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Tweet from the Jury? How Successful Startups Ask the Crazy Questions

Tweet from the Jury? How Successful Startups Ask the Crazy Questions

With the buzz around the Apple-Samsung trial I wonder what the jury was thinking as both sides took the stand.

We could get a glimpse into the jury’s mind soon. The Citibank trial jury a couple weeks ago came close: they acquitted the defendant and sent a note to the judge who read in court: “This verdict should not deter the SEC from continuing to investigate the financial industry, review current regulations and modify existing regulations as necessary.” (See Article)

What happens when social media and transparency hit the jury room? Sounds impossible but so was Facebook by traditional standards of privacy. Steven Brill launched Court TV (now TruTV) when the idea of broadcasting live trials was shocking. Now it’s standard fare.

What’s it mean for entrepreneurs? Get out of your thinking box. What did Brill and many other entrepreneurs do to reach success? They turn the problem on its head, asking, “why is this the way it is?”

If you think the idea of jury empowerment sounds crazy, consider the Citibank trial aftermath. First jury foreman Beau Brendler wrote the statement. Then SEC lawyers called Brendler to ask him: “how can we be more effective?” That’s power, because Brendler had essentially tweeted a message – and if you include the NYT article he reached about 2 million people.

Maybe you won’t be the entrepreneur to start a tweet service from the jury room, but I’ll bet in your field there’s still an assumption or two that needs re-thinking. Steve Shank thought online education had a future, but for seven years everyone in the field laughed at him. Finally Capella University received its accreditation, and it now stands as an education industry leader with 34,000 students from 50 states and 53 countries. And Steve went from being a guy with a crazy idea to a pure genius.

Back to Beau Brendler. Beau, you listening? Just one small problem. Your tweet was 164 characters. Next time you send instructions and encouragement to the SEC, could you keep it to 140?

**Robert Jordan is a contributor. View the original posting of this article on

About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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