Monthly Archives: May 2009

Happy Hour Alert

Red Ball Jet.  A great addition to NE Grand Rapids has a superb happy hour.  From 2:00- 6:00, their $1.99 happy hour is special. Especially for families with young kids!  Think about it. I took my three kids (4, 11, 12) and had three pizzas, two sliders, a couple of root beers, one kiddie cocktail and two Sundogs for under $30.00.

Think about it again.  Go to Wendy’s or McDonalds.  Feed four people.  Have a decent ambience.  Give the adult a little love.  Can you do that for under $30.???

Here are several craic-worthy attributes:

  • $1.99 pizza and sliders, draft beer, sangria and cosmos. Seven days a week. I had their Buffalo Chicken sliders, and it is without a doubt, one of the finest sliders that ever slid down my gullet.
  • A very small but high quality draft beer selection (Bells and New Holland)
  • An outdoor covered patio. Just off of Plainfield.  A bit loud, but hey, it’s NE Grand Rapids.  We are trying!
  • Gilmore Collection quality and local touch.
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T.Way – McGurk Award Winner

The McGurk Awards were invented to recognize individuals who have an unusually strong vision and are able to see things the way they will be, not as they are today.

The first recipient was Brian Rider of Digital Wingman, who started his business while in his dorm room.  The next recipient is another student who started in a dorm room, but instead of looking into a computer screen, he was staring at a pair of Air Force 1’s

The 2nd McGurk Award goes to Tyler Way (T.Way); sneaker artist, designer, entrepreneur, blogger.

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The best way to understand the T.Way story is to check out his website, subscribe to his blog and follow him on Twitter. This young man is talented and driven.

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I have had the opportunity to get to know Tyler inside and outside of the classroom at GVSU, and here’s a few of my observations:

1. Passion, action and street smarts..  When you sit down with Tyler and listen to his story, what is most striking is not only how it all began but the journey. Working his way into the Detroit Pistons locker room, schmoozing with the security guards, introducing himself (cold calling!) to Chauncey, Tayshaun, Rip, Worldwide Wes and eventually LeBron; all through determination and persistence.  All the talent in the world is worthless without some personal drive!

2. Constant and never ending improvement. Over the last two years, besides progressing through the Entrepreneurship program at GVSU, Tyler has competed in several programs, beginning with  the GVSU Idea Pitch Competition and following up with GVSU Business Plan Competition and the Lakeshore Advantage’s Top Entrepreneur Competition.  In every instance, Tyler’s pitch and business plan get’s better and better.  Although he follows his instinct, he is a good listener, asks questions and takes in the feedback. He is always refining, improving, working on his business.

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3. Be a mensch. All McGurk winners need to be a Guy Kawasaki mensch. Tyler is very generous with his time, especially when it comes to sharing his story with his peers and other young entrepreneurs.  He has taken the time out of his busy schedule to speak to several of my classes about his journey.

There is much more, but as mentioned earlier, just check out his website and get connected!

Tyler Way and T.Way Customs.  The 2nd McGurk Award Winner.

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Crazy and Deranged in Grand Rapids

“A CrazyDerangedFool [CDF for short] is, like me, somebody who has the temerity to aspire to work in a way that produces both joy, meaning and contribution for both them and others, while also paying the bills. It’s about creativity, it’s about finding meaning, but it’s also about living in the real world.”  Hugh MacLeod

In the past month, I have been meeting with several young, creative, ambitious, passionate, entrepreneurs that are making Grand Rapids their home. In other words; crazy, deranged fools.  Check these guys out.

Ben Gott and Kevin Hockin, the creative forces behind Boxed Water is Better , recently spent an evening with a class of mine telling their story about taking an idea and turning it into reality.  Hello.   (Check out Ben’s blog too….The Brilliance) This was one of the best experiences of the semester for the students as Ben and Kevin walked everyone through the process of launching Boxed Water is Better. More importantly, their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, design, Grand Rapids, and business was inspiring.  Great guys, great ideas. great stories.

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Technopreneur, Jason Sosa, Immersive Labs

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Looking for some stimulating conversation?  Look no further than Jason Sosa. Immersive Labs, which began in Lakeshore Advantage’s business incubator, is only one of the many businesses Jason has started. Here is an excerpt from his website describing his business:

“Multi-touch is a new technology that is at the beginning of a new generation in a field of human computer interaction. Human–computer interaction is the study of interaction between people (users) and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design and several other fields of study. Immersive Labs represents a new frontier in interactive advertisement. Up until now advertising has spoken, but it has not listened.  With Intelligent Interactive Technology, that is about to change.

Jason also has a great, wide-ranging blog that is both thought provoking and grounded (in other words, he thinks big but with an eye on utility and customers).  His blog explores how to apply technology and human/computer interaction to a variety of business and social issues.

Last but not least. Danny Becket, retired dirt bike professional and owner of Spearia.

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I met Danny at the recent AimWest Google lunch where we sat at the same table.  We briefly chatted, exchanged business cards which then led to an invitation to visit his offices on West River Drive, in Comstock Park.   After meeting his team, we had a terrific conversation and found we shared the same belief in great customer service (old-school style: face-to-face) and our mutual admiration for Rich DeVos.

Like Ben, Kevin and Jason, Danny is a serial entrepreneur with multiple irons in the fire.  If your business or organization needs some consulting or work done to improve the on-line experience for your customers and clients, you should seriously consider contacting the Spearia team.

Four more crazy, deranged fools in Grand Rapids.


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