Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, December 02, 2021

The biggest Florida business story this year was Scripps Research Institute’s decision to bring a huge campus to Palm Beach County. The deal, engineered by Governor Jeb Bush, was hailed as a major coup and the jumpstart to making the state a center of biotechnology.

But the deal with Palm Beach is getting bogged down over various challenges. Since the primary goal is getting Scripps to Florida, where they actually end up in the state is secondary. That’s why Tampa and Hillsborough County is looking hard at being the Number One backup plan in case the current scenario falls through, and has formalized its plans in that regard, even as the other former prospective sites are laying low.

It’ll be interesting if Scripps comes to the Bay area. The presence of a medical research powerhouse like that would be a great boost to the local business landscape. And the prestige factor is hard to overestimate.

The impact might be a welcomed opportunity for the current biotech star in the neighborhood, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. Moffitt’s CEO, William Dalton, just articulated his thoughts on how the institute can leverage its work into profitable directions, and he recognizes how Scripps’ presence in Florida could facilitate that. Having the supercampus right next door would enhance that.

This situation is worth watching, regardless of where Scripps ends up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/02/2021 11:39:48 PM
Category: Business, Politics, Tech
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I thought my minor haul yesterday at the company book sale was adequate. But it wasn’t. Since they knocked down the prices to a-buck-a-book today, I picked up a couple more items:

- “Shadows” by Osvaldo Soriano. The jacket design grabbed me, the flap description gave me a Latin American magical realism impression. It holds promise.

- “The Assistants: A Novel” by Robin Lynn Williams. Has a “Sex and the City” meets “The Real World” vibe to it. I anticipate a quick, fun read.

And the CD purchase:

- Radio Tarifa: “Fiebre”. From the sleeve blurb:

Experience the energy and passion of one of Spain’s most mesmerizing bands in concert with this live recording of their irresistible blend of Mediterranean sounds — a modal mix of Flamenco and Arabic elements with an instinctive medieval root.

Yeah, it’s classic marketing copy. But it, and the two-buck pricetag, was compelling enough. I plan to listen to it tomorrow, during my day off.

I guess I’ve got beaucoup book fodder to keep me reading for the next couple of months (maybe). Good for the mind.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/02/2021 10:49:26 PM
Category: Publishing
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That’s the sound of the SportsCenter theme song, in ringtone form. No doubt we’ll be hearing that coming out of scores of mobile phones soon, thanks to ESPN’s launch of ESPN Mobile, the sports network’s very own wireless phone service, which it hopes it can use as a springboard platform to sell all kinds of multimedia doodads.

ESPN (and parent company Disney) isn’t going whole-hog into the phone business. Rather than build or buy its own wireless network, it’s renting the infrastructure from Sprint (customers won’t see that, as all their interaction will be with ESPN Mobile-branded interfaces). This is the same arrangement that Virgin Mobile uses in the U.S., and I understand that it’s a common arrangement in Europe and Asia for setting up a branded phone service. It’s relatively low-risk, with potentially huge rewards.

The famed Disney synergy is going to be applied to this venture, big-time. As mobile phones become more powerful, there’ll be more opportunity to offer ESPN-originated video clips and the like:

ESPN executive vice president John Skipper expects to break new ground, saying the service could even show animated characters since “you could cartoonize our (on-air) talent.”

That shouldn’t be too hard; guys like Chris Berman self-cartoonized themselves years ago!

So, will anyone buy their phones from ESPN? Maybe, but not necessarily all the extras:

Roger Entner, wireless analyst at the research firm Yankee Group, estimates about 175 million Americans have cell phones, with about half having data-enabled phones — needed to get video and video games.

Entner notes “tremendous consumer willingness” to spend for sports-related cell phone services and suggests ESPN could land 3 million users in three years. Messaging users about big sports plays, Entner says, then letting them pay to see an immediate video highlight could be “a killer thing.”

Skipper says: “We’re investigating streaming the actual networks. But we’d have issues with (event) rights-holders and affiliates.”

And that might be a bit much even for supposedly insatiable fans. Says Adam Guy, a wireless analyst at the research firm Compete Inc.: “Highlights on your phone? Sure. But watching TV on your mobile device? Why?”

Why indeed? Although with the coming of television-enabled phones in 2005, it would seem the right factors are converging to give this whole thing legs.

I wouldn’t buy all this, but I’m sure there are plenty who would. Besides, if I really wanted to, I could always hack the SportsCenter theme onto my phone (there’s a project for a future weekend).

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/02/2021 10:18:50 PM
Category: SportsBiz, Tech
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so slick and that's an actual fact
Yes, there is a slick feel to this month’s issue of Wired, and I’m not talking about the guest-editing stint of Hollywood director James Cameron.

Rather, it’s the magazine’s cover stock: Instead of the usual matted paper, this month’s issue sports a glossy slick finish. I don’t know if it’s permanent or not. But I liked the old matte; it had a distinctive texture to it, contributing to the whole look-and-feel of the physical title.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/02/2021 08:28:34 PM
Category: Publishing
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