July 4, 2012

In an “Open Letter to America” this week, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, said, “As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.”  The letter itself provided an argument and a call to action for Americans to join forces to spur economic recovery through job creation.  He reminded us all that, if we continue to believe in the greatness of our nation and its long-term viability, we must accept a “shared responsibility” to solve our nation’s problems.  He’s right.  According to Kauffman Foundation research, the key to economic recovery is through entrepreneurship which creates new firms, which create new jobs and drive the global economy. 

As a sidebar, for more, listen to Dr. Robert Litan’s – VP of Research at the Kauffman Foundation – remarks on the Startup Act from May 22, 2012.  In fact, senators (Thank You to Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.)) from both sides of the proverbial aisle came together to amplify their support of this bill which is designed to drive job creation.

So many of Mr. Schultz’s messages resonated with me, but, of particular note was his use of the word AMPLIFY.  It caught my attention not only because it is so descriptive in and of itself, but also because it is the second time in the past few weeks that I have been moved by its use.  The notion that collective passion and enthusiasm for a topic or concept can help to raise it up, to garner attention and to make others turn around and notice is just awesome.  I can virtually hear the message ringing in my mind – it is truly amplified.

Sticking with both the notion of entrepreneurship driving economic recovery and the concept of amplification, I mentioned it is the second time someone has used the word “amplify” in the recent past.  The first time I “heard” it was last week.  As a bit of background, Tom Post of hosted a series of articles during the month of June which he dubbed “Entrepreneurship Month.”  I had the great opportunity to serve as a contributor to the collection of stories:

As a follow up to the final article on how to treat customers, a fellow by the name of Corey Blake took time to provide his thoughts.  Commenting on the outstanding customer experience provided by Zappos, he said that he likes when companies look deeply into their souls to recognize where real value lives and said, “That’s what’s worth amplifying… [Zappos amplifies] that they attract customers who appreciate [service] and staff who love serving.  Every company has these kinds of core values worth amplifying.”  In this case, what is amplified is not so much a voice, but values.  In this way, the company’s core belief set helps to drive the way that it operates – each action taken helps to amplify the company’s philosophy and personality.

In networking, what passions or interests or core values are you making known?  Are you gathering support for your mission through others’ voices?  For what important topic are you raising awareness?  What are you amplifying?  How are you doing it?  Is there something for which you would be willing to engage in a bit of social activism?  Irrespective of the issue or subject, if you believe in it, stand up for it.  Have a voice.  Bring others along with you.  Amplify your message.

As today is Independence Day, I want to join both Howard Schultz and our entire nation in expressing my appreciation to the women and men and their families who have and continue to selflessly serve our great country.  I hope that by adding my voice I can help to amplify this message and ensure they each know how very grateful we are for their service and devotion.  Be safe and enjoy this Fourth of July holiday!