.

Oh, and the other problem? You know the euphoria you feel followed by the inside-your-head part, that voice that says nice stuff to you, sometimes part, like “yah, this is really gonna happen?”

Well I got big news, there ain’t no stinkin’ guarantees! But really, once you get use to muscling-a-stomach for taking some calculated risks in life in the name of passionate-pursuits– it’s really not all that bad and maybe even a fun– most of the time- except for maybe all of last year but who’s counting)

SO, If you live in Chicago, please come. Or if you are passing through town, too, please, won’t you come? Or maybe you have a few friends who your sure would really be interested in knowing more about this and who might even consider coming to Chicago? It’s Wednesday January 28th from 6-8pm

Won’t you join us to learn more about the work of Creative Leaps and The Renaissance Center in Chicago? If you would like to reserve a seat please email me, Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com. The event is free but seating is limited to the first 75 who reply. ( And if you have never been to Catalyst Ranch- trust me- you’ll want to come.)

john-cimino-informal

John Cimino, president of Creative Leaps International, is returning to Chicago for a third round presentation and discussion of his theme: “Bridging the Ingenuity Gap in the 21st Century”. For the benefit those who missed his sessions in September and October, John will provide a quick paced summary of his earlier presentation before moving on to a wider discussion of his vision for a Renaissance Center for Innovation, Learning and Leadership in the Chicago area.

In his initial sessions, John Cimino discussed the “habits of mind” linked to creativity, ingenuity and imaginative insights. He also reviewed recent findings in neuroscience revealing the brain’s unique experience of the arts and arts-based thinking. Alongside creativity, Cimino emphasized the need for connectivity, that is, thinking across boundaries, disciplines and cultures to address the complex issues of a globally inter-connected world. According to Cimino, designing “high tech, high touch” environments for creativity and connectivity is the central challenge of our institutions of higher education, research and professional development.

(from his introduction) Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

In this latest session, John Cimino opens the doors to a deeper examination and wider discussion of his vision for a network of Renaissance Centers for Innovation, Learning and Leadership and their significance in bridging knowledge across disciplines. In particular, he will ask how can such a Renaissance Center best serve the needs of Chicago’s own institutions of higher education, business, commerce, leadership, creativity, the arts and arts-based education reforms in the schools? What kinds of partnerships among institutions, public and private, would be essential? Finally, in addition to addressing the needs of individual sectors, what global and overarching issues important to Chicago should the Renaissance Center address in its cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary forums?

Come join John Cimino for an evening of spirited dialogue, creative collaboration and exploration of a new vision for interdisciplinary learning, creativity and leadership.

Jump Start Your Life- I have the spark plug

In Accounting, Art, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

dreamstime_3139037One of the reasons I want to write books is because books, art, poetry and film, as examples, all intrinsically are built to last. Their very form offers easy “spark-creating-experience” access, like a hand full of nourishment going right into our mouth. Love that rush of energy that follows, don’t you? You know, the part before you get tired?

While it is impossible for a memory to replace the actual real time experience of ephoria, or intense joy, anger or sadness– only the kind a work of art can deliver, it can be waiting eagerly for you on a shelf, if it’s a book, or hanging on your wall.

What a basic concept entrepreneurship is for artistry, and yet without this simple “must have”, generations upon generations have defined who we are and what we are capable of creating for others in life, through a very narrow, confining, and as I see it, rather destructive single lens.

In honor of the power of the written word to enlighten and transform, here is my recommended reading list to jump start your very best you in 2009.


Do You Want to Become More Entrepreneurial?

* Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham

* The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

* Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies,
by Michael Gerber

* Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, by Richard Florida

*The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live, by
Scott A. Shane

*Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, by Barry J. Moltz

*Birthing the Elephant: A Woman’s Go-For-It Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business, by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman

Marketing Maven
* Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin

* The New Marketing Manifesto: The 12 Rules for Building Successful Brands in the 21st Century (Business Essentials) by John Grant

* The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

* Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say by Douglas Rushkoff

* Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

* The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen

* The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

Organizational Development
* The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Michael Treacy

* Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

* The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

*First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

* Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

* Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Financial Health Check
*The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical & Spiritual Steps So you Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman

* Finance Your New or Growing Business: How to Find and Raise Capital for Your Venture by Ralph Alterowitz and Jon Zonderman

*Conscious Finance: Uncover Your Hidden Money Beliefs and Transform the Role of Money in Your Life by Rick Kahle

*The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life by George Kinder

*The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

Reaching for Greatness
* The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

* This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

* Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland

* The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth

* The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer

6 Tips for Using Free On-line Business Tools

In Accounting, Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 6, 2009 at 1:33 am

January’s Entrepreneur Magazine offered these six tips on using free on-line tools:

#1
Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it. “Because there’s so much out there, businesses have a tendency to be like a kid in a candy store,” says Drew McLellan. “Start with the strategy of what you want to accomplish, and then find the tool that will allow you to do that.”

Adds Mike Whaling, “It’s a matter of figuring out which tools are right for your business. Know your audience, and then go to where they are already having conversations.”

#2
You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. McLellan suggests doing a simple Google search on a tool or task you want to accomplish. “You’ll find people talking about it,” he says. “And people are incredibly quick to share what they know.”

#3
Don’t lose your company’s brand. Using a variety of tools can lead to an inconsistent company image and voice. Says McLellan, “Run it through the litmus test of ‘Is this right for my business? Does it portray my business the way I want?'” Whaling also emphasizes thinking about what your business’s name will be associated with because many free tools are ad-supported.

#4
Push your preconceived notions aside. MySpace and Facebook aren’t just for the kiddies anymore. Says McLellan, “There are a lot of people conducting business on [these sites].”

#5
Does the tool have staying power? For every successful blog, video website or social network, there are dozens that won’t make it. So, again, talk with people online and discuss their experiences with the tool to gauge its stability and reliability.

#6
It may be free, but you still need to invest. Just creating a profile won’t cut it. Making the most of these tools requires time and effort, says Whaling. “There’s an investment in reading other people’s blogs, commenting on posts, getting involved in the community and building relationships.”

Can you get someplace in life for nothing?

In Accounting, Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, Theater/Film, Writing on January 5, 2009 at 1:25 am

Is it ever possible in life to get somewhere for nothing and have it be somewhere really good? Over the decades, we certainly have heard that “there is no such thing as a free ride” and that “if it’s too good to be true, it likely is”.

But these days, thanks to the internet, there is lots of FREE stuff online, much of which supports the entrepreneur and a start-up venture.

According to an article which appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine this month, Gary Vaynerchuck, co-founder of Wine Library, has been taking advantage of free business tools for nearly three years to grow his 11 year-old wine retail business. Using a combination of web-based tools, such as social networking, blogging and video, he’s taken his company to annual sales of $50 million. One way Wine Library uses these tools, is to notify his friends of daily specials by using MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, in place of email. His success with these tools has even landed him two book deals and regular speaking engagements across the country. “Building brand equity and connecting with your consumers through these social tools has a global impact on your business and your brand,” says Vaynerchuck, 33.

Alison Boris, 38, and Kathi Chandler, 31, have also been capitalizing on free tools since nearly the beginning of their LA based hand bag boutique, called AllyKatStyle. Besides a MySpace page, they also have profies on Digg and StumbleUpon, which are community content sharing sites, to grow their business.

All these free tools also mean that for even a small business, the “little guy” can look a whole lot bigger, not to mention more sophisticated. With a price tag of FREE, it’s hard not to want to take advantage and get on the ride to somewhere great.

Have I gotten your attention? Good, then let’s get you started:

Communication/Email
Dimdim ( dimdim.com)- open source web conferencing application; free basic service
Jott (jott.com)-voice-to-text service for creating notes, lists, e-mails and text messages; free basic service
Oovoo ( oovoo.com) -video messaging, chatting and conferencing
Paltalk ( paltalk.com) – Group IM, chat and video call application
Plugoo ( plugoo.com) -direct chatting with any blog or site visitor
YouSendIt (yousendit.com)- send files up to 2GB; free basic service

Content, Media, Video
Audacity (audacity-sourceforge.net) Open source software for cross-platform audio recording
Blip.tv: (blip.tv)- Video blogging, podcasting and video sharing service; free basic service
BlogTalkRadio (blogtalkradio.com) radio network for users to host their own shows
DropShots ( dropshots.com)- Video hosting and photo sharing
Feedburner ( feedburner.com)- media distribution services for blogs and RSS feeds
Fix My Movie ( fixmymovie.com)- Video enhancement service; free basic service
Paint.NET ( getpaint.net)- image and photo editing software
Phixr (phixr.com)- picture and photo editor
Seesmic (seesmic.com)- Video conversation platform
SlideShare ( slideshare.net)- Share and embeded slideshows. Powerpoints and PDF’s into web pages
VideoSpin ( videospin.com)- video-editing software

Financial
BizEquity ( bizequity.com) – company valuations
Mint ( mint.com) – personal finance, money mangement, budget planning and financial planning software
MyBizHomepage (mybizhomepage.com) – financial dashboard for small business Quick Book users
QuickBooks (quickbooks.com) small-business accounting software; free simple start 2009 download)
Wesabe (wesabe.com)- Financial advice, analysis and planning

Marketing, Networking, PR
Wordpress (wordpress.com)- Blog publishing tool
Craigslist ( craigslist.org)- Online classified and job posting network
CollectiveX ( collectivex.com)-Create social networking and collaboration sites for groups
Digg (digg.com)- content sharing site
Linkedin ( linkedin.com)- Business social networking site
Pligg ( pligg.com)-Open-source, community-centric site for discovering, rating and sharing content
PolicyMap( Policymap.com) -Geographic and demographic information system for creating custom maps, tables and chartes; basic free service
YouNoodle ( younoodle.com)-Netowrking for startups and valuation with Startup Predictor
YourPitchSucks (yourpitchsucks.com) PR pitch reviewing and advising
Stumble Upon ( stumbleupon.com)- Content sharing site

Office Productivity, and Organization
Adobe Buzzword (adobe.com)- Collaborative word processor application
CutePDF Write (Cutepdf.com)- PDF creator; free basic service
Dabble DB ( dabbledb.com)- Create, manage and share online databases; free basic service
Doodle (doodle.com)- Schedule, and coordinate meetings and other appointments
FreshBooks ( freshbooks.com)-Invoicing, time-tracking and expense service; free basic service
SurveyMonkey ( surveymonkey.com)-Create and publish custom online surveys; free basic service
ThinkFree Office ( thinkfree.com)-Office productivity suite; free basic service
WuFoo (wufoo.com)-HTML form builder for creating interactive forms;free basic service

Project Management, Collaboration
Remember the Milk (rememberthemilk.com)-Task management solution and to-do lists
Socialtext (socialtext.com)- Wiki and website collaboration; free basic service
Team Task ( teamtask.com)-Collaborative project management and community website builder
Yugma (yugma.com)-Web meeting and collaboration service

Web
Google Alerts ( google.com/alerts)- E-mail updates on choice of query or topic
KickApps ( kickapps.com)- platform of applications to integrates social features into a website
Microsoft Office Live Small Business (smallbusiness.officelive.com)- Create a company website, domain and email; free basic service
Synthasite ( synthasite.com)- Web hosting and building
Weebly ( weebly.com)-Website and blog creator
Widgetbox (widgetbox.com)-web widgets for various applications
Woopra ( woopra.com) -Web tracking and analysis application; free basic service

My 2009, and Yours?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on December 28, 2008 at 3:37 am

dreamstime_7322003Before every New Year, I find myself always hoping to be and do better than the year before. Don’t you? Yet, lately I have been feeling like my progress has seemed more like 2 steps backwards and 1/2 a step forward.

But if you’re anything like me, artistic, sensitive, self-critical and gushing with ideas, it’s hard to not want to let yourself flow with your creativity, even when you know progress can sometimes be painful. After all what do you have to lose- except for 2 1/2 steps one direction or the other, right?

The issue, of course, is when what once felt like a peaceful flow has now turned into a raging river. The kind of shift in your thinking or situation that makes you wonder what possessed you in the first place to ever think you could peacefully have your ideas flow into accomplishment- just the way you envisioned.

So now what?

I know how you feel, if you have ever felt this way. This whole past year for me, with my book, has felt like a roller coaster ride. My ride has had lots of unexpected twists and turns and the occasional jolt, just for good measure, when I least expected it. And all this adventure has me feeling a wee bit wobbly. (just like the Weeble Wobbles, remember them?)

Do I really want MORE adventure in 2009?

How about you? Are you ready to let your creativity spring like jack, out of-the-box, unconventionally? Are you ready for some bumps, twists and turns on your entrepreneurial creative adventure ride?

Not sure?

But remember, parts of the ride are GUARANTEED to be exhilarating- and it’s always those parts we most remember. Terror-filled-moments only last briefly, but when they occur how much more the rush of exhilaration mattered. Feeling creative freedom is worth a little terror, I think. Don’t you?

And so for me, wobbly legs and all, 2009 must include a number of new challenges and a few more new adventure rides.

My first, on both fronts, will be to self-publish Build a Blue Bike. My friend, composer and jazz pianist David Cutler, has just finished a book called The Savvy Musician. He and I have decided to release our books together sometime before June of 2009. Our books fit nicely together.

Of course this is not at all the road I expected to take, but it’s one that has just opened and I have to explore. I am over feeling stuck and wondering “so now what do I do with the manuscript?” It’s more fun to be looking forward to the anticipation of being on another creative adventure-filled-ride, really.

I have about 5 other projects, too, that I need to sit down to chart my course of action for in 2009. Of course, I already know that I will ultimately have to learn to let go of each of my plans, eventually, because each I plan will twist and turn and jolt in ways I cannot possibly right now even begin to imagine!

So why bother to plot my planning?

Because I believe luck favors the prepared mind. Hard work and perseverance in the end always win. Adding new hands, feet and heads as unexpected surprises into your adventure sometimes means rewritting the plan. And, as a result, that may mean the story may take longer to tell, but your determination and effort only make your story all that much more compelling when you reach your “lucky” happy ending. Our dreams, with preparation and perseverance, really can come true.

Welcome in 2009!

To ring in the New Year I am headed off to Santa Fe. It’s cold there but a good fire, a few unfinished books and a massage, and hot tub or two, at Ten Thousand Waves, are waiting for me there. I hope you too will spend some time before the New Year to plan your “luck.” I’m rooting for both of us in 2009!