Expect the unexpected, follow the lovers lost in this blog.

A blog to cater your mind,body,and soul as you drink Turkish Coffee. We are proud to present our new storyline called Cafe's search for his "Zahir". Everyday is a new day for the "Cafe" (from Istanbul) & his journey for "Zahir" (from Baku). Don't expect extraordinary drama from the narrator, me. Still, this is a drama (maybe real!), and have better impact on you than watching a soap opera. Guaranteed. There is genuine feelings within inspirational periods. Cross your fingers for this story to end with happy marriage :-) All rights are reserved.

EDIT (01 July 2009) - She is engaged with another man, and I finally made my marriage proposal bringing my family to Baku. The result: She stays engaged and will have her wedding, so called "toy", with that another man.

Rest in peace Ms. Zahir.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Is Your Coffee Genetically Modified?

GM foods are a conflict of interest in agriculture. I will comment more about this issue. Here, you can read an article about green revolution in Africa.

Stanford Consulting Professor of Management Places Strong Emphasis on his students

Harold Irving Grousbeck

MBA Class of 1980 Consulting Professor of Management
Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

His course, Managing Growing Enterprises, places students in the role of CEO and challenges them to deal with difficult managerial situations by assessment, prescription, and execution, including frequent role-plays.



V are chickens. Compared to entrepreneurs they're spectators in the great game of small business hardball.

V are risk reducers - they prospect in the land of the commercially unfinanceable, and try to differentiate the superstars from the merely enthusiastic. Most of them are pretty good at it, a result of lessons learned, mistakes made, and successes observed.

E are
people with an extraordinarily rare set of characteristics, views and practices.

What characteristics do then set the exceptional apart from the masses? In my opinion there are about a dozen of them.

1. Sound knowledge of their marketplace. No (or next to no) market research.

* "The market is there!":)

Scientific market research is always possible.

segmented the overall market to isolate their specific opportunity+their claims are anchored to solid, third party observations+particular flavor of their objective=a dead aim on their target.

2. sound knowledge of their competition. the business plans we seriously review feature a competitive matrix, i.e., a comparison by relevant features of their product vs. all other logical purchase alternatives. as clear as a bell that any fully informed prospective purchaser

3. sound knowledge of the financial dynamics of their companies. focus on key results areas, such as:

gross margins
monthly fixed costs
sales to budget
dollar production/day
- whatever factors drive cash flow and profitability in that particular type of business.
the trend in gross margins has been over the past few months,
or what the cash flow impact of a 20% shortfall in revenues would be next month.

The most memorable lesson I ever received in this regard was during the negotiation of an investment in a high volume hog feedlot. A hog feedlot operator buys 40-pound feeder pigs (a commodity), feeds them corn (a commodity) for four months and sends them off as "top hogs" (a commodity) to the slaughterhouse. When I proposed a traditional earnings/loss test as a default trigger (i.e., cause to accelerate our convertible loan to him), the entrepreneur objected, noting "There are times in this business when the state of the commodities markets literally and arithmetically prevents a profit. And then there are times when even you could make money!" I asked for his suggestion for an alternative measure of performance quality, to which he replied, "Hog/feed ratio" (how efficiently an operator converts pounds of corn to pounds of hog) "and herd death ratio" (what percentage of the herd dies before it gets to market). While I am undoubtedly the only venture capitalist who ever signed an investment agreement with "hog/feed ratio" and "herd death ratio" as the default triggers, I can tell you that this man truly understood the financial dynamics of his challenge!

4. true understanding of the importance of cash flow. lack of cash is DEATH and the blood drains out of their faces. a start-up venture as "a race against insolvency," - best entrepreneurs equate cash with blood, and part with it only when it stands to directly further their objectives.

5. internal loci of control. True entrepreneurs take things personally. When they succeed, they know that they deserved to. When they fail, they know that it was their fault. They don't make excuses for past shortcomings. They describe them as lessons learned. They don't look for places to pin blame. When they first smell failure, they fight like alley cats to turn things around, because they see their performance, however good or bad, as a reflection of themselves.

6. inner confidence. optimism is cheap - Optimism based on reason, however, what might be called "inner" confidence, is rare indeed. It's the difference between "knowing" you'll succeed because you're part of the $220 billion electronics industry, and knowing you'll succeed because your new product has nailed the competition right through the heart. It is, quite simply, confidence based on a knowledge of outstanding preparedness.

7. plan and they execute their plans. if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. Entrepreneurs don't love planning.
Planning is a powerful tool, however, reduce their pursuit of their strategic objectives down to action plans with detailed budgets, people responsibilities and deadlines, and they monitor the assault on a real-time basis.

8. They inject reality into their attacks. Truly sound entrepreneurs not only recognize that there are risks associated with their endeavors, they have actually thought about them! They'll even admit that there are forces hostile to their success out there! And they have taken every possible step to minimize their impact or potential impact. They have fallback plans, they have fallback cash, and even when everything is going as hoped, they run lean and mean. They rent space, buy used furniture and equipment, and draw a pittance of a salary.
quite content to delay civilized living and celebrations until they can be paid for out of earnings.

9. hire smart. They are not intimidated by partners smarter than they. They recruit charismatically, with equity participation as bait. They can charm industry superstars out of Fortune 500 trees onto dusty trails leading to small business wars. When I can look three to five people deep into a young venture and find nothing but talent and adrenaline, I know that I'm probably looking at a winner. When the CEO seems dynamite but the lieutenants are quaking yes men, I steer clear.

10. They hit it hard. One of my favorite motivational speakers says that "It's a dog-eat-dog world out there...for forty hours a week. But when you get out to fifty, there aren't as many dogs. And when you get out to sixty or more, it's downright lonely!" There is no attack more likely to succeed than one executed when the enemy is asleep, or having his second martini. Almost everything is stacked against entrepreneurs. They even the odds with, among other things, sustained, superior effort.

11. They make it fun! There is something special though indefinable in the air at companies run by great entrepreneurs. The pursuit of their dream is punctuated by experiences which produce natural highs. It's clear that everybody there is having a ball. And they work at making it that way. The Friday afternoon beer bashes at Apple Computer in its early years are legendary. I once had an investment in a company that would pit one production line against the other during the short Christmas week, with each allowed off for the holidays as soon as they met normal production for the period. You have never seen people move at such a pace!

12. Maybe most important, They've got fires in their bellies. True entrepreneurs have such a strong achievement orientation that winning each marketplace battle, and ultimately the war, become compulsive needs.

The most graphic example of this that I have ever personally witnessed occurred when I was in Kentucky, and the state, led by then-Governor John Y. (Kentucky Fried Chicken) Brown and his wife, former Miss America Phyllis George, hosted a one-day seminar followed by a black tie dinner-dance for the CEO's of "Inc." Magazine's 500 Fastest-Growing, Privately-Held Companies. I attended the business program during the day, which ended at 5:00 P.M., and my wife came up to the Lexington Hyatt to join me for this gala affair, which started at seven o'clock. We were waiting at the elevator when a fellow rounded the corner wearing a tuxedo and scuffed brown shoes. I recognized him from the day program as the CEO of the fastest-growing privately-held company in the country during the previous five years, and introduced myself and my wife to him. As we continued waiting for the elevator (almost a thousand people in the hotel were all trying to get to this function at the same time), he suddenly blurted out as he pointed at my cummerbund, "So that's what that is!

It's a belt!" He went on to explain that the state had procured the tux for him and that he had held the "thing" up (demonstrating for us as if he were holding a skunk by the tail) and wondered to himself, "Now whatinthehell do I do with this!"

He then decided not to go back to his room for it since if he kept his jacket buttoned you couldn't tell that he wasn't wearing it, and changing the subject, volunteered, "This is a very nice section of town. Yes we replied, it was the most prosperous retail section in Lexington. "That confirms my experience," he countered, "I sold two of my company's systems after the program." He then tired of waiting for the elevator (demonstrating classical entrepreneurial impatience), bid us good-bye and disappeared down the stairs.

I explained to my wife that subsequent to the end of the five-year period in question, this gentleman's very successful company had gone public, making him personally worth tens of millions of dollars. He was on top of the mountain - yet he had taken advantage of 1-1/2 hours of free time in a strange town to make cold calls on customer prospects! And nailed two of them!

I trust that the moral of this story is obvious. You can evaluate entrepreneurial prospects against the twelve, often complex criteria I have covered...or you can look for guys in tuxedos with brown scuffed shoes and no cummerbund.

Applying for a fellowship

Foundations, Fellowship, Seed Money
While reading some foundation websites, I quoted some points that raised my interest;

Echoing Green

  • Our fellows will need to raise additional funds at least equal to the size of their Echoing Green grant ($30,000/yr).
  • You do not need to establish 501(c)(3) status before you apply.
  • Every year, Echoing Green looks for the strongest applications that present compelling and original ideas for addressing and resolving the root causes of tough social challenges. We look for well rounded applicants who display a solid understanding of the issues they plan to address and demonstrate leadership potential.
If you are interested in exploring your own inner entrepreneur, try matching yourself against the traits and attitudes most commonly observed in those that are successful:
  • An unending dissatisfaction with the status quo. You are not happy with things as they are. You think that you can do something better than it is now being done and that you can build an organization around that notion.

  • An unwavering belief in the innate capacity of all people to contribute meaningfully to economic and social development.

  • A driving passion to implement your idea, be it in the form of a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or a combination of all three.

  • A healthy self-confidence. You are willing to be lonely, to make tough decisions and have the buck stop with you.

  • The discipline to plan and execute the plan. You know where you are going and how you will get there because you have distilled your strategic objectives into action plans with detailed budgets, responsibilities and deadlines. And you monitor and manage your results.

  • A healthy impatience. You do not wait for things to happen. You are a social change agent who makes things happen.

  • Concern for detail. You are meticulous (careful) by nature or astute enough to find a partner who is. While entrepreneurs may be generalists in some respects, in the areas that are critical to success, they are meticulous.

  • Sound knowledge of your constituency base, the issues and similar organizations that are focused on these same issues. You do your homework and have researched data sources in order to validate your assumptions. You know who else is working in your field, what they do and their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Sound knowledge of the financial dynamics of your organization and a true understanding of the importance of cash flow. You understand the financial triggers that signal success or failure.

  • A healthy understanding of risk. Entrepreneurs are generally thought of as tremendous risk takers. The truth, however, is that entrepreneurs focus very deliberately on reducing risk. As an entrepreneur, you recognize the risks associated with your endeavor and you have taken every possible step to minimize their impact or their potential impact. You have fallback plans and, even when everything is going as planned, you operate a lean and mean organization.

  • You hire smart. You aren’t intimidated by partners who are better than you. You understand that talent and adrenaline should run deep through your organization; the talent isn’t concentrated at the top.

  • Passionate work ethic. You understand that starting and building an organization is more than a full time job. Almost everything is stacked against entrepreneurs and you even the odds with, among other things, sustained, superior effort.

  • Work should be fun. It is tough work, but you cultivate an environment where your team can enjoy the natural highs that come from achieving milestones along the way to realizing your vision.

  • Fire in your belly. True entrepreneurs have such a strong achievement orientation that winning the battle becomes a compulsive need.