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.
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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.
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It is my first stab at an Entrepreneurial Party Platform:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | Google+
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles