Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do
Episode 550 of “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” is co-produced in partnership with the Austin Technology Council, the largest tech industry organization in Central Texas. ATC empowers members through insights, resources, and connections so their members can succeed and thrive. This episode is an in-depth interview with Amber Gunst, CEO of the Austin Technology Council.  In this episode she talks about the state of Austin's technology community in the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic. 
 
 
 
About Amber Gunst
 
Amber Gunst first joined ATC as Head of Sales and Membership Services with 20 years of experience in business development and member association sales, including four years at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. She was the top sales and retention leader of all Chambers of Commerce in the state of Texas, ranking in the top ten nationally in sales for Chambers with revenue over $1.5MM. She also worked for a global staffing firm where she was responsible for client development and consulting staff management.
 
Since her time working at ATC, she has more than doubled membership and increased retention by over 18 percent.
 
About Austin Technology Coucil
 
Austin Technology Council is the leading unifying voice of technology in Central Texas. Since 1992, ATC has been the informed opinion leader, providing their member companies with the insights, resources and connections they need to grow and thrive.
 
For 28 years ATC has led Austin and Central Texas in the journey to become one of the most important and relevant tech and innovation regions in the world. ATC connects their members to the people and knowledge critical for success.
 
 
As the oldest and largest tech industry organization in Central Texas, with a history of tech community leadership, knowledge and connectivity, Austin Technology Council is part of Austin Technology’s DNA and links their heritage to our future.
 
 
ATC supports the growth goals of their member businesses by providing knowledge and access in the areas of capital, talent, business mentoring and networking. They advocate for a robust and supportive environment for the success of tech companies through public policy, education and thought leadership. ATC leads and engages collaboratively with their partners in the community to ensure that Austin remains a great place for innovation.
 
Direct download: CTED_550.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:16pm EDT

Thom Singer was recently introduced to the books by Gino Wickman and became a big fan.  Traction and The Entrepreneurial Leap both got him fired up about his business.  So he had to reach out and get Gino on the podcast.  
 
In this crazy time with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic they talked a lot about business and growth and how to shift. Gino is on a crusade to help entrepreneurs, and just after recording this episode he began a free 16 day challenge (that Thom has joined in on).  
 
Gino Wickman shares a lot of wisdom in this conversation, so you may want to listen twice.
 
Learn more at https://e-leap.com
 
About Gino Wickman
 
An entrepreneur since the age of 21, Gino has had an obsession for learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. At 25 he took over the family business, which was deeply in debt and in need of help.
 
After turning the company around and running it for seven years, he and his partners successfully sold the company. Gino then set out to help entrepreneurs and leaders get what they want from their businesses. Based on his years of real-world experience, he created the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a practical method for helping companies achieve greatness. He has personally delivered more than 1,900 full-day sessions for more than 135 companies, helping them implement EOS.
 
He is also the author of the award-winning, best-selling book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, as well as Get a Grip, Rocket Fuel, How to Be a Great Boss and What the Heck is EOS?, which have sold more than one million copies. Gino is the founder of EOS Worldwide, an organization that helps tens of thousands of businesses implement EOS with the aid of an international team of over 350 professional and certified EOS Implementers and online support. There are almost 100,000 companies using the EOS tools worldwide.
 
Gino is now devoting time and energy toward helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making get a huge jump-start on taking their entrepreneurial leap, which is why he created Entrepreneurial Leap. The mission of Entrepreneurial Leap is to find all of the entrepreneurs-in-the-making, at any age, wherever they are—to help them realize their purpose and live the life they were born to live. 
 
Direct download: CTED_549.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT

As we all deal with the impact of COVID-19 and "Social Distancing", retail stores are heavily impacted.  In many cities and states non-essential stores are having to close their doors and look for creative ways to survive.  In this episode Thom Singer has an in-depth conversation with Amy Saldanha, the owner of kiddywampus, a specialty toy store in Minneapolis, MN.  Amy is also the incoming chair for the American Specialty Toy Store Association (ASTRA).
 
In this podcast they discuss the realities of running a small locally focused retail store in good times and in challenging times.  They share their thoughts and ideas about how all business people can get creative and work together to thrive in the future. 
 
About Amy Saldanha 
 
Amy Saldanha is founder and CEO of kiddywampus, a specialty toy retailer and destination for families in the Twin Cities. She is also the incoming Chair to the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. Prior to founding and running kiddywampus in 2006, Amy practiced law as a civil litigator in Chicago, followed by stints in operations and talent management at several digital start-ups. Amy graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a bachelor's degree in political science and speech communications. She also holds a social sciences degree in political philosophy from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. She earned her JD from Valparaiso School of Law. Amy also serves on the Board of Trustees at The Blake School, and the Boards of ResourceWest and Hopkins Business & Civic Association. She and her husband, Kenneth, have three children, all of whom are active at kiddywampus. 
 
About ASTRA
 
Founded in 1992, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is an international not-for-profit trade organization that serves more than 1,800 independent retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives of the specialty toy industry. ASTRA is a dedicated community of professionals committed to providing children with healthy, quality play materials that have high play value. ASTRA members build their businesses around specialty toys, which are designed with a focus on what the child can do, rather than what the toy can do. ASTRA members are leaders who have a positive influence the economy, culture and creativity of the communities they serve.
 
ASTRA provides members with access to networking, education, discounts, business products and services to assist our members as they grow their businesses. ASTRA Academy, which houses our education and training resources, was established to provide ASTRA members with on-demand access to up-to-the-minute training in an ever-changing industry. Marketplace & Academy is a four-day trade show and education conference featuring industry leaders and hands-on product demonstrations. The conference draws more than 450 exhibits and includes more than 30 hours of education.
 
A volunteer board of 14 retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives governs the associations.
 
Direct download: CTED_548.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

Episode 547 is an in-depth conversation with Ian Lobas about change and reinvention.  We all face change, and how we jump in and embrace it helps us get to new highs.  Ian is a perfect example of doing this and finding success.  
 
A successful Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, Podcast Host, Speaker, and full time High Performance Coach, Ian Lobas absolutely loves life.  
 
After years of grinding it out in the shipping & real estate sales businesses and making sacrifices in every other area of his life, he was burnt out. The money, the power, the success, none of it mattered anymore. He was in a failing marriage and barely knew his kids. Everyday he would ask himself, is this really it, is this all there is to life? Am I meant to do this forever? How can I have the life I want in every area. Thats when Ian set out on a mission of intense personal development to figure out why he was avoiding fear, what was causing the pain, how to clear and remove it from his life and how to make sure it didn’t get between life and what really mattered to him, his family and living life fully with no regrets. 
 
For over 7 years, Ian & his wife Meredith have been successful and sought after to coach people around the world in the areas of mindset, business development, high performance, habits, health, relationships and clearing past traumas, to unleash the lives they have always dreamed of living. All of these people now live more complete, purposeful, fulfilled, balanced lives and are happier, healthier and more successful than ever before. 
 
Ian resides in Baltimore Maryland with his amazing wife Meredith, his daughter Ellis and brand new baby boy Price. In his spare time, he enjoys Travel, Flying Airplanes, Photography, Competitive Swimming, Racing Cars, Sailing, RV’ing &  exploring the world. 
 
To book a discovery call with Ian, please email ian@thelobasgroup.com.
 
 
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Direct download: CTED_547.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

The speaker for the March 31st Association for Corporate Growth luncheon in San Antonio was to be Lisa Fullerton, President and CEO of A Novel Idea.  Because of the COVID-19 situation, ACG Austin/San Antonio had to cancel their live events for the short term, but they wanted to ensure they could still provide content to their members and extended community. 
 
Lisa runs a successful business of five Auntie Anne's Pretzel stores and one co-branded Cinnabon franchise in San Antonio.  Her original presentation at the ACG lunch going to be about growth and longevity of her quick-serve restaurants in an industry with typical employee turnover at 200 percent.  She has kept going in the high-stress, high-burnout food service industry, and been in business 20 years, when the average life span of a quick-serve restaurant is 8.5 years.  She’s increased sales by 900 percent and staffing by 1,000 percent since opening her first store, and she’s also gotten involved in small business advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.
 
This interview discusses all of the above, but Lisa is also candid about the current economic situation and her need to stop operations in most locations in the face of the pandemic. 
 
ACG Austin/San Antonio is grateful to Lisa for taking the time to do this interview.  Her support of the business community in San Antonio, Texas, the US, and the world is very clear in the message she shares.  ACG ASA looks forward to having her speak in-person at a future event, but in the meantime, please enjoy this podcast interview.
 
***Disclosure:  Thom Singer, host of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" is the husband of Sara Singer, the Chapter Executive of the ACG Austin/San Antonio Chapter.
 
About Lisa Fullerton 
 
Lisa Fullerton is the President and CEO of A Novel Idea, LLC (A.N.I) which operates 5 Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and 1 Co-branded Cinnabon Franchise in San Antonio, Texas.  Since opening the first store in 2000, sales have increased 900 percent and staffing has increased 1000 percent. Employee turnover is 200% in the high stress, high-burnout food service industry, and the average life span of a Quick-serve restaurant is 8.5 years.  Lisa is proud of the company’s 20-year history despite these odds.  As a result of increasingly unpredictable regulation and legislation, Lisa has started to advocate for small business at the local, state and federal levels in recent years.  During the 2017 Biennial session, Lisa worked with a US Congressman and State Representative on a bill to restrict state regulatory bills.  HB1290 was one of only 17% of the bills written that session, signed into law by the Texas State Governor.  During 2018, Lisa successfully fought against a Labor Peace Agreement that would have allowed labor unions to organize airport concessionaire employees.   During 2019, she was an outspoken opponent of Mandatory Paid Sick leave at the municipal level and testified repeatedly in the Texas House and Senate committee meetings.  She was also appointed by San Antonio’s Mayor Nirenberg to a Paid Sick Leave (PSL) task force representing the business perspective.  To stay abreast of potential legislation or regulations that can harm small business, Lisa serves on the NFIB Texas leadership council, is Public Policy Chair for NAWBO and a Director for the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
 
About ACG
 
Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth has chapters worldwide representing 14,500 members. ACG serves 90,000 investors, executives, lenders and advisers to growing middle-market companies. ACG's Mission is to drive Middle Market growth with content, access to capital, & connections in the Middle Market.
 
Direct download: CTED_ACG.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06am EDT

The world has changed a lot in just the last week.  For Episode 545 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" we will focus on leading through crisis with Mary Kelly.  This is important for business leaders, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and everyone.  
 
 
About Mary Kelly
 
Mary Kelly improves profit growth.  As an economist, corporate strategist, and leadership development expert, Mary translates economic data that leaders can use to make the right decisions for their business.  Cited in Money Magazine, Entrepreneur, Success, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and by over 500 TV and radio stations, Mary translates theory into action.   
 
One of the first women to graduate from the Naval Academy, Mary served 21 years as a commissioned officer on active duty in the Navy.  Some of her favorite jobs included being an intelligence officer, a counter terrorism officer, a chief of police, an HR director, running a pay and personnel organization, and being part of the team in charge of Pearl Harbor. With a PhD in economics, she was a military professor at the Naval Academy and a civilian professor at the Air Force Academy.
 
She grew up in a small business family, and started working trade shows when she was 10 years old.
 
 
Author of 13 business and leadership books including 15 Ways to Grow Your Business in Every Economy, Money Smart, Master Your World, 360 Degrees of Leadership, Stop the Barking, Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success, 5-Minutes Per Week and 52 Weeks to Building a Better Business, and Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy, Mary can be found at Mary@ProductiveLeaders.com.  
 
About the Book "Who Comes Next, Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy
 
 
Leaders leave. It's inevitable. It might even happen today. Are you prepared?
 
Every organization needs a plan for leadership succession, but few leaders know how to start the process. WHO COMES NEXT? solves that problem and easily guides you through the steps of creating and implementing a viable succession plan.
 
This essential guidebook simplifies the process and gives you the tools you need to build and activate your leadership succession. You’ll find a comprehensive action plan, a library of all the tools needed to develop and sustain your plan, and a resource guide. You’ll learn how to:
 
*Communicate with customers about the change
*Identify talent gaps in your succession plan
*Decide which succession planning model to adapt
*Find your next generation of leadership within your organization
*Handle the unique emotional complexities of succession in a family-owned business
 
 
Whether you are part of a small, family business, a Fortune 500 company or a non-profit, you need to start now by answering the question: WHO COMES NEXT?
 
Direct download: CTED_545.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Episode 544 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" is a wonderful interview with entrepreneur Tucker Max.  You may have heard of Tucker in the past.  He came to fame about 19 years ago with a funny email to friends (that went viral) where he lambasted the law firm where he was a summer clerk.  He was fired a week later, but not because of the letter (you have to hear the real reason).
 
Tucker went on to be a famous blogger and book author, highlighting his bad-boy "fratire" lifestyle.  But today Tucker Max is a married man, father of three (thinking about a 4th), and a successful business entrepreneur.  He is the co-founder of Scribe Media.... an Austin based book writing and publishing company.  Having written 12 books, Thom Singer understands what it takes and appreciates the service that Tucker and Scribe provide.
 
Check out this episode. 
 
About Tucker Max
 
Tucker Max is the co-founder of Scribe Media, a company that helps people write, publish and market their books.
 
He has written four New York Times Best Sellers, which have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. He's credited with being the originator of the literary genre, “fratire,” and is only the third writer (after Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis) to ever have three books on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List at one time. He was nominated to the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential List in 2009.
 
He received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1998, and his JD from Duke Law School in 2001. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Veronica and three children.
 
Direct download: CTED_544.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09pm EDT

People do not usually respond well to uncertainty and overwhelm.  Issues happening all over the world with Coronavirus are is creating stress.  This stress is impacting everyone because currently there is more uncertainty and overwhelm than ever.  
 
Eliz Greene is the author of the new book, “Stress-proof Your Heart" and a leading expert on leadership in times of uncertainty and overwhelm.  She joins the conversation on episode 543 of Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do to talk about how business leaders can manage their stress and that of their employees and customers. 
 
Business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders, and others are all having to make decisions quickly that are impacting their business and personal lives. Everyone is facing the stress.  Our brains do not like uncertainty. Our brains like predictability.
 
Uncertainty is perceived as unsafe and potentially painful. Whether the situation is predictably positive or predictably negative, your brain prefers something familiar to something unfamiliar.  Under stress, our brains depend on instinct rather than rational thought because the part of the brain responsible for critical thinking is busy dealing with the psychological reaction to stress. This reaction not only impedes productivity, but it can also create a paralyzing loop of anxiety.
 
You can’t just grit your teeth through unrelenting uncertainty. Don’t beat yourself up for having a natural reaction; you aren’t a bad person, a lousy time manager, or lazy—you are stressed. Notice your stress reaction, and decide to take steps to address it.
 
The information we are getting about Coronavirus is changing by the hour. We are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty. We need to think creatively, but our brains are not getting there. 
 
How can you stay relevant to your customers?  You have to be open and communicate.  Can your provide other services, or just thank your customers for their business.  We need to be personal and not just email blast our lists with Coronavirus branded newsletters.  Mass emails are not reducing stress.  It is adding to overwhelm. 
 
This episode is a must-hear and one you should share with others.
 
About Eliz Greene
 
Eliz Greene is ridiculously excited about stress.  She not only finds the chemical reaction in the body caused by stress fascinating, but stress is also her favorite topic to speak about, write about, or discuss in line at the grocery store.
 
With a surgically repaired heart, Eliz also knows stress management isn’t a ‘nice-to-have,’ but rather an essential survival skill. Surviving a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins propelled Eliz on a mission to share her story to inspire other busy people to pay attention to their health. Just days after her heart stopped and she endured open heart surgery and a cesarean section delivery, Eliz held both her daughters together for the first time.
 
Amazingly, despite the pain and uncertainty, what she felt most strongly was contentment. Her priorities were crystal clear. She knew she’d been given a second chance at life and a unique perspective for a reason.
 
Recognizing stress as an essential and often under-addressed risk factor, Eliz conducted a research study on job stress. Her research uncovered the secrets of how purpose-driven organizations create corporate cultures immune to overwhelm and uncertainty.
 
She writes a Top Health and Wellness Blog. She was named as a Top Online Influencer on Stress and Heart Health. She’s been seen on CNN, PBS, Lifetime, TNT, and many national and local news programs. A national spokesperson and advocate for the American Heart Association, Eliz received the Heart Hero Award in 2010. More recently, she has partnered on the Take Cholesterol To Heart campaign.
 
 
Direct download: CTED_543.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

The meetings industry is being hit hard and fast by event cancellations in the wake of the Coronavirus. For many there is a panic on what to do if their participants cannot come or the whole convention is cancelled.  How to un a virutal meeting is being talked about all across the world.  But hosting a virtual event is not simply livestreaming speakers or holding a webinar.  You have to do it right if you want to engage your audience.
 
As a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies / emCee, Thom Singer is trying to monitor all that is occurring in the meetings industry.  Thom knows a little about virtual events (he and Eliz Green have hosted several events with their "Conference Talk Show" product)... but Thom knows that if you want to really be informed you have to talk to the experts.  Thom always says "Success Leaves Clues" so he turned to the leader in the world of virtual conferences, Jim Parker.  Jim has been working with live events for 35 years, and began live streaming conferences 11 years ago.  
 
In episode 542 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" thom asks Jim for details on how to run a virtual meeting?  WOW, if you have never run a digital version of a conference, you have to hear what Jim has to say on this podcast. They talk mistake, technology, attendee engagement, bringing virtual attendees to the live event next year, and many other best practices.
 
Find out more about Digitell Inc at https://digitellinc.com/
 
About Jim Parker
 
Jim Parker is President and CEO of Digitell, Inc., a full service multimedia company that specializes in Live Streaming, High End Webcasts and Content Capture/Distribution Systems.  Mr. Parker is a 35 year veteran in the conference industry, servicing 90 organizations, such as the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). With a staff of over 50, Digitell provides their clients with everything from consulting and event management, to registration and web page creation, live streaming, webcasts, content capture, tech support and event reporting. A civil engineer by trade, Jim’s analytical approach to the logistics necessary to execute the services Digitell offers, has provided them with a reputation of offering “best practice” products, services and customer support.
 
About Digitell
 
Digitell, Inc. is a Digital Multimedia Development company specializing in assisting organizations on how to leverage their educational content online. With over 35 years’ experience servicing 150 organizations, Digitell utilizes this wealth of experience and knowledge to assist their clients in developing customized and cutting edge solutions to capturing, delivering and managing their online education. From their newly released education APP, to OPUS DX, a feature rich, fully managed Digital Experience Platform, their services are designed to engage users with a superior digital experience while accessing  live streams, webinars and on-demand education. Digitell can meet the needs of any organization looking to bring their conference or education online.  To learn more visit digitellinc.com.
 
About Thom Singer
 
Thom Singer is a keynote speaker, emcee, and digital event host (see http://www.ConferenceTalkShow.com).  He is the host of two podcasts and the author of 12 books.  
 
Direct download: CTED_542.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:02pm EDT

Episode 541 of “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” is co-produced in partnership with the Austin Technology Council, the largest tech industry organization in Central Texas. ATC empowers members through insights, resources, and connections so their members can succeed and thrive. This episode is an in-depth interview with Steve Meier, Co-Founder and Chief Creativity Officer for KungFu.AI. Check out this conversation about life, entrepreneurship, and Austin.
 
About Steve Meier - Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer, KUNGFU.AI
 
Steve Meier, a former teacher turned technology evangelist, spent 15 years working in business development, marketing, product management, and creative strategy for Fortune 500 technology companies before co-founding KUNGFU.AI where he leads client strategy and creativity. Steve's passion is emerging technologies and worked closely with IBM Watson, leveraging Watson APIs to create innovative sales and marketing tools. Steve recently acquired a Certificate from MIT Sloan School of Management in Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy.
 
About KUNGFU.AI
 
KUNGFU.AI is an artificial intelligence services agency. We help clients start and accelerate advanced data science programs by providing strategy, development and transformation services. We put a healthy focus on practical AI application where we find quick wins at the intersection between key business objectives, data availability, and proven ML techniques. 
 
Direct download: CTED_541.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01pm EDT

In episode 540 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" Thom Singer talks about the business of speaking and the meetings industry in the face of the spread of the Coronavirus. While live meetings bring people together, in the face of a possible pandemic, many companies and associations are canceling their conferences.  This impacts more than the hosts and the attendees.  There are many types of vendors (maybe about 50 per event) that earn their living from serving live events.
 
Speakers, hotels, transportation, meeting planning companies, catering, bars, restaurants, bands, DJs, sign makers, etc... are all part of what makes a meeting amazing. When meetings cancel the economic impact can have a giant ripple effect. 
 
But this virus can impact all kinds of business, and Thom encourages entrepreneurs to be thinking about what this means.  Entrepreneurs are problem solvers.... and this virus could become a big problem that will impact the whole world.  Not just in getting people sick, but in hurting the global economy.
 
Thom shares and idea he had in a brainstorming call with a client who is worried about their association annual meeting being canceled or having low attendance.  His idea is for her to create a branded podcast and interview all 50 speakers (keynote speakers and breakout speakers) to create individual episodes.  Not just webinar data dumps, but in-depth interviews and conversations on their important topics. 
 
He also shares a couple of emails he has received this week about the virus and how one company he knows, BigSpeak, sent a wonderful reminder to speakers to not panic.  That the meetings industry and speaking business have faced health and other disruptive events in the past.  They also provided simple things to pay attention to for health and business.  Thom sees a lot of "hype" out there, but appreciates companies and people who are providing value in a noisy Coronavirus world.
 
Check out this episode of his podcast and share it with a friend if they need an upbeat message in a scary time.
 
Direct download: CTED_540.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

On episode 539 Thom Singer sits down and eats amazing barbeque with one of the owners of LeRoy and Lewis.  Saywer Lewis shares her entrepreneur journey as Thom eats, and eats, and eats.  No matter where you live, you know that Austin is famous for two foods, Tacos and BBQ.  Today we talk BBQ (but it is such a great interview, Thom will soon be seeking a Taco Entrepreneur to be on the show).
 
About Saywer Lewis
 
Sawyer Lewis is an entrepreneur, and the co-owner and operations manager of LeRoy and Lewis BBQ, specializing in hospitality, event planning, social media, and business development. At the age of 18, Sawyer moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas, where she fell in love with the community while working in local restaurants.  Her passion for the restaurant industry has been cultivated over the last 15 years by working with award-winning chefs and entrepreneurs, and learning from key figures in the sustainable farm-to-table movement across the country. After traveling throughout America and Europe, seeking out various regional cuisine and beverage, Sawyer and her husband Nathan Lewis moved back to Austin in 2015 to settle down.  In 2017, Sawyer and Nathan joined forces with Evan and Lindsey LeRoy to open LeRoy and Lewis BBQ truck at Cosmic Coffee and Beer, with plans to expand into a brick and mortar restaurant and brewery and launch a line of consumer packaged goods. In 2019, Sawyer helped to start an Austin Chapter of I’ll Have What She’s Having, a non-profit uniting hospitality professionals to raise funds and awareness for female health care.
 
About LeRoy and Lewis
 
New school barbecue, old school service. They serve up alternative cuts of meat and creative sides using seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and ranches. Expanding the boundaries of traditional barbecue, guests can expect market-style service of meats sliced to order and served by the pound, renewed versions of classic barbecue sides, and playful desserts.
 
The food truck is located at Cosmic Coffee, in South Austin.  A new brick and mortar location coming soon.  Learn more at https://leroyandlewis.com 
 
Direct download: CTED_539.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

This week Thom Singer lead a "Brain Power" session at a large industry conference with 400 participants. The idea is to change up the general session to not just be another talking head keynote.  At live meetings and all industry conferences there are many speakers on the main stage and in the breakout sessions, but across the board participants often cite the impromptu hallway conversations as some of the best parts of attending an event.
 
Serendipity of talking shop with peers at live meetings can be magic. Hearing and idea or best practice that you can take into work and implement is worth the whole cost of attending a convention. But can serendipity be planned?  Thom Singer says YES.  He has created these "Brain Power" sessions to replace the keynote and make the attendees the star of the show. 
 
But this is not just a "sit at the table and talk about topics" session.  It is curated and hosted discussions that involves meeting people, identifying ideas, sharing, and networking. People come to live meetings to learn and network, and this general session delivers it all.
 
Meeting planners are hungry for fresh ideas, but they cannot go wild. We cannot move business conferences to the dessert and have a Burning Man style meeting (or can we?  Hmmmmmm???).  Most association conferences and business meetings still need to be in the structure of a hotel ballroom and a manageable agenda.  But do people need to be sitting and only hearing keynotes?  Or can they take their learning into their own hands.  This is part facilitated discussion and part "Un-Conference".  All held together by "The Conference Catalyst".
 
For over eleven years Thom Singer has been working as a speaker, emcee, and facilitator for live meetings in a variety of industries.  He is know as "The Conference Catalyst" for how he changes the vibe at a live event and gets people to engage more (while often not holding their phones in their hands while chatting with people).  So many participants claim they want more networking and connection, but fail to achieve any of it while at the event.  Thom changes that. 
 
If you are planning an event, conference, convention, seminar or any live meetings - you will want to hear episode #538 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" and you might want to contact Thom about the programs he offers and how he customizes the content for your specific needs.
 
Direct download: CTED_538.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

Scott Shay is the Chairman and co-founder of Signature Bank of New York, which started with no deposits and has become a $50 billion bank. Before founding the bank, he also had a successful career on Wall Street.  Most recently he has released a new book, "In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism"
 
On episode 537 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do", Scott shares his entrepreneurial journey and talks about how people can find their own success. 
 
About Signature Bank
 
Signature Bank is a full service commercial bank that serves privately owned business clients and their owners and senior managers. The Bank offers business and personal banking products and services, as well as investment, brokerage, asset management, and insurance products through its subsidiary, Signature Securities Group Corp.
 
Direct download: CTED_537.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

In episode 536 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do", host Thom Singer does a quick catch up about the podcast and his career. 
 
He also shares some tips from his keynote speech "The Secret Weapon: Connecting with People in a Gadget-Crazed World".  Are you choosing people in this busy would full of distractions? Do you continue to build your network? Is your network diverse?  Are you adding people.  Are you helping others succeed by sending referrals to others regularly?  These are just a few questions he provides to make you think about your own secret weapon (your network).  Choosing people is key. But we also need to take the time to notice others. People are experiencing greater levels of loneliness, even in our digitally connected world. 
 
Direct download: CTED_536.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

Reuben Abootorabi is an award-winning hunter who loves getting "the impossible" meetings for his clients with decision makers they are dying to meet. Modelled on the high touch and relationship centric Creative Artist Agency in Hollywood, Reuben founded The Austin Agency to help the companies he works with win more business and outperform their competition. In spare time he loves to travel, read thought provoking books, and Texas two stepping at a local watering hole.  
 
About The Austin Agency
 
Their clients say that what’s different is that they're now innovating at startup speed, but with enterprise resources.  

In a world fueled with VC dollars and aggressive entrepreneurs, they take on the role of a phantom competitor looking to disrupt your core business. They help you identify the areas in your industry and business where you can grow and innovate before a third party beats you to the punch. 
 
Reuben has assembled a Red Team of decision makers from your target market, including former competitors and existing clients. These Fortune 2000 executives allow them to skip much of the "discovery" due diligence normally required in order to execute effectively.  

As recovering sales and business development executives, The Austin Agency team has hunted B2B business for their clients all over the world. This allows them to use their methodology to test your value proposition, business model, messaging, pricing, persona, niche + Sample use cases include how to successfully:

· Enter new markets
· Validate product market fit
· Create differentiated content
· Drive innovation
· Predict demand   
 
 
Direct download: CTED_535.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am EDT

Richard Citrin bridges the gap between business, psychology and entrepreneurship. He draws on his deep experience as a health care entrepreneur, clinical psychologist, corporate executive and leadership coach to present his insights and ideas in a practical and powerful manner that creates real change and success for his clients whether they are corporate executives or the small businessman trying to grow his or her enterprise.
 
 
His unique perspective on leadership, talent development and how we learn and grow from challenges is based on the idea that by using our strengths, talents and skills, and by aligning them in a purposeful and powerful manner, real change occurs. Richard shares his insights in his writings, coaching and speaking. 
 
 
After building and successfully selling his health care business to a national healthcare company, Corphealth, Richard moved into their senior leadership ranks where he assisted them in a turnaround endeavor by developing award winning programs in behavioral health and wellness that led Corphealth to be acquired by Humana Healthcare. From there, Richard was recruited to one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he was on a leadership team that doubled their revenue in a 5-year period from $750 million to $1.5b. 
 
 
After 12 years of corporate work, he decided to return to solopreneurship and opened his own corporate consulting practice focused on executive and leadership coaching and where he has worked with national and international clients. 
Richard has written over 30 professional articles and has been quoted in the New York Times, Forbes and Fortune magazine. Richard has written three books. His first was part of the National How to Get A Job in (name your city). In 2016, he wrote The Resilience Advantage which changed the way people think about stress and their ability to respond to it. His newest book, co-written with Michael Couch, and just released in 2020, is Strategy Driven Leadership which discusses the failures of leadership development programs in corporate America and how organizations can effectively develop the next generation of leaders.
 
Direct download: CTED_534.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Episode 533 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" is co-produced in partnership with the Austin Technology Council, the largest tech industry organization in Central Texas. ATC empowers members by using insights, resources, and connections so their members can succeed and thrive. This episode is an in-depth interview with Mathias Ihlenfeld, the CEO and Founder of woom bikes USA . Check out this conversation about life, entrepreneurship, and Austin.
 
About woom bikes
 
woom designs high-quality, lightweight bikes for children of all ages. Our attention to detail sets our company apart—from the careful selection of materials to our commitment to safety and performance, our bikes are tailor-made for a child’s anatomy and needs. woom bikes are often half the weight of conventional kids’ bikes found at traditional retail stores, and 85 percent of our bike parts are individually developed and produced for woom. In all design elements, woom emphasizes safety, ergonomics, handling, and non-toxic, environmentally friendly components.
   
Riding is easy to learn and easy to enjoy on woom bikes, which range in size from balance bikes designed for children who’ve just learned to walk (18 months+) to pedal bikes for young teens (13-14 years). woom ships directly to customers, and assembly is quick and simple.
 
Family owned and operated, woom was founded in Vienna, Austria, by Christian Bezdeka and Marcus Ihlenfeld with the mission to create the ideal kids’ bike. Helmed by Marcus’ brother, Mathias Ihlenfeld, woom USA began operating at our headquarters in Austin, Texas, in 2014; our aim is to bring the same unparalleled European design and love of riding to families across North America. In 2019, woom USA was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., ranked No. 259 overall and 20th in Texas. For more information, visit us at us.woombikes.com or call 855-966-6872. 
 
Direct download: CTED_533.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

On episodes 532 Thom Singer sits down to chat about business with Ben Lamm.  Ben is the co-founder and CEO of Hypergiant Industries.  He is a serial tech entrepreneur with a lot of great experience and advice.
 
 
About Ben Lamm:
 
Ben Lamm is a serial technology entrepreneur dedicated to making the impossible possible. He builds intelligent, disruptive software companies that help the Fortune 500 innovate with breakthrough technologies. Ben is the co-founder, Executive Chairman, and CEO of Hypergiant, the office of machine intelligence Industries. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of Conversable, the leading conversational intelligence platform acquired by LivePerson, the founder and CEO of Chaotic Moon Studios, the global creative technology powerhouse acquired by Accenture and co-founder of Team Chaos, acquired by Zynga.
 
 
About Hypergiant Industries:
 
Hypergiant Industries focuses on solving humanity's most challenging problems and leading the way in data intelligence as humanity enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To accomplish this mission, the company creates emerging AI-driven technologies and develops world-changing commercial products and solutions for Fortune 500 and government clients. As the parent corporation over a roster of divisions, Hypergiant Industries serves verticals that include space science and exploration, satellite communications, aviation, defense, healthcare, transportation and municipal infrastructure, food and beverage, retail and more. Founded in 2018, the company has offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Washington, DC.
 
Direct download: CTED_532.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03pm EDT

On episode 531 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" Thom Singer interviews Christie Woods.  Christie has had an interesting life and career Miss Teen USA, a television actress, a wife and mother, a two-time contestant on "The Amazing Race", and a successful relationship coach.  Her husband, Colin Guinn, was the guest on episode 479 talking about the drone industry and their Amazing Race victory in 2019.  In this interview we get to meet Christie and learn about her success in life and business.  She shares her story as well as advice for entrepreneurs (and others). 
 
As an Integrated Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, Christie Woods uses her intuitive abilities and energetic healing tools to help clients process past trauma stuck in the body often keeping one in a constant loop of mediocre relationships and life experiences.  She combines traditional “top down” talk therapy with a more somatic “bottom up” approach utilizing various types of breath-work, sound healing, meditation, and reiki in order to encourage her clients to go deep within the self to uncover and/or simply release thought patterns no longer serving their best a highest good. Christie invites her clients to reclaim their sovereignty by reconnecting with their own internal emotional guidance system; thus, becoming a more expressed human, free of cultural and familial programming, inspired to live their own deep authentic Truth.
 
Direct download: CTED_531.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm EDT

In this episode Thom Singer sits down with Jim Cathcart to talk about his life long career as a speaker.  Jim started out seeking his path, but took him several jobs before finding his passion to educate others.  Jim is the first guest ever on "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" to admit to having once been a door to door donut salesperson (Ha ha).  This is also the only episode where the guest took out his guitar and played a song in the middle of the interview.  Yes, Thom is a little star-struck, as while they are now friends, Jim Cathcart is one of the people who many years ago (before they met) inspired Thom to look at professional speaking as a career. 
 
With over 35 years of professional speaking around the world, Jim Cathcart is one of the best known and most award-winning motivational speakers in the business. He has delivered more than 2,700 presentations to audiences in every state of the US, most provinces of Canada and countries from Scotland to Singapore. Some of his most recent international engagements were for thousands of business leaders in Bogota', Colombia; Costa Rica; Panama; Warsaw, Poland; Santiago, Chile and Macau, China! A business strategist, pyschological researcher and philosopher at heart, Jim is also a down to earth regular guy. He has worked in warehouses, driven trucks, sold donuts door to door, been a bank teller, plays guitar in night clubs and pubs, and has toured much of the world on a motorcycle.
 
After hearing Earl Nightingale on the radio one day in 1972, Jim was inspired to change his life. While working as a government clerk in the Housing Authority he determined to learn psychology and master the process of self-improvement. Through years of fanatical dedication to this quest he learned new skills, became a certified trainer for a variety of programs, read stacks of books, attended countless seminars and volunteered thousands of hours to civic organizations. In this process he moved from clerk, to manager, to sales person, to leader, to trainer, to author and professional speaker.
 
Today he is listed in the professional Speaker Hall of Fame, is a recipient of the prestigious Golden Gavel Award (along with Earl Nightingale, Art Linkletter, Zig Ziglar and many others), has been the president of the National Speakers Association and received the Cavett Award for a lifetime of service. He has authored 16 books and scores of recorded programs. In 2007 he was listed as one of The Top 100 Minds on Personal Development by Leadership Excellence magazine. The San Diego chapter of the National Speakers Association renamed their member of the year award "The Jim Cathcart Service Award" and the Greater Los Angeles chapter gave Jim the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. In 2008 he was inducted as one of the "Legends of the Speaking Profession." And in 2010, 2011 & 2012 he was selected as one of the Top 5 Sales & Customer Service Speakers by Speaking.com in an online survey of over 13,000 people.
 
Direct download: CTED_530.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

Thom Singer invites Jenny de St Georges to episode 529 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" to talk about building a business.  Jenny has an impacting story of how she started her speaking business talking specifically to dentists.  Her success over the decades has been unparalleled in the world of speaking and training.  She gives advice that come from doing.  She has lived the entrepreneur life. She wants people to have faith in themselves but to not get paralyzed by being a perfectionist. Perfection can sabotage growth. Jenny has been a perfectionist, but has learned that sometimes you have to just ship the product or you will never be done. 
 
Jenny de St Georges has a special service helping entrepreneurs think out of the box and find ways to be more creative with title and naming. Too often people are too blah in their titles and creative descriptions.  She thinks people need to use their brains more than just relying on tech tools. 
 
"Common sense and logic never go out of style", says Jenny.  It is so evident in today's business world that common sense is not as common as we think. People shy away from having an opinion.  Even business coaches do not push people, but she does.  
 
About Jenny de St Georges
 
 
Jennifer de St Georges delivers her content driven, solution based Program designed for both professional and emerging speakers in her trademark fast paced and humorous style. Her common sense & logical approach to sharing over four decades of speaking career has won her a loyal global following.
 
Like many of us, Jenny started her speaking company out of her house. Incensed re the poor quality of seminar she attended in her field of expertise (dental practice management) she requested a full refund.  Her professional speaking career started 16 weeks later!
 
Jenny created a dental practice management program and for the next ten years ran her own public full day seminars across the county.  In time,  she grew JdSG International Inc. to 7 full time corporate staff and a team of 8 consultants and a teaching facility. She became a ‘big fish’ in the small pond of dentistry! Some years later, Jenny sold her dental speaking & product company to a global dental corporation. 
 
A member of NSA since the mid ‘80’s she is an active member of the Northern California (NC) Chapter, where she has served on the Board, been awarded Member of the Year and actively involved in the Speaker Academy since its inception. Jenny has presented at several NSA annual conventions and various State Chapters. Globally, she is very active in the Professional Speakers Association of UK (PSA/UK) and is an honorary Fellow of the association.  Jenny has also presented for the   speaking associations Eire, UK, France & Germany
 
Between her two speaking markets of dentistry and the National Speakers Association, Jenny has presented over 1,000  programs on five continents.  She has over 350 published dental business articles. For most of her speaking career, her dental product line outpaced her dental speaking income.
 
Direct download: CTED_529.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm EDT

If you are in sales, you need to read the Transparency Sale and you must hear episode 528 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do"  Author Todd Caponi joins the show for a deep dive talk about sales. 
 
Todd Caponi has spent a lifetime in sales and been the VP of Sales and / or Chief Revenue Officer for several companies.  Through his real life experience he has created this amazing content that will help you and your company succeed more.  In this episode he shares great advice for entrepreneurs and others about how to get things done in the world of selling.
 
 
Who is Todd Caponi?
 
Todd's book, The Transparency Sale has been recognized as the best book of 2019 in the category of "Business: Sales" at the 17th annual Best Book Awards. His focus is as a speaker & workshop leader as Principal of Sales Melon LLC. and also serves as the Managing Director of Chicago’s VentureSCALE.
 
 
Previously, he had spent almost 4 years building the revenue capacity of Chicago’s PowerReviews from the ground up as their Chief Revenue Officer...turning it into Illinois’ fastest-growing tech company. Prior to that, he's held sales leadership roles with 3 other tech companies, including ExactTarget, where he helped drive the organization to a successful IPO and a $2.7B exit through the acquisition by Salesforce.com.
 
 
He's a former American Business "Stevie" Award winner for VP of WW Sales of the Year, and also once owned & operated a sales training company.
 
Direct download: CTED_528.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

Michael O'Neal is the host of the Solopreneur Hour Podcast, and Thom Singer calls him the "Godfather" of his "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast.  Thom was a big fan of Michael's show long before he ever thought of starting his own podcast, and turned to Michael for a lot of tips, tricks, and guidance in 2014 when he was launching this program.
 
Episode 527 is Micheal O'Neal's third time as a guest on CTED.  In this episode they talk about how Michael is learning about YouTube and the things he is doing with his YouTube Channel. If you want to grow your exposure on YouTube, listen to this episode... but follow up by doing some more research on Michael O'Neal - as he has several ideas he has shared on his podcast, YouTube, and other places on ways you can get more views, etc....
 
About Michael O'Neal's Solopreneur Hour
 
 
The Solopreneur Hour is an audio podcast hosted by Michael O’Neal that co-hosts with the best and brightest solopreneurs from all walks of life, including network marketing, internet marketing, music, fitness, actors, comedians, and more.  These people are not only standouts in their industries, but they’ve put an entrepreneurial spin and “zagged” while everyone else zigged.  Our mission is to take you through their journey, give you actionable steps and actions to help you with your ventures, and inspire you to take massive action.   Hopefully we’ll have a few laughs along the way.
 
We share practical steps and tools, including books, smartphone apps, websites, training courses, strategies and stories that will support you every step of the way.
 
Instead of giving the same interview you’ve heard 100 times, we invite our guests to be co-hosts, and have a casual but insightful conversation about success, just like you would at a restaurant or a bar.  It’s that down-to-earth, practical conversation that lets our listeners know that we are all the same…just at different places on the timeline.
 
 
Direct download: CTED_527.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24pm EDT

Episode 526 of Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do is co-produced in partnership with the Austin Technology Council, the largest tech industry organization in Central Texas. ATC empowers members by using insights, resources, and connections so their members can succeed and thrive. This episode is an in-depth interview with David Periz, the CEO and Founder of Lumen Insurance Technologies. Check out this conversation about life, entrepreneurship, and Austin.

About David Perez:

David Perez is the Founder of Lumen Insurance Technologies, an Austin based commercial insurance firm serving the technology startup ecosystem. Lumen helps early stage companies navigate corporate risk at the major inflection points in a startup’s journey. David specializes in Cyber Liability, Errors & Omissions (E&O), Directors and officers (D&O) and other complex lines of coverage relevant to his clientele. His clients span a wide range of new technologies such in areas such as Fintech, InsureTech, Quantum Computing and data analytics.


David is a Co-Organizer of the InsureTech ATX Meetup, a mentor at MassChallenge TX, and serves as an advisor to several startups. David is a military veteran and served over 6 years in the Airforce as a nuclear weapons officer. He went to Texas A&M and has an M.B.A. from Colorado State. David lives in Austin with his wife and three kids.

The Man in the Arena

In the episode Thom and David talk about the Teddy Roosevelt quote "The Man in the Arena". Here is the quote:


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

https://www.thomsinger.com/podcast/lumeninsurance

Direct download: CTED_526.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:27am EDT

Thom Singer sits down for an chat with Founder and CEO of Aras.  Peter and his wife started the company twenty years ago, and are currently experiencing 40% growth.  They have over 600 employees, and have seen the growth in both the company and the people they work with over two decades.  In this episode Peter shares his journey and practical advice for entrepreneurs in any industry.
 
About Aras
Aras provides a resilient platform for digital industrial applications. Its open, low code technology enables the rapid delivery of flexible, upgradeable solutions for the engineering, manufacturing and maintenance of complex products. Aras’ platform and product lifecycle management applications connect users in all disciplines and functions to critical product data and processes across the lifecycle and throughout the extended supply chain. Airbus, Audi, GE, GM, Honda, Kawasaki, Microsoft, and Mitsubishi are investing in the platform to manage complex change and traceability.
 
About Peter
Peter Schroer has 35 years experience growing high-tech companies into market leaders by spearheading solution innovation combined with structured growth strategies. Prior to founding Aras Corporation, Peter was General Manager, US Operations, for Eigner+Partner [acquired by Agile Software], a provider of PDM technology.
Previously, he was a General Manager at both Workgroup Technologies and Thermo Electron. Peter began his career as a manager with Data General. He was also a member of the Nobel Prize winning design team at the prestigious IBM Thomas Watson Institute. Peter holds a BSEE, MENG EE, and MBA from Cornell University.
 
Direct download: CTED_525.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm EDT

Check out episode 524 - Thom Singer interviews an amazing entrepreneur, Farissa Knox. She is the founder of RLM, a full service ad agency in Chicago, IL.

A native New Yorker, Farissa relocated to Chicago in 2007 and founded RLM Media in 2008. RLM Media is a boutique advertising agency that specializes in media planning and buying and is headquartered in Chicago, IL. RLM additionally uniquely services and works closely with other advertising agencies that do not have media buying capabilities in house by working as an
extension of their client-agency teams in order to bring the advertiser’s message to market in an efficient and total market approach. Some of the client categories RLM has been able to be successful in are Politics, Health Care, Recruitment and Higher Education. Farissa has grown RLM Media to gross billings of over $20 million in 10+ years by providing excellent customer
service, complete solutions, and a team approach for their clients.

Additionally, Farissa founded WhatRUWearing in 2012. WRUW is a production house that focusses on a one-off, series, and cinematic video within the fashion, beauty, lifestyle and reality space, having created the original series, PRGirl, focusing on young women in major markets living and working in the world of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle public relations. Farissa is the creator and Executive Producer of PRGirl and is working on additional projects to be
released in 2020.

Before Farissa was in business for herself, she worked in advertising sales. Farissa began her career in local radio sales at Cox Radio in Richmond, Virginia for the Classic Rock radio station WKLR-FM where she was able to learn the foundation of some of the same skills she uses today in her own companies. From there, Farissa went on to do national radio sales for Interep in New York and Chicago which, at the time, represented over 2000 radio stations across the country.

Farissa lives in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood with her husband and two daughters. Farissa received her B.A. in Communications from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA in 2003.

https://farissaknox.com

https://thomsinger.com/podcast/farissa-knox

Direct download: CTED_524.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11am EDT

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