Entrepreneurship is where it's at.

"Entrepreneurship is where it's at...  We are at the end of the first industrial revolution, with too many non-sustainable systems... Planning is actually incompatible with an entrepreneurial society and economy, planning is the kiss of death to entrepreneurship... Shut up and listen to what people need, not what you think they need." ~ Ernesto Sirolli

Ernesto Sirolli got his start doing aid work in Africa in the 70's -- and quickly realised how ineffective it was. In this funny, challenging and passionate talk, Ernesto shares his deep insights into sustainable economic development, and how entrepreneurs can be truly supported to live their passions.


I had the opportunity to go to Kentucky with a couple of good friends in January.  Being that Kentucky is the whiskey capital of the world, our trip was not without a desire for some distillery tours. While we were there, we visited two distilleries.  The first distillery was Barton's 1792.  It was a rather snowy day, which decreased the normal amount of people that arrived for tours. As a result, we had an extended tour and a lot of perks thrown in.  We enjoyed a very detailed look at what goes into the production of a fine whiskey. Despite the small size of Barton's distilling grounds, there was a lot of production flowing through it. Literally.  

The second distillery we toured was Makers Mark.  The distilling grounds at Makers Mark were large and well designed.  Stone buildings, vibrant colors and a well crafted tour that gave us the opportunity to taste the different steps of the process. Another great experience was watching each bottle get hand dipped; a process that Makers Mark has patented.  Several members of our group bought their own bottle and dipped it themselves after the tour.  We learned the proper way to smell, taste and define each whiskey. 

Barton's gave us a detailed account of the step by step process as well as the chemistry behind distilling.  Makers Mark gave us an overview of the production side of the process and allowed us to taste different parts of the distilling process.  Both touring experiences complimented each other and provided us with a well rounded understanding of whiskey distilling.  

From corn delivery to the barrel house, good whiskey is a craft that not every distillery masters.  I won't claim to be a large fan of whiskey, but I do enjoy a conservative taste of finer, smoother whiskeys.  More than that, however, I enjoy the science, chemistry and detail behind the bottle. Both distilleries are worth taking some time to visit and experience.  


Barton's 1792 Distillery 

Maker's Mark Distillery

Barton's 1792 Distillery



You're in the wrong room!

"Everything we hear is an opinionnot a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

   - Marcus Aurelius

     I often overhear people making statements about a person, event or object in a manner that suggests that they have a library of knowledge on the subject.  When, in fact, they are just really good at acting like they are educated based on an opinion they developed after reading a tweet over breakfast. Who doesn't enjoy feeling educated?

     In my experience, it is easy to walk into a room assuming you're the smartest person.  However, holding this position is rather precarious and arrogant.  Were I to hold this type of attitude, if someone was to dare challenge me with an opposing opinion I might cut them short, throw down my gauntlet and challenge them to an intellectual dual.  That would most likely result in them retaliating in some passive-aggressive manner, as is most often the case when you're from the midwest, and leaving me thinking that I'm awesome.  

     I value the relationships I have with people.  I have learned to value them more than I do my opinions and what they think of my opinions.  If I place more value on expressing my lengthy opinion on why the coffee I drink is better than yours or why my choice of cell phone is better than yours, I'm not placing any value on you as a person or giving you the opportunity to share your own opinion.  In fact, in that case, I'm practically dictating to you what opinion you should hold in place of whatever opinion you currently hold. In my experience, every attempt I have made at sharing a lengthy opinion most often ends in me feeling great and the other person's eyes glazing over.  Not very helpful in my attempt to be someone people want to be around.  The only people that want to be around someone like that, are the people that are like that.  I'll let you figure out where that ends. 

     I am not, in fact, the smartest person in the room, nor do I hold the only opinion or knowledge about things.  This is a daily truth I have to accept. This conjures up a challenge towards one of my natural tendencies; wanting to be right and wanting to have the best opinion. 

     Having an opinion is not a bad thing.  Opinions are very helpful tools in communicating your position towards something.  However, it's important to understand that not all opinions need to be shared.  Especially those that are not well thought out or are not backed up with some facts.  Opinions are different than convictions and beliefs.  I can listen to someone's opinion without having to agree or disagree with it.  This saves them the experience of me sharing my own opinion, and saves me from having to invest energy in expressing said opinion as well as endure their blank stair.  In most cases, expressing my opinion isn't of much value in the long run.  I'm better off enjoying someone's company and simply listening.  

     This is not to say that I don't have strong opinions or that I don't enjoy sharing them.  I do and most often they are well thought out, in my opinion. Ha.  One of my daily challenges is focusing on learning when to express my opinion and challenge the opinions of others, and when to keep my mouth shut and listen.  I would offer the same challenge to you.  Perhaps, you're not the smartest person in the room and that's okay. Though, if you do find that you're the smartest person in the room, you're probably in the wrong room!

      It is better to first seek to understand, before seeking to be understood.  Should you find that you cannot agree on someone's opinion, agree to disagree agreeably.  


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