Barbara Payne's Capitalist Cleveland Blog

News and Views: Entrepreneurs a-thrive in Northeast Ohio

Monday, February 27, 2006

Blues Chicago lesson

The main library in downtown Chicago has some amazing sculptured--well, what are they exactly?, ummm...decorations at the roofline. And at this angle you can see the tall white chimneys(?) of the Sears Tower (the world's tallest building) in the top left corner. Anyway, I went here yesterday to see a tribute to a couple of recently deceased local bluesmen and, can you imagine, 8 or 9 of the living Chicago blues legends showed up to sing, too. What a powerhouse of roots music it was on that stage--and all at 3 o'clock in the afternoon when we over-40s can stay up through the whole show without artificial stimulation.

And it was, astonishingly, free of charge. What's the lesson for Cleveland entrepreneurs? Well, it doesn't matter where you live. If you're not as passionate about your business as these guys are about the blues, I'm going to bet you're in the wrong business. Read my advice about finding the right one in "Creating the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies from the World's Greatest Mentors."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Breaking out of the box

When someone who's been a trusted employee of a large organization for many years, and well-known and respected among journalists in an entire region for his tireless contributions to their professional organization, Society for Professional Journalists, as newsletter editor and board member, it's a surprise to find that he's going off in another direction.

Jerome Masek--I hardly know anybody who doesn't know Jerry--has started a little side business (he's still with RTA and they're a-okay with it). Jerry will hypnotize you to help you change some habit or attitude you'd like to modify. I took a test drive myself last week and am impressed (read more about it here).

Congratulations to you, Jerry. You're engaging in another worthy endeavor to help people--this time as an entrepreneur. A warm welcome to you, from the crowd of us out there.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Electronic shopping and errand lists

Yep, it had to happen. As technology gets smarter, the smart marketers pick up on narrower and narrower niches. Now you and I could use our PDAs or phones or personal voice recorders to record messages for ourselves, some smart company has decided to create a specialized recording device just for your grocery store lists and your errands/chores.

SmartShopper, Inc., based in Solon, Ohio, bought a license for voice recognition software to be used for automating your grocery list. It's too cool--and if you've ever shopped using PeaPod Delivery Service in the Chicago area, you'll know there's nothing like having somebody recognize you--and let you change your mind and add stuff at the very last minute.

They're planning to release it in the fall. Congratulations to co-founders Richard G. Brindisi and Greg Vittardi. Smart shopper is right.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Come on 'n' ride

Today's the day they're unveiling the prototype of the environmentally friendly hybrid diesel-electric articulated vehicle that's going to be snaking through the Euclid Corridor every few minutes once everything's rolling.

If you can't make it down to see the presentation today, remember this: The lifeblood of all great cities is a healthy, comprehensive public transportation system. Boston, Washington, Paris, Chicago, London. One day soon you may discover Cleveland has rolled up to the doorstep of great-citydom and is knockin' hard at the door. With all the other stuff we've got going on, our foot's already in the door. And soon the many impressive projects that RTA is implementing all over the area are going to put the bubbles into the pop (soda to you, if you're an east coaster).

Congratulations, Cleveland RTA.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Go Red, young tech lovers!

We told you about this a while ago--Red Room Dialogue for Young Professionals--and now you can actually get to a meeting. Go and see what's happening--and tell us all about it.

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2006
Cost: FREE!

•To learn about the unveiling of Red Room Revolution’s plans for transforming the region in 2006 and why Northeast Ohio is becoming the new hotbed for technology.
•To provide your input and find out how to get engaged with regional transformation.

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Networking (Heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine)
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. Welcome and Red Room Revolution Announcements
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Networking (continued)
Where: The Idea Center at Playhouse Square, Studio One
1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115

Only 300 people can get it, so register here today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cards for kids in Cleveland

Well, you know we like to point out local worthy causes as good places for your business to donate money if things are going well. Here's one per special request of SEO guru Jan Limpach of KeyPhrase Marketing--go play cards for a good cause.

Play Texas Hold'Em and Go "ALL In" for Children's Charity at Casino Night Fundraiser in Cleveland on February 25, 2006. Hosted by the Life’s a Snap Foundation, one of the respected Children's Charities in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded in 2001 by former Clevelander, Kevin Houser – who just completed his second season with the New Orleans Saints – and his wife, Kristen. The Housers hold close ties to Northeast Ohio and are committed to supporting programs which benefit children with serious or life-threatening illnesses.

They'll let you play Texas Hold 'em even if you don't know how...good chance to catch up with a trend. Here's a thought: buy a ticket and give it to your favorite client.

Plugged-In Cleveland plugging into the blogging scene

You probably all know entrepreneur David Stack--creator of the wildly successful commercial site for music fans called And you probably already know that he's also created a community service website called Plugged-In Cleveland, which I find is often the first site that comes up with information in a Google search for some restaurant in this area (which is a credit to the site, but may also be a testament to how bad our restaurants are at leveraging the Internet for publicity).

Now Plugged-In Cleveland is joining the blog craze. No, not by writing one. Instead, David says after he spoke with a bunch o' bloggers at a recent I-Open meeting, he decided to take the plunge. He'd like to connect to other active Cleveland-based blogs and Cleveland-based discussions--do that mutual exchanging of links that helps make everybody more "popular" in search engine eyes. He plans to connect to any blog that's mainly about Cleveland, so email David if you've got one you'd like listed.

And if you'd like to know more about Plugged-In cleveland, check it out here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Geek strikes again

If you have too much to read--and who doesn't--you might be one of the people who's started listening to podcasts and audio books for some of your information, either at your PC or on a portable device. The stats indicate it's a lot more guys who do this than females. My guess is that's because we females are already multitasking close to our limits and adding aural input on top of it might put us over the limit.

Anyway, The Great Lakes Geek is the new nom de plume for Dan Hanson, popular tech writer for Inside Business. He's designed a new website that's got 3 things going for it:

  • the Great Lakes Geek podcast show, which boasts interviews with business and tech people and traditional radio shows with commentary, interviews, attempts at humor and so on.
  • the Calendar of Events for local business events (he says it shows everybody's events, not just sponsor listings).
  • the Speakers Bureau, which can help you find the right speaker for the job when your business or organization needs to find that perfect fit.

Check out the Geek site here and let us know what you like.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The opposite of urban decay...

A new social-networking-spawned effort at getting some energy going in Cleveland is taking place in Tremont next week. If you've got the time and the passion, email Frank Mills and tell him you're coming.

When: Tuesday. Feb. 7 5:30 pm
Where: The Flying Monkey Pub, 819 Jefferson Ave. ph. 216..861.MNKY (6659)
Refreshments: Complimentary Hors d'oeuvre / Cash Bar

Here's what's on the agenda...

Networking -- Share your ideas and see what develops
Urban Neighborhood Visioning -- Jointly pick a neighborhood and figure out what you can do--hands-on--to "repair" it (check out this model)

Read more about how Portland does it here.