Not Long ago I was proud to be nominated for a Tulsey Award, www.thetulseys.com, something our city has long needed to do. As part of that process I was required to answer some questions that for whatever reason got me to stop and think more than I usually do for this type of thing so I decided to post my responses here. Mainly because I want to keep record of them in case I have to answer any of these questions again, but maybe they'll be useful too. Here they are:
Please explain why your are a source of inspiration for others on or considering to take an entrepreneurial path:
"I often joke that in the race for success, I am the tortoise. Finding fortune fast or just plain luck are just not in the cards for me. I've learned and demonstrated that by consistent, hard work and innovation I will continually make progress in my business and social endeavors. The good news is that while fortune has not been fast upon me, as I continue along persistently it will not be fast to leave me either."
Tulsa entrepreneurs are unique in the world. How have your endeavor(s) added value to our community and the future of Tulsa?
"My Tulsa roots have instilled me with a passion for helping others succeed and overcome. New Medio developed the corporate philosophy of BTYFI, pronounced beautify, it means Better Than You Found It. That's how we operate in our business and our social outreach and we try to bring it into our daily lives. Our BTYFI work can be found in the donation of our technology to the Perinatal HIV ward of the largest hospital in the world in Soweto, South Africa, in the abandoned downtown Tulsa warehouse we rehabbed 3 years ago, in the bicycles we put on our streets, and in the way we encourage our clients and peers to do the same. In this way, we magnify our impact."
If you aren't failing, you aren't succeeding. Share with us some of your failures to better understand how you have taken the lessons learned and applied them to support getting to where you are today.
"In 2005 I was in the process of buying and renovating our building, I was also working on the creation of Tulsa Tough, developing YP Tulsa and expanding our business service offering to encompass full-service ad agency work. As a leader, I became stretched too thin and found myself less effective on all fronts and began to struggle personally and professionally. I learned to let go of my pride, I pulled back from initiatives like YP Tulsa where the end goal would be achieved through initiatives it launched and new organizations like TY Pros. I scaled down my business to re-focus our efforts on website and web application development, our core competency. I sought outside support for my other causes and found many willing, ambitious individuals to lead those efforts allowing me to serve in a specified role as a collaborator. Since then, the business has surpassed my expectations in growth and productivity. My social causes have all made significant progress and even though YP Tulsa is no longer around, what it represented and set out to accomplish was achieved and where it lacked the TY Pros have successfully filled the gap. In the end, I learned focus and collaboration. Do what you do best and enable others to do the same because in the end it's not about you, it's about the result. "
Entrepreneurs are shaping the future of Tulsa. What ideas do you have to help support growing Tulsa as a recognized entrepreneurial center globally?
"Tulsa needs to believe in itself again. Before anyone else can believe great things come from Tulsa, Tulsans need to believe great things can come from Tulsa. Our business works for world class companies from all over but we have very few Tulsa clients, they like to hire out of state where talented, creative professional are. The result can be seen in the number of talented start-up's who have moved their headquarters from Tulsa after starting here including Solarc, Vidoop and Docvia. We need to be proud of our talent and be vocal advocates of our work, nobody else is going to do it for us and certainly nobody is going to realize these great companies started in Tulsa when they encounter them in Seattle. Tulsa needs to send the message to the world that we have moved from Oil Capital to Intellectual Capitol, but we must also own that message."
Community involvement is a critical piece of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Please share the types of social entrepreneurial endeavors you are contributing to.
"In 2005 I helped launch YP Tulsa to create a forum for Tulsa's young professionals to connect and be heard in shaping their city's future. The legacy of that organization and our work is now found in the City's own tag line A New Kind of Energy. In 2006 I co-created the Tulsa Tough Ride and Race to promote healthy lifestyles and cycling in Tulsa. That event now features thousands of participants from world-class professionals to first time riders. In the past 2 years we have given away 600 kid's bikes through our Tough Kid's challenge. In 2007 I worked with the Warren Foundation on the development and creation of the Tulsa Townies free bike program to promote healthy lifestyles and alternate transportation. I have helped raise money for purchasing police bicycles and am currently working to help develop a bike rack system throughout Tulsa. I serve on the Executive Board of the Tulsa Sports Commission, the Brady Village Property Owner's Association, and am Race Team Director for the Tulsa Wheelmen Bicycle Club. "
Being creative is vital to an entrepreneurial endeavors success. Share an out-of-the-box experience that has made you stronger as an entrepreneur.
"Our society has some big problems that I care deeply about including obesity, fossil fuel dependence, acceptance of each other, and the erosion of community fabric. I have often believed that telling people to change is not going to be successful, as evidenced in the growing trends in obesity despite all the various reports on the adverse effects. If we want to fix major problems like the escalating cost of health care, we must address the root problem. I lost 40 pounds after graduating college by commuting on my bicycle to work downtown from Bixby. I did it for social and personal reasons but it changed me forever. I realized that something as simple as riding a bicycle, something we all loved as children, can have a profound impact on health, air quality, dependence on oil and suddenly as you ride past some little shop every day - you stop and discover. Ever since I have taken to promoting change on significant social problems through the simple action of riding a bike, it's non-controversial, it's fun and most importantly it makes a difference."