There is Money in Muck

The photo below is of a business, not a recycling bin.

A few weeks ago my niece and nephew pitched an idea to my wife and I. They had started a small business in their neighbourhood collecting the recyclables from nearby homes. Having gotten into a nice routine there, they were ready to branch out into our subdivision.

Impressed? Yep, I was. We signed up, and, as the annual AGM of our homeowners’ association was coming up, we helped them distribute info to other residents and they signed up another customer in addition to us.

Their pitch was compelling.

Engage14 Cayman Islands – Day 1 Recap

Always an outstanding event, Engage14, the luxury wedding summit, is even more of everything this year.  I first attended an Engage conference in 2009 and it was a game changer for me.  I met incredibly motivating people who would shape my entrepreneurial thinking over the next several years.  2014 is the first Engage conference held in Cayman for three years, and is an opportunity to learn from the superstars of the industry, to network with the forward thinking, and to brag on Cayman a bit.

Rather than verbatim reporting, my recap series will be short key takeaways of the speakers and events each day.  Read on.


Amateur Versus Professional

Lately there have been a number of instances in my personal and professional life that have left me pondering this question. Was the person I just dealt with an amateur or a professional? I don’t mean are they professional as in highly educated, or amateur as in doing something in their spare time. I’m talking about one masquerading as the other. Read on (and my apology in advance if this sounds a bit like a rant).

Bus Sotp (c) Ross Parry

Bus Sotp (c) Ross Parry

I’m a firm believer in entrepreneurial spirit.  On the other hand I am also a realist.  Just because you are an incredible carpenter does not mean you are going to be able to open an incredible carpentry company.  A magnificent cook is often well served continuing to cook for friends in their home and not heeding the advice of those same friends who say, “you know, you really ought to open a restaurant.”

I can’t tell you how many stores I have been into lately that seem to have no clue whatsoever.  The joke is clearly on me and the rest of the people who allow such a business to continue in operation.  How else could a business that says they open at 9 stay in business when in fact they really mean, 9 ish… sometime between 9 and 9:30.  Why would I expect that a question on availability of a certain size be met with anything other than, “I don’t know.”


I enjoy what I call the ‘process of business’. That is, I love researching a business, working the mechanics of getting it launched and going. As soon as it gets formed I normally start looking for something else to do, a new business. The recession forced me to dial back my new business starts. Now, its startup time again. Read on.

MM madness

Over the past several months, with two seriously energetic staff, I have been in one of the most pure startup modes I have ever experienced. Massive Media is one of the companies under the Massive Group umbrella. It has been around for several years now as an advertising sales company for Cayman Airways in-flight magazine, Cayman Airways Skies, published by HCP/Aboard. This, then, is Massive Media’s second startup, so to speak.

The first was, in many respects, like the other businesses I have started. There is an idea, company formation and registration, trade and business licence application and grant, business cards, website, and we are off to the races. This second startup round is completely different.

Can An Artist Teach Us Business Lessons?

I have been visiting Toronto, Canada, this week placing my son in a pre-boarding academy at his new school.  I had 10 days between dropping him off and picking him up so decided to stay here, set up business meetings to try to generate future work and strategy ideas that eventually may help pay for the world-class education he will be receiving. I took a quick look at the cultural events that were available during my stay.  When I saw that Ai Weiwei’s traveling exhibit, “According to What?” was on at the Art Gallery of Ontario I knew I had to set aside time to visit.  What a moving experience!  Read on.

Ai Weiwei

If you don’t know, Ai Weiwei is one of China’s leading contemporary artists.  However, that short – almost pithy – definition really does the man, and his body of work, a severe injustice.  He is, on a macro level, the consummate social voice of his country.  On a micro level, he is an artist, an architect, a blogger, a photographer, a documentary videographer, to name but a few areas of interest he turns his prodigious talent towards.  He is, as he summed up in his book of blog posts, a voice of honour against abusive authority and ‘shameless people with one foot in the system and the other out the door‘.  “May 14, 2006, As Soon as You’re Not Careful … an Encounter with Idiocy on a Sunny Day.”