FLY314: Saint Louis Airport: Local Approval & Public Opinions

Saint Louis International Airport (Lambert Field) has been given a chance to operate more like a business under a private lease with the City of Saint Louis. This FLY314 media clip provides some public outreach results from public opinions collected by First Rule Focus Groups on April 5th, 2017. Since city voters own this airport, only city voter beliefs were collected at this time. Stay tuned for more FLY314 polling results for the entire Saint Louis Region.

Learn More at FLY314.com

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Jammber – Disrupting the Industry in Music City, USA

This is part four of my series on Jammber, the premier team workflow and payment automation platform that strives to solve the money and metadata mess in the music industry. I conclude my interviews with Marcus Cobb, CEO of Jammber, as we discuss not only the future of Jammber, but provide some context on angel investing and startup incubators, as well as explain how and why Jammber ended up in Music City, USA after starting out at 1871, Chicago’s premiere entrepreneurial hub for digital startups.

1871 takes its name from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – it was a remarkable turning point for Chicago – to take what happened and give way for innovators to come together and build a new city. 140 years later innovators in the tech space are picking up where the engineers and architects left off. Through Jammber’s involvement there, they learned about Project Music at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in Music City, USA.

Project Music supports innovation within the music industry, and tries to meet the unique needs of music-minded entrepreneurs by bringing tech and business leaders together to nurture startups desiring to grow music industry revenue. How the music industry plays with technology is still up for debate, but Marcus and Jammber hope to disrupt the industry and make way for music everywhere. At First Rule Ventures, we are excited to be partners with them on this groundbreaking journey.

Entrepreneurs: How You Make Them Feel is How Others Tip You

Aristotle, no, not the legislative information firm, but the original philosopher once said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage.  It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”

Pitching your brand story has always been a quest to convert entrepreneurial courage into pragmatic success.  Ideas are plentiful in our world.  What is not so easy to organize is applying your time, along with your money, to convert a notion into a worthy product or service that others want to see in our universe.

However, entrepreneurship is not a degree earned.  It’s not even a place you occupy.  It’s having ideas converted into positive habits that reward themselves.

Count, as an example, all of the lobbying entrepreneurs working in the following New York City video:

America is a great idea in part because, on average, we’re still a place where free experiences can be exchanged easily, in a seamless manner that involves many diverse buyers and sellers.

Let’s start with the bus driver in this video.  He is likely working for the bus company owner.  But, what about the guy or gal “selling” the open deck experience on top of the bus?  Is he/she working for tips?

Most of us riding that bus would appreciate knowing the finer details of New York City, pitched to us in real time, in a manner that is more interesting than just reading about it.  That creates value among participants.  That reward is given to the person that drives that value up by filling that interest.

Is this hospitality service only about the facts, that is, what information you can read on a map?  Not if the entrepreneur is seeking to maximize his or her value.

No, as social networks, humans desire to share our emotions, our feelings, and even our hardships, with others.  On a bus ride through Manhattan, this “need to belong” becomes part of our memory.

So, for the visiting couple, they may not remember what was said on this ride.  One year from now, they likely will not remember all of the building names by which they traveled.  However, as emotional creatures, they will remember how the entrepreneurs made them feel along the way.

If the ride was cold, but the driver offered you a blanket:  you will remember that feeling of courtesy.  If the ride was hot, but the driver gave you bad excuses for the air conditioning being out:  you will also remember that feeling as well.

But think about the others in this video.  The street vendors lining up to sell a poster, a buggy ride, or a photo.  The cabbies driving in and around the park positioning their cab based upon early morning supply and demand.  Even the park and museum vendors respond to seasonal human interests by making dog walking refuse bags available, or opening coffee shacks at major points of interest within Central Park.  Even within New York City, where the price of work is very high, the spirited sense to produce things in demand still seeks out a customer every day.

Too often, aspiring entrepreneurs dwell too much on the price of their products or services.  Let us never forget how we wish our customers to feel throughout any experience that we wish to share.  If we courageously apply our quest to improve the feelings of others using our services, good fortune awaits our applied habits of excellence.

Special Event Marketing Should Follow An Entrepreneur’s Rules

Lobbying within the age of so much digital media during major conferences can often bombard an events team with too many possibilities.  That is precisely why it is vital to approach a large conference like CPAC 2013 in Washington, DC with a focused media and events plan.

In the above video, I want through a few tips that our Pelopidas media relations and/or special events team tries to employ whenever the venue is so large and broad.  Ironically, a rule that I follow is:  the bigger the show, the smaller our focus should be.  Like a small business entrepreneur, defining your goals from a large event is key.  For this book tour promotion, we determined that our target audience was mainly – under the age of 30, and likely to stop by our booth for less than three minutes unless we engage.

A good rule of thumb on exhibit booth traffic based upon past experience with large shows is to expect about 10% of total attendees to pass by at some point over several days.  So, if the conference that you intend to staff expects more than 10,000 in attendance, that could mean that your booth could see about 1,000 pairs of eyeballs, or roughly 300 people passing per day.  Assigning sales or marketing goals within this reality can help you determine the best staffing needs for your kind of experience.

During this conference, our How Money Walks blogger was also live blogging the entire weekend list of notable speakers and VIPs.  By assigning specific roles to everyone’s highest and best use, we tried to operate our How Money Walks tour booth like a well-trained, high-tech Apple store.  Our staff had a blast, our customers enjoyed the experience, and we were able to market media right on site throughout the major event.

Missouri Lobbyists & Chief Executive Officers: Remember Your Last Five Years Without Social Media

By Travis H. Brown

This CEO.com report sounds the alarm of the tsunami of social media changes ahead within the next 60 months.  Most Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) have armies of lawyers, lobbyists, regulatory affairs experts, media relations gurus, along with many public relations agencies on some of their working priorities.  Missouri lobbyists share the same challenge – they have corporate clients who call, issue-based campaigns who email, and many others who visit from time to time.  For many contract lobbyists, mainly over 50 years of age, I suspect that they will continue to resist the wave of social mediums that are already disrupting their relevance.  To play a devil’s advocate, precisely what values have I found after my 8,443 tweets as of this moment?

Fine.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  However, as reports like these evolve, failure to define one’s digital presence will have dramatic consequences within five years or less.  As your time will fly these next 60 months, others will be standing by to define you, your scope of work, and perhaps even your legacies.

By no means am I proclaiming the end of lobbyists, in Missouri, or elsewhere (influence-peddling is at least as old as Plato’s Republic).   The fundamental organization of a strategy, a message, its production, or its direction.  All of these entrepreneurial variables will continue to be essential to how democracies and republics must work in some fashion.  However, whether or not your hired lobbyist in Jefferson City, in Springfield, or in Topeka, can remain relevant to your company’s demands with customer-driven social media will be another question.

The prosecution rests, with a statute of limitation imposed for 60 months or less remaining.  Meanwhile, New York City will be turning their payphones into wifi hotspots.

How Venture Capital Becomes Your Visa to Entrepreneurial Growth

By Travis H. Brown

Recently I was amazed to read a story in the Wall Street Journal about the differences in visa policies in and beyond the United States.  As a Missouri entrepreneur, I have never faced this challenge myself.  However, within the states, I have read about many stories, such as the Illinois inventors of Netscape, who had to flee elsewhere to find private equity.  That’s when I was reminded that such races for entrepreneurial capital are not new at all.  This short Nobel Peace Prize winner video story reminds us of one such example.

Career Growth Must Start with Vision

By Travis Brown

This year marks my tenth year earning an exclusive living as an entrepreneur, making payroll for others, while balancing our client interests from professional sports to community medicine. I feel privileged to join the ranks of prior generations that found a way to make it on their own, even despite its natural trials and tribulations. While I thoroughly enjoy being a citizen of the world in my travels, new ventures, and projects, I believe that American entrepreneurs must carry the lit torch of “exceptionalism” with extreme care. To borrow a late Governor Mel Carnahan legacy phrase, “don’t let the fire go out.”

Travis H. Brown with Governor Mel Carnahan, Bill Signing of SB518, 1999, an act promoting entrepreneurship

Increasingly, it is my responsibility to pass along to contract lobbyists, issue advocates, digital media producers, and event planners how to find, share, and expand our company vision and values. While every Aquarian job creator has at least one part dreamer already built in, it is important to realize that most of us are not born with such a landscape. Absorbing, learning, and applying a worthy vision comes from much customer research, strategic insights within your supply chain, and applied experience within your niche of professional service.

I had the honor of working for several visionary leaders in their days. While at the Monsanto Company, there was no doubt that executives like Bob Shapiro, Hendrik Verfaillie, Hugh Grant, and Robb Fraley laid down an audacious yet inspiring path for their employees to follow. Yet, if you look deeper into every corporate history, you begin to realize others before them, such as Dick Mahoney, Ernie Jaworski, and Will Carpenter may have secured such a foundation with dedicated research, a strong cultural history of results, and a focus on creating their own future.

When I mentor leaders today, sometimes others see the pursuit of a vision somehow as a license toward free roamingJames C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras may have said it best when they outlined what real visionaries do to make their cultures great, in Built to Last:  Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Visionary,” we learned, does not mean soft and undisciplined. Quite the contrary. Because the visionary companies have such clarity about who they are, what they’re all about, and what they’re trying to achieve, they tend to not have much room for people unwilling or unsuited to their demanding standards.

They go on to outline four common characteristics of these driven cultures:

1)     Fervently held ideology (like Wal-Mart)

2)     Indoctrination (like Walt Disney)

3)     Tightness of Fit (like Nordstrom)

4)     Elitism

If you do not have this management book on your reference shelf, I recommend pinging itunes for it. Having lobbied for such companies as Procter & Gamble, mentioned in the book, it seems to me right on target.

I have found it very useful in the strategic planning process to always start with a values or vision conversation, before moving to strategy, tactics, operations, and best practices. If you have an approach that has worked well for you, feel free to share it with me at @pelopidas.