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Daniel Rossi:

One of the benefits of being NWEN's Director is I get to host office hours every week.  We've taken to calling these sessions Idea Therapy.  There's a couch.  I talk in a deep mesmerizing voice.  There's a lot of crying.  Actually, entrepreneurs visit me and we talk about issues germane to their startup.  Ideation, validation, writing their business plan, pitching investors.  A lot of the time I'm helping translate "tech speak" into the Queen's English.  Office hours are great...maybe the best part of my job.

But a few weeks ago I got stood up at office hours.  No phone call, no warning. Nothing.  There I was, all dressed up in my prom dress, a single tear rolling slowly down my face.  Lucky for me I had four other prom dates that day.  So I forgot all about it.  Until today. 

A funny thing happened today.  I was writing to a list of people that had visited me over the last month or so at the office.  I wanted to tell them about our Ideation eIQ that we're hosting this week.  Entrepreneurs need to know how to come up with ideas and decipher the good from bad.  We help do this because your family and friends are liars.  An hour later this fella calls me up and says - hey, how do I get pulled off of your mailing list?  I asked about the email content, it was the one I'd sent office hour attendees. One thing led to another, and then I discovered - quite loudly - that this was the office hour standup culprit! 

As we chatted I agreed that I'd pull his name from our list. But I wanted to know why, and why had he pulled out of our meeting?  What he told me next was both cause for laughter and concern.  He told me that he was at another startup meetup and someone told him to be wary of NWEN because we're "a Ponzi scheme."  Did this guy really think we were a Ponzi scheme?  Really? Whatever he thought,  it was bad...

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One of the benefits of being NWEN's Director is I get to host office hours every week.  We've taken to calling these sessions Idea Therapy.  There's a couch.  I talk in a deep mesmerizing voice.  There's a lot of crying.  Actually, entrepreneurs visit me and we talk about issues germane to their startup.  Ideation, validation, writing their business plan, pitching investors.  A lot of the time I'm helping translate "tech speak" into the Queen's English.  Office hours are great...maybe the best part of my job.

But a few weeks ago I got stood up at office hours.  No phone call, no warning. Nothing.  There I was, all dressed up in my prom dress, a single tear rolling slowly down my face.  Lucky for me I had four other prom dates that day.  So I forgot all about it.  Until today. 

A funny thing happened today.  I was writing to a list of people that had visited me over the last month or so at the office.  I wanted to tell them about our Ideation eIQ that we're hosting this week.  Entrepreneurs need to know how to come up with ideas and decipher the good from bad.  We help do this because your family and friends are liars.  An hour later this fella calls me up and says - hey, how do I get pulled off of your mailing list?  I asked about the email content, it was the one I'd sent office hour attendees. One thing led to another, and then I discovered - quite loudly - that this was the office hour standup culprit! 

As we chatted I agreed that I'd pull his name from our list. But I wanted to know why, and why had he pulled out of our meeting?  What he told me next was both cause for laughter and concern.  He told me that he was at another startup meetup and someone told him to be wary of NWEN because we're "a Ponzi scheme."  Did this guy really think we were a Ponzi scheme?  Really? Whatever he thought,  it was bad enough to run like hell the other way when I sent him an email about Ideation. 

So we talked.  I explained that the Northwest Entrepreneur Network is decidedly NOT a Ponzi scheme.  NWEN is a non-profit whose sole existence, whose very reason for being, is the proliferation of startups.  We exist to help them succeed.  We teach them everything they need to know and introduce them to everyone they need to know to make their first startup feel like their second.  And when they come back for a second or third startup we help them reengage with the community all over again.  NWEN helps startups succeed.  Period.

In pragmatic terms we help startups through the process of ideation, business model validation, research and writing business plans and pitching investors.  We do this for those who are launching companies.  Then we help those running companies build their tech stacks, manage products, manage relationships with vendors, figure out their cap tables, price their stuff...and on and on.  And we charge $99 per year for membership and small fees for every Breakfast Buzz, Pub Night, eIQ, Workshop, etc.  Even Entrepreneur University is a mighty deal.  I spent $60K on business school.  You can learn what you need to about entrepreneurship for less than $400 total. It's one of the best values for startups anywhere.   AND, if you get someone else to sign up you get a small percentage of what THEY spend on classes!  Just kidding.  We don't really do that... that's a pyramid scheme.

PS - I convinced my new friend that we are NOT a Ponzi scheme.  He scheduled himself another hour of Idea Therapy.  I'm so going to make him cry!



11 months ago