Barbara Payne's Capitalist Cleveland Blog

News and Views: Entrepreneurs a-thrive in Northeast Ohio

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wherefore WiFi, AT&T?

AT&T just announced it is "expanding" wifi service by charging people to use hotspots in 2-hour increments.

Excuse me, but what century are you in, AT&T? The trend these days is to deliver wifi across entire cities at no charge, and you're asking us to pay for limited access on an extremely limited number of connect points? Shame on you, AT&T--read more about this here.

But I guess you'll be able to rake in a boatload of money by the time we have enough wifi availability in Northeast Ohio to tell you to go jump in the lake.

Friday, April 21, 2006

CWRU goes wiki

Got all excited when I read in Crain's that Case had created its own wiki. Pictured brilliant professors holding forth on innumerable exciting topics.

Shucks. The wiki is about Case--the school and its environs. Well, though I'm disappointed that a great university is making a wiki just about itself, I'm sure the students won't be. They'll enjoy it immensely. And you and I can hope that maybe this is just a warmup for Case, and one day they'll actually start one on some academic subjects.

But then, I think of the time Case tech guru Lev Gonick (read his blog here) spoke on a NEOSA panel saying that bricks-and-mortar universities had better get real about technology or otherwise technology could one day grow so effective as to obviate the need for the bricks-and-mortar at all. Maybe universities don't want to give away their academic content after all.

Oops. Wanted to tell them to use sans serif and ended up putting it in there twice (seems there are two ways for non-logged-in people to leave comments). Hint: if you want to comment, hit the "plus sign" link rather than the "edit this page" link.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Get 'em while they're young!

Speaking of how to get education preparing our kids for bioscience, here's local entrepreneur Phil Alexander of BrandMuscle talking as a guest columnist for NEOSA about what we have to do to prepare the next generation of IT workers.

His main points are good ones:
  • Youth advisory boards -- invite kids to the corporate discussion table (I love this one)
  • Make technology cool -- get companies to sponsor clubs in schools (about games, web design, graphic design, etc.)
  • Talk to kids about Cleveland as a great place -- instead of waiting until they're in college, get them excited about their hometown now. Phil says he's talked to kids who interned here and were much more positive about Northeast Ohio. Sure, they lived an opportunity here.

This is creative thinking for the long term. Thanks, Phil, for speaking out in favor of getting to our kids long before they start picking out colleges somewhere else. Read it all here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ohio as a bio entrepreneur home vs. North Carolina

Busy couple of weeks. Got to talk with Governor Taft in Chicago at the big BIO conference there (18,000 attendees from all over the world). He was telling delegations from Taiwan and other countries what Ohio is doing in the bioscience field. These interesting statistics (compiled for him by OMERIS) compare us with our arch-rival state, North Carolina:

  • Number of people working in education and health services Ohio 733,000, NC 457,000
  • Bioscience patents filed: Ohio 1085, NC 1154
  • Bioscience patents issued (2002): O ranks 24th, NC ranks 30th
  • Clinical trials: Ohio 829, NC 628
  • Technology training in schools: Ohio ranks 4th, NC ranks 44th (hey!!)
  • National ranking in education: [the numbers weren't clear here]. When I googled this, I found this site indicating that in the 2005-6 rankings, Ohio was 31st (down 11 pts.) and NC was 22nd (up 3).

Still given the other positive stats, it's pretty annoying to look at these next figures:

  • Avg. salary medical devices & equipment: O 45184, NC 54091
  • Avg. salary pharmaceuticals: O 57283, NC 69414

I mean what's up with that? I gotta tell you, a friend went to live in North Carolina (Raleigh) for a while because it had such a great rep (Forbes called it the best place to live in the South) and she had to leave after 18 months because there was nothing to do. What I get from her experience combined with stories from others I've known who lived there is that if you don't work for a university or one of the Triangle tech companies, Raleigh is basically a smallish southern city, many of whose residents don't seem to particularly warm up to Northerners.

Reminds me of a friend who lived in Germany while in the Army. He went out and got to know the natives, but most of his fellow soliders simply lived the entire time on the Army base and fraternized with their "own kind." (Here are the latest "best places" from CNN Money--their pick this year is South Carolina.)

With all the development we have going on here in NEO, we're poised to be a great bio center. Now all we have to do is add education to our top priorities and pump some more dollars and passion into our schools.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Great Lakes Brewery brings alternative fuel to Cleveland

Besides their Indians game buggy that runs on alternative fuel, and besides brewing their beer right there in the middle of the city--and taking people on tours of the place, and giving their meeting space to environmentally friendly and other nonprofit organizations for nothing--now our little local brewery GLBC has undertaken to outfit their delivery truck to run on the oil they use to cook their restaurant's french fries.

How cool is that? Kind to the environment, sensible re-use of their must-have supplies of oil, and a huge coup for their advertising. Some very smart people at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Smart and savvy combination of being concerned for the world and offering a great product to help folks get through life's challenges. Happily, some of their brews make the best-dressed lists in cities across the U.S. (just saw a couple of them among the 200 on the board at Quenchers in the Logan Square area of Chicago).

Amen, GLBC. Read more about the used-oil-fuel-driven delivery truck here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blog about business blogs

I've been talking about the power of blogs for building business for several years. It's great to see the mainstream media catching on in a big way (among others, the PD editors--and reporters, too--have blogs these days).

But even more gratifying is that more and more business owners and marketing people are beginning to understand what an important tool a blog is for engaging with your customers and creating a long-term, pre-sale relationship with your prospects. Literally, there's never been a tool to match it. Newsletters, of course, are still essential tools--people like to be reminded that you're there and you're offering valuable information, tips, insights, and so on. So send out your e-newsletter and tell 'em about your blog!

Now local entrepreneur/cum/famous blog/web guru Jim Kukral is at it again. He's just started a new blog about business He gives you hints on why a blog works and hints on the approaches you should take--whatever industry you're in. Good stuff, Jim.