Monday's Afternoon Update
What You Need to Know About Florida Today
Scripps scientists unveil new non-addictive painkiller
Scientists at Scripps Florida say they've discovered a substance that promises to kill pain almost as effectively as morphine and oxycodone, but without the side effect of addiction. In a study published today in the journal Nature Chemistry, Scripps scientists say the analgesic conolidine works in mice as a painkiller. "It looks to be nearly as potent as morphine," said Laura Bohn, an associate professor in Scripps' departments of molecular therapeutics and neuroscience. Just as significant, the compound seems not to have side effects. Opiates such as morphine and oxycodone have been widely used for years to treat severe pain, but the powerful painkillers also can cause nausea, constipation and addiction. Conolidine is found in tiny amounts in the plant crepe jasmine, a shrub that grows in Florida and Asia and has been used in Chinese and Thai medicine. Scientists long had speculated that crepe jasmine could contain opiates, but Bohn said Scripps' work showed that the analgesic compound in crepe jasmine is not an opiate. A crepe jasmine shrub contains only a tiny amount of conolidine, not enough to use as a drug. But Scripps chemist Glenn Micalizio said he was able to manufacture the compound in his lab in Jupiter. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
CEO sounding board
Joe Swiski, President and CEO of DiSTI says that a number of countries were very good for his Orlando-based software company but "Southeast Asia presents a challenging environment where you have to learn about the different cultures in each country so that you can effectively conduct business there."
Asking the right questions
I was helping two wonderful ladies who own their own public relations and marketing firm. They had been working together for more than seven years, but they only had less than $100,000 in revenues last year. They had taken other part-time jobs to make ends meet, but otherwise, they did not seem to be overly concerned with the lack of adequate revenue. In fact, when I asked them about it during numerous conversations, they just said over and over again that they did not know what to do and had basically given up.
When I probed further and asked why they did not have enough clients, they blamed the customers, they blamed the economy, but they never took any responsibility themselves. They just expected some miracle to give them great revenues and profits, which of course, did not work out.
Their situation was so surprising to me. These ladies help other firms with their marketing but had clearly forgotten how to apply these skills to their own business. Continue reading Dr. Osteryoung's column in Florida Small Business.
Balloons, birthday cake and business deals
Real estate developer R. Donahue Peebles — famous around here for building the Bath Club on Miami Beach and for authoring two business books — is flying to Detroit next month to eye some potential investment properties. Given the area's economic blight, it's an unconventional prospect that will require some serious trail-blazing.
Peebles' renewed interest in Detroit — he'd considered the city some years ago — did not come from a conversation with analysts on the set of CNBC, on which he's a regular commentator. And it wasn't inspired by other guests at the White House, where he this year watched the Super Bowl with President Barack Obama. Rather, Peebles decided to revisit that real estate market after a conversation with another dad at a birthday pool party thrown for his 8-year old daughter Chloe — while both men kept an eye on splashing children.
"We were watching the kids, exchanging pleasantries when the conversation turned to travel," recalls Peebles, who also has a 17-year old son.
"I mentioned I'd been going to DC and he said he'd been visiting Detroit. He laid out a view of the city that was very positive. At these parties everyone's relaxed and you're not pressed for time. So you're willing to listen more."
[Source: Miami Herald]
Road to surfing retail success started outside gas station
Tory Strange's career as a retailer of surfing gear began 30 years ago when he used word of mouth and sign painting on a Chevrolet van to advertise his windsurfing lessons at Anastasia State Park. Today, his St.-Augustine based store and Internet website Surf Station employs 39 and sells surfboards locally and all over the world. On Thursday, for example, his employees wrapped and shipped 11 surfboards from Internet sales alone. Notably, his business is almost as well known for its detailed daily surf reports, now on Surf Station's website. Strange, 52, has come a long way from when he was a 21-year-old University of Florida student who came home to St. Augustine on weekends to teach people how to windsurf on Salt Run in the state park. After one of his customers suggested that he open a physical store in 1984, he found an Amoco station, conveniently near the entrance to the park where he had been doing business. "One of the things that had stuck with me from business classes was 'location, location, location,'" he said. [Source: Florida Times-Union]
Blue Star Foods clawing for success
The thermostat inside John Keeler's 17,000-square-foot Doral warehouse is set at 32 degrees. Shelves, packed tight with boxes of imported Asian blue swimming crab, soar to the ceiling 25 feet above. Workers wear heavy jackets, gloves, even cover-alls to protect against the freezing cold that can very quickly topple the less stalwart.
Not Keeler. He strides around in a dress shirt, unfazed by the numbing air. Sixteen years after launching one of the country's leading crab import companies with annual sales of $50 million, he appears immune.
Or so you'd think. But this exposure to extremes — about 85 degrees outside, always 32 inside — and the constant effort to maintain it has made him keenly aware of the environment's fragility. If his business is to survive, Keeler knows he must find a way to sustain it. Which has led the 40-year-old Venezuelan to embrace a green ethos not usually equated with food processors.
"I saw with my own eyes, literally, the depletion in Lake Maracaibo [in Venezuela] of a 30-year-old industry of crab meat," he said. "I knew that eventually it would happen in Asia."
So to keep his 14 processing plants humming in five different Asian countries and maintain shipments to the United States, Mexico and Europe where the crab is distributed to restaurants and retailers including Costco, Wal-mart and Target, Keeler has embarked on a wide-ranging agenda of earth-friendly initiatives.
[Source: Miami Herald]
What's Past is Prologue