Entrepreneurs Must Have a Supportive Spouse if Launching a Startup

Free Souls Embrace Creative Commons

photo by: Pink Sherbet Photography

I am an entrepreneur and I have the most amazing wife in the world. The support I get from her is incredible. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re working on a startup, you WILL need moral support (at a minimum) from your spouse-without it, well, I can’t even imagine how that would work.

An incredibly supportive spouse

The reason I’m writing this post is because I’m in awe of what my wife did to support my entrepreneurial efforts. People who follow my posts know my wife and I were expecting twins in March, and that I got my startup, WeMontage, into the gener8tor startup accelerator in Madison, WI.

What people don’t know is the twins, who were due the end of March, had to be unexpectedly delivered-because of complications-on January 2, 2013 at 29 weeks (full term is 40 weeks). The babies were very premature and extremely tiny and fragile. My son weighed 1lb 14 ozs.

If that wasn’t hard enough, I was to leave for Madison, WI to begin the startup accelerator for a weekend kick off the next day. I’d worked my ass off to get into the accelerator and the likelihood was the program was exactly what I needed to “accelerate” the business, and without it I would have struggled to get traction.

Click here to read the full post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.


Startups Don’t Fail. Founders Quit.


By bjornmeansbear

Photo by bjornmeansbear

Last week, just before a meetup at the Madison, WI-based startup accelerator, gener8tor, I overheard someone say, “Startups don’t fail. Founders quit.” I was like, “did Startup-Gandhi just walk in the room?” That was the most profound statement I’d heard in a few weeks. I turned around and it was Eric Martell, COO and co-founder of  U Connect.

U Connect is an online food ordering platform that lets restaurants receive online orders for pick up and delivery via their own custom site, and it has an online listing of all restaurants in the area. U Connect partners with 600 restaurants in 17 cities in the U.S.

I walked over to Eric and told him that was such a profound statement it was gonna be the title of my next post and I wanted to interview him and find out what he meant by it.

So, here we are, Friday morning at Ancora Coffee in downtown Madison, WI.

I asked Eric to tell me about a time he and his co-founders wanted to quit working on their startup, U Connect. Eric riffed and I took notes.

Click here to read the full post at SteamFeed.com

How Not Having A Tech Co-Founder Put Me On The Bubble For A Start-Up Accelerator

Happy Norouz

Photo by Hamed Saber

In my last post, while riffing about Fauxperts and folx who don’t believe luck plays a role in the success of an entrepreneur, I mentioned I made it to the final round of 10 start-ups vying to get one of the coveted 5-7 spots in the gener8tor start-up accelerator boot camp in Madison, WI.

I was truly touched by all the support I received in the article’s comments section and on twitter. So much so, I thought I’d post an update so people would know what happened. 


Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.

What Happens When Original Content Comes Full Circle?


Fauxpert? What The Heck?

Several months ago, my buddy, Robert, over at Bundle Post introduced me to a new hashtag: Fauxpert. After I finished peeing my pants from laughter I read the three definitions of what a #Fauxpert is. But it’s the second definition that resonates most with me today:

2) One who is seen as an expert or guru by the media and in interviews gives advice and recommendations they clearly do not execute themselves.

I’m no expert or guru, and I assure you no one from the media is beating down my door for interviews.

I blog to share things I learn, mistakes I make, and awesomeness I encounter while launching my start-up, WeMontage. So, since I am walking my talk, based on the above definition, I am relieved to know I am not a #Fauxpert. Woo hoo! And Yay!

When Content Comes Full Circle

Recently, it feels like things I’ve blogged about for the last six months have come full circle. Three posts in particular come to mind.

I currently live in Appleton, WI, which has its positive attributes (e.g., cost of living, safety, and really nice people), but it’s brutal if you’re trying to launch a tech-related start-up; I might as well be living in the desert. 

Finding mentors, connecting with like-minded people, and getting access to “smart” resources requires a high level of creativity and a willingness to network and travel 1.5 to 2 hours to nearby cities (Milwaukee and Madison) that have a better entrepreneurial ecosystem. And active engagement on social media is a must for me.

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.

Elevator Pitches: A Waste of Time For Entrepreneurs?

Photo: D.H. Parks


This post is for entrepreneurs who’ve had to painstakingly craft an effective 90 second elevator pitch to raise money from investors, and for those investors who’ve had to sit through what I’m sure have been both killer and horrid elevator pitches over the years.


Two weeks ago I was flattered to have my startup, WeMontage, be selected as one of 15 companies to participate in an “Elevator Pitch Olympics” (EPO) at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, which was sponsored by the Wisconsin Technology Council. Initially, I hesitated to participate, but after thinking about it for a second I quickly realized I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.

Are Successful Entrepreneurs Just Lucky?

Welcome to the Platitude-Free Zone

Photo credit: Ashtyn Renee

This blog post is intended to start a conversation with entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and the people who invest money with entrepreneurs. I would like us to have a real discussion about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur (however you define success)–free of platitudes and “conventional wisdom.”

My vision for this post is, via your comments, we will inspire one another to reach a little higher for our goals, dig a little deeper for strength, and reflect internally a little more deliberately for clarity of purpose and mission.

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.

Build Social Media Relationships Before You Need Them

I blog, therefore I am?

Methinks not. For me, blogging = learning, sharing, growing, and connecting with amazing people like you.  What’s the vehicle through which I learn, share, grow, and connect? My experiences working to bring to life my current start-up dream.

So, what’s the latest lesson I had to re-learn this time? :-)  It’s a simple one really: In order to drive ROI (i.e., conversions, sales, etc.) make sure you have your social media relationships in place before you need them.

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.



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My Biggest Startup Challenge? Software Development.

I blog for three reasons. It’s fun working on a start-up, but it’s also extremely challenging and frustrating at times. So, blogging is a catharsis. I blog to share the kewl things I learn and the bone-head maneuvers I make, so that others might benefit. And I blog to connect with entrepreneurial-minded people.

Last night, while having dinner with friends in Chicago, someone asked me, “what was the most challenging aspect of working on my start-up, WeMontage?” Without hesitation, I replied, “getting the software developed to bring my vision to life.”

I recently discussed the challenge of finding a founding partner with a tech background-someone who complements my skill set.  While navigating said challenge, I discovered three key things about the software development process and, most importantly, about myself.

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.

Desperately Wanted: Finding A Start-Up Founding Partner

Photo by Gideon Tsang

I read a lot these days about the importance of having both a hacker and a hustler as founding partners if you plan to raise capital and successfully launch a tech-related start-up. A hacker is basically someone who can write software and a hustler is a passion sharer (think Steve Jobs).

But what if you’re a hacker and don’t know any hustlers or vice versa? How do you make the connection you need to find viable founding partners to bring your idea to life? Do you go with someone you’ve known since kindergarten? This option is ideal, but probably unrealistic for most entrepreneurs. Do you rely on character references from other people you trust? Or do you use one of the new founder match-making services that are proliferating?

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.

Don't Should On Me: Stop Giving Entrepreneurs Unsolicited Advice


Snark alert! If you’re averse to snark, now might be a good time to redirect your browser away from this post. 

If you’re still reading I assume you have a penchant for snark consumption, and to you I say, welcome, friend. 

If you’re an entrepreneur working on a start-up or a bold new project, I’m sure you’ve met someone–probably a total stranger and possibly in a bar–who thinks they know so much about your business they start telling you what you should do. On behalf of entrepreneurs everywhere I say, stop shoulding on me. And please keep your advice to yourself…unless, of course, I ask you for it. 

Click here to read the rest of this post, which is published at Steamfeed.com.