Category Archives: Personal

BYU Student Entrepreneur Of the Year 2009 (SEOY)

This past week I, (John Keller) had a great opportunity to participate in the BYU Entrepreneur of the Year event. This is the first time in nearly 5 years that I’ve entered a competition like this. Amid building a number of different businesses, it was a challenge to find the time and focus to put together a compelling argument. I feel extremely blessed with a talented and flexible team at Worldwide Book Drive team and an extremely supportive wife to actually help me pull together.

Hands down, one of the funnest parts of the event was getting to know the other emerging Utah entrepreneurs. Tyler Turnbull and Craig Guincho are both very talented entrepreneurs whom I expect to hear a lot more of in the future.

For a social venture to play an integral part of a entrepreneurship competition in Utah is a great accomplishment. Go Worldwide Book Drive!

Utah Mentor of the Year

On Tuesday, June 23rd, I had the pleasure and honor of attending the Utah Angel Investor of the year award banquet.

It was fun to see and meet with so many of Utah’s active Angel community. It was also really fun to see them bestow recognition to Greg Warnock as Utah’s Mentor of the Year.

I am certainly one of the myriad of entrepreneurs who have benefited from Greg’s mentorship from the Junto Partners Program and many of the other programs at which he frequently lectures.

Thank you Greg and Congratulations!

Community Foundation of Utah and Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year

This past Friday, I had the great opportunity to attend the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year award. It was an inspiring program to see so many talented and driven entrepreneurs who had been successful in their ventures. Perhaps the most inspiring part of the program was how many of the entrepreneurs shared their “big pie” mentality as a driving force for their success.

I had the unique privelage of sitting at the table with Fraser Nelson, Greg Warnock and a number of successful entrepreneurs and humanitarians. 2009, was the first year that Ernst and Young has ever had a Social Entrepreneur category. Although this year it was limited to only 501(c)3 organizations, (I understand their need to simplify, although I feel strongly that sustainability should be a top priority over classification) I was excited to see the finalists gain recognition for their efforts.

As more and more entrepreneurs are looking to tackle social challenges through innovation and sustainable programs, the Utah Community Foundation has certainly done well to provide a platform for this growing segment. As a sponsor of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year award, the community foundation did well to stress the need of bringing entrepreneurs to the attention that our skills and talents need to reach beyond a single bottom line.

It may come as a surprise to some people, but Utah is the first state in America to have a social entrepreneurship category for the Ernst and Young Award. Hmmm… That’s a pretty big deal I think. Thanks to The Community Foundation of Utah for pushing for it.

I imagine we’ll hear a lot more about the Utah Community Foundation and things move forward. I also think social entrepreneurship will continue to gain momentum within the Non-Profit and For-Profit arenas.


I read a recent article regarding the TARP of Troubled Asset Relief Program posted recently in the LA Times. I can’t help but watch with fear and amazement as government leaders look for additional ways to spend money without real responsibility. The remaining 350 billion dollars seems to be only a prelude to more rash spending and more expensive band-aids in the future.

Although I don’t agree with O’Reily’s tactics, it seems his conversation with Frank Barney is a perfect demonstration of what we’re up against in government spending. Check out this video clip to see what I’m talking about.

I’m concerned that what we’re facing is a TRAP, that is a Troubled Relief Asset Program.

I’m frankly quite tired of seeing people point fingers and try to fix the problem with huge, expensive packages. If I screwed up in one of my businesses, I pretty much need to fess up and face the reality of my decisions. I may request mercy wherever available, but at the end of the day, I have to balance my budget or I must close my doors and let someone else try to service the market. I missing something in terms of Government Governance?

L.A. Walk-About

I spent the weekend in L.A. working to develop relationships with USC, UCLA and a number of non-academic book related publishers and programs. Although I’ve been to L.A. a number of times, this is the first time that I had the chance to spend time with the L.A. local scene.

I have a close friend who took me to see a number of the best movie-star hot spots. It was my first time acting as a paparazzi, and although we didn’t really see many stars, it was still a fun experience.

While eating a burger at a popular L.A. pub, I had a chance to talk with some of the local residents. The gentleman I spoke with told me about his experience living in a city that was so big with so many options and cultures that he felt he lost himself for the first 5 years of living there. “Ironically,” he said, “after going through all of the motions and learning and developing, I found myself right back where I was before. The same person, only more developed, stronger–wiser.”

Although I’ve never spent enough time in the City of Angels to have my own L.A. Walk-About, there’s something to what he said that seems to apply to a lot of different parts of life. In business, in relationships–especially in entrepreneurship. We work hard to grow and ultimately sell the business. We end up in a similar position to where we started, but our experiences and understanding is so much more developed than when we first started.

What Can You Take? Reflections of the life of Gordon B. Hinckley

I have rarely, if ever expressed personal sentiments in this blog. I generally reserve those for my private journal and close family and friends. I will deviate today however, in honor of significant event that hit very close to home this past week. Amid the blur of professional and personal commitments, I have taken a moment to ponder about the lives of those who have dedicated–even consecrated–their complete faculties and resources to the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and William Wilberforce are among those who memorialized their lives by the successes and prosperity of the millions of people who benefited from their self-less labors. This past week another great Leader and Humanitarian will add to the legacy of historical giants: Gordon B. Hinckley passed away here in Utah on January 27th, 2008. Governor John Hunstman declared all flags lowered to half mast. It has been touching to witness the somber and respectful tone demonstrated from the member and non-member community.

While thinking about his contributions to society and the members of the LDS religion, I reflected upon the magnitude of his legacy. I am truly humbled by his dedication and faith. Not only faith in his religion, but also his faith in humanity. Gordon B. Hinckley never recieved financial compensation for his more than 70 years of service. Gordon B. Hinckly acted out of duty, compassion and love for his Creator and fellow human beings. Gordon B. Hinckley will be greatly remembered for his poverty relief, educational reform for people seeking skills-training in developing countries.

For a full account of his funeral and links about his life and biography, feel free to run a search on youtube or checkout The LDS Church’s official statements regarding his passing.

A fun little service to check out while researching his impact is found at Blog Pulse. This service tracks a persons popularity or coverage by the number of blogs that refer to the individual. On January 28, Gordon B. Hinckley reached third in the world. Pretty impressive for a person who never sought personal attention or publicity.

The reflections of this past week have encouraged me to stand a little taller and work a little harder as I work to contribute to society and my personal development. Regardless of religious affiliation, President Gordon B. Hinkley’s wit and dedication deserve great respect. I hope to carry even a fraction of his awesome legacy as I work to develop my personal talents and use them to benefit mankind.

John Keller Jon Keller Keller Blog

Everyone knows that misspellings are an important part of search engine optimization. As a fun experiment I thought I would go ahead and make a name post. I ran a search for John Keller on Google, (really who hasn’t googled themselves at least once?) I discovered that I was certainly not the first John Keller on the web. In fact John Keller is also a professor, an ex-pat student, a news anchor an internet security consultant and more. As an internet marketer and entrepreneur, I figured it would a fun project to see if I can move that up. That is dedicate a post to myself, John Keller. Or Jon Keller. Although I did get a lot of people calling me Jonathon Keller or Jonathan Keller, I’m afraid as a blogger, manager and marketer, I’m still just John. John Keller.

As a Man Thinketh, Harry Potter to James Allen…

As the commotion dies down over the final Harry Potter Book, The Deathly Hallows, I have searched through the rubble for a lasting moral. Of course there are a lot of morals which can come from this story: friendship, sacrifice, love etc.. but the moral I enjoyed the most is the principles that really made Harry good and Voldemort, well, bad. (And more specifically, J.K. Rowlings–Successful).

The moral is simply this: What we think about ultimately makes us who we are…

Although this moral is almost as old as written literature, and transcends even the immortal walls of Hogwarts, it is also clearly described in the little book, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.

I first read as a man thinketh when I was about 17 years old. Haunted by feelings of frustration and failure, I read the book and experienced a significant paradigm shift. Reading the book was more a stroke of luck and laziness than really looking for a solution. I was looking for something to read and relax but didn’t want to spend more than an hour finish the book. (It just happened to be in my parents’ library). I read the book and realized that my circumstances and relationships were really only a reflection of the reality I had created with my own thoughts…

Bad people don’t just instantly become bad. Good people don’t instantly become good. We are a result of a development process. Or rather we are sum of our thoughts–Which thoughts lead to our actions. Which actions lead to our habits. Which habits become our character. Which character becomes our destiny…

In business, family, or wizardry… We create our destiny. Really. Even Harry Potter… Just ask the brilliant writer who developed his story and got millions of people reading and shaping their own destinies… I’m pretty sure that J.K. Rowlings has read As a Man Thinketh… :)

Out of This World Small Business Opportunity

I recently had the opportunity of meeting with Lynn Taylor, Owner and Operator of the Utah County M.A.R.S. (Miracle Appearance Reconditioning Specialist) — mobile detailing company. I was impressed by his genuine character and also his reasons for being involved in the franchise.

I spoke with him about why he chose to be involved with MARS when there are hundreds of different opportunities–many of which have reportedly higher margins. He said the company and people involved were trustworthy and it provided him with the flexibility he preferred to grow and coast. The price of the franchise plus materials were close to 100K. Not a small amount, but certainly not the end of the world if things go sour.

I wish Lynn the best of luck in his venture and any other entrepreneur looking to get things on track.

I would be very interested in looking at the success rates of first time franchisees across a spectrum of different opportunities… If anyone knows where to get info on that, please let me know.

Business and Government and Senator Bob Bennett

Most business owners or managers can verify the importance of being involved at the local level. It was after the advice from a very insightful mentor that I decided to take the jump and join. My experience thus far has been positive and I have only seen benefit from my participation.

At a recent business chambers meeting I had the opportunity of Listening to Senator Bob Bennett. There were a lot of things said, (what else can we expect from a Senator?) But the format was pretty much a question and answer period.

I took the notes from my blackberry, so it’s a little condensed. But I still believe there are some interesting things there…

Senator Bob Bennett


Brief history of the electoral college. It was originally installed because the founding fathers thought the country was so large, no one person could be known by everyone, so a group of people were elected to nominate the top three candidates… Clearly outdated here in the information age, but still, we have it. Learn how to learn from it. :)

Q What can do for our part to help the nation heal more?

A We [Senators] say it a lot, “We want to Change. We want to Heal.” What you need to do is thoughfully write your reps. Please lower your voices. Let’s use less venom. Do not overwhelm the senate. –The recent bill for immigration is a perfect example of burning our the senate to prevent a real solution from being found. It got so bad that Senator Bennett was recieving death threats.

Q As a small business owner, I’m concerned about the national tax code. I’m in favor of a Fair Tax. Is it possible?

A Our tax code is perverse. Our taxes were developed under depressed and industrial cirmcumstances. We now live in an International economy in the information age. I believe Taxes should be to raise money to run government. Now decided government measure percentage of GDP

Ground rules change every 18 months. No one understands the code. Used to be 18.5 – 19.5 percent of GDP. Starting 2008 retied people will double. I would abolish payroll and income tax. We should go to a 20% of GDP rate. Consumption tax for 10 percent. Flat tax for other 10 percent. No more winners and losers. Q What does it take to make a difference?

A Senators are not bought and paid for. Money is given to people who already agree. Integrity now is higher than ever. Problems will be dealt. The question is when. Usually

Q Small business problems and some senators have backed down? Why?

A some times honorbound prevents somethings from happening. Things hurt. Wounds take time to heal. Just look at the example of Adams and Jefferson!

Q What do you think about American ignorance?

A America is founded on an ideal not a tribe. It is vitally important that we preserve the idea. The idea is found in three main documents, the Declaration of Independence, The Consititution and the Ghetty’s Burg Address. This is Winning our freedom, Ordering our freedom and Keeping our freedom. If allowed to split into tribes America wouldn’t make it. It may take many generations but eventually the idea gets everyone who lives here.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile