The Amazing Banana King Entrepreneur

I love bananas and plantains, which are very similar to bananas and commonly found in the Caribbean. Until a recent trip to Trinidad, however, I had never given the banana industry second thought. On this trip, however, I listened to a terrific audiobook called The Fish that Ate the Whale and my hunger to learn more about the banana industry grew. The Banana King. The Fish that Ate the Whale - The Life and Times of America’s Banana King was written by Richard Cohen. It is a biography of banana entrepreneur, Samuel Zemurray, who was born in the Russian Empire [...]

By | 2018-04-05T15:09:36+00:00 April 5th, 2018|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Five Amazing and Crazy Braindrops from March 2018

So many topics, so little time. Over the past few weeks I have encountered many interesting topics that might intrigue you – here are five. Africa is Much Larger Than I Thought. Because my family traveled so much when I was a little guy, I have always had an interest in geography. But recently I learned something new about Africa that still amazes me even as I write this. A few weeks ago we were in the Cayman Islands and visited our daughter Alie’s friends, Bridget and Richard. While they live in the Cayman Islands, they had just returned from [...]

By | 2018-03-22T11:21:23+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|Business, General|

To Catch a Thief

I must admit, I used to be quite naïve. While I was fascinated with newspaper stories and movies of how crooks stole money, those stories always felt like fiction because they happened to someone else. After all, I thought, I only work with law-abiding citizens with solid sets of ethical principles – no one I know would ever steal money or product from their employer. Right? Wrong. Along came our very own John Robie – an unethical colleague who saw no problem in stealing from us. I’ll tell you more about our Robie case in a few moments. (By the [...]

By | 2018-03-06T13:39:26+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Business, General|

Some Thoughts on Border Walls

View from El Paso toward Ciudad Juarez, Mexico In January Patti and I were near El Paso, Texas on a short birding trip and saw the Mexican border Wall close up. On our first day we followed the border and Wall southeast for about 35 miles along the Rio Grande River. What was interesting was that the Wall came to end about 30 miles south of El Paso (see picture below) where the pecan orchards flourished, the other geography harsh, and the spacing between houses on both sides of the border widened. Thoughts from Jesus. Among the people [...]

By | 2018-02-02T10:44:16+00:00 February 1st, 2018|Business, General|

Five Cool Inventions in 2017

I have always admired people who invent helpful products and get them into the market. Many of you know and see this when you watch Shark Tank. This month Time Magazine published its top 25 inventions of 2017. Here are my five favorites. Glasses that Help the Legally Blind See.  My favorite invention is a set of glasses called eSight 3 from eSight Eyewear that helps the legally blind navigate the world. Using 3D technology these glasses take-in surrounding information and instantly create high definition images the person can see. This can reduce the need for canes and guide dogs. [...]

By | 2017-12-07T08:35:09+00:00 December 7th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Carving Out and Filling-up Jobs in Your Business

Have you ever noticed in football and baseball today there are several carved-out, specialty positions? For example, in baseball you have “closers,” like the Red Sox’s Greg Kimbrell. Closers are pitchers who only pitch the 9th inning when a team is leading by three or less runs. In football, for example, you have place kickers and punters. The players who fill these positions have very specific skills that help the team perform more successfully. And when they perform well, their teammates love them even though they don’t play very much. The same thing is happening in business. Many employers today [...]

By | 2017-09-14T11:23:11+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Business, General|

The Business of Staying Cool

Not long ago Johnny, one of our Board members from Florida, asked me, “Did you know the invention of air conditioning was the most important factor leading to Florida’s development?”  As logical as the premise was, I admitted it was news to me. And, of course, Johnny’s question piqued my curiosity. Air-Conditioning in the 1800s. In the 1830s Dr. John Gorrie from Florida, often referred to as the father of modern air-conditioning, used a system of suspended natural ice to cool the air and create a more comfortable recovery environment for his patients. He later invented a cooling system using [...]

By | 2018-01-02T20:15:09+00:00 August 31st, 2017|Business, General|

A Turkish Shepherd and American Yogurt Entrepreneur is Changing the World

If you are like most Americans you have never heard of Hamdi Ulukaya. And, if he was in an immigration line today and disclosed he was a Turkish-Kurd “political science” major at Ankara University, he would most likely be sent home. But, what if I told you he created, here in America, the leading Greek yogurt brand, Chobani, would you want him deported? Ulukaya, who is nicely profiled in Rob Brunner’s article I’m a Shepherd and I’m a Warrior in Fast Company, grew-up in eastern Turkey in a family of shepherds and cheese makers. He immigrated to the United States [...]

By | 2017-08-17T12:36:19+00:00 August 17th, 2017|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

What if Your Summer Transportation was a Stagecoach?

We think nothing today of jumping into our air-conditioned cars and buzzing off for a 100-mile weekend get-away or even flying-off to Atlanta to visit friends. We certainly under-appreciate how lucky we are sometimes, especially when we are stuck in traffic. But what would it be like if you had to take a stagecoach to get to your destination? I enjoyed reading recently on the St. Croix Historical Society website about what a 36-hour, 100-mile stagecoach ride was like in about 1840 from Bangor to Calais, Maine, a trip I have made dozens of times. Imagine you are one of [...]

By | 2017-07-27T14:17:19+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Your Fireworks

Photo of fireworks by Alejandro Scaff What gets lost in the immigration rhetoric today is how many of our American businesses got started by immigrants. So as you watch beautiful fireworks this weekend, remember it was two immigrants to this country, Angelo Lanzetta and Antonio Zambelli, who created the two largest fireworks companies in the United States today -  Fireworks by Grucci and Zambelli Fireworks. If you would like to learn more about the fireworks industry in the United States you can read my article Business of Fireworks. Photo - Felix and Concetta Grucci - Grucci Website [...]

By | 2018-01-02T20:16:01+00:00 June 29th, 2017|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Send this to a friend