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 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|

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|

Six of Your Jobs Robots Might Replace

When I got home from work the other day, Patti, my wife, was still smiling about a text she received that day. When she got out of a meeting and checked her phone for text messages and e-mails, this text jumped out at her, “Jeeves needs your immediate attention. His right front wheel is stuck.” I’m sure you are wondering who “Jeeves” is, right? If you are older you might remember that “Jeeves” was a butler or gentleman’s gentleman in author P. G. Wodehouse’s stories from the early 1900s. In our house we have no butler.  Jeeves is really what [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

I Think We Need More Mattress Stores, Don’t You?

Okay, maybe I am crazy, but the other day as I drove by the third Mattress Firm store within about 500 feet of each other I thought, “Why do we need so many mattress stores?” The next day I was visiting one of our client work sites in a Macy’s department store and learned that successful Macy’s mattress sales people can make $100,000 per year. I thought, “Excuse me, say that again, I think I misunderstood what you just said.” (But I heard correctly.) All this mattress business stimulated my sleepy business brain. I had to learn more about why [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 January 31st, 2017|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Learning from the Pivots Around Us

I find stories interesting about how entrepreneurs and businesses pivot and change directions. Later in this article I’ll share four of my favorite “pivot” stories from brands you will likely recognize. But first let me tell you about Barry Sansoucie. Barry Sansoucie was one of the most interesting entrepreneurs I knew in my early banking days. He was a person who saw every glass as half full. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, where his job was to parachute solo behind enemy lines and clear areas of jungle vegetation for helicopter landings. After the war Barry joined his father’s [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:47+00:00 December 1st, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

I Am Just Curious

Curiosity is interesting. Have you noticed that what makes you curious sometimes is of no interest to other people? While other times you discover that you and others are curious about the same thing? For example, I took this photo of floating homes a few years ago in Victoria Harbor in British Columbia. To this day I am still curious about the orange-haired manikin sitting on the second story deck in the upper-left corner. The owners must be interesting people. Why did they do this? Where did they get the manikin? When I share this with others, sometimes, they think [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:48+00:00 September 22nd, 2016|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

No More Tips for You

The Modern restaurant at the Modern Museum of Art in NYC The first night Patti and I were in Friedrichshafen, Germany last fall I noticed there was no place on the credit card slip to give a tip. When I asked the waiter about this, in broken English he said something like “no tip on receipt.” So we left him a tip in Euros on the table. Little did we know then that Germany was pretty much a “no tip” country. We proceeded to give tips even though none of the credit card machines let us. While we [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:49+00:00 May 17th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

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