Lyn Graft . . . I am entrepreneur


The Gray Area of Perseverance

Ingrid Vanderveldt and Howard Schultz on set of American Made

Ingrid Vanderveldt and Howard Schultz on set of American Made

THINKING BIG — I got into production not because I wanted to get into entertainment, but because I wanted to tell the stories of entrepreneurs in the same way that VH1’s Driven, ESPN Outside the Lines and Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s studio brought to life the stories musicians, athletes and actors. I wanted to use the big screen to capture the passion, desire and unbelievable journey that is entrepreneurship. The idea was simple – create a TV show that profiled the country’s best entrepreneurs in a compelling and engaging way. Getting a show on television is by no means easy and one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, but that is a story for another day. After a long and challenging path, we got ‘lucky’ and my partner, Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV), and I created a show called American Made that we pitched and landed on CNBC in a primetime slot on Thursday nights right after The Apprentice. The video clip near the end of this blog is for anyone that has ever had a BIG dream & wanted to give up at times (I’ve been more than a few times) — Keep dreaming, persevering and reaching – it will happen.

One of the core things I should mention is that we always knew it as a great idea, but didn’t have any TV experience on crafting a 48-minute long format show for primetime television or even any TV production experience. We had shot another production with another group, but that was done over a long period of time and were able to learn as we went (think lots of room for error & limited downside). It was shot on our own turf and with someone we knew that was extremely accommodating with his time and let us into his life for a number of days getting the footage we needed. Now we were playing in the big leagues with hi-profile people we didn’t know on the road and under tremendous time pressure to do it perfect each time and I’m thinking ‘yikes’ to myself daily.

iV and crew on American Made set in 1st Urban Starbucks

iV & crew on American Made set - 1st Urban Starbucks

28 MINUTES — After the euphoria of landing the show we frantically set about securing hi-profile guests to feature and bring credibility & interest the show. Keep in mind that people we were after have incredibly intense time schedules and were CEO’s/founders of big and/or public companies with a keen eye (or their PR teams do) for their brands. Then Boom – we landed a big fish and someone that is in the consumer mind every sip of the day – Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks and someone that has one of the busiest schedules I have ever seen. Howard has many people that coordinate his crazy schedule and we were helped by the fabulous May Kuthol, Communications Manager at Starbucks Corporation, who coordinated all interactions with Starbucks and with Howard for us and guided our team through everything in their Seattle based coffee empire (gotta love May).

We had about 10 days to plan the shoot in Seattle from Austin with the first scheduled interview with Howard and

May Kuthol, LG, Vance Holmes on American Made set

iV, May Kuthol, LG, Vance Holmes on American Made set

Ingrid situated in Starbucks first ever Urban store on the west side of downtown Seattle. This was a great little shop in that it had been deliberately built in an semi-rundown area of downtown Seattle that was Starbucks effort to put stores in non-traditional areas help raise the profile of the area and stimulate business. The challenge for us on this first interview was that we only had 28 minutes which is nothing in the scope of production – especially in a public place with sound, lighting and people issues. You don’t fight things like this – you cherish the fact that you got the interview and work like crazy planning and preparing then hope and you pray you get what you need on the day (minutes) of the shoot.

LET’s TAKE A WALK — So many things happened leading up to that day where we almost didn’t make it (running out of money, disagreements with the network, schedule changes, etc. etc.), but we managed to stay alive long enough in our startup to get that far we were not going to let anything stop us from making our dream come true. We had a very long way to go in creating the entire first season, but it was this first interview that we had that brought it all home for me in terms of eliminating any doubt I had and getting me through the gray area of the unknown. When you watch this segment I think you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

iV and Howard bringing Starbucks to Life

iV and Howard bringing Starbucks to Life

The interview started on time (that was a miracle in and of itself) and Ingrid and Howard had a great exchange about how he came up with the idea, memorable experiences and key challenges he faced starting the coffee behemoth. The story of Starbucks is a very inspiring story in and of itself and Howard really can tell it extremely well. Howard is a VERY polished communicator and can deliver the same speech or pitch 20 times and it sounds fresh and from the heart each time. This remarkable skill really helps him stay on point and bring home the key messages for Starbucks and articulate his beliefs and learnings in a manner that captivates your attention every time. He covered a number of interesting and intriguing stories that I knew we needed to build the show and the story and I’m feeling pretty darn at that time.

Prior to this interview, we got to film one of the company’s shareholder meetings and in it Howard told this amazing story I like to call “Let’s take a Walk” – It is one of those stories that so many of us entrepreneurs can relate to or anyone that has been told to quit their chasing crazy dreams can sympathize with (and laugh at). As the interview went on iV wanted to get a little more personal with him and talk about that story because she knew that had to be one of those times in life where you are challenged at your core. It was at that moment that Howard opened up and shared something deep with us on camera that just blew us away. Roll Howard:

I’m standing next to my DP/cameraman Vance Holmes and we are just exchanging looks at each other and I’m watching the hairs on my arms stand straight up on my arms and I’m feeling the adrenaline start racing through my veins. That was it – that was the moment, what iV likes to call the Aha moment, where I knew we hit it and that we had truly created something special. It was like a wave of pure confidence and conviction swept over me that we had created an unbelievable product that people love and watch over and over and share and that would be inspired by. My eyes welled up with tears of joy because for anyone that truly knows what drives me is to inspire entrepreneurs through powerful storytelling and in that very moment and in that place, irregardless of all the incredible challenges we were facing, I saw our vision turn into reality.

WILLING IT SO — It is so hard to describe that feeling, but those of you who have create products, companies and art that were really phenomenal and you actually were able to turn that idea into something tangible know exactly what I’m referring to. His words were so eloquent and so spot on for me and exactly what I needed to hear because the next 4 months in creating and producing this show were some of the most challenging months of my entire life. There is no doubt that we willed this show to come to life. I’ll leave you with his quote as I have it in a small ‘goosebump’s notebook’ I keep and I refer to it every time I am on the brink and need that adrenaline to flow once again – to get me through it. I hope it might do the same for you one day.

Howard entrepreneur thru and thru

Howard entrepreneur thru and thru

“Sometimes the difference between winning and losing or success and failure is that gray area of perseverance and just ‘will’. I look back over the last 20 years and there were moments where we just willed it, we did, we just willed it to happen…”

Howard Schultz, Founder of Starbucks on the set of American Made – Seattle, WA

Sock Puppets, DIY Producers & Video Entrepreneurs

VMX 2009 Headliners Brigitte Dale, The Bui Brothers, On the Road with iV & DadLabs

Some of VMX 2009 Headliners -- Brigitte Dale, The Bui Brothers, On the Road with iV & DadLabs


My first video project of any consequence was based on a plot to kidnap the sock puppet back in the dot com days to help generate some PR buzz for my 1st tech startup. We contacted the Conan O’Brien show because of his Triumph Puppet comments on the puppet and they were going to run it on their show because it was pretty funny and fairly creative. At the time there were few avenues for getting a video in front of a mass viewing audience so reaching out to a show like Conan’s was one of only of our only options. We got shut down before we ever released it because found out about it and threatened to sue if we did (note to self – ask forgiveness – not permission).

Then ‘BAM’ here comes 2005 and the launch of YouTube – a platform that forever changed online video for the masses in that it helped birth a new generation of video producers (you & me included). Other reasons that sparked this change were that broadband increased exponentially (DSL & cable), recording devices became very cheap & accessible

LG asking Fitty G to hold 30 seconds for room tone. Staaayyyy

LG asking Fitty G to hold 30 seconds for room tone. Staaayyyy

(Sony handhelds, FLIP video cameras, Nokia smart phones, Canon still cameras w/ video, etc.), video editing software became cheap or even free (FCP Express, iMovie, Sony Vegas, Windows Movie Maker, etc.) and production training could be had anywhere/anytime via formal film and digital media programs or even teach themselves, learn from their friends and watch tutorials online. I used Quicktime via copy and paste to learn and still do using FLIP cameras (crazy I know, but it’s my way of doing storyboards).


Now the online video market is growing at an astounding rate. Check out these stats for January 2009 via (comScore Video Metrix) 1) 14.8 Billion videos viewed (yes BILLION); 2) Youtube passes 100 million viewers; 3) 77% of US internet audience are watching videos online and 4) the Average viewer is watching 6 hours of video per month (I easily watch that per week).

And consumption is fueling production – a late 2008 study by eMarketer projects the video production market to grow from $250 million to $5 billion over the next five years. Hulu alone added 600,000 unique viewers in March growing at 10% per month according to an April Nielsen report (all reasons why the networks are regrouping, re-strategizing & rebooting their industry). Venture capitalists also still see opportunity pumping $80M into the online video sector in the 1st quarter of 2009 (Videonuze).

Rochelle Rae of Rae Cosmetics Microsoft Small Business Shoot

Rae Cosmetics-Microsoft Small Business Shoot

Corporations have or are realizing this rapid change. I did a project for Microsoft Small Business team a few years ago creating a series of 25 short format videos sharing stories on entrepreneurs that were using Microsoft software to either solve problems or grow there business. A great project for me as I learned how to do produce a large number of hi-quality videos at a low cost and I got to meet some amazing entrepreneurs at the time (more on this project in another blog). The reason Microsoft did this is because they had observed that having video on their site increased the click through rate (20-40%), improved stickiness and led to more sales.


All that said, the real sea change that is occurring is in sites like, Viddler,, & Dailymotion creating instant HD quality video distribution channels (live & recorded) for producer entrepreneurs. Producers are creating shows such as Rocketboom, HotForWords and Wainy Days and personalities/hosts/talent such as iJustine, Chris Pirillo and Julia Roy are building brands as well as their own channels. 1938 Media & Loren Feldman even created a puppet character show that imitates other Social Media stud online video personalities such as Robert Scoble and Loic Le Meur (LOL funny to watch too). Names only a few years ago no one had ever heard of and are now exploding on the scene and helping to attract viewers online for entertainment and education as well as for just letting the mind veg for a while.

We are just at the tip of the iceberg in this content evolution and there are all kinds of opportunities for other people to find their talent in this food change. My friend and expert event producer, Chris Justice of Sparksight, is putting on an conference called Video Marketing Expo to help bring together current and aspiring producers of content with distributors and seasoned experts in the space (Full Disclosure my startup CLUB E is one of the sponsors of VMX09 and I am also the co-creator and producer for On the Road with iV). There are many such events that are starting to come onto the scene, but this show is hi-lighting some of the folks that are part of this wave.

The Bui Brothers (Photographers, Storytellers, Producers). These extremely talented artists are sharing their craft with people via their web teaching you how to do what they do (how many people on TV are teaching you how to make TV shows?). Watch this Video they created for the photographer behind Kabloom Studios (it’s fracken gorgeous, creative, instructive, and effective) as way for her clients to tell her story for her. [Awards shows, Web Series, VBlogs, etc. etc.]

Brigitte Dale (Stunning Beautiful. Enormously Talented. Crafty & Quirky). This disarmingly cute & charming midwest girl form Nebraska does all the shooting, editing, and storytelling herself in her own studio dwelling in Los Angeles. She takes a very simple concept and puts a wonderful phat stamp of Brigitte Dale personality all over it that captivates you whether it be her story, props, tangents or thoughts for the day. [400 shows & counting]

iV of On the Road with iV (Passionate Entrepreneur. Extreme Sports Fanatic. Deal Rainmaker). iV lives on airplanes traveling to meet clients, family or going on adventures all the time. We needed a create a show where iV could travel while continuing her passion of hosting TV shows interviewing inspiring entrepreneurs all over the world sharing their stories future business mavericks. We found a platform that enables iV to interview a guest that is in Los Angeles while she is hanging out at the skydive dropzone in Miami while I produce it from Austin and my co-producer Chance records it in Phoenix. [So far 40 entrepreneurs & 150 episodes shot in 6 months]

And the VMX show (I think we should have motorcross entertainment with a name like that don’t you think?) brings on the multi-talented Social Media Ninja Giovanni Gallucci who I highly recommend you watch his material because of the enthusiam and desire to help make Internet rock stars out of all of us. Also presenting are Infomercial pioneer & founder of, Jim Warren, Super DadLabs founders Troy Lanier & Clay Nichols, & industry experts such as Andrew King (Cinematographer), Hank Jones (licensing, legal) Kelly Shores (Production Manager) as well as the master mind behind it all Christopher Justice that has produced events for Microsoft, Rackspace, HP and HubSpot.

Motley Crew from On the Road with iV Filming

On the Road with iV's Virtual Crew

What I love (as an entrepreneur) is that every one of these individuals is building a brand based on content production and a business around online video. You get to watch these producers as they become the next great TV entrepreneurs.


Online video is extremely powerful. It gives personality to a blog and enables people to convey the little things –The zeal for your idea. The energy behind your movement. The use or lack thereof makeup. The twinkle in your eye. It gives meaning to your message and passion to your words. I’ll leave you with a video clip from a new friend I heard about and met on twitter and then in-person at SXSW this year. His name is Derek Johnson, founder of Tatango out of Seattle, WA. Derek has created a hot startup to watch in the coming years based on what they do with allowing people/companies to use text messaging to effortlessly group communicate with each other.

I saw Derek on an interview inititally, but what caught my eye a few weeks later is that he decided to create and has now started video blogging. Derek is not on-air talent (no offense DJ – at least not yet I should say) nor is he a video producer or have any production experience whatsoever. He was simply a sharp founder that wanted to share what was going on at his company with the masses (think transparency) and went down to the computer store and bought a bunch of web camera’s to create his own company channel (getting tons of press from it as well) and then starting using his own web camera to share his thoughts online. I’ll let him explain a bit more about the reasons in this clip he did for me (thanks DJ), but if all the entrepreneurs in the country started doing this in an honest and an interesting way as Derek is, imagine what will happen when every electronic device we own has a built-in wifi ready camera. It’s already happening if you haven’t noticed.

I hope to see you at VMX09 or at another video producer conference or even online somewhere on your own channel. If you do have one, send me the link. I love to see what other creative entrepreneurs are doing….Keep it Going (P.S. If you’d still like to go to VMX09, email me ASAP and I’ll get you a discounted rate).

The LG

Rolling with the Murhpy’s [Law]

Philip Berber bringing some positive energy to the set holding the sound boom for us

Philip Berber bringing some positive energy to the set holding the sound boom for my Film Crew

One of the things you learn very early on in production is to become good friends with Murphy because things are not going to go as planned – that’s what Murphy’s Law is all about. A key reason is that video and film production is very much about pre-production, planning and mapping out the day before you ever even break out the cameras (because filming is expensive). On the day of production you have a call sheet broken out in 15-minute intervals and then in minutes for the actual interview so you can get the shot and content you need. The kicker is when you film hi-profile entrepreneurs, they live and breath a roller coaster life and their schedules change constantly so chaos is the norm and you learn to embrace it and call Murphy a good friend or he will kick your tail. Murphy’s kicked my tail many times over the years, but I’ve learned to buddy up with him on a regular basis because he is quite the teacher as the following experience explains.

I was filming the last day of a 3-day production shoot of an Entrepreneur conference in Austin, TX called RISE that my company, CLUB E, partners with. We had to switch our second filming location of the day and some of our crew was late in arriving so it knocked us off schedule by about 90 minutes (that can be huge when you are planning by the minute). Plus, my DP had a hard-stop at 5:00pm that day which means he had to leave with all his equipment (lights, camera, mic’s, etc) at 5:30pm. We’d had 4 other big problems that day and I wasn’t keen on the shot/set-up my DP had picked either and the location was less than optimal, but we were pressed for time and we adjusted and got back into rhythm. Then one of entrepreneurs I had lined up to film that day was running late and it was going to impact the last person of the day that I was extremely exciting about filming because he such an inspiring story. After stressing for about 90 seconds (I timed it) and realizing there was little I could do about it, I gathered myself and started laughing at the day and smiling much more and decided instead to thank Murphy for being with is rather than keep cursing him.

Philip Berber & Ethiopia Film Crew

Philip Berber & Ethiopia Film Crew

The person I was so eager to film was that engaging entrepreneur Philip Berber, founder of Cybercorpmurph (sold to Schwab for $477B) and A Glimmer of Hope. He has a great story in Cybercorp and especially in what Glimmer is trying to do (end world poverty), but I didn’t know much of his background coming from Ireland and pre-Cybercorp and stared out the interview asking him to tell us more. Here is what he said:

“Well there were two parts of growing up in Dublin Ireland that I Most remember. Oh I think it was an accident in some ways. The first one that comes to mind of sitting as little boy in the cinema in Dublin Ireland. Probably about ten or twelve and I’d remember two things dramatically. Yellow school buses. Sitting in Dublin Ireland looking at American movies and watching yellow school buses and the children. Second thing, it was the…the sun was always shining in America. And they had running tracks and all the girls were pretty and had short skirts. So I as an Irishman wanted to go to America as soon as I could.”

Philip Gerber working the water pump in Ethiopia

Philip Gerber working the water pump in Ethiopia

Now filming entrepreneurs for a living, I knew I had a ringer in front of me in terms of what he said, how he said it and his Rocking Irish accent. This was good stuff!! But, I was under an extreme time crunch mind you because I lost half my time with him so I quickly moved to ask about how his entrepreneurial journey began thinking he was give a nice intro to the piece I needed. He said:

“I had started my first company, I’d just turned thirty. The first year was good, the second year it fell apart. And there I was, I owed $100,000 that I didn’t have, to the bank, to suppliers and in Ireland and England, when the bank is owed money they’re secured against your house. So for me, I was thirty, had done my first start up, was a year into it and here I was looking at my son, my three year old son lying asleep in bed, tears streaming down my face, not knowing how I was going to keep the roof over the home of my family.”

At this point, I’ve got goose bumps, my jaw as well as the crew’s jaws are on the floor and I’m kicking myself because this is not what I came to film that day (long story) and I was not going to have enough time to get the footage and dialogue necessary to do this story any justice relative to bringing it to life in a video (another long story on the arch of a story I’ll cover in a future blog). This was GOLD we were listening to, but I had to move on because it wasn’t my goal that day to get this story. I was there to film more of his current social entrepreneurial efforts for this. Here is one of the finished vignettes we did to give an idea of what I was trying to film:

This vignette is a compilation of 4-5 different sound bites sewn together and cut-down from 5 minutes to just over a minute (very typical for what I do). I wasn’t going to have the time to get the social entrepreneurship vignettes I needed as well as get the sound bites to really tell the story he had gotten into about being in a place where he didn’t know what to do next. I knew though that Philip would be a trooper and would one day let me come back and film him again and get that story and produce a video piece that will bring tears hope and joy to the viewers eyes because that is what I do. He agreed to a future date so I’m feeling much better about that. Long story short, we were getting some of the last segments done on his social entrepreneur efforts for Glimmer and being rushed I wasn’t ecstatic about what we had shot, but I knew we had what we needed and it would be really good (Philip makes everything priceless because he is just really good on camera and speaks from the heart).

At this point we were pretty much out of time and we needed to wrap, but I felt Murhpy kicking at me in a good way to do something different and unplanned. Hence, I asked Philip if there is anything he’d like to leave us with or say to folks that might see some of these videos. Without missing a beat, taking a break, referring to notes or even pausing to think about it, he looked directly into the camera and made a beautiful appeal to the world to help him erase poverty. Keep in mind that what I usually create for video is multiple sound bites & segments and thoughts sewn togehter to craft the end piece. This piece below has motion graphics, title cards, music and multi-camera shots in it, but I promise you it was just as good without this packaging and incredibly “make your arm hair stand on end” in person:

It was an AMAZING way to end the day and made me forget about everything that went wrong up to that point really bringing it home to just flow with the current of the day and let Murhpy guide me just a bit. It wasn’t planned & I probably wouldn’t have gotten it had things gone the way they were suppose to, but Philip had a presence about him that relaxed all the more and enabled this to happen for us simply because we allowed it to be.

I’ll leave you with something Philip said that day as I had shared with him my many failures over the years and how he had really inspired me by his story. And that day specifically had reminded me that Murphy can be a good teacher in his own ‘special’ way if you stop for a second and let him do his thing.

“I think the greatest lessons for any entrepreneur are those that he draws from his failures”

The Producer’s Apprentice

Shukran, Gracias, Dank U, Spasibo, Thank U from the LG

Thank U, Shukran, Gracias, Dank U, Spasibo to all those that helped the LG become a producer

GRATITUDE. Looking back over 200 videos produced & 300 entrepreneurs filmed, I have come to realize that I owe many people in this world massive gratitude in helping me become a producer. Many don’t even know how much I appreciate what they did & how much I owe them in my development. This blog, the first in a regular series that covers my fabo life as a producer, is about extending some thanks to an individual that helped me long before I even knew what he had done. I’m definitely not a writer, but I ‘ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while and I saw a note by my new craftsman friend from Buffalo & BestBuy, Keith Burtis. Kevin tweeted a few weeks ago that in 2008 Gary Vaynerchuk had anointed April 3 as Good People Day so I used that as motivation to get mine going and though a bit late, what better way than to kick-start a blog of thanks on Easter Sunday. Kudo’s Keith for the tipping point spark. Here it goes.

The Dwight

The Dwight

DALLAS, DIRECTORS & HIPPIES. A number of years ago at a start-up I helped founded, we were looking at ways to figure out how to create a TV show for one of my partners. I didn’t have any entertainment or production experience, education or training nor did I ever think I’d get into it by any means – I was an an entrepreneur that had an idea that I thought could go big. As fate would have it, that year I met a long-haired semi-hippie type though the Leadership Austin program by the name of Dwight Adair. Dwight had gotten his production chops both through formal education as well as working on all kinds of sets and production and even owned his own production company. The Dwight directed and produced a number of TV shows including DALLAS (yes J.R. Ewing and all & he’s got pics with JR – that was pretty cool), DYNASTY (yup, Joan Collins, Linda Evans, etc.) and HGTV’s Dream House Series as well as other various documentaries and names that only IMDB can produce.

GETTING YOUR FEET WET. We ended up getting our first paying production gig for the University of Texas in the amount of $15,000 to create a tribute video to Dr. George Kozmetsky, founder of Teledyne and IC2 Institute. We went on to film a number of entrepreneurs for the video including

Red, Mindy, iV & Dwight at Red's Office

Red, Mindy, iV & Dwight at Red's Office

Michael Dell, Admiral Bobby Inman (first investor in Dell former NSA Director), Dr. John Butler and Red McCombs (founder of Clear Channel) for the project. After we finished I got to follow Dwight along as he was making a cool little documentary called Go for it about women athletes working for a living, but still after incredible athletic pursuits. It’s amazing what I learned from Dwight even though I didn’t really know it when we were doing it. Looking back a few of his teachings and actions really stick out and that I embrace on every shoot I go on:

ROCKSTARS. Treat the people you put on camera like rockstars and every person you come in contact with on set just as important. Why? Truthfully because I think Dwight is simply a good person at heart, but he also knew that making people feel special is one of the most important aspects of what we do in production. Many times the people we film are rockstars, but you never know when the receptionist is the gate keeper to the founder or that you might need to get someone to turn off the building air conditioning and it was the person you just ran into at the water fountain. I’ve always enjoyed and get a kick out of making people smile, but I’ve learned in production, you need to try help them shine on the outside and bring out the glow on the inside. When it works, YOU feel like a rockstar – funny how that happens and I recommend it to all.

Admiral Inman, Ted, Dwight & iV on set

Admiral Inman, Ted, Dwight & iV on set

EATING MACHINES. Consumers have a beastly appetite and man has this ever come true. He’d tell me how they’d work for hours on the Dallas set to get a certain shot and how they rotated in different Directors for the Dallas for each Episode finishing the production over a course of months to make the 13 episodes for one season. Think about it 4-6 months to make 13 hours of television. For the American Made show we did for CNBC, I worked 10-15 hrs/day for 4 months to make the first 6 hour long episodes (and so did 30 other peeps).

THE DP. Find a Good DP (Director of Photography). No idea what that was at the time, but man do I know the value now. Dwight’s guy was Ted Miears. Ted had five kids, drove a mini-van w/ a self-made ramp and push cart he stored in the van with the seats pushed down and always had an even keel. When the van wasn’t full of lighting and gaffing equipment, Ted would lug around 5 kids in it.

LAUGH. Lastly & most importantly, Have fun. Enjoy the ride. Laugh at the stuff that goes wrong because one thing you can count on in Production is Murphy is always in the house to throw down his law. I loved that about Dwight, he was always smiling and making sure we always kept it light because the very nature of production invites the high probability of things not according to plan. And trust me, when it comes to filming hi-profile entrepreneurs in dynamic environments

Dwight & team still smiling after a 14 hour day

Dwight & team still smiling after a 14 hour day

THANKS Dwight for taking this greenhorn for a few laps around the production track and planting some seeds along the way. I appreciate you or taking the time to groom and guide me and for imparting some wisdom on your producer’s apprentice.

The LG

The Prophet Bootstrapper

The Prophet Bootstrapper

The Prophet Bootstrapper

Years from now us Austin Entrepreneurs are going to tell our friends we personally know one of the stellar entrepreneurial philosophers of our generation. That we were part of his community and got to meet with him on a regular basis in small intimate groups as well as 1-on-1’s. That we got to listen to this journeyman change agent expand on an endless array of topics & ideas while enjoying a libation at a local watering hole. What is really impressive about this is that there will literally be thousands of people that were part of these gatherings with him over the years because Bijoy Goswami took the time to share his journey with us spreading the wisdom and knowledge he has been soaking up over the years. As a producer/director of entrepreneurial content, I am fortunate to film hundreds of entrepreneurs for TV shows and videos for featuring business owners and start-up mavericks and I can share with you that Bijoy uniquely stands out in his intriguing message, diversified upbringing and journey of discovery that he is sharing with us as it happens.

This week we featured this wandering Bootstrapping Prophet & founder of the Bootstrap Network on our show On the Road with iV because we wanted to share Bijoy’s story, wisdom and learnings with others outside of the 512. It was definitely quite the experience to film and hope you watch the 4 segments we captured featuring Ingrid Vanderveldt (host of the show) and Bijoy discuss everything from start-ups to Stanford to song writing to mystic cab rides to tapping into the universe. He touches on his book and the MRE theory and how the Valley of Death is a wonderful place that is really good for the soul. Bijoy then goes on to say that we can all get a deep perspective of the universe by using your own bootstraps and how his bi-polar upbringing has taught him the value of living in the present and some of the keys that to being successful in life.

Bijoy n Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark at UT Talk

Bijoy n Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark at UT Talk

My co-producer on the show, Chance Carpenter, had this to say about Bijoy:

– I was struck by the passion and spirit that Bijoy brings to the conversation about bootstrapping. One of the most consistent messages we have heard from the many entrepreneurs that iV has interviewed is that passion is a key ingredient for success in any entrepreneurial endeavor and especially when bootstrapping. While this might seem profoundly obvious, Bijoy really brings it home both how challenging it can be to stay in your joy and passion when the hurricane of a million tedious chores bares down on you AND how imperative and possible it is to continually claim and reclaim that passion when you invoke spirit into the mix.

iV had this to say:

– Not only am I proud to have Bijoy as a friend, I am inspired by him as a colleague. Part of what is so profound about Bijoy is that before Bootstrap, he had put himself in a position to do anything in life he dreamed. He was a fast moving, highly accomplished tech entrepreneur who could have chosen a number of paths to follow. In listening – but more importantly following his calling – Bijoy created Bootstrap which has brought so much value to others. In my travels across the country, I find that when people talk about Austin, TX, it is widely known that this is the home of Bootstrap Network and Bijoy. I admire the great work he does for the community and entrepreneurs alike as well as his continous desire to learn more and better himself.

Here are links to the Segments airing the CLUB E currently:

#1 – A Bootstrapping Journey Fueled by a Song & a Gingerman

#2 – Escaping the Valley of Death by Your Bootstraps

#3 – Living in the Question & Organizing the Community

#4 – A Lesson from Great Entrepreneurs – Be in the Present

There is much to be learned from and entertained by this purveyor of community gatherings and we look forward to soaking up more of Bijoy’s Bootstrapping wisdom in the years to come.


Lyn Graft

Founder, CLUB E Network & LG Pictures

The Collective Entrepreneurial Journey

Monday, December 15, 2008


Bijoy & the Bootstrappers

Bijoy & the Bootstrappers

On Monday, November 10, 2008, we launched the CLUB E Austin Chapter at the Long Center in Austin, TX with captivating messages from one of Austin’s top entrepreneurs, Gary Hoover, top entrepreneurial organization, Bootstrap Austin, top homegrown technology companies, HBMG Inc. and one of community’s top leaders and supporters of entrepreneurship, Austin Pro Tem Mayor Brewster McCracken. This effort was a true celebration for the CLUB E family and our partners in the Austin community because it is an important step towards helping our company, the CLUB E Network (CLUB E), move that much closer to realizing our vision.

Back in the late 90’s I was able to attend an event where a famous local entrepreneur shared an inspiring start-up story at an event in Austin, TX that sent me home that overflowing with ideas on how to build the next great tech company. It didn’t pan out that way for me that venture, but I’ll never forget how I felt that night. The seeds had been planted to create something very unique and powerful that would benefit and help many others in future, but it wouldn’t materialize for a number of years. Those seeds finally took root years later in the form of CLUB E, an online and on-the-ground network for entrepreneurs that is designed to help and support current and future entrepreneurs follow their passion and start their own companies. We call the CLUB E community “the most passionate tribe of entrepreneurs on the planet” because we all share a common passion for entrepreneurship and pursuing a road less traveled.

My long-time business partner/TV show host, Ingrid Vanderveldt, and I started working on an online social network concept when we were introduced to a trailblazing entrepreneur in Peter Burns, his student apprentice Corey Kossack and his motley crew out of Phoenix that were launching local chapters of their organization in AZ where entrepreneurs could meet in person on a regular basis. We decided to combine our efforts and create CLUB E that was one part Facebook (people meeting online), one part Toastmasters (people meeting in person) and one part TV (entertainment & how-to videos for entrepreneurs). A vision that we are slowly bringing to life so that we can share the inspiring stories and powerful lessons successful entrepreneurs share with us at our gatherings and activities.


On this November night, we were honored to have Brewster McCracken open the night for us at one of Austin’s newest gathering places, the Long Center. His speech was set against the backdrop of the Austin skyline seen out the windows symbolizing how we are all part of this wonderful community and how we are all in this together even if we are all creating separate businesses. Brewster spoke of how powerful examples of local government, industry leaders and the entrepreneurial community have worked together to strengthen what makes Austin special and what makes it such a solid foundation for start-ups to get off the ground. He also challenged us to continue thinking for the future and look to areas such as clean energy and emerging technologies and others and make sure that we stay at that leading edge. Inspired by his comments, we teamed up with folks from our technology partner, HBMG, and came up with a contest to gather ideas from the audience about suggestions on what the city of Austin can do help save energy and/or ‘green ideas’ for the city. The gung-ho audience came up with over 65 ideas in 15 minutes that we are passing along to Brewster and his team – you never know what type of seeds might be planted in this effort. Lucky entrepreneurs Kevin Koym & Steve Tarr got 18 cupcakes between winning this green contest.

Since we launched CLUB E, we knew that Austin was going to be a central figure in the CLUB E infrastructure in that we would produce our video content out of the city and eventually have a physical chapter here as well. When HBMG stepped in to help host our site and be part of our efforts this past year, we knew that part of our vision would quickly come to pass. All part of feeding the soil and helping CLUB E get off the ground with a solid foundation. David Smith, HBMG’s CEO and a longtime leader in the Austin hi-tech space, tied the evening together with his eloquent words describing how we are all working together leveraging the strengths of Austin’s foundation to breathe life into new and yet-to-be entrepreneurs.


Thinking of the word entrepreneur in Austin conjures all kinds of visuals, people and organizations in the mind. Two of those that are prominent are Bijoy Goswami and the Bootstrap community. We are honored that Bijoy and crew participated in helping us celebrate the launch of the CLUB E Austin chapter because we both believe we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that we can be collaborative in our efforts to nurture and support current and future entrepreneurs. These two entities are part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that has made Austin a place of abundance in terms of resources and outlets that business owners can turn to help them meet the demanding needs their start-ups have. It is not about being competitive and trying to out do one another – it is how can we work together to support our collective causes as well as serve our constituents in the best way possible answering their specific needs. Having Bijoy share his beliefs and ideas that night illustrated this premise in words as well as in action.

Rounding out the night, the always-energetic Gary Hoover, founder of Hoovers and BOOKSTOP, shared his eight points on what he has found over the years to be central to creating successful and lasting ventures in good and bad times. Gary explained that great entrepreneurs have unending curiosity, a deep sense of history and an awareness of geography. The audience was left with a wealth of ideas and thoughts on what they could do on a daily basis to nurture their ideas and grow their companies. What struck me the most out of his talk is that when asked him what is the ‘one thing’ he wanted people to walk away from in terms of advice from the night. He said to make sure and carry a notepad or whatever device you fancy to capture an idea or scribble a thought so that you never miss an opportunity that might come to your mind. He pulled out his tablet #144 out of his pocket and shared the story of how Richard Branson also does the same thing and has literally thousands of such notepads he takes notes on. (I stopped by Office Depot the next day!) Gary is one of those very special people we truly admire because he constantly gives to his community by making himself available to the next generation of entrepreneurs and openly shares the wealth of knowledge and experience that he has gained over the years.


It was a proud night for the CLUB E team, but I believe something happened prior to the event that crystallized part of why I so strongly believe in what we are doing. The day before the CLUB E Austin launch, Bijoy and I had an opportunity to speak at the 26th annual Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education held in Austin. It was an event that brought together teachers and support companies from around the country so that they could network with each other, attend workshops and listen to entrepreneurs and leaders talk about a variety of topics that relate to teaching entrepreneurship. Clifton Taulbert, founder of the Building Community Institute and author of a number of books (Eight Habits of the Heart, Last Train North, etc.) spoke at the luncheon that day and left an indelible impression upon all that were there. He has spoken to audiences around the world and his books have been cherished by leaders from all walks of life including Nelson Mandela and he has even received Pulitzer nomination for his writings. At the end of his talk he left us with some of his own powerful words and the words of others that will forever be etched in my mind and what I believe lies at the very soul of why CLUB E has come to be.

“We come here together as teachers of the next generation of leaders and business owners in our community and in our world….For us it is not about ‘how can I be an entrepreneur,’ but how can we help another entrepreneur.’ We have an opportunity do something that will change your life and the lives of thousands of others that come after you. To let young people know that ‘we are all marked for good’ and that we can ’cause the souls of others to blossom.'”

I hope you all get to help another on our collective journey down the entrepreneurial path and one day feel yourself blossoming – or better yet – see someone else blossom because of what you have done. Few things in life are more rewarding than that.

Half Full. Peter Burns Style

Entrepreneurs are always looking for opportunities. CLUB E & Peter Burns in the Phoenix Business Journal sharing some thoughts on why and how.

Very Appropriate-Peter Burns & Roses

Very Appropriate-Peter Burns & Roses


Down economy still offers options for entrepreneurs

Many Valley entrepreneurs are ignoring the negative economic signals, opting to transform their ideas into viable businesses and products.

“Yes, the economy is challenging, but with that challenge comes opportunities,” said Peter Burns, co-founder of Club E Network, a social network of entrepreneurs in the Valley and across the country. “And the reality of it is, if you bring entrepreneurs together, there is no lack of optimism.”

read more…

Who’s this Guy? Guy Kawasaki, The Evangelist

Good tymze – What a shoot and an interview from last year in California.We had a great time in Silicon Valley with Garage Master Flash Guy Kawasaki on the set of filming the first CLUB PROs Series AND the first On the Road with iV pilot!!!!. Lost my notes, iPhone & my A/C laptop chord, but it was well worth it. Good times on this shoot – we’ll be filming Guy again soon. He is a very unique class of entrepreneur, venture capitalist, startup and now media guy.

I’ll also be writing a more in-depth Blog on Guy in the coming weeks because he has meant quite a bit to iV and I when it comes to getting our content engine going for CLUB E and for On the Road with iV. This is also my first test on blogging in wordpress and actually repurposing an old post. I’m throwing in one of my videos to see how it looks. I am giddy with excitement and just now feeling the joy (and weight) of getting to blog on a regular basis.

CLUB PROs shoot w/ Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawaski (Talent) & Lyn Graft (Producer which means non-talent 🙂 CLUB PROs shoot w/ Guy