Barbara Payne's Capitalist Cleveland Blog

News and Views: Entrepreneurs a-thrive in Northeast Ohio

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yes! Let there be...just enough...light

I am a fanatic about having just the right type and amount of light in my office and home. People kid me about it all the time--but I don't care because I know that my mood and attitude are heavily influenced by lighting.

Those glaring fluorescent lights in most offices can sap the life and energy out of people. Wherever I used to be when I worked in corporate America, if I had the option to turn off overhead fluorescents I did. And even if I had no control of that part, I always set up my own table lamp with an incandescent bulb--and of course brought plants.

Nice to know the big guys are catching on to this idea. Our own Cleveland GE recently won an award for the cool way it used light to create an inviting space in an old barn.

"...what really make designs dramatic and visually more appealing is non-uniform lighting techniques, which reveal the architectural features of a given space," said the winning GE designer.

I am looking forward to breathing a sigh of relief for knowing, now that GE is leading the way, pretty soon the rest of the world will catch on--and I won't be such a lighting weirdo anymore...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blogs go big-time in NEO

Keithley Instruments can be proud for lots of reasons--but this is a special one in my book. Theh company is acting as a visionary for its industry by establishing its own nanotech-watch blog.
The Nanotest Weblog keeps visitors abreast of the latest news in the nanotechnology and MEMS industry through frequent posts of technical and business developments.
Keithley's magazine, NanoTech Briefs, sponsors the Nano-Test blog and is available by subscription at $49 a year. The blog--in the true nature of the beast--is free here, and it looks like it's full of hard-core tekkie information. I'll be looking to it as a new resource for posts to one of my other blogs,

COngratulations, Keithley. Now if you'd just set up a free subscription to the blog...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Software tracks bad guys, but caution in order

Have written about NEO entrepreneur Valdis Krebs and his social network analysis software before. Nowadays he and it are playing in the national security field. In a story called "Only the Beginning," Newsweek writer Steven Levy says that the National Security Administration's demand for phone records could be the tip of an iceberg many of us may not want floating around in our lives.

In a similar story in the Christian Science Monitor, the warning sounds again for caution. The fact is this massive amount of phone information is most likely being collated with a bunch of other data the governmnet has amassed on American citizens, including Internet activity, credit card records, and--think about this one--even the books you take out of the library.

It's good to know NEO is the home of a product and service that can really help people understand more about how they operate. And if you want to know more about the ideal way to use his software, Inflow--to help create open networks, as opposed to closed ones--check out this course at Baldwin Wallace.

Oh, yeah, and P.S. At last Valdis has officially joined the blogosphere upfront and visible with Netweaving, instead of quietly supplying fascinating tidbits behind the scenes...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NEO bio-entrepreneurs on the move

Bioscience entrepreneur Mike Burke is a huge supporter of the Northeast Ohio region. His company Trek Diagnostics is expanding its reach nationally with innovative new products in the microbiology space--blood culture and body fluids testing and more. From their site you can download technical papers, white papers, abstracts and more. And they're even offering professional continuing education credits for training in a couple of their detection systems.

Now Trek has introduced a newsletter, the Trek Times, full of updates on its products and services. That's where I learned they've installed a CRM system and are tracking their customers carefully--always a smart marketing move. Also found out they'd won a major contract with Novation to supply VHA Inc. and University Health System Consortium (UHC) with savings on Trek instrumentation.

Anyway, the newsletter is a good way to keep up with what one of NEO's most dedicated entrepreneurs is doing, and it's free to anyone who's interested. Visit their site and fill out the form here so they can keep you in the loop.

In partnership with two Cleveland organizations (ChanTest,Inc. of Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine), another company run by bio-entrepreneur, Arnon Chait, called Analiza recently won part of the 4.7 million State-of-Ohio Third-Frontier dollars for a project to create new lines of cells for researching drugs that use ion channels (membrane proteins that have to do with electrical activity in cells) and may lead to new treatments for heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes, asthma and cancer.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Architecture and office space

Went on a Board of Architecture-sponsored tour of some of the more modern high-rise buildings in Chicago today. Our docent was an engineer with a delightful Italian accent who guided us on a two-hour trek through downtown. Talked about modernism in architecture (Mies van der Rohe was the original inspiration for the clean-lined steel-supported "structure is architecture" style). Then the guide went on to illustrate post-modernism (adding old fashioned decorations to modernist shapes), art deco and a few others.

This one, the Citadel Center, was the first building completed in Chicago after 9/11. It offers all the things business tenants want--all wiring, Internet, telephone, etc. in the floors, no columns to break up the 35,000-sq.ft. floor space on each floor, underground parking, etc.

The truth of the matter is, I started to get a little confused as to which building was which style--kind of like women's fashion where almost anything goes these days because no one has really come up with anything truly different. Here's a nice site about the architectural high points of the Cleveland area.

Just as an interesting comparison of what it'll cost you to lease office space, the Citadel Center in downtown Chicago rents out at $400/sq.ft. A page of the Downtown Cleveland Partnership site lists all the class A and B office space buildings in our downtown--and here's a hint at what Cleveland office space is going for (lease rate per square foot). Just think how much more business you'd have to generate to be able to afford to lease an office in Chicago.

Folks, this is one of the beauties of our region. Affordable housing and office space. Tell your friends and colleagues... " )

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

View from the RTA

Coming into town from the freshly welcoming airport is always a treat..though the views are quickly obscured as the RTA train twists and turns before diving into the tunnel under Tower City.

I wonder if part of RTA's new image shouldn't be hyping the cool and unique views of Cleveland it affords...?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nanotech measuring contest

Good news from Keithley Instruments. They're inviting researchers and test innovators to compete in a contest for the best new electrical measurement instruments to nanoscale materials and devices.

Given the incredible potential of nano-stuff--as well as the significant potential dangers--finding ways to measure aspects of such products is critical to being able to control behaviors and establish standards for working with this technology across the many industries that can benefit from it (bioscience, electronics, structural materials, etc.).

Interestingly, in England they've actually formed a club around measuring nano--the Micro & Nano Technology (MNT) Measurement Club--that addresses communicating the issues, sharing best practices and developing collaborative R&D projects.

When I spoke to Governor Taft at the recent BIO conference about the government's role in policing nano-work, he said they have to look to academia and business to tell them what to do. I'm really glad to see Keithley and others stepping up to the plate. I'm glad because I don't want to have to imagine my great grandchildren--like recent generations who were told that working around loose asbestos was no problem--dying off years later from insidious lung and skin diseases of "unknown" origin...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hurray for RTA - for sure

I wrote a letter of support to RTA recently, and it ended up getting published in the April 24 edition of the Plain Dealer. Good. I said what I meant--that the growth and expansion of RTA is going to be a huge factor in getting Cleveland the economic viability it deserves and in keeping it in the top cities of America for the long term.

And today I was overjoyed to see that some big name researchers are in total agreement with me. Here's Harvard and MIT saying in a recent study that a well-run, far-reaching public transit system is the #1 factor in reducing automobile congestion and making cities more vibrant and lively.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fog on The Flats

Leaving Cleveland you get some unusual views from the RTA airport train. Today it's suposed to get to 70 derees...but you'd never know it to see the mist-enshrouded river valley of the Cuyahoga that runs behind Tower City and through the Flats.

I sure hope it's gonna be 70 where I'm headed. The Midwest is coasting thru one of nature's most gratifying springs in recent memory. Get out and enjoy once in a while and let your revenues look after themselves for a bit.