Cake
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    • if we’re being realistic I would make daycare management software. I did some work for Texas CPS a while back and learned there are tens of thousands of registered daycares in my state alone. Most of which operate out of someone’s home.

      Long story, I was once the project manager of software implementation for a daycare. The software company made boatloads by processing the credit card transactions for tuition payments. It was better than a standard annual subscription revenue model.

      Sounds like you know how to come up with profitable business ideas, Jim.

    • That’s exactly what I had in mind. Make the software free to use (maybe sell some premium features) and collect revenue from processing payments.

    • If money was no object, I'd start a semi-public garden - a designed and curated garden space similar to a botanical garden, but with less emphasis on research and collecting, and more emphasis on the spacial dimension (aesthetics and usage). This would be fund by (a) public entry entry fees, (b) supplemental usage fees (wedding photography, event spaces, etc), (c) a public restaurant (d) a banquet hall, (e) a small conference centre, (f) supplemental lodging (i.e. B&B style nightly accommodation) - all of which would make use of the garden and be integrated with it. This would probably have to be a non-profit venture - I'm not even sure it could be self-supporting. It's also at least a 20-year project.

    • I did quit my job to start Cake, hoping to bring some good to the world and tell the stories along the way I love to tell.

      I’be wondered what I would do if I didn’t have Cake. I need to feel like I’m doing something that matters, that I believe is good. Maybe making documentary films.

    • If you could quit your job and start a business tomorrow, what would you do?

      I wouldn’t care about the product or service I was selling: building and running a profitable company would be a continual motivation for me.

      What would be important would be to run a company that didn’t follow the Silicon Valley “hire the best and brightest” mantra. Instead, I would want to develop a company where training was baked into the DNA.

      One of my favorite leadership books is “It’s Your Ship” about a navy boat captain who didn’t have the naturally best and brightest, but through training and effective leadership he got extraordinary results from his crew.

      IBM was known for having an insane focus on training. Tom Watson’s first employee was a head of Human Resources and talent development was part of IBM’s secret sauce. Their IBM university was legendary for taking engineers and turning them into extraordinary leaders.

      In the early 1990s, when Blue Chips like Ma Bell and IBM had massive layoffs in the tens of thousands, Inc magazine did a profile on laid off IBM employees who subsequently started businesses. They were all highly intelligent individuals, but what they all spoke to in regards to their success was the methods they learned on the “IBM way” to managing and problem solving.

      They weren’t just used up by the company—they were built up to be even greater than when they were hired.

      I would love to hire people who lacked the traditional skills and education for positions and to train them in an apprenticeship program over three or four years, after which they could leave and get hired elsewhere because of the reputation of our firm. For those who had the experience and the education, I would want to invest in training them to be extraordinary and I would want to create an environment where they would choose to stay for the long-term.

      I’ve been a professional trainer, as well as an operations consultant, and for me that would be a challenge of epic proportions and of infinite satisfaction if I could succeed over the long-term.