The Origins of REALNEO
Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Origins of realNEO: CAUSE For Cleveland - "Dear fellow University School Alumnus"
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 08/01/2010 - 07:00.
At the end of the last Millennium, having created InT+IME (The Information, Technology and Infrastructure Management Exchange), and having led the leadership of scores of the world's leading global corporations through comparative enterprise benchmarking and best practice analysis of their information systems (and lots of related systems), for many years, I recognized an opportunity for Northeast Ohioans to transform ourselves and move our region to a position of global importance by doing best here what my clients did best worldwide... optimize Information Technology, focusing on universal access and open source virtual community development.
At the same time, the poor information technology climate in Northeast Ohio had forced me to leave my family here and relocate my ICEarth enterprise to Northern California. Once safely in an incubator there, I turned around and asked Northeast Ohio's leaders why I must do my work for Ohio from California?
To help change everything, I reached out virtually to ALL of my Northeast Ohio stakeholder community, from Aggie Gund and family (to post)... to ALL the readers of the Cleveland Plain Dealer... to ALL the alumni of my High School, University School (with email addresses in our online directory in 2003... over 2,000 as I recall)... to 39 children studying at the last-resort Charles Orr Cleveland Public School... seeking data and insight on real NEO community needs and interests for information systems. This pathway, partially documented on-line on the Wayback Machine, directly resulted in realNEO.... and me relocating ICEarth back to NEO... and meeting my wife... and us growing our family here... lots of good.
Most influential on the development of realNEO.US was certainly my "CAUSE for Cleveland: Calling All University School Entrepreneurs for Cleveland" email outreach to all alumni in my prep-school's private on-line directory - "THAT" had never been done before (and sure pissed off the powers-that-be there) - and has surely never been done since... and was certainly a wakeup call and demonstration of the unique power of information technology transformation for MANY of the most powerful leaders of this region (and the world) EVER!
Below are some of the steps we took along the way, to get where we are today... from WAYBACK around the turn of the 21st Century, and the start of the ICEarth age - more source documentation to follow...
First, my outreach to the 1,000s of alumni in the University School alumni database - I believe it was in late 2002 - followed by my related editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, followed by the responses to my CAUSE outreach from scores of the world's most powerful people... names withheld. The first responder listed was very influential in helping me start realNEO... and we all learned we each must write our own destiny for ourselves, to save this region...
In 2002, I reached out to alumni in research on US community perceptions on the digital divide and the need to revolutionize Cleveland's economy through universal access and optimal virtual community. The results of this and related analyses were insightful, valuable, and may be reviewed at http://www.roulets.net/USdivide/USdivideInsight.html
The roots of my drive to revolutionize the Cleveland economy were published as an editorial, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (they editied it, but this is close enough), in November, 2001, and related insight is published at http://roulets.net/UAVC/UAVCCleveland.html
The editorial is included below:
I am a University School alumnus from 2000. I am currently in the Entrepreneurship program as a Senior at xxxxx University. I found your letter very interesting. I am currently in search for a job after graduation and am interested in joining an entrepreneurial company in Cleveland. I don't know if you have any possible ideas, considering your interest in people for entrepreneurial ventures, but any feedback would be appreciated. Anyways, I agree that Cleveland needs to be more of an entrepreneurial hotbed. Thanks for your letter,
Willing to help where I can. Although I live in Chicago, I am a Cleveland Native and have worked in the Internet space. Feel free to contact me if you need any assistance. My time is fairly limited right now, but I am more than happy to provide support where I can.
NORM----- RIGHT ON!
My name is xxxxx xxxxxxx and I am a member of the U.S. class of 97. I would love to hear more about your ideas and vision for the future of Cleveland and what we can do to turn things around. I am currently living in NYC working for a marketing firm and I also have a independent production company and a non-profit theatrical program that will begin touring to schools here in the spring with plans to expand our reach with the next 2 to 3 years. Essentially, I am an entrepreneur, my family is still in Cleveland and I plan to move back in about 5 years. I will do anything in my power to help the community I grew up in and plan to raise my children in and love so much. Please let me know as much as possible about your plans and I will put my brain and limit resources to work as best as I can to support and be a part of these efforts.
Sincerely, xxxxx xxxxxxx
I agree with your assessment of the local economy, especially for those of us involved in manufacturing. However, your email seemed unclear to me regarding what action we might take individually or collectively. If I can help, or if all of us feeling the economic downturn can help each other, let me know.
I received your email to University School Alumnus. I am a non-grad, class of '69. Actually graduated from Hawken. You have an interesting commitment to a declining situation. Because of the school connection as well as several long time family connections to Cleveland, I would like to see what I might do. I am currently closing my start-up venture after 4 years. Between dealing with the court system and paying attorneys to sort out patent rights and an estate interest, I have thrown in the towel. It is too expensive and there are not funds to continue the struggle.
At any rate this both leaves me with some extra time and searching for the next opportunity. If you have any questions or see some avenue for any assistance that I might offer, please let me know. I have lived in the Cleveland area for the majority of my years. My father ran a business in Cleveland. My grandfather was the football coach at Case in the early 1900s.
I'm with you!
Are you going to the Phonathon @ U.S. Tonight?
I read with interest your 'vibrant' email. I would be interested in learning more about the specifics of what you have in mind to re-energize the Cleveland economy. My contact information is below.
I am a graduate of XXXXXXXXXX College and XXXXXXX Business School. I have been a consultant (XXXX XXXXX) an operator, an investor and started several businesses. I currently sit on the boards of two private domestic companies and a venture startup in Japan. My interest is in emerging businesses (not startups) and buyouts (and value creation for both).
xxx xxxxxxx, '72
I am a recent (01) graduate of US and a student at the University of xxxxxxxxxx and your email has intrigued me enough to write you an email. I have a strong interest in technology & information oriented entrepreneurship and I'd be interested in learning more about your initiative. I have a pretty extensive background in internet design and understanding of technology that could help your cause and or for other entrepreneurs. Please keep me updated on the progress of CAUSE.
xxxxxxx xxx '01
I just read your email….you are right on!!!!!!!! While I am no longer in Cleveland, I have heard that the business base in the area has taken some real hits. What is interesting is that where I live ( Wal-Mart territory ) our economy is booming but it is based upon a retailing concept that I truly feel will usher in deflation into our whole economy. Anyway, that is another subject. I did want to put my two cents into your thoughts. I trade the equity futures ( S&P 500’s) and follow the stock market on a regular basis and I see a market that is about to rollover…despite what the media will tell you. I personally feel that we are still in a bear market….but only time will tell.
Anyway….here is an article from a man who provides a $36,000/year newsletter to some of the main institutional players and I thought that you would be interested.
My hope is that the market will stay strong, but my fear is that in 2004 we could all take a real hit ( unless you know how to short the market ) which will only bring your thoughts closer to reality.
Norman: I am in receipt of your recent e-mail. Like you, I am very interested in our hometown and I offer my services and resources to your quest in any way you deem necessary.
Please feel free to contact me at any time so we may discuss how I may be of assistance.
xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx, US' 77
I wish you good luck in the CAUSE. I can only how imagine how difficult it is to attract talent, youth and capital to Cleveland. I am at XXXXX University now (US class of 1999). My only word of advice is to create links with Cleveland State, Case Western, etc. XXXXX University has spawned a yearly entrepreneurship contest where students submit business plans in hopes of winning 50K in seed capital in addition to advice and legal counsel from local VC organizations. The competition has spawned a few businesses that have lasted more than a year.
You should speak with XXXXX, a US grad, about NEOprenuer. 216 xxx-xxxx. He is of similar mindset and efforts have already been made. We need to concentrate our efforts if any of many initiatives can be successful.
xxxx xxxxxxxx '80
Your e-mail comes at a coincidental time for my business. We have recently been engaged by a start up company that is part of GLIDE, the "Great Lakes Incubator and Development Enterprise" at Lorain County Community College in Elyria. As a result, we have begun an extensive marketing effort among other technology incubators across the Eastern half of the U.S.
Our company provides a variety of marketing services to Information Technology consultancies, systems integrators and developers, as well. We have been working with the IT industry for about 9 years, but have only recently engaged the incubator market.
If we may be of help in developing "CAUSE for Cleveland," please let me know.
I think that CAUSE is an excellent idea and I commend you on your initiative. I have had similar thoughts along these lines for the past few years. I would be very interested in participating or taking a leadership role as you execute your vision. Please keep me informed. Thanks for your efforts.
xxxxx xxxxxxx - Class of 1986
I'm interested in this cause. How can I help or at least find out more? I'm US class '99, and a year away from starting med-school. I'd be particularly interested in leveraging the biomedical prowess of CWRU & Cleveland Clinic esp. for establishing biotech companies.
Thanks for your email. I agree with many of the things you said especially the "quiet crisis" in Cleveland. I saw that you are co-located in Northern California. Maybe we could grab lunch and talk sometime. I am starting a new independent xxxxxxxx xxxxxx here in California and get over to the Contra Costa Valley pretty often.
Let me know.
I really agree with your logic. A little background on myself, I graduated from US in '99, and am finishing up a degree in landscape architecture right now at the University of xxxxxxxxx. I really consider myself a self-motivated entrepreneur with a lot of ambitions. Right now I am working on my own little company http://www.xxxxxxxxxxx.com and seeing were I can go with it. Anyway, I really like what you have and would be willing to help when I have to opportunity to.
xxxxx xxxxx '99
I would love to contribute in the way of low-cost IT Hardware and software for new businesses and existing companies. Keeping costs down for necessary IT tools is always useful.
Feel free to create any kind of IT link that would connect new and existing businesses directly to me. I deal mainly with small to medium businesses as well as a few enterprise level customers.
If you need any feedback, let me know.
I am xxxx xxxxxx class of '93. I am a Entrepreneur and would like to help in any way I can.
xxxx xxxxxx 216.xxx.xxxx
Hi, I am xxxxx xxxx class of 02 from University School, and I just wanted to reply to your letter. I am now a second year undergraduate at xxxxx University, and I am in agreement with your ideas about making Cleveland a much more entrepreneur friendly and an opportunistic space. I think one of the major problems involved in bringing more opportunities to Cleveland involves the actual presence of opportunity in the city. This summer, I interned in Cleveland with xxxxxxx xxxx, an immigration lawyer, and one of my co-workers was with a program from Yale. I guess Cleveland provided incentives for Yale undergraduates to work in Cleveland as a way of bringing recognition and knowledge of working opportunities in Cleveland. Speaking form an undergraduate perspective, I think one effective way to lure more people into Cleveland would involve providing incentives for them. In an economy where opportunity is poor, people, especially college students search for places that provide incentive. I know at xxxxx, there is incentive for me to stay the summer and work here because of the amount of stipend that they give is comparably higher than what I would have at xxxxx, and they might even provide housing. Anyway, I just wanted to write to you to express some of my jumbled thoughts in response to your letter. If you want to talk further, I would be more than happy to speak with you. Thanks for your time, and more importantly, thanks for writing this letter to bring awareness to us all at US.
Sounds like a great concept. I am in the commercial real estate business-primarily downtown.
Let me know if I can help.
xxxx xxxxxxxx '83
tell me more norman, i surely support efforts to aid in the development of Cleveland. Have been here since my return from law school (US 86, xxxx 90, University of xxxxxxx '93), deeply devoted to Cleveland, and respect your interest... do keep me informed
xxxxx xxxxxxxx '86
From the class of 86 I applaud your effort and see a real need for your vision. I am an entrepreneur by night and an investment banker by day. It would be wonderful to reach out to the high net worth US Community for help funding local projects. I believe if there is structure to an organization, success would follow. Please include me on your list and look forward to meeting you in the near future.
xxxxxx x xxxxxxxx
You're email was great and it's for a great cause. As a graduate of University School in 1995 and currently living in New York City, I've always had hopes of one day returning to Cleveland and raising a family. Unfortunately, this no longer seems like a possibility. Its even more disheartening going home and seeing what the economic down turn has done to my parents. My Mom and Dad have worked all of their lives to provide the best possible opportunities for my brothers and me. That includes paying over 30 years of tuition to put all of us through US!
Trust me when I tell you that their investments have substantially paid off. What I have learned from US, college, and especially New York has been incredible. I want to leverage these aspects and bring them back to Cleveland. I want to one day come home and start paying my parents back. I want to one-day make Cleveland my home again.
I'm here to help and want to do whatever I can. Cleveland is a good place and place were prosperity can exist. Please let me know what the next steps are. I want to help save Cleveland.
I have to admit that when I first checked out your site, I was immediately confused and bewildered. Then I went back to it and dug a little deeper and found some analysis on banking (which I have a history in). Then I realized you were performing analysis on their websites and I got very interested (since I've been a programmer for the past 8 years and have dabbled in web related endeavors).
Have you heard of a company in Cleveland called Thunderstone? They do some interesting stuff.
Anyway, the economic downturn really hit my company hard. It was a mid-market CRM consultancy. I'm now working in an insurance company as their CRM guru (a cross between educating the user community and programming the results). I'd be interested in doing anything that will broaden my horizons, or someone else's horizons.
Not sure how I can get involved, but I'm looking for a new direction in life.
US Class of 1980
This is very interesting. Although I live in the New York metropolitan region I would be interested in being connected.
I would be very interested in trying to rejuvenate the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio region.