Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cell Phone Pirates Turn Tennessee Into a Foreign Country | Peter Mehit

CloudsI’m visiting my sister in Southside, TN. It’s a very beautiful rural scene. Pastoral fields surrounded by dense green forests. Among the rolling hills a farm house or a church steeple will appear. There is a church at nearly every country intersection: Methodist, Pentacostal, Baptist. This is Bible country.

Along the main road to my sister’s house is a country store, replete with a cast of overalled characters sitting on the porch, watching the traffic go by. The idyllic quiet life doesn’t mean that there isn’t technology. Giant plasma televisions are visible through front windows. There are satellite television systems and Playstations. There’s also cell phone service. But as I found, only for a few fortunate locals.

Verizon and AT&T are the major providers in the area. We have Sprint, so when we arrived, we found that we were roaming. After a few days, while attempting to send a text message, we started to get messages flashing on our phone that we were on ‘international roaming’. This seemed strange to us, so we contacted Sprint via chat:

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Weekly Economic Report | LAEDC



Dr. Richard Sudek Interview | Peter Mehit

Below is the transcript of the full interview I conducted with Dr. Richard Sudek, Director of Chapman University’s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics. The center is nationally recognized as a leader in the field and Chapman has produced a number of notable entrepreneurs, including our client, Frank Delgadillo, creator of the Ambiguous and Comune action wear lines.

Excerpts from this interview appeared in Impact (formerly Caypen) magazine in both their online and print editions.

Q: Can you give us some background on the Leatherby Center and what you do here?

Sudek: I’m the Director of the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics.

PM: What is your background?

Sudek: I had my own computer company, built starting with $250 and sold it, so I’m not your typical academic. What I’m really trying to do is change the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in OrangeCounty. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is poorly connected from my perception. We’d like Chapman to be involved in helping connect it. We’d like Chapman to be the place where entrepreneurs, inventors and investors meet and collaborate.

Most of our energy is outward facing rather inward facing.

One of the things to point out is that Chapman one of the best kept secrets here in OrangeCounty. We’re a top 50 business school. We have a Nobel prize winner in economics. Our entrepreneurship program is ranked 13th by BusinessWeek. Because I wanted to cross connect the university, we built this thing called ESUN, Entrepreneur Student University Network. Originally it was designed to be small, so we started with the local schools; Cal Tech. USC, UCLA, Loyola, Pepperdyne, UCI, Fullerton and Claremont McKenna to try to cross connect our centers which we’re starting to do.

The thing that really launched this is we created this competition called California Dreaming. And we brought in other schools such as Oklahoma, BYU, Berkeley and Hawaii, etc and created a $100,000 business plan competition that we have in April. Next year it will be a $200,000. It’s going actually be two different competitions a business plan competition and fast pitch competition. Microsemi will be the anchor sponsor, as they were last year. The idea is to get students in front of investors, not just to win cash. I brought in VCs and angels from the bay area and local VCs and angels.

One of the teams, BYU, who won the competition, got some equity funding from this in late April. So that’s the idea is to get students connected to that.

PM: So you’re trying to build the hub for this kind of activity here?

Sudek: Yes. Now this reaches outward across different states so the idea is the help students in general although focused on Chapman, OrangeCounty, Southern California, going out from there.

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10 Lessons College Won’t Teach You — But Entrepreneurship Will |

College is a step toward adulthood for many, but the transition from bachelor’s degree to entrepreneur can feel a bit jarring. Keeping your chin up, a stiff upper-lip and other empty clichés everyone says to you can’t really prepare you for one really important truth: There isn’t a curriculum for adulthood. Knowing this, here are a few changes to expect when you take your first steps away from college and into starting you own business.

1. Attendance is always mandatory.

In college, you may have ditched class or ducked out early and still managed to pass. This isn’t going to fly in the startup world.  Rain or shine, young treps need to show up and do so in a punctual fashion. Not only will it keep you in the loop of the day-to-day activities but will also set a good example for employees.

2. Scheduling isn’t set in stone.

Your Friday morning biology lab is finally over. What a relief. While you may be thanking your lucky stars you don’t have to roll out of bed after a crazy night to go and dissect a frog, don’t get too excited. Adult life and entrepreneurship means you’re beholden to a schedule of necessity rather than attendance sheets. As a young trep, you are the harbinger of your own success, meaning you sometimes will need to ask yourself to come in on a Saturday.

3. Free time isn’t free.

Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as “free time” in the world of startups. During college you may have had huge breaks between class or long holidays but startup reality is quite different. While most of your friends are working at finding a nine-to-five job and attending happy hour, you are slaving away at your business plan or putting out fires at your company. And that’s just the reality of being an entrepreneur — sacrificing free time in exchange for freedom.

via 10 Lessons College Won’t Teach You — But Entrepreneurship Will |

Cookie Marketing Fail | Peter Mehit

One of the current web best practices is for advertisers to plant a cookie on your machine when you visit a website. They tell you it’s to track your preferences so you don’t have to re-enter data and it also allows them to tailor your experience so the products or services that you’re likely to want will be presented to you. But something else happens, something that is intended to quickly build the number of times you see a product. It’s meant to build recognition, but instead it’s incredibly annoying.

I have used Zoho CRM for about 18 months. I’ve used both the free and paid versions and have gone back and forth depending on how much their customer service policies piss me off (the subject of another article).  I log into Zoho every day.


As I go on about my work using the internet, I notice pay per click ads for Zoho CRM pop up at nearly every site I go to. This goes on all day. I’m being encouraged to use a site that I use everyday. The annoyance factor is so high I’m severely tempted to click through and run up their bill, but that would likely result in pop up ads being placed in my cranium.

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Tasos Projects for Kids

Our client Steve Tsirtsis, the owner of the Citrus City Grille restaurants in Orange and Corona, lost his son to cancer this year. Wanting to make his son’s passing meaningful, he and his wife Agatha established Tasos Projects for Kids, a non-profit foundation that,

“…is dedicated to helping kids who have lost a parent to cancer. From counseling services to music, athletic and educational scholarships and monetary support, Tasos Project is a resource center for kids 0-18 years old.”

Tasos Projects for Kids is having its inaugural fundraiser at the Citrus City Grille on Sunday, June 23, 2013 starting at 5:00pm. The event includes wonderful food, two drinks and a great time. Also will be a silent auction featuring including signed Fender guitars, (1) night stay in a bungalow at Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado Canyon, Dodger Tickets, Private Flight to Catalina with Lunch, Heidi Burkhardt artwork, Teeth Whitening/Sonicare Basket, Wedding Dress, Jewelry, Starr Motorcycle School Class Gift Certificate, Stila MakeUp GIft Basket, Mini Grand Piano and much, much more!

Tickets are available at Citrus City Grille in Corona and Orange, Blush Bridal Couture in Tustin.

A Letter to Verizon Customers | Andy Borowitz

boro-obama-official_optWASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Today, President Obama issued the following letter to all Verizon customers:

Dear Verizon Customers,

Yesterday it came to light that the National Security Agency has been collecting millions of phone records from you each and every day. Since that news was released, many of you have called the White House with questions and concerns about this new program. To save my time and yours, here are answers to three of the F.A.Q.s (Frequently Asked Questions) we’ve been hearing from you:

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El Reno was a Killing Field | YouTube Videos

The El Reno EF-5 Tornado that killed three storm chasers surprised them by changing from the typical northeast track to a southerly track, trapping them.

There are literally dozens of videos of this tornado, but I’ve posted the ones that communicate the instantaneous threat those following these storms found themselves in.

Adding to the mix were scores of amateur chasers and hundreds of regular citizens, who left the relative safety of their homes because they mistook the advice of a weatherman who advised a portion of the viewers to head south. Hundreds clogged the roads, making retreat impossible for those at the front of the line.

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Weekly Economic Forecast | LADEC



Speaking With Russian Entrepreneurs | Peter Mehit


Last Friday, we had the honor to speak with a room full of entrepreneurs in Surgut, Siberia via teleconference. The conference was set up by Michelle Skiljian of the Inland Empire Women’s Center and Dr. Tapie Rhom, an IT professor at CSUSB along with the help of many others. We filed into  the tele-learning center at Cal State San Bernardino for a 7:00pm start. The tele bridge started late because the participants on the Russian end had to fight a snow storm to get to the venue. The crowd was slow to build but after about twenty minutes there were fifty or so participants involved in the conversation with about 15 Southern California business owners.

They aren’t all that different than us, except they have higher expectations for what America does for it’s start up nation. Most of their questions centered on sources of capital (with an interesting sidebar about support for parolees), the kinds of businesses we start here and, in particular, the kinds of businesses women are getting into. The Russian audience was majority women and the only three business owners that spoke were women. They explained the split of business owners in Russia 85-15% male, with the majority of women owning care giving or service businesses.

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