Just a bit of Auld Lang Syne – Farewell 2009

December 31, 2009

The year 2009 will be a year to remember- fondly by some and less by others.  But however you feel about this year soon past – 2010 is just around the corner. (Or as my Aussie friends remind me – It’s already here!)

As the clock strikes Twelve – New Years tradition is to gather with friends and family to wish them well – sing a song and exchange an embrace.  We’ve all heard the song and probably sung it – most of us badly – at least I have. 

It is believed Robert Burns wrote the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne in the 1700’s. (Most say in  1788.)  The 1700’s were  challenging years for the Scots – and in January of 1788 – it was the passing of an era with the death at 68 of the long exiled Bonnie Prince Charlie.

This video has Auld Lang Syne as sung by Dougie MacLean on his album Tribute.  

As we sing Auld Lang Syne to this challenging decade of zero years,  let’s take a page from from the song and put it behind us with fond memories of what was good and focus in on where and why we might raise our ‘cup of kindness’ to the decade to come.

Looking Back on the Big Zero

The decade of the Big Zero was not all bad – it had it’s highs and it’s lows.  But the highs for me included starting my own company (CorePurpose turns 8 in July), publishing my first book, leading an inspiring team at ASBA for two years, working with the team at Parenting Arizona and OTEF to make a lasting difference in our community, helping RiboMed move forward in it’s quest for new methods of early cancer detection so we can catch it early and stop the spread before it harms the ones we love, and watching my sons grow from boys into men that their Dad and I can be very proud if.   All in all, not a bad list.

Looking forward to the Big One

As I look towards 2010  and beyond – let’s call it the Decade of the BIG ONE – I’m starting a To Do List – not resolutions to break – just actions to take.

  • Help someone find a job they love.
  • Have lunch with a  friend to share ideas on a regular basis
  • Pick an OLD Problem and Solve at it in a NEW way at least every other day.
  • Recognize someone’s leadership potential and commit to be their mentor
  • Accomplish  ‘Small Things” as suggested by Rebel Brown in this post at Phoenix Rising.
  • Dust off that Five Year Plan and Refine it for 2010 and beyond
  • Identify What We Do Best – Focus our energies there and outsource the rest
  • Zero in on finding my QUEST company and get it growing.
  • Help my son Nick (he’s 18) write his business plan for HIS dream business so that when he writes his  2019 Look Back List he can say – “The Decade of the Big One was when I launched my business – and look what we have achieved.”

So, there you have it – my Look Back List and my To Do List going forward.  Have you started yours?

Thanks for stopping – best wishes for a Safe and Happy New Years and a record breaking 2010 and beyond.  Get ready – this decade will be the BIG ONE. 

Joan Koerber-Walker


The Generous Nature of Entrepreneurs

December 4, 2009

Entrepreneurs are dreamers, creators, innovators, and builders.  They come in all shapes and sizes, and have businesses that run the gamut from global ventures and high technology to localized products and services.   But if there is one thing that entrepreneurs have in common, it is their generosity and willingness to help others.  It’s probably because entrepreneurs understand what it means to strive, to struggle, and to work towards a dream.

OTEF LogoEvery year for the past 5 years as Chairman of OTEF ,  I have watched as entrepreneurs from Arizona and across North America gather at the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences to learn from each other AND to help OTEF, the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, raise the money need to fund programs that help at risk populations realize economic self 19742-logosufficiency through entrepreneurship with classes, mentoring, and other resources.  To learn more about OTEF and it’s programs – click here .

But even after the ‘show’ is over, the continuous challenge of funding these activities continues. 

This week, we got yet another example of the generosity of entrepreneurs when the team at  Pillsbury Wine Company, reached out with a wonderful offer to help in furthering our mission.

Pillsbury

Pillsbury Wine Company is the brainchild of Sam Pillsbury, award-winning New Zealand  and American film-maker (The Quiet Earth, Free Willy 3, Endless Bummer) and former co-owner of Dos Cabezas winery in Southeastern Arizona. Wine is his passion and Sam has done it all- from planting vines to serving Dos Cabezas wines at the White House. Dos Cabezas wines have received stellar reviews over the years and Sam is now ready to take his skills and experience in a new direction.

Sam is joined in the project by winemaker Eric Glomski, formerly with David Bruce and Caymus wineries in California and by Rob Dunaway, attorney/businessman, voted one of Phoenix’s top 12 business advisors in the New Times 2001 Readers Poll.Rob, also a founding member of OTEF’s board of directors, brought us a special opportunity and now I am sharing it with you.

Your Opportunity

It is the opportunity to support  the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation this holiday season with a gift of wine to yourself, to a loved one, or for a valued business associate. In return, PILLSBURY WINE COMPANY, the hot Arizona Wine Company that critics are raving about, is donating 12% of the wine sales to OTEF.It’s really easy – just email LindseyHigginson@aol.com and let her know which and how many of the AWARD WINNING, FOOD ENHANCING RHONE VALLEY STYLE WINES  Pillsbury has to offer you would like to order plus  your contact information so Lindsey can get back to you and “This is for OTEF” to trigger the donation!Bottles signed by Sam Pillsbury can also be arranged.See this really is a great opportunity.  In one fell swoop, you get to help OTEF teach entrepreneurship skills to at risk groups as well as present great programs like AZEC09, plus you get access to wonderful, award winning wines, AND if you have not finished your holiday shopping – here’s your chance. 

The Wines of the Award Winning Pillsbury Wine Company

For your shopping pleasure – here is the list of wonderful Pillsbury wines…Pillsbury 2008 Rosé     $20Provençal style ‘onion skin’ pink with hints of watermelon, red cherry and strawberry on the nose, bright and refreshing in the mouth, with a clean finish. It will pair well with any light fare, especially salads, fresh fruit, and cheese and crackers. 94 Cases made. Alcohol 14%.‘Local Product of the Month’ Phoenix Magazine, August 2009.Pillsbury 2008 Pinot Gris ‘Casa Blanca’    $20We call this ‘Casa Blanca’ because the Pinot Gris made from these high altitude Arizona vines have twice been served at White House State Dinners. It has a nose of freshly chopped apple, followed by ripe peaches and apricots on the palate. It pairs well with salads, seafood or lighter chicken dishes. 230 Cases made. Alcohol 12.5%. Not yet rated.Pillsbury 2006 Roan Red    $24A blend of Grenache and Mourvedre with a small amount of Syrah and Petite Sirah, aged in neutral oak. Bone dry, unfined and unfiltered. Fragrant herbal nose with hints of lavender and honeysuckle. It has spicy ripe red-cherry fruit, with hints of vanilla and tarragon and an autumnal, forest-floor character, with a lovely long finish. Pair with pastas and lighter meat and poultry dishes. Alcohol 13.7%, 329 cases made.93 points. Mark Tarbell, AZ Republic (highest score ever given an AZ wine)Pillsbury 2007 Roan Red  $2493.2% Syrah, 6.8%Grenache. This Roan Red is different than the 2006. Our Syrah vines are an Aussie Shiraz clone we planted in the Arizona High Desert in 2000. This is an intense wine with a spicy nose, cherry/cranberry and dark berry fruit with silky tannins and hints of sweet walnut, cucumber and blood orange. Pair with lamb, pasta or robustly flavored chicken dishes. 186 cases made. Alcohol 14%. Not yet rated.Pillsbury 2007 Diva  $3664.3 % Grenache, 21.4% Petite Sirah, 14.3% Mourvedre. This blend is a Chateuneuf du Pape style blend, and once again made with our ripest fruit and matured for 15 months in neutral American and new French oak. A fragrant wine with suggestions of super-ripe wild strawberry, macadamias, tobacco and bitter-sweet chocolate with ample tannins, making it perfect for steak or barbeque and big rich casseroles. 173 cases made. Alcohol 14.5%.Gold Medal, 2009 Arizona Wine Growers Association Competition. 2006 Diva called Best Wine in AZ by San Francisco Examiner and Wine Spectator gave it 89 points.Pillsbury 2007 Petite Sirah.  $54This monster Petite Sirah was picked late at 28 brix and develops an intense, almost chewy chocolate-like quality and some real fruit complexity. We tend to avoid late-pick reds as the overripe fruit and high alcohol tends to obscure the complexity of the fruit, but Petite Sirah seems to come into its own when made like this. It is bone dry, has hints of intense black berry fruit, roasted cocoa, green apple, sweet blueberry, crème brulée and rose petal with big tannins. 30 cases made. Alcohol 15.4%.

Ya gotta love it!

Glorious wines from Generous People coming together to make life better for others. Like I started off saying – entrepreneurs are some of the most generous people I know.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


The Quest- In search of a transformational company

November 9, 2009

clip_image002In literature, as in legend, there have been many great quests. One in particular that has captured imaginations, for over two thousand years, is the search for a simple cup used in a great tale of transformation. Yes, The Quest for The Holy Grail.

This quest has been the inspiration that sparked great literature, epic poems, and motion pictures running the gamut from Monty Python to  Indiana Jones.

While my quest is not one of such mythical proportion, as I sat pondering how to share my plans with you, the legend of The Holy Grail leapt to mind. 

My Quest

I am, together with a valued group of friends, looking to acquire a controlling interest in a very particular company.  Our search and the legendary quest have more than a few things in common. In both cases they combine Innovation, Leadership, and Growth to create Lasting Value.  These are my personal passions. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you discover something with true potential and then do what it takes to Make It Great.

What’s been happening?

This year, I have been working with a small team of friends and advisors to search out really cool deals.  We’ve found some great ones, but not the right one. Not yet. 

Along the way, I have gotten much more active in connecting to friends old and new via a range of social media tools

However, it all came together when I was having lunch last week with Morris Callaman at a beautiful resort nestled against a mountain in Paradise Valley called Montelucia

Morris asked –

“Joan, what do you think about expanding this search and inviting your social media network to participate? You could literally ask for help crowd-sourcing this acquisition search.”

And that’s how it started.  So, here I am asking if you will help me locate the company I would like to lead next. If so, then what follows are some of the criteria we find necessary to successfully recognize our “grail” when we find it.  Ready? OK. Lets discuss a little detail around what this company is, and perhaps even more importantly, what it is not. An ideal company will be one where we can combine Innovation, Leadership, and Growth to create Lasting Value.

Innovation

Innovation in my book is doing something in a new way to make life better for the people who matter most to us – in this case employees, customers, investors, and strategic partners.  It is a company with a product or service that can transform an industry or niche.  For example, my friend Amilya Antonetti changed the way we look at soap in her quest to save the life of her son and now she is on a quest to help other entrepreneurs ask the right questions, get the right information and the things they need to succeed.

Criteria #1:  A product oriented company that will transform its market by creating new value through a better way of doing something(s). 

Unlikely Fits: Singing pop bottles, Presidential Pet Rocks, the corner store, or the next great social media tool.  While there may be lots of investors looking for these, I am not one of them.

Leadership

A great idea only gets you so far before it needs more.  In this case more is the ability to see the future direction of the company’s journey and to predict and obtain what it will need along the way.  Many a great new company has lost crucial momentum when the leader that led the way for the first stage of the journey is not ready for the next stage of that steep uphill path, which many entrepreneurs forecast and yet few would want to travel alone. 

The prize we seek on this quest will have a founder and a team that is looking for a new guide as they begin the climb to revenues and profitability so that everyone, employees, customers, investors and strategic partners alike, benefit from the next stage in the company’s growth.

Criteria #2: A dedicated team in search of experienced leadership and resources to help them successfully move along the growth path.

Unlikely Fits:

  • If ALL YOU NEED IS MONEY so that you can continue along the path you are already on.
  • If your goal is to maintain the status quo.
  • If, as the owner, you are not interested in passing the baton to the next runner in the growth relay.

 

Growth

The company must have solid growth potential and demonstrate how it could scale to provide a more than reasonable return to the investors.   

Growth curves come in all shapes and sizes.  There’s the steady incremental growth of a mature business, the graceful leaps of the Gazelles, and the inevitable ‘Hockey Stick” that appears over and over at every venture conference I have ever attended.  Yet, in the real world, it’s not the pretty charts and pictures that matter, it’s the foundational elements that make a transformational company stand out.  Some Gazelles grow to be great companies, while others rapidly run out of steam after the initial burst of growth.  Hockey Stick Growth Curves can be ‘the big pay day’ or they can simply be a sign of a business in danger of snapping under the pressure of too much, too fast.

Criteria #3:  The best true indicators of growth potential are not charts and graphs, but rather how does the company (or product) provide a solution that is usable by a large number of people and BETTER than substitutes (or lack thereof)?

Unlikely Fits:

  • One more “me too” solution in an already overcrowded market.
  • A terrific solution for a very small customer base (since these rarely can scale.)
  • Product or services that are not designed to fill a genuine customer need (since customers must ultimately be willing to pay and karma is important to me).
  • A ‘great idea’ that has not ever been built, tested, or sold to ANYONE (since I’d like it to already have at least one customer).

Lasting Value

And in the end, building a great company is more than just creating a widget, jobs, or shareholder value. 

Criteria #4:  It’s creating something to believe in, and be proud of, for the people who matter most to us (employees, customers, investors and strategic partners). 

Unlikely Fits:

  • Products or services you would be embarrassed to discuss with your parents.
  • Products or services that add no value to or potentially even harm the community, the environment, or others (since that just isn’t who I am). 
  • Any product or service that makes promises it cannot keep (since that certainly isn’t me either).

So that’s my list.  Have YOU seen this company?

Of course, there are at least two BIG differences between my quest and the search for The Grail of legend.  One, I know that I’m going to find what I am seeking, and Two, this is more than a personal journey, it is also an experiment in the power of social media.  So, if you’ve seen this company please let me know.   You can always leave me a note here, on my blog or, if you want to keep it confidential, you can also contact me by clicking here.

As long as we are on the subject, if you happen to be looking for a company too, just let me know what YOU are searching for and I’ll be happy to pass along what I may find for you along the way. Unlike the fabled Holy Grail, there is more than just one great opportunity out there.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

clip_image003P.S.  One of the best parts of this journey is connecting, engaging, and being inspired by fellow entrepreneurs.  On Thursday, November 12th in Phoenix Arizona I will be doing just that at AZEC09.  Who knows maybe I will see YOU there and we can chat.


Looking out towards 2010

November 1, 2009

AZ Ent logoHow did it get to be NOVEMBER already!  It seems like just the other day I was writing articles about Embracing Change in 2009 and now, in just two short months, 2009 will be one for the record books. 

It’s still to be written what the final outcome of the health care debates in Congress will be, or how the year will wrap up from an economic perspective, but many will tell you they can’t wait for 2010 to make its arrival.

But there have been some bright spots in this recession that we have all struggled through.  Companies that are making great things happen in the world of social media, women’s health, green materials, and a host of other industries.  That’s why, as I prepare for the exciting things that I know will happen in 2010, I am getting ready today by attending the 4th Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference on November 12th. 

As chairman of the board of OTEF, the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, November is always a busy time as we prepare for the conference.  Each year’s conference is vitally important since all of the proceeds go to fund OTEF’s efforts to provide entrepreneurial training and support to at-risk populations – giving them a better chance for future financial sustainability.

But, as an entrepreneur, I look forward to the conference for the many great ideas I know I will receive there each year.  This is the only place I know where, in one day, I can gain insights from national thought leaders like Tara Hunt and Michelle Robson (EmpowHer) , connect with fellow CEOs from TiE and EO to learn what’s working for them, and get the latest updates in technology and business trends from CEOs and thought leaders who are on the front lines.

I’m also excited this year that we have friends coming from far and near to share ideas.  Patti Dragland (@StrategicSense) is coming in from Calgary, Tara Hunt (@MissRogue), author of The Whuffie Factor,  from Montreal, Howard Lindzon (founder of StockTwits), Kevin Surace, of Serious Materials, is flying in from Sunnyvale, and my favorite entrepreneurial blogger, Marty Willing (@StartUpPro), will be there not to mention fellow conference team members and great friends like  Francine Hardaway (@Hardaway), Steven Groves (@StevenGroves), Ed Nusbaum (@EdAZ), Merlin Ward (@MerlinWard) and many more!

November 12th is an important day for gathering new ideas, making connections, and to just get that extra dose of inspiration that will come in real handy in 2010.  I know where I will be on November 12th.  How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


The ICK Factor

October 22, 2009

ICK - Incongruent Customer KnowledgeMillions of articles and blogs have been written on the topic of branding.  Google the word  ‘branding’ and you will get over 33 million hits! 

Unfortunately too often, businesses spend lots of money creating and protecting their marketing message and not enough time protecting the value of their brand. 

Too often we forget that there is a  difference between our marketing message and our brand.  Put simply, our marketing message is what we say about our company, product or services; but, the true measure of our brand is what OTHERS think about us when they hear our name.  So in a real sense, our true brand value is our company’s image as reflected by Customer Knowledge.    Customers form impressions of what our company truly is based on what we say – our marketing message – and what we do – our actions. When they do not match up you get ICK – Incongruent Customer Knowledge.

When what you do and what you say are congruent, customers believe in what you say  and you.  This adds to your company’s value.  At other times the message and actions are not congruent and no matter how much time and money you spend touting your product or service, your ICK factor is a BIG negative thus detracting from your company’s value.

Making Promises to employees, partners, customers, and investors.

Promises can take many forms.  They may reflect what the company does directly, or they may be the promises shared in the marketing message, the Annual Report, or  employee communications.  But however the message is delivered,  when you promise a specific result, people expect to get it.

+ Keeping the promise = a strong POSITIVE brand reaction.

– Breaking the promise = a weakened brand perspective – just ICK!

Did you know that Your Marketing Message itself can create a negative feeling of ICK and deplete your brand?

Here are a few examples of mistakes I see too often when I log on to Twitter:

  • Messages or Mentions offering to “Grow my Twitter” following from ‘experts’ who have less followers than I do.  (If the whole point of a quality following is to understand who you are talking to, you’d think they’d look.)
  • Branded corporate sites that only talk about their products and never share or engage with the community to add value.
  • People who send ‘conversational’ welcome messages via a DM but are not following you.  If you take the time to respond back – only to find that they are not following you – the message is highly incongruent.  Not only are you not really welcome – they can not even hear you!  Major ICK!

But incongruence and ICK are not unique to social media.

Very often we share statements of our company’s values on websites, in our annual report, or even in our advertising.  But do our actions reflect those values? 

Here is an example of a corporate statement by Halliburton Corporation.  Did you read it?  Sounds great!  Now read this article from ABC news: Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR (KBR Told Victim She Could Lose Her Job If She Sought Help After Being Raped, She Says.)  Do the actions of Halliburton/KBR match their words? 

Customer Service: The Hall of Shame

But it is not just Halliburton (the company everyone seems to love to hate these days) that falls into the ICK.  Check the marketing message of almost any company and you will find statements talking about how important their customers are and how well they serve them.  Yet, as you can see in the image at right, some well respected national brands have made the Customer Service Hall of Shame as reflected in this article from MSN Money.  Whether it’s due to internal processes, lack of resources, declining quality, or just a general lack of customer sensitivity, these are firms that need to really pay close attention to their ICK factor.

So how do you avoid ICK?

Avoiding ICK, should be the goal of any company that places any level of value on its brand.  Here are some basic common sense guides to follow:

  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. EVER.
  • Establish Corporate Values that are shared across your company and base your processes, decisions, and actions on keeping true to those values.
  • When you make a mistake – or something unexpected happens – and it will sooner or later- don’t place blame – just own up to it and FIX it.  Taking responsibility and working to fix the problem is a great way to minimize the ICK Factor when the unavoidable happens.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

ICK Factor, Incongruent Customer Knowledge (TM)  2009 – CorePurpose, Inc.

Copyright – Joan Koerber-Walker/CorePurpose, Inc. 2009


Valuing a Company

October 18, 2009

From time to time, I get involved in answering a tricky question.  “What is this company worth?”  Sometimes the question comes up when speaking to a business owner or executive who is truly trying to increase the value of their organization.  At other times the question is raised from someone looking for investors or buyers.  And then most importantly – I ask it myself when the buyer or investor might be me.

Years ago, in business school, I had great professors at the W.P. Carey School of Business.  They taught me the science of financial valuation and how to look at the opportunities  and systematic business risks that lie buried behind the balance sheet.  There where times in the learning process when I might have cursed my teachers for being so exacting, but the lessons they taught combined with the insights I gained from my fellow students were worth more than a pot of gold.

Measuring a company’s value falls into 3 categories

What it has – it’s assets

Assets can be real and tangible.  We all know about these: property, plants, and equipment plus firm contracts and money in the bank.  We can see it, touch it, count it up.  Other assets are intangible.  We know that there is some level of value, but measurement is often subtle, involving an estimation of the worth.  This can be a patent, a trademark, or a customer or prospect list that in and of it self has no hard value, but when put to good use can be converted to tangible assets in the future, 

What it lacks or  owes – It’s liabilities

On the other side of the equation are the liabilities.  Some are easy to measure and take the form of debt, contractual obligations, or other factors that reduce the company’s assets.  But there are other more intangible liabilities to factor in like adverse economic conditions, holes in the team, or a lack in organizational bandwidth – you know – too much to do and not enough resources to do it with.

What It promises – Its brand as an organization

And most important of all, I look at what the company promises to its people, its customers, its partners and its investors through its brand as an organization, PLUS  its ABILITY to keep those promises.

We all make promises, and most up us do everything in our power to keep them.  The question I focus on most closely is can the company turn promise into reality with its unique combination of assets and liabilities. 

  • Does it have a clear and simple plan that the team can follow to keep the promises it makes? Are there clearly defined goals, strategies, tactics? Are there clear measurement milestones along the way?
  • Does it have a culture that supports its team in achieving shared objectives.  It’s sad but true.  Objectives and goals that are not shared by the team are rarely achieved.
  • Does it have the resources to give to that team so that they can execute on the plan? And if not – does it have the ability to get them?
  • Does it use its assets wisely?  Is it investing in its people and its product to take and hold a leadership position in its markets  in the future?
  • Does it look at its customers, supply chain, and investors as collaborative partners and treat them accordingly?
  • Is leadership committed to keeping the promises it makes to the team, the partners, the customers, and the investors.
  • Does every member of the team share that commitment?

The Value of the COMPANY

When I am done with the measuring, I add it all up.  What I then have is a valuation of the company in a form that they rarely teach in business school.  A clearer picture of whether the company can keep its organizational promise and create value as well as what it may to make that happen, and what I can do to help along the way.

Because, at the end of the day, the true value of any company is in the promises it makes, and its ability to keep them.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


Go Forth and Raise Whuffie

October 13, 2009

In less that one month, entrepreneurs from around Arizona and from other parts of North America are gathering for AZEC09, The Fourth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference which will be held in Tempe Arizona on November 12, 2009.  

AZEC09 continues the Arizona tradition of bringing together thought leaders in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media together for a full day of sharing ideas, making connections, and even launching new companies and products that started with Jump Box in 2006 continues with another great new idea that emerged from last year’s conference and will be debuting this year. 

Each year our lunch keynote is a special treat, someone sharing great ideas that each attendee can take back to the office and put to work in their business the very next day.  Past keynotes have included Michael Gerber author of the best selling E-Myth, Dan Morrison, CEO of IT ToolBox, and Matt Mullenweg founder of Word Press.  This year, at lunch we’ll be hearing from Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor, as she inspires us to raise a little whuffie. 

What – you don’t know what WHUFFIE is!  We’ll let’s get a sneak preview from Tara as she answers the question …What is Whuffie?

In addition to learning how great companies are putting Whuffie to work in their businesses, AZEC09 is an opportunity to gain insights from Michelle Robson, the founder of EmpowHER, get the latest from Kevin Surace on the strategies that are helping Serious Materials succeed in the eco friendly building materials space, get the latest developments in Healthcare 2.0, hear from panels of local CEOS who generously share their secrets on how they are building great businesses,  and get the scoop from Howard Lindzon on the state of Venture Capital.

But, like everything else in business, you can’t win if you do not show up. 

And since winning is so much fun, we have even decided to liven things up with some great prizes during the day thanks to some of our generous sponsors and partners.

So here’s your chance to win.  Register now for AZEC09 and if you do so before 8AM on October 16th you can even save $50 with the $99 early registration rate. (At 8:01 AM on the 16th tickets go up to $150.)

It’s your chance to Engage, Connect, be Inspired and WIN.

I know where I will be on November 12, 2009.  How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Chairman, OTEF, The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

Host organization of AZEC09 , AZEC08, AZEC07, and AZEC06.

AZEC08 November 12, 2009

P.S. – You might be wondering who those great sponsors are…so here’s the list:  The Business Journal Phoenix and Infusionsoft – who have generously stepped up EVERY year, as well as Mashable, Microsoft, Affordable Image, The Town of Gilbert, Metro Studios, Pour Masters, Gangplank, Stealthmode Partners, CorePurpose, Brent Spore, Chuck Reynolds, The Performance Magazine, and  The Social Media Bible.com, PLUS our great friends and community partners at The Knight Center for Digital Media, EO, TiE-Arizona, and The Arizona Technology Council, Social Media Club Phoenix, The Phoenix Innovation Foundation, PodCampAZ.