A Personal Note from 3-Blazes Founder & CEO
I founded 3-Blazes in 2008. My wife and I had followed our professional paths from Dartmouth College to Chicago to Washington D.C. to Boston. I had worked at a K Street law firm and with a Silicon Valley technology boutique. I had consulted in intellectual property strategy and management with everyone from small businesses preparing for growth or sale to venture funded startups to Fortune 500 companies looking for an edge. I had gone in-house with a global technology company that was soon gobbled up by their biggest competitor (I was the only attorney to survive the merger).
My corporate gig wasn’t bad, but I was moving back to rural New York State for family reasons. Both my wife and I would be reinventing our careers and this was my chance to be the entrepreneur I wanted to be. My background in intellectual property law could provide a niche business opportunity, but there is only so much patent, trademark, and corporate legal work available in Cooperstown (and there was no way I wanted to be a general practitioner or litigator). I knew I loved entrepreneurship and working with early stage and high growth business, but I wasn’t sure what the business model was for doing that in the towns and small cities of Central New York. I was going to help businesses grow, I just wasn’t sure how.
3-Blazes has been a journey. Getting ideas. Testing them out. Learning. Changing. Trying to grow. Stumbling. Holding it together and coming back for more. That’s entrepreneurship.
3-Blazes has always been my venture development company. I have used it for incubating my own ideas, offering training and consulting on venture development, publishing ideas and business resources, and ultimately contracting my executive services to high-potential, innovative companies and firms. My goal is to support transformative new ventures and the ecosystems that support them. Easy to say. Difficult to do.
I’m not independently wealthy. I work on this while trying to pay the bills, raise my family, stay healthy, and live a good life in rural Upstate New York. It’s hard slogging some days and I don’t think I’ve gotten it right yet. And even if I did it would just raise the bar. We can always do more to improve the lives we touch and there are always more people we haven’t yet reached.
The three big ideas that guide 3-Blazes are:
#1 Ideas Start Innovation
The reason I built my expertise in intellectual property is that innovation starts with ideas. Intellectual property provides a great business tool for turning some ideas into quantifiable, manageable, and valuable assets. But ideas are bigger than intellectual property. Great ideas can transform the ordinary, turn your customers into advocates, and solve problems that people didn’t even know they had. Creative ideas let people defy the norm, find new business models, and deliver something amazing. Ideas are the starting point and fuel for innovation.
#2 Innovators Make a Business
But ideas aren’t really in short supply. I can’t mention that I am a patent attorney in public without being accosted by someone with “a great idea.” It’s innovators who are in short supply. Innovators are people who not only have ideas, but are willing to champion them. They recognize that great ideas are bigger than one person. They build a team of innovators that make the idea even better and commit to relentless learning to turn the idea into a sustainable economic engine, aka, a business.
#3 Real World Learning Makes the Difference
New products and services often fail. Great ideas never make it off the page. Bad luck, bad timing, or bad choices burn out a team of innovators before sustainability is achieved. The best indicator of success is a combination of initiative to get things into the real world and a willingness to learn and adjust. Without the initiative to start, nothing happens. Without the willingness to change, the first misstep is fatal. Without the initiative to persevere, change destroys the idea and burns out the innovators. Without the willingness to grow, a sustainable scale is never found. It takes initiative to help others become innovators, to lead toward a common vision, and to give back so that the next generation of great ideas can make the world and our local economies better. Doing, learning, and doing again is the key. And I’ve recently noticed that it takes systems to make the do-learn loop really work.
If anything in my story resonates with you or you have comments, questions, or even bigger ideas about 3-Blazes and my big 3, please Contact Me and let me know.
Grow something great,
Founder & CEO
Three Blazes Innovation, Inc.