Bring Your Ideas to Life, with IdeaMensch

Idea Mensch Road TripFor the regular readers of this blog, you know that I am a huge proponent on start-ups and entrepreneurship. In the past, I have blogged about various events that promoted start-ups and entrepreneurship. This blog is not different. Last night was IdeaMensch, Raleigh edition. IdeaMensch is a community of people who inspire others to act on ideas and the Road Trip is a traveling idea generation platform that covers 48 states, with 50 events over 4 months.

Along with Mario Schulzke, who started IdeaMensch, there were 5 great entrepreneurial speakers about their ventures, opportunities, and things they learned. Here are some quick highlights of all the speakers:

Mario Schulzke, who, with his team, has interviewed over 1,000 entrepreneurs, made a great comment about entrepreneurs and why he has started IdeaMensch…people with ideas live everywhere. How very true.

Aly Khalifa, Founder of product and graphic design firm Gamil Design, as well as LYF Shoes, talked about developing the teastick and impress coffee press. He also had a great comment early in his talk, he mentioned that the only way to get good ideas is to be open to new ideas.

Jake Finkelstein, President of Method Savvy, a data-driven marketing agency that helps businesses deploy creative advertising and communications programs. Jake referenced early in his talk about the old adage of knowing that a company know 50% of the marketing budget was ineffective, just not sure of which 50%. Jake talked briefly that to help determine which 50% was the effective part was the purpose of Method Savvy. He continued to talk about three lessons he learned: 1) that none of us really know what we are really doing, 2) failure is not a bad word, just make sure you do it quickly, and 3) there is a lot more to life than just work.

Nancy Nguyen, Founder of Sweet T Salon and author of The Networking Diary, was appointed as Ms. Corporate America 2011. She talked about her experiences with her past corporate jobs and realizing that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She also talked about leadership and that it is important to learn how to lead your teams. One of the events she talked about was when she was hit by a car as she walked to the office and running in to get business cards before she went to the ER. Nancy also talked a little about her book, The Networking Diary. She talked about how networking is a lifestyle and it is not about the business card, but built one relationship at a time.

Next, Brian Dally, who led the creation and launch of Republic Wireless, an innovative new carrier spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to its members, spoke about the company and what he learned along the way. Some of he things he learned was to be fully invested in research & development, to creature a culture that makes it ok to fail, working with customers for discovery and development and, lastly, to ask for help from others.

Last, Matt Tomasulo spoke about starting and launching CityFabric, a tool to bring the discussion of cities and urban design to the general public, and Walk [Your City], an online pedestrian empowerment tool for any citizen to become an engaged stakeholder in their community. I know I remember when the Walk Raleigh started as I was downtown and thought it was a great idea and I am glad he jumped through the necessary hoops to continue the project. The project is now expanding into other cities across the country.

Overall, the event was a great one for learning and networking. I know I am glad that I was able to attend and learn from entrepreneurs that are working on their dreams daily. I got the sense, like Jake stated, that none of them had it all figured out. However, just the drive to accomplish something and keep moving it forward will help them and those around them successful in their own ways.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at

About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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