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Feedback 09/03

Letters from our readers

Going Deep?
Juanita Weaver's "Creative Zone" piece (July) was right on. Too few companies recognize the strategic value of creativity, which separates the leaders from the copycats.

I'd like to add one additional tip. Because there's a lot of information out there to assimilate, it's important to focus on "shallowness." Being shallow means getting paper-thin snippets of a lot of things rather than developing significant depth-initially, at least. Creative ideas come from synthesizing something new from multiple things you've already been exposed to. To maximize the number of toys you have to play with, you have to be efficient and shallow.

There are lots of great tools for developing shallowness. The best tools are book summary services, of which I prefer getAbstract (www.getAbstract.com), to replace book reading. For $299 per year, you get a five-page synopsis and review of a business text sent to you in PDF, Palm or MS Reader format, in addition to unlimited downloads from their library of more than 2,000 titles. I read 200 book summaries in six months that way.

Other efficient tools include newsletters (such as Communications Briefings or The Organized Executive), magazines that have executive summaries of articles (e.g., Harvard Business Review) and online portals like Yahoo!

Becoming shallow allows the entrepreneur to be more creative than his or her peers, while sacrificing little, if any, precious time working in the business.

Eric A. Sohn
Chief Idea Officer
IdeaFountain
Business Resources
Stamford, Connecticut

The Great Outdoors
A friend gave me a copy of your April article on the benefits of outdoor advertising in this economy ("Marketing Buzz"). Many of your points were on target. Transit media, airport, mall and other nontraditional forms of outdoor advertising are often ignored in media plans put together by ad agencies that simply don't know the medium as well as they know radio or TV.

My company helps businesses and marketers determine their best outlets for outdoor media. Because we don't own billboards, like the companies you listed, we offer nonbiased quality marketing advice to our customers. They have rewarded us with 50 to 100 percent growth every year for the past five years. I keep scratching my head about this "bad economy" I always hear so much about.

Justin Allen
Vice President, Sales
Findasign Advertising
www.findasign.com

Sweet Anticipation
Every time your magazine comes, I read business tips that become crucial to my business' success. Whether it's marketing my business, managing my business more efficiently or finding new business streams, your articles make me money, save me time and motivate me to see new possibilities. I'm always learning something new or being reminded of a great technique I forgot.

My one complaint is that I read through Entrepreneur in just a few days, spend the next few days reviewing, and spend the rest of the month in desperate anticipation for your next issue.

David Notowitz
Owner
Notowitz Event Video Production
Los Angeles

Mixing Business With Education
I recently read your April article "Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught?" Yes, it can be taught across the curriculum, from kindergarten with picture books to graduate school. Anyone who graduates from high school, college or graduate school and is only prepared to be an employee is like someone hopping around on one foot. To have both feet on the ground, a student needs to be prepared to be both an employee and an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship awareness can be woven into math, science, social science and language arts. It can be part of a math word problem or a poem. Each student could create an entrepreneurship portfolio.

When a student enters college, he or she will be looking for a business to start. A teacher can be an entrepreneur. An artist can be an entrepreneur. An engineer can be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship awareness is to the business community what health awareness is to the medical community.

Cheryl Moore, Ph.D.
Baltimore

School Spirit
I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy every issue of your magazine. I have my own consulting company and am in the process of hiring people, and I feel all the information you provide is very good. I also enjoyed the April issue with the Top 100 Entrepreneurial Colleges and Universities ("Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught?").

But I was sad to see that my alma mater, Johnson & Wales University, in Providence, Rhode Island, was in the third tier. The education this university gave me was second to none. I went to Eastern Europe with the university's Entrepreneurship Center. We saw dozens of start-up companies. We saw the problems that most start-ups face and how they combated them as well as the post-communist problems that occurred.

This university has just started a business module that allows the seniors to operate their own businesses, providing them with the infrastructure needed. The education I received there was given by ex-CEOs and true businesspeople. All the faculty members taught from what they experienced, not what they learned.

Kevin R. Baranowski
Executive Vice President
Enterprise Projects LLC
Tabernacle, New Jersey

Update: Tucson Ventures, a company that appeared in July's 3rd Annual VC 100 listing, has now merged with Valley Ventures of Scottsdale, Arizona. Their new Web site is www.valleyventures.com.

Correction: Michael Minelli, media and entertainment business manager for SAS Institute Inc., has averaged $2.5 million in annual, not quarterly, sales ("The Art of the Sale," August).


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This article was originally published in the September 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Feedback 09/03.

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