Good Idea, Chicago. Now What?

Brad Keywell and I at Partner Event for Chicago Ideas Week

When I think of my childhood life in good old Ottawa, Illinois, a few key things stand out.  First, playing sports.  Riding my bike for 9:30am tennis every single day was painful, but the high (while sweating profusely and being angered at the ankle band exercise) on the courts was worth it.  And then there was Ruffles, my pseudo dog.  You see, my parents would never give in to my burning desire for a dog.  And one day, when I was maybe in 3rd or 4th grade, our neighbor, a kind, widowed man, came over to introduce us to Ruffles, the dog he just adopted from a local vet.  Ruffles was a mutt, my best friend, the greatest dog to live and the next best thing to having my own.  I maybe even hung out with him in his dog house once or twice (or around 50 times).  And last, Wheel of Fortune.  I know, I know.  It’s semi-pathetic the only three things that stand out from my childhood were tennis, a dog that wasn’t really mine and Wheel of Fortune.  People, it was Ottawa!  What can I tell you?!  Anyways, back to Wheel Watchin’.  My mom, to this day, watches Wheel of Fortune every single night.  And I remember so vividly sitting next to her, eating diet popcorn, watching Wheel of Fortune from 6:30pm – 7:00pm.  And while I don’t think that TV show made me smarter (I secretly only cared about Vanna’s dresses), I remember the “Same Name” category.  For example, “garlic and bench press.”  And the title of my blog is my best shot at the same name category from WOF.  Now, let me explain…

On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, a dream of mine came true.  I met, spoke with and got my picture with Brad Keywell.  Now, I know some of you may be thinking “who is Brad Keywell?”  And I know some of you may be thinking “wow, I would prefer Tom Cruise over Brad, but..”  And I know the rest of you are thinking “holy S&$#, that’s awesome.”  For the latter, I know, it’s awesome.  For the rest of you, Brad Keywell is the co-founder of Groupon (who turned down an offer for Google to buy Groupon for over $5 billion dollars about a year ago…ahem…yes, that’s a lot of money and yes, Brad is a pretty smart dude).  And oh, yes, it was Brad who was part of the Wrigley Building buy this past Monday.  No big deal.  But, one of the real reasons I admire and respect BK (I got my picture with the guy, I can give him a nickname, right?), is one of his recent endeavours, Chicago Ideas Week.  I live in the city of Chicago, I have passion for its well-being and there are big things happening here across all disciplines (technology, medicine, social good, innovation, the arts, etc.) that must be recognized.  So, leave it to BK and an amazing group of talented people to establish this organization and prepare for an amazing kick off week starting mid October where 100 brilliant speakers are coming in with Chicago’s best thinkers to create an ecosystem of innovation, exploration, and intellectual recreation.  Again, no big deal, right?  And yes, I would much prefer to meet and mingle with BK than TC.  Just sayin’…

And what else happened these last couple weeks?  Another incredible entrepreneur, based in L.A., who arguably should be in the same blog as BK (oh right, he is!), Charles Lee, just announced his book launch:  “Good Idea.  Now What?” (you can pre-order now, released this Spring).  This is a book that offers realistic advice on how to move your ideas to execution.  Readers will discover some of the essential values and principles that guide successful idea-makers, including the leveraging of mixed environments for creativity, working through resistance and setbacks, developing a practical plan for implementation that works, navigating collaborative opportunities, and communicating your idea to make it truly remarkable (source – I met Charles in Chicago maybe a year ago and was honored to have spent time with him.  I remember my conversation ended up more like a monologue of me expressing some career and marketing challenges…and then some good ideation took place.  And speaking of ideation, Charles is also the brains behind Ideation – A Creative Agency based in L.A.  Just check out the home page of their site and you will see why this guy (and his team) kick some creative butt.

Chicago Ideas + Good Idea.  Now What? = Ann totally inspired, energized, challenged and a killer WOF same name. 

Kudos to the innovators out there that continue to inspire the world, one good idea at a time.  I appreciate your risk-taking, your thought-process and the fact that you stand for something you believe in.  BK, can’t wait for Chicago Ideas Week and all that’s to come thereafter.  Charles, looking forward to seeing you in Chicago again soon and reading your book in the Spring!



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