Tuesday, September 09, 2008

25 Connections and building on

Adam Steen visited my Drake University Entrepreneurial Leadership class this morning and hit one out of the park. I'm 2-for-2 in signing up all-star guest speakers (IMHO...god, I can't believe I just used that IM lingo).

Adam is the type of enterprising young person (i.e., younger than me) that Central Iowa, Des Moines in particular, strives to attract. He grew up here; went off to college; played a little baseball in the Phillies system, got cut, parlayed a contact into a job selling insurance in Minneapolis (yuck); got fired (yahoo!), and badgered his way into a spot with a new private investment banking firm with his dad (who refused to hire him at first). Now he has his own business, 25Connections (25 players on a major league roster), a unique take on marketing and networking for success.

Tenacious? You bet. Obnoxious? No way. He is so damn nice and enthusiastic I wasn't sure I could like him. He connected with me after I suggested that we needed a little more bullshit and deal commotion in Des Moines. Geez, you'da thought he'd never heard the word uttered in public before. But I now consider him a mentor to me; he brings me fresh insight and a completely different perspective to looking at deals and networking.

"Enthusiastic?" you ask? "Prove it" you say. Well watch the video where he tries his hand at bull riding:

Ya gotta love it when he demands a do-over. Way to go Adam.

Here are the Five Steps* to becoming an effective entrepreneurial leader he shared with us:

+Learn how to fail.
We all get cut from the team now and then.
One must accept the inevitable defeats, build on them, and then accept success.

+Be an Active Thinker.
Think critically.

+Be Curious
Read everything you can.
You never know where you might find the next opportunity.

+Be skeptical.
Don't believe everything you read.
Question assumptions

+Have no fear.
Ride the bull.
Get in the game.

Adam's mission is to create success for others. He's on his way.

*I added the links to jazz things up a bit and to expand the network. I'm sure Adam won't mind.

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