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An embarrassing story can serve as a lesson learned.

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Well, this is embarrassing

I’ve got a fun but embarrassing story to share with you. Last week I was honored to be invited to a private event, which turned out to be awesome on three levels:


1. One of my mentors, Mitch Joel, was having an event in New York City to promote the launch of his new book, Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It.

For those that haven’t heard me mention Mitch in the past, I was introduced to him by a mutual friend several years ago, and he agreed to come onto the podcast back in October 2009, where he gave some great advice about public speaking.

We hit it off right away and it turned out to be a life-changing meeting, as about six months later we’d meet for lunch in Montreal, where he set up an introductory meeting with his book agent, which started the ball rolling and ended up landing me a book deal.

Mitch is president of digital ad agency Twist Image and one of the top thought leaders in the game today.

2. For this event, he was being interviewed by Seth Godin, one of the most successful marketers and authors of all time. How successful? He has written 17 books. All of them are best-sellers. All of them.

I got to see Seth speak in person for the first time just six weeks beforehand, and it was a great event and left me with actionable items that I put into use just days later.



New York has launched a new bike share program, and people have lots to say.

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For loyal readers of The Hopkinson Report, you know two things I really love: New York City and biking. So it’s no surprise that I was very excited about the launch of Citibike, the Big Apple’s new bike sharing program.

The program is off to an amazing start, recording 100,000 rides in just the first 10 days.

Today I’ll cover two things:
1) My review of the bike share program
2) What business lessons we can learn from it so far

First Look Review of Citibike Bike Share Program:

I wrote this up after my maiden voyage on June 5:

The system:
– In terms of pricing, Citibike offers a yearly membership for $95, which allows you to take the bike out for 45 minutes at a time.
– Short term memberships are $10 for 24 hours and $25 for a weekly pass, each give you 30 minute rides.
– Activating a bike is simple, just insert your key fob into a station with a bicycle, wait for the light to turn green, and it activates.
– It’s a little tricky to remove the bike itself. You need to do a combination lift-and-pull at the same time.
– They did a good job with the Citibike app, combining your geolocation + bike stations
– There are 600 locations, with about 30 within a few blocks of my apartment near Union Square. See the only ‘coming soon’ one on the map? Yup, that’s the closest location to my place. Sigh.



It’s not a sexy topic, but it needs to be discussed: healthcare for entrepreneurs.

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Healthcare: Try not to lose

Here’s the problem with healthcare… you can never really win, you can only hope not to lose.

– If you pay a lot of money for premiums and have a bad accident and everything gets paid for, well, you had an accident: Lose
– If you pay a lot of money and never get in an accident, well, you paid a lot of money for nothing: Lose
– If you get a really cheap plan (or have no insurance at all) and have a bad accident, well, now you had an accident and are broke: Really lose

The only way to win is to take an incredible gamble and not have insurance, live life to its fullest, and yet somehow never get in an accident. If you can pull that off – and not be incredibly stressed along the way – then you’re one of the lucky ones.


For most of us, the answer lies somewhere in between.

(At the end of this column, I’ll show you specific recommendations)

Health Insurance for entrepreneurs: What to consider

First off, the big disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a lawyer or have any more knowledge about the insurance industry than you probably do. I’m just a guy that loves doing research when I can’t find good answers on the web, and this is such a situation. You need to make your own decision based on your specific family situation, medical situation, tolerance for risk, and where you live.

That being said, here was my thought process, in hopes that it helps you.



What a cross-town trip can teach you about your business.

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2 critical miles

The distance between the FDR highway – the farthest road on Manhattan’s East Side, and 11th Avenue – the farthest road on Manhattan’s West Side, when traveling along 23rd street, is a short, straight, 2 miles.

Oh, but so many things can happen between those two points.

As I made the trip from point A to point B this week, it occurred to me how it was a metaphor for running your own business. Let me explain.

I keep my car in a garage on 23rd and the FDR for a few reasons:
– The monthly rates are “reasonable” for Manhattan (aka, less than the cost of an iPad)
– You park your own car (never handing your keys to a valet)
– Easy access out of the city to the Northeast, such as Boston



Jim shares his thoughts on the trends from SXSW 2013.

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“The New Serendipity”

By: Unknown; Overheard in a group of people
Takeaway: Put yourself in a position to succeed
According to Wikipedia, the word serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.

Trying to describe what goes on at the SXSW Interactive conference can be difficult, and so can choosing a single trend that emerged from it. In past years, major launches from Twitter (Microblogging) and Foursquare (Geolocation), made it easier to define a bigger trend in new media.

So whether the person I overheard talking about the term was referencing the panel with Kevin Rose called The New Serendipity, or just the overall trend of it, as referred to in the Wall Street Journal (Serendipity Is the New Synergy), I think we’re on to something.

Because our digital world is so fractured, there isn’t one trend or company or way of doing things that is right. Rather, our lives both inside and outside of work are made up of hard work, luck, and chance encounters. Pay attention, then put yourself in the right places at the right times for serendipity to happen.

Let’s explore some quotes from panels I attended to see what else emerges.