The Long Road Back

A head-on collision has changed my life—for the better. –By Ken Krogue

I’ll bet a lot of you have been asking, “Hey, Ken, where’ve you been lately?”

At times, I’ve wondered that myself.

Perhaps many of you know that I suffered a terrifying head-on collision not long ago. That’s why you’ve seen a lot less of me around the office lately. As a result of the car crash, I suffered a concussion and whiplash that I’m still dealing with. The entire experience has changed my life in profound ways.

I’d like to share with you what’s happened to me over the last few months—the accident and the slow recovery process. I don’t think anything in my life has had such a powerful effect on me.

Why talk about it?

I can’t help but share important lessons. For years, as a founder and president of InsideSales.com, I’ve taught companies how to create high-velocity inside sales organizations. As a volunteer, I’ve showed Boy Scouts how to build a campfire, put older kids through football drills, explained to executives the principles of strategy applied to sales and marketing.

Now, I’d like to offer what I’ve learned about my life.

This all began about noon on Sept. 2, 2015. (In fact, I just noticed that my last blog article was that very day about the infographic my friends did about my mom’s passing.)

My 3/4 ton Chevy Silverado after the head-on collision (I have a bigger truck now!)

My 3/4 ton Chevy Silverado after the head-on collision (I have a bigger truck now!)

I’d just begun spending a lot of time at home in Mapleton with urging from Dave Elkington, trying to finish a couple of books I’ve planned for years, and went out to get a few things. Coming back on Highway 89, I slowed down to 20 mph to get into the turn lane. A large truck traveling at 55 mph was coming down the hill around the corner. Just then, a young woman in a Honda Civic pulled out and the truck, unable to stop in time, hit her car, picking it up and hurling it across to the side of the road. The impact forced him to plow into my lane at a net speed of about 70mph and we had a head-on collision.

The force of the impact crumpled the front-end, hood, and engine of my ¾ ton Chevy Silverado, shattered the windows, and spun my truck across the freeway and into a steel barrier. I hit the side door, my arm slammed into and bent the steering wheel, and my seatbelt, pulling me back, felt like it tore me in two. The airbag deployed, saving my life, but causing a concussion as it deployed with force on the front of my head at the same time whiplash whacked me from the back as I hit the barrier.

Time seemed to stop.

I remember watching the particles of the airbag explode in front of me. Four batteries I’d bought for my motor home flew from the bed of my truck, landing as far as 30 yards away, and I watched the acid that exploded out of them sizzle in the cab. My spleen hurt; I thought I’d broken some ribs. Otherwise, I didn’t feel a thing. A guy showed up and told me not to move. He called my wife and told her what had happened. As she arrived the ambulance came for me. At the hospital, they picked glass fragments out of my hand and set my arm where I’d fractured my ulna, one of the two long bones in the forearm. By the end of the day, they released me.

And the young woman in the Civic? She had to be life-flighted. Everyone assumed, given the impact of the crash, that she’d died. Amazingly, she survived, with a broken nose and arm. I’ll need to bring her into my story again soon.

The next few days were really cloudy. It’s hard to explain, but I could only see and think in one narrow direction. I was very emotional and irritable; the littlest stresses tipped me over. I was trying not to let people notice. My natural filters that kept me from saying stupid things were partially gone. My biggest struggle was just to keep my mouth shut.

Obviously, I couldn’t process the insurance claims myself, but I couldn’t resist tracking down the truck driver. After I found his name on an insurance form, I called him up and said, “I’m the guy you hit.”

He said, “I remember your face. You didn’t have time to even flinch. And I remember seeing the back of the young woman’s head. She didn’t see me, but I saw two beautiful children in the back seat. I did everything I could to swerve so I wouldn’t crush them.” The landscaping trailer he was towing behind him jackknifed when he hit me.

I asked, “So, what happened?”

He said, “The cops came, and I asked, ‘How’re those kids?’ The cop said, ‘there were no kids in that car.’”

I guess that young woman had a little help. I know I did.

The Honda Civic driven by the girl that first got hit by the truck that then hit me

The Honda Civic driven by the girl that first got hit by the truck that then hit me

So did the truck driver. I’ve talked with him since. He’s a different person today.

And so am I.

A few days later I was up in my cabin up in Timber Lakes just east of Heber City, recuperating over the Labor Day Weekend. I told my wife, I’ve got to go to church today. Well, it was pretty crowded—a chapel-full and three overflow rooms of people. I was in the back of the last one in, feeling pain and powerful drugs. And I suddenly had this urge that seemed to lift me out of my seat, “I need to get up there and tell my story.” I walked to the front of the congregation and said, “You don’t know me, but I’ve got to tell you what just happened to me.” I was fuzzyheaded but walked them through the story, and then I sat down.

Later, people reached out to me and put their hands on me in a consoling way. A young guy came up to me and said, “I know you,” and pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of my wreck. He said, “I was one of the first people on the scene, and I work for the guy who hit you.” And he validated the story of the two beautiful children. The truck driver still swears up and down those children were in the back seat.

Well, not all of my recovery is shot through with otherworldly mystery and human warmth.

I forget stuff.

I’m irritable.

And I’m having the hardest time writing again.

For those of you who know me, this is frustrating and painful. I’m getting help for this piece from Tom Post, a former managing editor at Forbes Media who was my editor for several years and who now works for my dear friend, Cheryl Snapp Conner. Both of them are coaching me back to help me rediscover my writing.

This is when I was in the emergency room

This is when I was in the emergency room

But I’ve started on the long and pocked road back. I did some treatment with several chiropractors, massage therapists, and tried physical therapy. But I couldn’t get an appointment with a neurologist until the middle of January. Some friends told me about a new concussion clinic in Provo, Cognitive FX, headed up by Dr. Alina Fong, a graduate of BYU and a neuropsychologist. Using a functional MRI, which monitors changes associated with blood flow in the brain, the machine makes a movie of the inside of your head, mapping out what happens when you have a concussion (or develop Alzheimer’s).

While in the fMRI, I went through six batteries of cognitive exercises, which lit up different parts of the brain and mapped out where the trauma occurred.

At first, I could only tackle the easy stuff, looking at a screen and trying to match the dots and shapes. It was hard, like physical workout. I’d never before thought of the brain as a muscle that atrophies without use. It doesn’t heal by itself. We have to activate areas around the brain, creating new pathways.

That’s what I’m doing on many levels: creating new pathways in my life.

Dr. Fong found a very clear signature for mild brain trauma that first day. I tested 2.58 on a scale of 0 to 5, with anything over 2 a concussion. For the next few days, for 7 or 8 hours a day, I engaged in 47 different exercises with cognitive therapists, like hitting buttons on a board while looking in my peripheral vision, doing bio-sensitive feedback to control my brainwaves, and, of course, engaging in physical therapy.

I was told I’d feel worse the first couple of days, and that was true. I felt noticeably better by day four. But by the end of day five, when I tested 0.23, I felt quite good. I could think, see, and feel again. While I could think and speak again, I could not write. It’s something about the linguistic side of the brain where I’m still struggling. I’m going back for a couple more days soon.

And I’m learning I have to reset before I hit a wall, I call it “vapor lock.”

It’s still really hard to hold my head and body up after about two in the afternoon. If I lie down and rest, I can usually pick up where I left off. But if I try to push through, I’m exhausted.

I’ve learned to type a little while lying on my side. Mostly, I speak my thoughts into a voice recorder. I’ve trained Siri to recognize almost all that I say, though she sometimes makes bad mistakes—as in four-letter words I don’t mean to say.

All of this—the accident and the recovery—has been life altering. I’ve learned to care less about the obvious things like money, status, winning.

Don’t get me wrong. InsideSales.com is the top company in our space—and, of course, I care deeply about this great company and the people who helped carry it to the summit.

But I find that if I take less and give more, better things come back to me. I am trying to focus on the essentials.

So many of us are on an endless treadmill of meetings and busy-ness, going faster and faster, while our work gets worse, our results disappoint, and our relationships suffer. We are in the thick of thin things. But if I focus on the mission—helping other people do better, get through tough times—the business will take care of itself.

I'm trying to eat much better. This was my first meal on the outside after my 3 week clinic visit to Optimum Health Institute

I’m trying to eat much better. This was my first meal on the outside after my 3 week clinic visit to Optimum Health Institute

Before the accident, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I didn’t exercise, didn’t eat or sleep well, and was on the verge of diabetes. Pedal to the metal, I hadn’t realized what a toll this life was taking on myself—and my wife and family—over the last 12 years. I’d let some important family responsibilities slip.

Now, I’m eating better and just starting exercising. I have more time for what’s really important to me: my family, and especially for my youngest son who needs me. Friends I rarely see have suddenly come into my life again. Life has become much more beautiful. I wish that other people could discover that they, too, can get off that crazy treadmill before they can’t get off.

I think while I’ve been gone others have been experiencing change in their own lives. We all take what life gives us and try to improve and become better. I’ve felt very bad that I haven’t been able to contribute on the day-to-day like I would like to. I’ve heard that there has been lots of important change happening at InsideSales.com and in the Inside Sales industry that I love so much.

I don’t want to exaggerate or romanticize what’s happened to me.

I’m struggling.

Sometimes I look at earlier articles I’ve written on my blog or out on Forbes and think, who was that person? I read them again and I’m amazed I once wrote them. These days, the only time I can form ideas and remember them is if I visualize them, go to bed reviewing them, and then wake up at 4 a.m. with a clear perspective that I can retain. If I can get to that stage, I can own it. If I don’t, it’s gone and I can’t seem to get it back.

One of the first times I spoke after the accident with Jaime Shanks, Koka Sexton, and Jill Rowley at the Sales Stack conference

One of the first times I spoke after the accident with Jaime Shanks, Koka Sexton, and Jill Rowley at the Sales Stack conference

I’ve given a couple of public speeches since the accident. I’m told they went well. Friends like Koka Sexton, Jamie Shanks, and Jill Rowley covered for me a bit on stage at Sales Hacker. Most people don’t know I’m even struggling. But it seems to take five times the effort it once did. I’m afraid I pushed so hard when I spoke at RootsTech that I made myself ill preparing for what used to be second nature to me.

It’s all part of creating those new pathways.

The good news is, the doctors say that with time I should bounce back. In fact, Dr. Fong says in some areas, with the work I’m putting in, I’ll actually be better.

The books I had been working on clear back in August and September are actually in draft stage, though months later and with a lot of help.

Dave and the executive team have been very patient. My wife and family have been amazing. I’ve tried a few times to come back and found myself immediately overwhelmed. I used to easily swim in the deep end of the pool. Stress was nothing. Now it is something significant to be reckoned with.

I’ll be back. I may not be quite the same person. And it may take a while…

But I’ll be back. -Ken

My Friends at Hirevue Gave Me a Gift

My friends Gabe Villamizar and Pete Avilla at Hirevue did they coolest thing as a gift to honor my dear mom, who passed away last week. They took the article I wrote in tribute and made it an infographic!

My friends at Hirevue did they coolest thing as a gift to honor my dear mom, who passed away last week. I've been so out of it I just saw it today.

My friends at Hirevue did they coolest thing as a gift to honor my dear mom, who passed away last week. I’ve been so out of it I just saw it today.

25 Things I Learned From My Mom

My dear mother, Sheila Krogue, passed away two days ago. I’ve been reflecting on her and celebrating the incredible impact she has had on my life.

Here is a list of these she taught me through her example and her lessons:

My mom, Sheila Krogue, taught me many things that shaped who I am. She passed away two days ago and I miss her!

My mom, Sheila Krogue, taught me many things that shaped who I am. She passed away two days ago and I miss her!

  1. Say hi to everyone.
  2. Take an interest in those you meet.
  3. Smile, your face after 40 is your own fault.
  4. Don’t sleep in.
  5. Work hard, do a little extra.
  6. Never lie.
  7. Pay attention to other people’s kids.
  8. Have Popsicles in the fridge.
  9. Always have M&Ms in a jar.
  10. Help your kids amount to something by applying for every opportunity.
  11. Family matters, so don’t miss Sunday dinner.
  12. Celebrate your favorite people’s birthday by making them a favorite dinner and dessert.
  13. Remember people’s name and use it correctly.
  14. Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.
  15. Traditions keep a family culture alive, never miss.
  16. Cold hands mean a warm heart.
  17. A Diet Coke can get you through the day.
  18. Always have a joke to tell.
  19. Laugh as you tell it.
  20. Remember the stories about your family and share them.
  21. Brag about people in front of them where it will do some good.
  22. Keep in touch with friends and family, if you think of them call them.
  23. Observe etiquette and table manners, they reveal your upbringing.
  24. Spell things the right way, it’s a dying art.
  25. Learn to read well, you can visit anywhere you want to go in a good book.

Thanks Ma Sheila!

-Ken

The Two Riskiest Things I Ever Did in Business

This article just appeared on page 33 of the Summer Edition of Business Q Magazine, it was an interview I gave to Brianna Stewart.

The two riskiest things I ever did were two sides of the same coin: working for myself, and working for somebody else… let me explain.

From an interview I did for the Summer edition of Business Q Magazine

I have always been a serial entrepreneur, but in one early company I went out on my own way too early, before I knew how to run a company. I lost a lot of money. My first big adventure was when I worked with a partner in a computer consulting company and we bought out the previous owner, only to find my new business partner was not honest. I lost $70,000; about what a nice graduate degree in business would cost me.

I call it my MBA from the school of hard knocks.

Big mistake.

I wasn’t ready.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I should have learned my strengths and weaknesses on somebody else’s dime. I figured out later that I excel at the strategic side of sales and marketing, not managing business. I went to the Naval Academy and I love military strategy. It took me a while to translate that knowledge by mapping it onto sales and marketing strategy.

It’s like when I coached 9 years of youth football. 8 of those 9 years I coached the defense, my love, my background, and my skill. I can count the games we lost in those 8 years on both hands. The year I tried being a head coach I don’t think I even had a winning season. Find your strengths and bet on them.

This is the cover of the summer edition of Business Q Magazine that just interviewed me. This is Jayson Edwards, the Founder of JDawgs, the best hot dogs in Utah.

This is the cover of the summer edition of Business Q Magazine that just interviewed me. This is Jayson Edwards, the Founder of JDawgs, the best hot dogs in Utah. Read his story, it’s pretty awesome!

My second big mistake was working for somebody else too long. I started the original inside sales department at Franklin International Institute. In the early 90’s we were the 2nd fastest growing company in the US, before they merged with Stephen R. Covey’s company. I built a massive organization for them and didn’t have enough ownership equity to buy a car. I risked all of my hard work for very little. To me the biggest risk is to have somebody else in charge of your future.

My dear friend Oliver DeMille reminds me that a hundred years ago 90% of Americans owned their own farm, shop, or business. They were entrepreneurs.

They were owners.

Now 90% of Americans work for owners and entrepreneurs and control very little of the variables that affect their lives.

They are employees. To me that is very risky.

The next opportunity came and I co-founded what is now inContact. I gained enough equity to launch my future, and I was in a position to help control the variables that put that future at risk.

After that Dave Elkington and I founded InsideSales.com. I learned to join forces with an absolutely brilliant business partner that was world-class great at the things I was not good at. While I was able to bring my strengths into focus and really excel at what I am great at. It was very little risk. Being an owner when you know what you are doing is very little risk. And having a little help from upstairs is the least risk of all!

Author: Ken Krogue
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Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

Why Waiting Until the Last Minute is the New Best Practice

How many times have you heard, “Plan ahead, don’t wait until the last minute!”

There is mounting evidence that only the first half of that advice is still a hard and fast rule.

In some situations, waiting until the last minute may be the best thing you can do.

We are putting on the world’s largest online sales trade show called the Inside Sales Virtual Summit with only 3 weeks to invite people. And we think we will break the world’s record!

A book I like by Kaihan Krippendorf tells us to “Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists See Options Others Ignore”

Boy Scouts, John Wayne, and the United States Naval Academy

The year was 1978.

I was still twelve. Almost thirteen. We had a Scoutmaster named Dave Watson.

We nicknamed him “Swat.”

Why? We heard he had blown his thumb off in an accident with a shotgun and had it sewn back on.  When he reached out with his big hand he couldn’t quite grab you, he just swatted you. (I don’t know to this day if that story was true.)

Swat was a big bear of a man. We always hiked behind him in the mountains because he cleared a big path and made it easy.

But he taught me to do hard things.

To hike one more step when I couldn’t. To plan for an activity when my friends were all out playing. To stick by my “buddy” even when he wasn’t the coolest kid to hang out with. To clean up after they went home.

I’ll never forget Swat.

He helped me finish my eagle, along with my mom. He impacted dozens and dozens of boys. I still remember his stories around the campfire at the end of a weeklong scout camp on Friday night. They were welded into my soul.

His example shaped my life. I want every young person to have a positive experience like that.

Starting your own business is hard. Keeping it going is very hard. Being an entrepreneur is hard. But because of Swat, it doesn’t seem quite as hard.

For several years I worked closely with a woman in my church whose son wrote home to her once and mentioned something about that first word of the Scout Law…

Trustworthy.

She read the letter to several of us and I paraphrase what the young man said:

“Mom, I’ve come to learn that being trustworthy is even more important than being loved. A parent loves every child in the family, but they need to be able to count on those children to do what they are asked to do… that is trustworthy.

I’d say that the Boy Scouts of America did its job in that family. There are thousands of stories just like that for every value in the Scout Law.

I’ve had several employees who didn’t learn that…. I had a few business partners who didn’t learn that. One cost me $70,000, I call it my “MBA” from the School of Hard Knocks.

There are 12 values that provide the boundaries within which the Boy Scouts try and operate, based on the mission and vision of the Scout Oath.

Stephen R. Covey taught us that values are neutral unless you measure them against something. They are, by definition, what we “value,” or care about. People care about very different things, sometimes completely opposite things. Some values diametrically oppose each other. Everyone chooses the values they will live by.

Mother Theresa had values. Hitler had values. Martin Luther King had values. Ted Bundy had values. Lord Baden Powell had values. Lenin had values.

Today organizations and famous people espouse their values. Hollywood has values. Professional sports has values. Bill Gates has values. Oprah has values. Mitt Romney has values. Barack Obama has values.

The other night I again watched the 1972 movie The Cowboys with John Wayne.

The Cowboys, starring John Wayne - Amazon.com

The Cowboys, starring John Wayne – Amazon.com

He had strong values.

I didn’t agree with all of his methods, but his values resonated. He taught one of the boys in the movie to overcome his stuttering by getting him so mad he finally turned on Wayne and cussed him up one side and down the other. One of the first times the Lord’s name was used in vain in a movie. It became clear later it was for the boy’s own good. He learned to speak without stuttering that day.

Tough love I guess.

Many say John Wayne was the physical embodiment of America. The Cowboys director Mark Rydell, coming strongly from the left, crafted this work of cinema art with John Wayne, strongly from the right, to synergize a story of the American West that stirs the soul even today, in 2013.

It took both of them…

Some claim it was Wayne’s favorite movie he ever made. The story of a cattle rancher that couldn’t hire men to take his large cattle herd to market because there weren’t any available. So he recruited a bunch of boys to do a man’s work. The gruff Wayne takes the boys riding and camping into the wilds, on the high adventure of their lives. He uses some very tough methods at times.

They grow up quickly.

They do hard things… very hard things.

One of them dies along the way… trampled by the cattle.

Things turn from bad to worse when Bruce Dern, the friendly neighborhood cattle rustler with his dozen men, shows up again to take away the cattle, just miles from the final destination. John Wayne protects the boys and stands alone as he calls Dern out in a fair fight, and wins. His taunting challenge is one to be remembered:

“I’m thirty years older than you are. I had my back broke once, and my hip twice. And on my worst day I could beat the hell out of you.”

It’s only when he turns his back on Dern that he is shot in the arm, the leg, the back, and then the stomach.

One of the few movies that John Wayne actually dies in. His last few words will soften the hardest heart. I won’t spoil it for you.

The boys decide to take the cattle back and finish the job Wayne started. They had made a promise, had given their word, a verbal contract, an oath, to the old cattle rancher.

Roscoe Lee Browne, the best actor on the set of The Cowboys, teaches boys to do hard things and keep their word

Roscoe Lee Browne, the best actor on the set of The Cowboys, teaches boys to do hard things and keep their word

Grudgingly led by Roscoe Lee Browne, the best actor on the set, with perhaps the most moving scene in the whole movie and almost any movie, they succeed. They do hard things. They put it all on the line. They fill their hands and grow up in a single day. They face down the most difficult challenge of their lives. A challenge they never saw coming.

They live up to the oath they made.

Society judges the value of the values in question based on their result over time and their impact on the world.

The year was 1982.

I was in my junior year in high school and applying for scholarships and appointments to the Air Force and the United States Naval Academy. I was amazed that both Academies asked if I was an Eagle Scout. Their profiles both showed an inordinate amount of Eagle Scouts in their alumni compared to the normal population. I decided to fly out and spend a week during the summer at the Naval Academy and see if I could handle it. It was brought up several times while I was there.

Being an Eagle Scout obviously meant something. I recently have found that 11% of boys in the US are members of the Boy Scouts of America, 2% are eagles. 11% of Annapolis Midshipmen are Eagle Scouts, 25% are Boy Scouts.

I decided to go the Naval Academy the following year. My appointment was from Orrin Hatch. They cut my hair. I had to memorize my chain of command all the way up to Ronald Reagan. I had to memorize the officers of the watch and the menu of the day… every day. We had to know two front-page articles and a sports article every day before breakfast or we got demerits… every demerit was at least an hour of marching at the worst possible time of the day.

We were there the year BYU, Ty Detmer, and Lavell Edwards won the national championship and I also memorized the articles about the Superbowl of the Washington Redskins.

It was hard… very hard. I marched a lot.

I remember being at parade rest on the parade grounds with my left hand in the small of my back, my bayonet forward, and sweat rolling down the middle of my back causing an itch that couldn’t be scratched… not then at least. It was 98 degrees, and about that same level of humidity. I had never seen heat like that in the mountain west. But it was ok, I had done hard things growing up as a Boy Scout.

I was 17.

One day on the parade grounds, I noticed the plebe in front of me starting to sway. We had been warned of the symptoms. He had locked his knees. He was going to fall… backwards this time. My choice was obvious even though I knew the consequences. I moved my bayonet from out of the middle of his back, threw my piece to the ground, moved out of rank and tried to leap forward to catch him. All I did was slow his fall, but I stopped his head from hitting the ground with full impact.

They came and got him.

And I got in trouble, again, for moving in the ranks.

I couldn’t understand why.

Many years later I realized it was a time-proven model to grow men out of boys and put them in charge of leading the greatest military in the world. Flying those 30 million dollar jets was no small thing. The whole game was about how we react and lead in a no-win situation. If I moved I was in trouble. If I didn’t help my comrade I was in trouble. Which trouble was worse?

It was about leadership. It was about service. It was about being trustworthy in any situation.

Once again, I was marching. But that time it was worth it.

At the end of Plebe Year we climbed the greased Herndon Monument to take the Plebe cap off and to put the officer-style cap on top so we could end the most difficult summer of our lives.

I was one of the guys holding up that last row or two of Plebes as one of our tallest class members reached to his very limit and exchanged the two hats. You can’t even see my face in the pictures, just my grease-smeared back. We had taken off our t-shirts to wipe away the grease so we could just hold on to that two story granite pillar. Many had fallen to the ground in the early stages when the grease was still very thick. But we did the very hard thing and ended that summer of hell. It was amazing though, as hard as it was, you couldn’t pull us away. One of those love/hate situations you will never forget.

We all did a very hard thing.

I have a bond with my classmates of ’87 that is strong today even when I’m old and fat. Dieter Rademacher, Jonny Hayden, Howard Merritt, Steve Cote, Jim Lelio, and many others.

I watched our First Class men and women throw their caps in the air as they graduated.

That day they took an oath: To lay their lives on the line, if necessary. My late roommate Jonny Hayden was the gunnery officer on the ship that fired one of the first shots of the Gulf War. I hear a few of my classmates aren’t with us anymore.

To uphold our constitution and to protect our freedom.

Not a just recommendation or a guideline…

An oath.

As I sat in that audience watching, I was struck with the impact of them taking that oath. I never got to. Once upon a time I had it memorized and had to quote it dozens of times or I marched:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Many was the time my mind reviewed the only oath I had ever taken up to that time in my life… when I was a Boy Scout.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

I think I have rehearsed the words of that oath well over a thousand times…

It means something.

I mean it when I say it.

I feel it when I hear it.

In my heart…

 

Now the year is 2013.

I have four boys and a girl. Mostly grown up.

I was their Cubmaster. Their Scoutmaster for 8 years.

Then an Assistant Varsity and Venture Leader. A Unit Commissioner. Last May I was asked to be a District Chairman over three cities. It isn’t nearly as much fun working with a bunch of old guys as with our youth.

But I do it.

I’m a volunteer. I’ve never been paid a dime. In fact, I’ve shelled out more money than I care to remember because I want my boys, all boys, and girls, to learn what I learned…

Duty to God and my country.

How to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

I want my children and newly born grandchildren to learn values…

I want them to hear stories around a campfire.

To feel that tingle that goes up their spine as they come face to face with greatness… and truth. I want leaders who tell stories that teach values, stories of Baden Powell and Scoutmasters minutes.

Dave Elkington and I, and all entrepreneurs, want to hire young people that know their values, and live by their values.

And know the meaning of trustworthy.

And an oath.

 

Author: Ken Krogue | Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

My Forbes Article: The Case for Startups Not Taking Venture Capital Too Early

When Dave Elkington and I started InsideSales.com eight years ago we wanted to build a company that was well prepared for hyper-growth without just throwing money at it. My article on Forbes…

Dave Elkington, CEO of InsideSales.com, Chose Not to Take Venture Capital Too Early

We wanted to build it from the ground up based on great ideas and sound execution. We wanted to test and vet the business by growing it organically based on its merits in the marketplace. We wanted to learn what we needed to do each step along the way. We wanted a Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Hard Knocks.

We realized that the company grows only as fast as we do.

It also means a lot more when it is your money. You don’t spend it as fast. You learn to rub two pennies together. You want leverage. You make do. You invest in great people and technology, but you don’t care how fancy your chairs or desks are.

You force yourself to stay disciplined. You figure out a way. It also has other benefits:

We didn’t give away the shop. We control our own destiny (with help).

Both of us had been exposed to entrepreneurs who had great ideas and thought all they had to do was raise some money and grow like crazy.

Very few of them are still at the helm of their own companies years later.

Dave Elkington, our CEO, is a legend of fiscal innovation.

That is a nice way of saying he is tight as can be. But it is paying off big time. He is amazing. I could never do what he can do.

Anyone can say “Yes.” Few can say “No.” It is by far the greater of the two disciplines. It will become even more important with the direction the economy is continuing to go.

We outgrew our competition while growing organically. We forced ourselves to run the tightest ship in our entire industry. We learned to out innovate our tech competitors, to be data-driven, to make hard decisions, and to stay hungry. Because we had to.

One of my favorite success stories is of Hyundai. They set a big, hairy, audacious goal of being able to offer a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty on their automobiles when the industry thought they were crazy. They weren’t crazy. They forced themselves to raise the quality of their cars until they were the best and could survive the scrappy commitment they had set for themselves with their warranty. They pushed Toyota and Honda and all the American brands back on their heels.

Hats off to Hyundai.

When the crash of 2008 happened, and Wells Fargo yanked our only small credit line for no reason and with no notice, we pulled together as a team, tightened up the belt, and grew.

In fact, we grew like crazy.

They said there is a recession happening. We voted as a team not to participate.

Because we could… You see…

We were profitable.

Nobody that I have ever seen gets as much done with as little as our scrappy team here at InsideSales.com, leading our own corner of cloud computing, the world of remote sales. We all owe that to Dave. Very few can boast being the leader in their space and twice being on the Inc., 5000 without raising money. Every CEO who starts life as an entrepreneur has their own approach to doing things. A blend of management and leadership. Only a few of them are world class, based on their strengths.

Dave Elkington is world class.

Nuts! Southwest Airlines crazy recipe for business and personal success

I love reading Nuts!, the crazy story of Southwest Airlines. The only airline that is consistently profitable over the last four decades because they out innovate everyone else combined and they run a tight ship. I choose to fly them now whenever I can. When a downturn comes, they barely notice. They fly one plane because it keeps parts, service, and training costs low. Why do I fly them when they serve peanuts and I love the ginger cookies on Delta? Lots of great reasons, but most important…

They are profitable.

They have a sound fiscal policy, much unlike the leaders of our government current and past (where are the fiscally responsible entrepreneurs in government?)

They don’t charge extra for luggage… because they don’t have to. For years they did what nobody else was willing to do.

Now they can do what nobody else can do.

At the end of last year we finally took a round of investment from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and several SaaS industry leaders like Josh James, the founder of Domo and Omniture (which sold to Adobe.)

It was a rather small round.

We didn’t need the money.

We wanted the expertise, mentoring, and coaching from folks like Mark Gorenberg, Lars Lecki, John Hummer, Ann Winblad, and Josh James.

Mark Gorenberg, Partner at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, our mentor and coach. Image via CrunchBase

Now don’t get me wrong. With some additional resources and investment you can afford to put your foot on the gas. We are growing even faster now. But we are bound and determined to stay disciplined and in control of our own destiny.

So just because everyone else thinks that the formula is to come up with a good idea, raise money, spend money, and grow like crazy…

That doesn’t mean it’s right.

There are a lot of founding entrepreneurs out of work watching other people manage the companies they started who say otherwise.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

‘I Vote Entrepreneur’ Trending to #7 on Forbes

Go check out I’m not Democrat or Republican: I Vote Entrepreneur, it is trending to #7 on all of Forbes right now… Here is a bit of a longer version:

I finished this article the final minute of 9/11 as my memorial to those who gave their all in the towers, on the plane, and the brave ones on the ground. I’m in New York City right now. This article is a bit longer than most, but I view it as the most important thing I have ever written. Please respond thoughtfully one way or another. We owe it to them to address these issues. I lay the gauntlet down before you – Ken

I grew up in a Republican home. My business partner, our CEO Dave Elkington, grew up in a Democrat home. He is extremely intelligent and I can hold my own. We are the two founders of InsideSales.com. We are opposites in almost every way. But this opposing yet complimentary balance has been powerful in the extreme.

We have been blessed, or lucky, or we have simply outsmarted our competition depending on your frame of reference.

Yet sometimes I wonder how he can be so dumb! How could he possibly believe that?

And he often credits the same idiocy to me.

We have worked together for eight years.

We debate everything, in fact my calculations show we have spent slightly over 2200 hours debating, arguing, or discussing hundreds of issues you could think of in that time. Granted, most of it is our own philosophy of business, but it often drifts to our philosophy of life, religion, and politics.

He comes across harder on the surface than I do, yet he’s a softy. I come across soft-spoken yet I can be much more harsh than he is. He’s much better with money, technology, and getting lot’s done. I’m better with people, techniques, and getting one important thing done. I love working with him but when times are hard, I don’t always like him. And conversely, sometimes I drive him absolutely nuts. He is almost always right about what to do today, even if it is a hard choice. And I have a way of always knowing what is going to happen in the near future.

He is educated in philosophy and computer science.  He plays basketball and speaks Japanese and Hebrew. He loves science. I’m educated in English, statistics, and I can speak southern drawl. The most life-changing college course I ever took was philosophy and I know football is the only true sport.

He married Alese, a physician’s girl who grew up liking extreme snowboarding. They have two kids. I married Crystal, a farmer’s daughter who grows things; we have five kids.

We have learned one thing:

Truth tends to lie in the middle.

Our spotlights of opinion merely seem to shine on the opposite sides of the same issue. Together we see more than either sees ourselves.

When you work this long with someone you tend to take the best parts of the other and use them as a model to work on yourself. I’ve noticed he’s not as dumb as he used to be. And he tends to listen to me more the first time.

Last election we were on opposite sides of the fence. Now we both are concerned that this is the most important election of our lifetime. More hangs in the balance than we realize.

Both Dave and I have abdicated our roots. I’m not a Republican. He’s not a Democrat.

But we are both Americans.

We are both entrepreneurs.

We agree we will vote as entrepreneurs, and our 140 employees and their families will probably do the same (beyond this, these opinions are mine and I don’t speak for Dave. He may choose to respond himself).

True entrepreneurs are the statesmen and stateswomen of business.

They are owners.

One hundred years ago Americans were 90% owners. They owned farms and ranches and shops.

Now we are 90% employees.

PAGE 2 OF 5

Our schools used to teach us how to think. Now they teach us what to think, and when to think; these are employees that entrepreneurs have to teach how to think.

Entrepreneurs build things. They create jobs out of ideas. They are alchemists who invent computer chips out of sand. They fix things. They think. They ask why. They ask why not.

They are skeptical, but not cynical. Their heart hopes, their mind believes, and their body takes intense action.

They test what actually works. When they find what works, they throw everything they have behind it. They stop doing what doesn’t work.

They know that positive cash flow solves all problems and that borrowed money never means profitability.  They fire finance people who can’t balance a budget.

They pay people based on results. They don’t carry the loafer; they educate and manage them into productivity or fire them.

They always look for lower costs and higher profits, but they realize the only way they can grow the company is to grow the people. And if they don’t pay them what they are worth they will leave. They hire people who are scrappy, competent, productive, and dependable. They don’t care where the people come from, but where they are going.

They take care of their own and are ruthless with the competition. But without competition they get bored quickly. They never lower their guard and lessen their preparedness. But their abundant mentality realizes there is more than room enough, and for all. When you create jobs and money out of nothing, you know that with innovation and grit and help from Divine Providence that all is possible.

They also know that luck is fickle. They make luck. They overcompensate for lack of luck.

The best of them give back along the way. They have a magnificent obsession with a secret: do good and good comes back to you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

They volunteer at the soup kitchens, they rebuild the shelters, they encourage other entrepreneurs to join them to help others now, when it will do some good.

Entrepreneurs have a practical approach to political issues.

Here is the list of issues the right and left polarize by.

PAGE 3 OF 5

It is my first stab at an Entrepreneurial Party Platform:

Social issues:

This is the redeeming quality to me about the left that Dave helped me see, so I put it first.

 

LAS VEGAS – NOVEMBER 02: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

The left takes care of the poor and the needy. The right leaves it to charity and religion.

It’s the only reason I can handle Harry Reid being a member of my religion. But Dave has even helped me with that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like my money being taken and redistributed to those who can’t, don’t, or won’t work. Dave does not seem to either.

No sound thinking entrepreneur does.

But the left does something about the poor and needy, even if it is mandated through legislation. So if the right rises back to power and advocates that charity and religion take care of the poor, they better do it… or the left is hard to argue with.

But still, freedom of choice is the greatest of all. It is the root, the foundation of America.

But the poor and invalid must be taken care of. So if we do it out of the goodness of our heart, that is a far better thing than being forced to redistribute our wealth by a government bureaucracy who has already proven to be a catastrophe at doing it well.

An entrepreneur makes jobs and teaches skills and lifts the economy that then, of itself, lifts all out of poverty. A rising tide floats all boats.

But, I’m still a free market capitalist. I don’t see a track record of success in social programs run amuck… ever. Your thoughts Dave?

I paraphrase my late mentor Stephen R. Covey:

 

English: Stephen Covey at the FMI Show, Palestrante on June 22, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We know that the right gone bad is big business turning to greed.

We know that the left out of control is big government turning to power.

Abortion: This is the issue that breaks my heart for our nation and for our world. I bring a perspective that hasn’t been heard much in this argument.

I was adopted at 11 days old.

I thank God every day that I was not aborted. What does a few months mean? I am grateful for the voices that whispered and counseled my biological mother to wade through the brief travails of childbirth rather than to carry the lifelong pangs of regret. And thanks mom, thanks dad, for waiting five years on a list to adopt me.

My son Joshua and dear daughter-in-law Whitney are expecting. I can’t think of a greater joy than the gift of a newborn child.

Thank you Whitney. Thank you Joshua. I’m going to be a grandfather!

I bought my house from Greg and Holly Richardson, friends that have adopted eighteen children with four of their own. They keep making room. I admire former Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann who raised five children and 23 foster children. They kept making room.

Some issues shouldn’t be left or right; they are good or they are bad. This issue alone stops me from leaning left.

The best words I have ever found on this terrible topic are those of Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters” And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.

 

Mother Teresa in a Calcutta orphanage, 1979. Bettmann / Corbis

“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

“Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children’s home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy! (Mother Teresa)”

This entrepreneur will make room for more. We will make jobs for more.

It takes commitment.

I love it when a salesperson buys a home… sales go up. When a salesperson gets married… sales go up. When a salesperson has a child… sales go up.

I love what I do.

Love is the greatest motivation of all. And if not love… then duty. But without duty comes selfishness and fear.

Abortions come from fear. Fear that there isn’t room. Fear that there won’t be enough for another mouth to feed. Fear that there isn’t time for a child. Fear that one small mistake will drastically change my life. Fear to make known to my family.

Don’t fear. Have faith. A dear friend, Larry Macfarlane, recently taught me that, faith minus fear is “net usable faith.” Bravery is actionable faith in the face of fear.

If you can’t rise to love, at least rise to duty for your child. There is room enough and for all. It was our own Malcolm (Steve) Forbes Jr. in the September 1994 issue of Forbes that said,

“A growing population is not a drag on economic development. When combined with freedom, it is a stimulant….Free people don’t “exhaust” resources. They create them. Wealth comes from human imagination and innovation.”

And an article entitled “Ten Billion for Dinner, Please,” in U.S. News and World Report on 12 September, 1994 states that the earth is capable of producing food for a population of at least eighty billion, eight times the ten billion expected to inhabit the earth by the year 2050. One study estimates that with improved scientific (and entrepreneurial – my addition) methods, the earth could feed as many as one thousand billion people.

Don’t fear; entrepreneurs will make room.

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Affirmative Action: Simple. Tested. Doesn’t work.

Budget: Have one. Live by it. Basic 101. They have proven they can’t handle our money. Fire ‘em.

Economy: Entrepreneurs know you don’t just print money to grow; you make things and sell them for more than they cost. We know you keep taxes low by keeping government small and expenditures only for necessities. You keep costs low and work hard.

There may be a recession. Entrepreneurs choose not to participate.

We change reality through leadership, management, and innovation.

Taxes: Some taxes are important for critical infrastructure. But don’t raise them just to support big government. Don’t play Robin Hood with my tax money. Don’t throttle growth, pay for necessities.

Campaign Reform: The McCain-Feingold Act left a lot to be desired, and some gaping loopholes. The best campaign reform is to get good people and citizens to vote.

Crime: Have fathers and mothers stay together so they can teach honesty to children when they are young.  If crime still happens, I know entrepreneurs who put criminals to work in controlled environments paying back the results of their actions. Don’t let them just sit there. When they are paid in full, they also have a career that they can turn to instead of crime.

Entrepreneurs find productive things for people to do.

Death Penalty: This is the most ironic thing there is. We consign to death 40 million of those known to be the most innocent, and let those who are known to be guilty sit for decades or for life, unproductive, and supported by taxpayer money.

I do believe we must go to great ends to validate guilt, and free innocence.

But proper consequences to actions are critical for a strong, right, and true society. The Bible is a sound guide. It is still true.

Drugs: I don’t know which do greater damage to society: those drugs that are legal, or those accessed through a prescription.

I once acted as a mentor for a friend of mine who went through Narcotics Anonymous, complete with the 12 steps. I kept a record of the 40 people who came and went through the weeks and months of the program. 39 were addicted to prescription drugs and half of them worked in the medical industry to be close to their sources. My friend was the only one of the 40 who had been addicted to cocaine and meth. Those are bad odds. We have a much bigger problem.

We need a lot more green smoothies, but I don’t want government entities telling me what I can eat either.

Education: I went through our current K-12 and undergraduate programs and learned how to memorize, cram for a test, and psych out my teacher to see what was needed to get an “A.” Then I brain-dumped, forgot all, and moved to the next semester. Don’t get me wrong, some shining lights of teacher excellence exist in almost every school. I had 3 or 4 that changed my life.

The best of them all was Philosophy 110 from Chauncey Riddle at BYU. I moved my family to take one class from him the year he retired. I audited the class. I didn’t even care if I got a grade. I would trade my entire University of Utah degree for that one class if I had to. He taught me how to think clearly, the rest I figured out on my own, with help from upstairs.

Yes, the system itself leaves a lot to be desired. The American upper-graduate programs are arguably some of the best in the world because of the mentoring that goes on. Our undergraduate programs don’t focus on a true education; they focus on training for a job. As an assembly line, it is good. But we need more than employees.

We need employers.

Entrepreneurs have learned how to think, most in spite of schooling. I get pretty concerned when I see textbooks with a paragraph on the Magna Carta and three pages on the affair between Marilyn Monroe and Kennedy.

An entrepreneur would pay teachers well who inspire students to learn. Entrepreneurs pay for competency, not tenure. Dave and I pay Chris Jorgensen well, he’s our in-house educator and the head of our certification, consulting, quality assurance, and customer retention programs. He is our secret weapon. Sorry academia, you can’t have him.

Most schools train employees. They train you what to think. Then you work until you are 65.

Upper graduate schools teach professionals. They teach you when and whereto think. You probably work until you are 59.

We need schools that mentor entrepreneurs. Who challenge you how to think. Entrepreneurs work until you succeed, usually in your forties, then you turn your time and resources to giving back to society.

Then you can serve in public office, or charities and work for reasons much higher than money. They used to call it Public Virtue.

Statesmen, not politicians.

Entrepreneurs, not mere businesspeople.

Environment: Keep it clean. Use it wisely. Respect it. Replant. Treat it as a stewardship, something that you borrow from your children. The Native Americans have it right.

But don’t think we are truly dumb enough not to see through the competitive stifling tactics of those behind the energy business. Follow the money. We don’t allow our own offshore drilling while the price of gas goes up, but we offer it to Brazil? And blame it on the environment? Come on.

We let a few rare animals and cacti determine where we drill for new oil and natural gas and put our country strategically at risk?

Really?

We frown at the cleanest of all sources of power, nuclear energy. Have you actually toured the storage facility at Energy Solutions, like I have, and seen how truly safe they are? Or do you buy the bill of goods the media prints, touted by a small number of left leaning voices trying to make a name for themselves? Don’t speak until you see for yourself. But after that, don’t remain silent.

Entrepreneurs easily solve those kinds of problems. Get out of their way.

Euthanasia: Everyone has the right to die at their appointed time. But don’t think anybody but immediate family has the right to let someone die who can’t live on their own. This is not a government right. This is a very slippery slope that leads where abortion has led.

How does it go? Honor thy father and thy mother? Whose son or daughter let the option of euthanasia even become an option?

Many is the time my grandmother warned me with a smile, “Be careful how you treat your children, they are the ones who decide which nursing home you go to.”

Foreign Relations: You need them. But we aren’t the world’s policeman. Contrary to popular opinion, the phrase, “am I my brother’s keeper?” is misunderstood. What is a keeper? A jail keeper; with keys that allow one to come and go. We are not our brother’s keeper. But we should be a friend and a supporter, not a keeper.

Most of our foreign relations worries overseas involve oil. Let’s open up our own. Or better yet, let’s look to entrepreneurs to find even better sources of energy. Avoiding foreign entanglements still has wisdom today,  though we are too far in to easily back out (sorry Ron Paul).

Common sense people!

But do we stand up for our interests and our friends? We must. The line is fine, but that is why the best of us must be our ambassadors.

We need virtue, wisdom, diplomacy, and courage.

First Amendment, Free Speech & The Internet: If you kill these, you kill entrepreneurs. True entrepreneurs only exist where freedom flourishes. If you kill these, you kill freedom at its core.

Wake up everybody!

Gay Rights: I hire anyone who is competent, train those that try, and fire anyone who isn’t competent and won’t try. I try to respect everyone. Please try and respect me.

With mutual respect we can focus on the value and contributions of the people involved, not what goes on in the bedroom. We have enough problems in this list to solve that we all had better get to it… together. [I received a very cordial comment from Tammy Snow that caused me to reword this section slightly.]

This is the realm of entrepreneurs.

Enough said.

Guns: The founding fathers seem to have felt this was extremely important. History backs them up.

I think John Lott, Jr. has some interesting research about this issue that rings true. His research shows that all of the mass shootings that have happened recently have been in gun-free zones, except one. It seems these whackos aren’t as crazy as we think. They know they stand a much better chance of carrying out their murderous designs in a place where the law-abiding citizens who can carry weapons leave theirs behind. But the “no guns allowed” signs sure didn’t stop them.

Entrepreneurs have common sense. But common sense is rarely common practice.

Health Care: We are way past the point of common sense here. Why in the world did health care ever become a government mandated privilege provided by business owners anyway? Who was asleep at that social program wheel? It makes no sense, but it already is what it is. We should pay people well and let them buy their own health care.

Entrepreneurs are the ones who find new solutions to health care. They are the ones waking up and realizing that you can’t cure heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. Sorry Jon Huntsman.

You prevent them…

By what you eat… Like green smoothies. Healthy food. Sold by entrepreneurs like my new friend Robyn Openshaw, the Green Smoothie Girl and my friends at Roxberry. All are entrepreneurs solving problems.

By exercise… With treadmills, ellipticals, and spin cycles.

Again, follow the money.

Most health care solutions try and put us back together after a life of excess. American hospitals are the best in the world at solving heart problems, setting broken bones, keeping you alive, and using amazing technologies to find problems. Most of these solutions came from entrepreneurs in the first place, but they left when the governmental restrictions got too tight.

Most pharmaceutical companies don’t actually cure anything. They control symptoms and prolong cash flow by making it nearly impossible for patients to leave.

Now there is a business for you.

But good, true, ethical entrepreneurs don’t like that kind of business. Think Tobacco companies. But what about all products that we know are harmful? They know the results their business brings in the world rests upon their own head.

Here is where greedy entrepreneurs have done damage. We need entrepreneurs who cure things, change things, not prolong the status quo of people with health problems merely for cash flow.

Immigration:

Didn’t everyone who cared to be free immigrate to America in generations past?

Doesn’t Miss Liberty, the Mother of Exiles, proclaim:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Who are we to close the golden door? The first came here freely. After government was formed, they came here through proper channels. Now they sneak across borders under cover of darkness in a side door and we look the other way.

Why?

Entrepreneurs aren’t dumb. At least give us that.

When the right is in power they look the other way for low cost labor, when the left are in power they look the other way for additional votes to keep them in power.

The main problem is when people immigrate around the golden door and thus overwhelm our schools and hospitals and don’t pay their fair share so we all take up the slack.

Come on, you know the free lunch ain’t free.

But I take my hat off to those who make it here. You aren’t the problem. Many become entrepreneurs, and at success rates that seem higher than those who are already here. You are hungry. You know the value of the freedom that is the foundation of being an entrepreneur and often pay the price in work, thought, and sweat to get there. But you need to wake up also. The freedoms you risked your life and families to attain are hanging by the proverbial thread.

You are often entrepreneurs more than we are.

I say, “Welcome.”

But you need to help us fix the golden door.  Our own government can but won’t.

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Trade: Trade is good. Fair trade is better. But strategic sovereign trade from countries whose goal is to undermine America is not good, not wise.

Think people.

True entrepreneurs look at the big picture, not just the quick buck. But they don’t whine about it either, they address it.

Labor Unions: Originally trade unions were formed to overcome greed and abuse of employees. That was good.

Now they have become so powerful they are accused of greed and abuse of employers. That is not good.

They too often stifle competition and the scrappiness of meritocracy. They raise the price so high we can no longer compete. Many of my earlier concerns with America’s education problems are tied to the state and national educational unions.

Entrepreneurs treat employees well or they don’t stay in business. They are typically decades ahead of labor unions anyway. Look at the industries that fall under labor unions, the entrepreneurs left long ago; when the bureaucracy entered.

Jobs: If you want new jobs, give freedom to entrepreneurs and get out of the way. Check your American history if you want to see the truth of this statement.

Entrepreneurs don’t exist under communism, they are stifled under socialism. They die without freedom. And we rue the day when they are gone.

Business: Business starts with the entrepreneur. It grows and evolves with the entrepreneur. An entrepreneur can be an ‘intrapreneur’ within a company and do just as much good.

Military: Entrepreneurs don’t disarm themselves hoping everyone else will follow. Strength comes from preparation and innovation and investment in your future. Research and development and faith in an outcome bring solutions that open up new options. Strength gives you options. Weakness gives you bankruptcy and defeat at the hands of enemies who don’t share your belief in justice or mercy.

War: Entrepreneurs do all that they possibly can to avoid war. War is a plague that, once released upon the land, hurts and desolates all that it touches. War is avoided with strength, not weakness. War is avoided only by a majority living right under the hand of Providence, who staves off the sword of war on our behalf.

Veterans: These deserve our best. They know the value of our freedom above all. They are the guardians of the freedom that make entrepreneurs possible. They often come back from service and become entrepreneurs themselves. And those that don’t are often the best employees of true entrepreneurs. Butch Bradburn is one of our best at InsideSales.com, he spent many years in the special forces and is loved and regarded highly by all.

Social Security: It’s almost too late to fix it. Here is another “asleep at the wheel moment” social program.

Haven’t we learned?

If the pattern is repetitive failure going down the path of socialism, can’t we assume it will continue to be?

Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and expecting a different result?

The day is soon coming when Social Security is going bankrupt. It will be before me and mine ever need to use it anyway. The Baby Boomers took care of that. Too many using it, not enough paying for it.

Can you say “Ponzi Scheme?”

Entrepreneurs better start finding ways to deal with that day.

Seniors: I am busy trying to find ways to put my senior friends back to work in an honorable way. That is what entrepreneurs do. These great seniors usually know more than me in every area but technology. So I have something to give them.

They earned those grey hairs. They have great value.

I say find a place, make a place. They are my friends. If I have a dollar, they have fifty cents.

Welfare: Entrepreneurs like Marc Benioff have addressed a way that can be applied here. He instituted the Salesforce.com Foundation which provides 1% of revenue, 1% of labor, and 1% of company equity that goes to non-profit, cause based organizations that give back to the community.  Bill Gates regretted that he figured it out later, but he figured it out. He said he wished he had begun giving back along the way during his adventures at Microsoft rather than after he left Microsoft.

Our United States welfare system should be modeled and run by entrepreneurs, not bureaucrats.

I am carefully weighing my alternatives this election.

But I know this.

I’m not Democrat. I’m no longer Republican.

I’m Entrepreneur… and I vote.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

5 Years Growing our Business

Have you ever tried to start a campfire with gasoline?

I have.

If you don’t have tinder, sticks, branches, and logs in place. It just goes POOOOOF!!!

And you waste precious petrol at $4 a gallon. And singe eyebrows, nose hairs, and bangs. And you smell funny ’till you take a shower.

That’s what happens if you try using publicity too early in a startup business.

When Dave Elkington and I started InsideSales.com we agreed that we would do it in five specific phases:

Year 1: Get the Product right.

Your product is everything. Does it need to be perfect? No. It should work well, get it in production. I know many companies who polish the fenders for years and never start the engine. We liken our company to a bus that carries 140 people and we don’t pull over for anything. We hang people out the window to change a tire at highway speeds. The key is listen to customers and be really good at what you do. Oh, and know a LOT about the industry or audience you serve. You should know wayyyy more than they do… but still listen.

Year 2: Build a Support team to help customers use it.

It’s about people… great people. Answer calls, solve problems, respond quickly, exceed expectations. Sometimes we grew so fast our skirts were showing pretty constantly, but fix it fast, care for their business, and listen. The customer is (almost) always right. The only time he/she isn’t, is when they are a jerk repeatedly. I just refused to take a customer because he had cussed out or treated rude five of my people. And nothing we could do would please him. I happily gave him the phone number of my three favorite competitors.

Year 3: Crank up Sales to begin growth.

You probably need more guns on the ship. Sales solves all problems. But you can’t sell a product that customers hate. And sales reps shouldn’t service customers, we learned that. They say nothing happens until you sell something. One word… True.

Year 4: Expand Marketing to accelerate growth.

Why not put marketing before sales? You need leads to begin of course, but have people to close the leads before you generate them all or nothing happens. Our research shows that inbound leads close eight times more likely than outbound cold calling. But nothing closes itself (except ecommerce websites.)

Year 5: Pour PR on the fire for a high velocity business.

Now is the time. PR doubles or triples the overall effect if the foundation of logs is built. There is no greater leverage than PR. Create real, buzzworthy, interesting, compelling, valuable stories and research. Respond to everything. Build a research and PR team. Answer important questions to your customers. Be bold, be audacious. Know your brand. Be true to your brand. You may even go “viral” occasionally and drink from the holy grail.

Then of course, keep adding to the product, support team, sales, and marketing before they become the bottleneck. Oh, and you may need accounting, training, quality control and HR in there somewhere (details… details…)

Otherwise it just goes POOOOOF!!

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

The Krogue’s 10th Annual Rootbeer Taste Test

What does an 10th Annual Rootbeer Taste Test have to do with Inside Sales? Nothing.

Except maybe tradition. And testing.

This years annual taste test included $47 worth of the following rootbeer brands from Kohlers (in no order):

  • Stewarts
  • IBC
  • Jones
  • Shasta
  • A&W
  • Henry Weinhardts
  • Sprechter
  • Virgils

Methodology:Purely subjective. The goal was to have myself and five family members on a friday night give a score from 1 to 10 and a brief verbal description.

The Krogue's 10 Annual Rootbeer Taste Test

The Krogue's 10 Annual Rootbeer Taste Test - IBC moves ahead of A&W

Here are the rankings and descriptions. With a surprise finish A&W has been replaced by IBC rootbeer in the top spot.

1- IBC, score= 8.33 – Rich, good tasting, hardy, sharp & strong, great taste, strong, solid, kicky

2- A&W, score = 7.33 – great tasting, bad bubbles, bubbly, mellow, incredible, after taste, too smooth, best unique taste, strong, rich (an outsider and a traitor skewed the result!)

(3 way tie for third)

3- Jones, score = 5.92 – neutral, pleasant, great tasting, sweet, tangy, no taste, empty, shallow

3- Shasta, score = 5.92 – birpy, sharp, kicky, unpleasant, unique value, good taste, horrible

3- Henry Weinhardts, score = 5.92 – to much bubbles, no flavor, strong rootbeer taste, strong, powerful, not much kick, shallow

6- Virgils, score = 5.83 – bad aftertaste, smooth, coated tongue, good & soft taste, mellow, smooth, smooth, yeasty

7- Sprechter, score = 5.33 – tastes too much like barqs, not good, viery nice foaming and licoricy, strong, weird smell

8- Stewarts, score = 4.17 – empty, not enough, watery, no taste, weak, tame, kinda weird, not bad

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles