Category Archives: Uncategorized

Let them stART cake!

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Cable TV Cake King Mike Elder stARTed baking after a successful career as a master mechanic. Add entrepreneur and entertainer to baker and mechanic and you have a recipe for stARTist extraordinaire. This Saturday and Sunday, Chef Elder and his TV baking-competition pals will bake, frost and throttle their way to a Guinness Book of World Records attempt when they build a fully functioning car of cake. Holy hybrid, Batman!

It’s happening at the KCCake Fest, which Elder is hosting this year. On Sunday afternoon at the Convention Center, Elder and his pit crew will stART up the “fastest cake car.” Officials say Elder must drive a car covered with “at least 95 percent edible ingredients” at least 10 miles an hour to earn his victory lap. If you’re in K.C., head downtown! The custom cake mobile will make its run down Wyandotte Street at 1 p.m.

I love how Elder’s stARTistry has been sweetening Kansas City. Last year, he stARTed a charity fundraising event that was all about cakes: Icing on the Cake.” The one-day event raised funds for Newhouse, a Kansas City shelter for abused women and children that is dear to my heart. Proceeds from this year’s cake festival will be donated to the Whole Person.

stARTist Mike Elder with his head in

As creative wonder beasts like Mike prove over and again, be careful what you stART! It is only the beginning!

From the heART

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I didn’t set out to make Valentine art. Truth be told, I consider hearts and greeting card sentiments a bit, well . . . trite.

But things start where they stART. Every time I wrap up a session in my painting studio, i make use of the extra paint by swishing it into a heart shape on a scrap of canvas. Over time, the little leftovers began talking to me and commanding a little more respect.

We all know it is folly to disregard what our hearts have to say.

Next week, I am stARTing a line of cards centered on my best-selling art, and I’m launching it with a few Valentine cards and an event benefitting New House, a local domestic violence shelter. StARTistry is helping give fresh stARTs to women who need them most.

StARTistry is always a work of heART!

stARTing a business in 54 hours

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For those of us who regard creativity as a vital use-it-or-lose-it muscle, a stART-up opportunity is like going to the gym. We don’t think about it too much. We just go.

As far as I can tell, this is why I went to Start-up Weekend.

Start-Up Weekend is a 54-hour anybody-can-play event for designing new businesses. Heralding the launch of National Entrepreneur’s week, Kansas City’s 4th Start-Up Weekend began at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. Seventy-some people paid $80 each to work over the weekend, teaming up with strangers to build a business from scratch.

Because it is difficult to manufacture, say robots or beer, in 54 hours, most weekend start-ups are internet-based businesses. In the course of the weekend, businesses are researched, designed, branded and assigned business models. Some are fully prototyped and go live online in time to be promoted by social media. Some even make money by Sunday.

The weekend begins with a Friday night pitch session. Every participant has the opportunity to make a 60-second pitch for an original business idea. These ideas are then voted on by a very unscientific, but adequately efficient, post-it voting system. Participants vote for one another’s ideas by placing post-its on the poster-sized sign bearing the business name and concept. Participants with the fewest colored post-its on their business sign are encouraged to face reality as soon as possible by looking around for another concept they can get behind and negotiating their way onto that team. What comes out at the end of it all is a motley collection of teams determined not so much by individuals’ interest in the particular business concepts as by the team leaders’ abilities to recruit and refuse individuals, including those frustrated souls whose ideas have just tanked. I was one of these.

I began Start-Up Weekend with the right motives but with a wimpy commitment to my own idea. I had a new business concept, but my idea was fuzzy. I could not yet sell myself on investing in it, and my lack of conviction was visible in my pitch.

I quickly pulled my own idea out of competition and wiggled my way on to another team with a young stARTist and web programmer named Royce Hayes. Royce had a concept called DAWGbnb – a site to match pets needing boarding with dog lovers willing to take in canine guests for a fee. I thought the idea had legs – at least four furry ones – and that it would be fun to work on.

Indeed it was. DAWGbnb and our team of seven tied for third place in a field of fourteen outstanding business ideas. Read more about it at http://kansascity.startupweekend.org/2011/11/13/711/

stARTing line

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At the moment, this blog has only one true follower. Julie, you know who you are.

No worries, though. That’s how most runaway hits and world changing movements get stARTed . . . with just ONE.  One idea. One day. One place. One minute. One fan.

I’m fortunate that our first follower is a stellar one. Banker, artist, adventure seeker and triathlete, Julie Nelson Meers is a stARTist through and through. She  was at my house last night, where we talked of art, triathlons and blogs, like the one her brand guru husband writes, Smoke and Meers. Check out smokeandmeers.blogspot.com, where Sam says “companies don’t make brands, their customers do.” Hmmm.

Maybe it’s also true that writers don’t make blogs, followers do. (Too much pressure, Julie?)

stARTistry.com’s recent post asks readers about things they have stARTed. I’m poking around for stories and myths about the way we begin things, what we finish, and what it all means. I’m certain we’ll find some stARTling truths. As soon as that first ONE responds.

“I was thinking maybe I should respond to the last stARTistry post on the subject of my triathlon,” said Julie, her voice rising with a question mark at the end.

“Duh!? YES, please!!,” I said. Because guess what? I want to do a triathlon, but I truly don’t know how to stART.

So yes, Julie, tell us. How did you begin? How did you schedule lake swimming into your busy urban life? Where did you get your first bike? How did you decide your first running course . . . set up your support system . . . break it to your husband? What was the mental process that made you start something in your 40’s that you could have done much more easily in your 20’s?

Athletic feats are as much feats of stARTistry as businesses and building projects and stARTing lines are just as victorious as finish lines.