09/30/14 Personal Finance
The 400 wealthiest Americans — including 31 Floridians — are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion. So says the annual Forbes 400 ranking that tracks the uber-wealthy. That figure is about equal to the gross domestic product of Brazil, a country of 200 million people.
From a year ago, that figure is up $270 billion, a number close to the entire GDP of Colorado, which has a population of more than 5.2 million....
You may question his ability to defend Home Depot against hackers, but you can't dispute the giant retailer's head of security engineering and operations has a sense of humor.
"I heard there's a pool out there," Michael Cunningham told a packed room of area IT security specialists at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa last week, "that Home Depot would not be here."
In spite of Home Depot recently sustaining retailing's largest security breach ever, Cunningham showed up and held his own on a panel of security experts representing such area companies as Raymond James Financial and Bright House Networks, as well as U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base....
Any week is a good week when uber-billionaire Bill Gates puts his personal financial stamp of approval on downtown Tampa by investing in Jeff Vinik's planned overhaul of the Channelside district.
But it's a great week when the Gates deal is unveiled while five of the nation's top site selectors — the gatekeepers who tell corporations where in the country to put their next expansion or relocation — are here on a multiday tour of Tampa Bay's best assets....
09/24/14 Economic Development
The Florida High Tech Corridor, a 23-county Central Florida economic development partnership that includes all of the Tampa Bay region and is considered a power behind the throne in regional technology circles, is changing its name to The Corridor. "As an organization and as a region, people have come to know us simply as 'The Corridor,' and this brand refresh is a reflection of our region's prominence," said Randy Berridge, the group's longtime president....
If Apple ran its business like Duke Energy in Florida, it would pitch black rotary phones, not the iPhone 6.
If Neil Armstrong worked for Duke Energy in Florida instead of landing on the moon, he would have taken a backward step for a man and done nothing for mankind.
In Florida, what we have is a failure to innovate when it comes to where our electricity comes from. Especially when it comes to Duke Energy. The state's sorry lack of leadership compounds the problem....
1.SeaWorld Entertainment, the Orlando parent of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks, watched its stock belly flop Shamu-style last month from $28 to $18 in one day, triggering a flood of law firms trolling for shareholders feeling blindsided by the company. Shares now trade between $20 and $21.
2. St. Petersburg's Raymond James Financial, the regional investment firm, keeps strengthening its position as the most valuable public company based in the bay area....
They are heading for very different parts of the country for very different reasons. Census numbers for 1,800 U.S. counties analyzed by RealtyTrac show that between 2007 and 2013, baby boomers — those born from 1946 through 1964 — are moving to less-populated areas that have slower home price appreciation. Popular destinations include quieter parts of Florida's west coast.
In contrast, millennials — those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — are attracted to markets with better job and income prospects and lower unemployment, but that tend to have higher rental rates and higher home price appreciation. ...
At first glance, Tampa Bay's $115 billion gross domestic product, a measure of this metro area's economic output of goods and services last year, seems quite respectable, growing 2.3 percent in 2013. After all, the nation's 300-plus metro areas combined averaged just 1.7 percent growth.
Based on that comparison alone, we should cheer our economic competitiveness, right?
Hold the applause....
Those around long enough in Tampa Bay might recall disgraced corporate raider Paul Bilzerian as the maverick who made millions and built a 10-bedroom castle with an indoor basketball court in Tampa's tony Avila community.
Convicted of fraud in 1989, he was sentenced initially to four years in prison and ultimately served 13 months. In 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission won a $62 million judgment from him for illegal stock manipulation....
Roly-poly Captain Citrus has been working out at the gym. With the likes of Iron Man and Captain America.
The Florida Department of Citrus, together with Disney-owned Marvel Custom Solutions, unveiled a $1 million redesign of a now buff Captain Citrus on Tuesday at Heroes' Haven Comics in Tampa.
"Transformed from a life-sized orange into a young man mysteriously powered by the sun, the newly imagined Captain Citrus is a sculpted hero clad in a muscle-skimming citrus-hued suit," says the citrus industry of its new hero....
When unhappy investors start dinging a restaurant chain for serving too many breadsticks or too much salad dressing at once, for failing to salt cooking water for pasta, and for using too-costly "to go" bags, is an overhaul far behind?
The once popular, now stumbling Olive Garden chain was targeted this past week by an activist investor group trying to put its own directors on the board of the chain's struggling parent, Darden Restaurants in Orlando. To emphasize its dissatisfaction, investor group Starboard Value produced a 294-slide presentation aimed at Darden shareholders slated to vote for new company board members next month....
This is Todd Goldberg's rapid entrepreneurial trajectory.
It's a rocket shot that went from graduating as a University of Florida engineer in 2012 to working here at Nielsen Co. to co-founding a Tampa Bay startup to getting his business bought this past week by multibillion-dollar Ticketmaster, the kingpin of concert-entertainment-sports ticket sales and distribution.
"If you were offered an opportunity to do something you love every day even though the odds for success were heavily skewed against you, would you go for it?" So begins Goldberg's personal blog from August 2013....
News like this is what makes Tampa Bay entrepreneurs dream and try harder.
Ticketmaster, the nation's juggernaut in ticket sales and distribution, said Thursday that it has acquired Eventjoy, a provider of a free digital ticketing platform for event organizers that launched in St. Petersburg.
The move is good news for anyone involved in the bay area's startup community, which continues to fight for attention, credibility and — of course — investor money....
They gathered in Tampa to celebrate a Florida Dream Team of remarkable people for their inspiration — and perspiration. Surprise: This team has (almost) nothing to do with sports.
Six Florida inventors were inducted Wednesday evening into the new Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Some of them — especially Thomas Alva Edison — are familiar to many. Others toil under the public radar, like many creators of life-changing inventions....
It isn't every day that a boy born in the Bronx and raised in Queens, who once sold meat door to door, and who built a brokerage firm in his 20s that prospered and then imploded from excess and fraud ends up in prison owing investors millions of dollars.
And it's even less common that the same guy writes a confessional memoir behind bars about his drug-and-sex-addled, high-flying brokerage days. That book ends up being turned into an Academy Award-nominated Martin Scorsese movie in 2013 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the bigger-than-life boy from the boroughs of New York....