Category Archives: #provinggroundbook

Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference 2014

Having some fun at BEEC 2014

Having some fun at Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference 2014.

This past May 14-17, I had the privilege of participating in the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference 2014 (BEEC 2104) in Columbus, Ohio. This conference, established and operated by Black Enterprise Magazine, is the largest gathering anywhere of African American entrepreneurs and business leaders.

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When Flint Gives You Lemons…

Lemonade Day signups at New Jerusalem church in Flint.

Parents signing up for Lemonade Day at New Jerusalem church in Flint.

Kid businesses – that’s where many an entrepreneur got his or her start. Whether a paper route, or collecting used soft drink bottles, or mowing lawns, or selling lemonade, the seeds of entrepreneurship are often sown with that first neighborhood business a child engages in. On June 7, 2014, kids who participate in Lemonade Day will get the chance to experience the thrill of making and selling a product, a thrill that will propel some of them, no doubt, into a successful business career. Lemonade Day is a program that teaches kids the fundamentals of entrepreneurship by facilitating the creation of that most basic kid business: a lemonade stand. Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Nerd?

The beautiful ladies of the Between the Lines book club.

The beautiful ladies of the Between the Lines book club.

“Proving Ground: A Memoir” received a hearty “thumbs up” from the members of the Between the Lines book club in Oakland County, Michigan. These ladies don’t get together every month, but when they do, they have a blast. Before “Proving Ground” they read and reviewed “Fifty Shades of Gray.” Immediately after “Proving Ground,” they took up “The Husband’s Secret.”  I attended their “Proving Ground” book club session last year, and between all the good food, good company, and strong margaritas, we forgot all about taking a picture! Fortunately, when the ladies got together again recently, they supplied one.

I love speaking to people about “Proving Ground,” so if your book club decides to take it on, let me know. I may even bring the margaritas! And remember, “Proving Ground” makes a great gift for Dads and Grads. (Sorry – I had to get that commercial in!)



In the Lion’s Den: WDT on WTVN Columbus, Ohio

joel riley

Joel Riley, WTVN Columbus Ohio

David Tarver head and shoulders

In preparation for the Black Enterprise Magazine 2014 Entrepreneurs Conference, David Tarver was interviewed by WTVN talk radio host Joel Riley. The subject: how a technology “mogul” uses entrepreneurship to solve urban problems.



David Tarver to speak at 2014 Black Enterprise Magazine conference

BE 2014 conference bannerTechnology Mogul to Speak at the National Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference in Columbus, Ohio May 15, 2014

Inventor, engineer and entrepreneur grows basement start-up to
multi-million dollar international enterprise and now inspires others to do the same

Detroit, MI – While Bill Gates was building Microsoft and Steve Jobs was creating his first Apple Computer, W. David Tarver was pioneering the world’s first digital telecommunications simulator.  Unknown to most, Tarver launched Telecom Analysis Systems in his basement in 1983 and sold it 12 years later for $30 million.  Today, Tarver is on a mission to inspire the next generation of technology innovators. Tarver will be speaking and conducting a book signing at the 2014 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio on May 15, 2014.   Tarver’s session will take place from 9:30 am – 10:45 am.  Visit: for more details. Continue reading

Renaissance Queen!

L-R Parents Priscilla and Otis Reid, WDT, Lailah Reid, counselor George Duncan, teacher Charlene Highsaw.

L-R Parents Priscilla and Otis Reid, WDT, Lailah Reid, counselor George Duncan, teacher Charlene Highsaw.

On March 26, 2014, I spoke to nearly 200 Detroit high school students at the Detroit Public Library. I spoke about my own entrepreneurship journey, and I challenged the students to use entrepreneurship to solve problems in their community. Each of the students was asked to identify a problem that they experienced or witnessed in the community, and to describe the problem and the approach they might take to solve it. I indicated that the student who provided the clearest description of an important problem would receive an Apple Mac Mini computer, which my daughter, Nike executive Stacy Tarver, had been kind enough to donate. Continue reading

Sunday afternoon in the DEN

2014-04-06 DEN group

Hanging with the Detroit Entrepreneurship Network team and program participants

Spent this afternoon with the Detroit Entrepreneurship Network (DEN) team at Bizdom Detroit. This group of talented, entrepreneurship-focused U-M students volunteer their time to inspire and inform Detroit area high school students who wish to be entrepreneurs. It was my pleasure to hang out at DEN this afternoon to talk entrepreneurship, eat pizza, and make new friends. Our session culminated with the Urban Entrepreneurship challenge: define an important problem that might lend itself to an entrepreneurial solution. The winner received a fresh hardcover copy of “Proving Ground: A Memoir.”

Thanks to the DEN team for an engaging session, good pizza, and the free t-shirt. Thanks also for the work you do on behalf of Detroit area high school students.

About Detroit Entrepreneurship Network:
DEN produces a series of entrepreneurship and social justice focused workshops for high school students in the City of Detroit and the Detroit Metro area. Students learn business principles and build a business plan using their own interests and creativity. Each workshop focuses on a different core business concept and allocates time to intergroup dialogue. DEN is premised on the belief that the best way to create a brighter future for Detroit is by instilling a sense of community and personal responsibility in today’s students. By empowering students to take a creative idea and turn it into a reality, that they can truly do something with themselves in the future that benefits both their own welfare and their communities. This year, Detroit Entrepreneurship Network has 52 participants from 21 high schools from areas including Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills, Sourthwest Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Southfield, and Livonia.

“Proving Ground” Day at Detroit Public Library

With outstanding DPS students on "Proving Ground" day at the Detroit Public Library.

With outstanding DPS students on “Proving Ground” day at the Detroit Public Library.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 was “Proving Ground” day at the Detroit Public Library. On that day, I spoke to 200 (middle school and high school) students from the Detroit Public Schools about my journey through technology, race, and business as told in “Proving Ground: A Memoir.” Each of the students had received a copy of the book prior to the event, and it was clear from their questions that many of them had read at least a good portion of it. Some of the questions I got: “Why would you leave such a great job to start a business in your basement?” “Did you feel like you had to succeed or you would be letting your parents down?” This was my personal favorite: “If you loved what you were doing so much, why did you sell the business?” The Q&A session lasted much longer than I had anticipated — more than 40 minutes. This was an intelligent, engaged group of young people.

The “Proving Ground” event wasn’t just about storytelling though. We had a discussion about who entrepreneurs are and what they do, and I gave the students a challenge: clearly define a problem that you experience or witness in your community, and indicate how you might create a business solution to solve the problem. I offered to present a Mac Mini computer to the student who delivered the clearest, most compelling problem description. I didn’t know how many responses to expect, but it appears that nearly all of the students either turned in a written response after the event or posted one on later. When we announce the winner, I’ll post the information here.

I came away impressed with the quality of both the students and their teachers. The visit confirmed for me that these students do indeed have a hunger to change their world for the better, and that many of them want to do so through entrepreneurship. I’m committed to supporting their aspirations.

Thanks to Mr. Atiim Funchess and the staff at Detroit Public Library for organizing such an outstanding event. I’m ready to come back anytime.

Signing copies of "Proving Ground: A Memoir" for DPS students.

Signing copies of “Proving Ground: A Memoir” for DPS students.

Listen to the Interview: David Tarver on the Craig Fahle Show


Today I had the privilege of appearing on the Craig Fahle Show – WDET Detroit – to discuss the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, and also tomorrow’s book event (“Proving Ground: A Memoir”) with 200 Detroit Public Schools students at the Detroit Public Library. It’s always good to talk to Craig – he’s a great interviewer who always seems aware of the subject he’s discussing. While we were discussing the teaching of entrepreneurship before going on the air, Craig asked casually, “How do you teach GUTS?” THAT was a good question. The answer, of course, is that you can’t, but you CAN let entrepreneurship students know what’s coming and give them the information and tools to deal with at least some of the inevitable pitfalls.

Listen to the interview: