TexasTriangle Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter


    Russian Predicts New Texas Republic

    Lone Star State, Single Again?

    Former KGB strategy analyst getting his Warhollian face time by declaring U.S. will fall apart by 2010. His redrawn map of the U.S. was published by the Wall Street Journal, which although making for good copy, seems fanciful.

    However, if for nothing but idle speculation, take a look at the map and see if you agree with the professor's analysis.


    As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. - WSJ.com via kwout

    First, it seems a bit fantastic that a Texas Republic would cover the entire South and Southeast. Ark-la-tex-ahoma seems more a plausible scenario, with bits and pieces of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas thrown in to the west and north.

    Other issues that come to mind:
    • Ignoring the huge differences in culture between West Coast cities separated by mountain ranges such as Seattle versus Spokane.
    • Utah attempted to become its own country before, it's hard to imagine it not trying to again rather than throw in with the Pacific coastline states.
    • Chicago is a super regional powerhouse whose influence stretches to Minnesota's western and northern borders, down to Missouri's southern borders and around to Indiana.
    • Does Canada have influence to exert?
    In sum, the professor would have done just as well to simply copy the scenario laid out in the excellent, but now cancelled show, Jericho. .:.


    Squaring the Triangle

    Also-ran no more, San Antonio set to become hotspot of its own

    Austin has its software and hardware. Dallas has telecom and banking. Houston has oil and gas. But what of poor ol' San Anton? Tourism, a la the Alamo, Riverwalk, Sea World.

    All well and good, but compared to its Texas Triangle neighbors, SA seemed a bit lacking. But San Antonio is doing just fine, thank you.

    A recent post to tech blog site metafilter.com ("Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" 12/08/08) shows San Antonio catching up in a big way. Focused on neo military-industrial-complex conspiracies rather than economic development, from the blog post it's easy to see that San Antonio stands to benefit in the future:

    • The National Security Agency is building a data center in San Antonio that’s the size of the Alamodome.
    • Microsoft has opened an 11-acre data center a few miles away.
    • It's no coincidence reports up in the old hotel, an appropriately cryptic-named blogger, citing a new book by NSA expert James Bamford: "The biggest U.S. spy agency wanted assurances that Microsoft would be in San Antonio before it moved ahead with the Texas Cryptology Center. Bamford notes that under current law, the NSA could legally tap into Microsoft’s data without a court order."
    • The blog entry ends with this warning: "Whatever you do, don't take pictures of it [sic] the spy building unless you want to be taken in for questioning."
    Also worth checking out are the cheeky comments related to an Alamodome metric system, Alamo rental cars, and other geeky morsels of mirth. .:.


    Olympian Kickstart

    Celebrity endorsement gives Austin venture big boost

    The Wall Street Journal "How Phelps Became the Face of PureSport - WSJ.com" reports that 8-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps is a pitchman and equity stakeholder in Human Performance Labs LLC, an Austin-based startup with a protein energy drink. The company is led by Michael Humphrey, a former sales executive with Broadcast.com and CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster.

    Because of Phelps, the company received $5 million from Terry Gilmore, an oil, gas and real estate investor, in January.

    The Journal article describes what would be every startup's dream come true: "In Beijing, every time Mr. Phelps emerged from the pool at the Water Cube, a coach handed him a plastic bottle filled with PureSport's protein and carbohydrate-filled cocktail. 'About halfway through the meet, people started knocking on my door asking me what I was drinking and if they could have some,' Mr. Phelps said during a recent interview." .:.


    Gaming Venture Pockets $10M

    Latest round gives Austin firm ready cash

    ame maker Challenge Online Games Inc. takes $10 million round of venture capital, reports VentureWire Alert. The company's main product is an online game called "Duels."

    The current round follows close on the heels of a $4.5 million round in July 2008 from Sequoia Capital. The Austin-based company was founded in 2006 by Andrew Busey, who retains role as CEO. .:.


    Reduce, Reuse, Rebrand

    Also-ran identities live again

    n the latest issue of Springwise (Springwise newsletter | 18 September 2008), Texas-based IncSpring was featured. The company creates an online market for corporate brand identities that have already been created, or in other words pre-fabbed brands.

    Where do they come from? Any company launching a new branding identity knows that there are always also-ran ideas that didn't make the final cut. The founders of IncSpring realized those brands still had value, even if they weren't selected by the original client, so why not recycle the alternate brand identities?

    Clever idea. But we'll have to see if entrepreneurs, who are notoriously cheap, will be willing to pay for even a "discount" brand. .:.

    P.S. The non-Texan creators of Websource.it (a nifty little search engine that essentially works like the "Ask the Audience" lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) have posted a six-page PDF case study of the process they used to develop their brand name. Interesting read.


    Austin's Fastest

    19 Austin firms named to Inc. 5000

    AustinStartup.com, the nicely put together blog/online publication, recently listed the 19 Austin-based outfits named to Inc. Magazine's ranking of the country's 5,000 fastest growing companies. Altogether, AustinStartup.com reports 378 Texas-based companies were named to Inc.'s list this year, representing 7.5% of the whole list.

    On a per-capita basis, that is actually a touch low since Texas now has about 7.9% of the United States' 301 million people (find Census Bureau data here). Put another way, Texas' location quotient for fastest-growing businesses was 0.946 (an LQ >1 would mean a higher-than-normal distribution).

    Surprisingly, with just 19 companies on the list, the Austin-Roundrock MSA has an even lower LQ than Texas overall--just 0.72. Of course, the Inc. 5000 is just a list created by a magazine publisher, but it's interesting to note the discrepancy none the less. .:.

    Growing War Chest

    Vaccine developer Bellicum adds to seed round

    According to VentureWire Alert, Houston-based Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $1.03 million as part of an ongoing seed round. That brings its total capital raised to almost $5 million. In October 2007, the cancer vaccine developer announced it had received $1.45 million from the State of Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund and an additional $2.3 million seed funding.

    The company is located in the Greenway Plaza near downtown Houston. .:.


    Presidential Legacies

    "W" library will add to region's knowledge base

    Texas will soon be the only state in the Union to have 3 presidential libraries. The clustering of three presidential libraries, all within the Texas Triangle, provides derivative benefits to the regions' economy.

    The Houston Chronicle reports that George W. Bush's library is planned to be built on the campus of Southern Methodist University in DFW, joining LBJ's library in Austin and George Senior's library on the campus of Texas A&M.

    The article written by Jeannie Kever, correctly, answers the obvious question early in the story:

    Big deal, you say?
    It is, according to Bruce Buchanan, an expert on presidential politics at the University of Texas, who describes the institutions as far more than a parting gift to a former president.
    The libraries — actually combination archives and museums, often with an academic arm — provide historians with the tools to interpret history, Buchanan said, and they promote civic engagement through the speakers and community programs they offer.
    They are even tourist attractions, drawing history buffs, and their money, to cities
    they might not otherwise visit." .:.


    Texaspora [0.1]

    How Texans rule the world

    Born in Dallas more than 40 years ago, Melinda French had no idea that her simple love of computers would lead to a strange twist of fate that now makes her one of the world's most powerful women, controlling nearly $100 billion in investing capital. Now for the first time, Melinda Gates nee French, steps out into the spotlight for Fortune magazine. .:.

    Blog Archive