Find a back issue

The Economist on Downtown Dallas’ Rejuvenation

A correspondent for one of the Economist’s blogs was recently in Dallas for the New Cities Summit, and writes about how downtown has transformed in the last 30 years:

It is clear that the old Dallas is fading into a distant memory. Today the downtown of America’s ninth-most populous city has thriving museums, performing-arts spaces, a green market, restaurants and innovative retailers that are bringing people back to its pavements. Detroit, Kansas City and Cleveland may be struggling to reinvent themselves, but Dallas has prospered, not only because of its oil wealth and low taxes, but also because the city and private-sector developers and investors have combined their efforts.

The author gives the Joule Hotel an awful lot of credit for rejuvenating downtown, more than maybe it alone deserves, and things aren’t maybe quite so active throughout downtown as they’re painted, but there is no denying that Dallas has made progress.

Anyway, here’s my favorite bit, in the conclusion:

Thanks to this attitude, the atrophied downtown area from three decades ago that Mrs Forsythe-Lill remembered is being wiped from the memory faster than Sue Ellen Ewing could get to the bottom of a bottle of vodka.

Full Story

Why It Matters That the Morning News Failed at Paid Content

When I read this morning that the Dallas Morning News is giving up on its “premium content” experience  (which it launched last fall), my first reaction was to think “they’re still offering a premium content experience?” I have a subscriber’s log-in that I could use to access the site, but many months ago I stopped bothering to do so because the time it took to type in the email address and password wasn’t worth the payoff.

I wouldn’t do as the Morning News’ own story today has done and categorize this experience as a failed attempt at premium content. I’d instead think of it as an “incomplete,” given that there wasn’t anything terribly “premium” about the Morning News experience.

We have to get readers to pay for the content they want. We’re going to have to. I doubt greatly that the Morning News, in ending this experiment, has completely abandoned that fact. They’re just going to look for another means of doing it. In which case, I have a proposal.

Full Story

Meh.com Launches! And There Was Much Apathy!

Kickstarter contributors got access yesterday, but Meh.com launched this morning for the rest of us. As Matt Rutledge promised, you’ll find just one deal today. It’s an iRobot Roomba 560, a refurb model from 2007. iRobot sells the things for $249. The Meh price? Just $179. That seems a little better than meh. What I find most intriguing about the site, though, is that it shows everyone its sales figures in real time. As of 9:30 this morning, 13,201 people had visited the site; 836 people clicked the “meh” button (I was one of them); and 28 people bought a Roomba. There’s also a map showing where the buyers hail from. That’s transparency. As for the product writeup, the art at which Rutledge’s old Woot.com excelled so brilliantly at times, this one did not impress. When I was working on my profile of him, Rutledge showed me a writeup they were considering for an upcoming product. It was hysterical and packed with vulgarity — something Amazon would never do. I hope they try it.

Full Story

Would You Buy Something From the Site Spite.com?

Surely by now you have read my profile of Woot.com founder Matt Rutledge. Surely. The World Cup is over, so that’s no excuse. (USMNT lost. Same difference.) You know that part at the end where I mentioned a couple of silly e-commerce concepts that Rutledge might possibly explore, including CrapWithFriends.com? That one I explained. But I didn’t explain Spite.com, saying that the notion lay beyond the scope of the article. That was a lie. I was just being lazy. I was approaching my word limit and just wanted to be done with the story. Forgive me.

Full Story

Leading Off (7/1/12)

DMN Publishes World-Class Use of the Phrase “World Class.” We are all tired of the phrase “world class,” yes? Surely on this we can agree. We’ve all decided that striving to build world-class stuff oftentimes makes us look more like something less than world class, more like Springfield buying a monorail. We’ve learned that there’s a difference between being a striver and a climber. Right? So it was disappointing to me to read Jacquielynn Floyd’s column today. Perhaps you’ve heard of County Judge Clay Jenkins’ plan to provide transitional care for 2,000 child migrants caught at the U.S.-Mexico border. Well, Floyd, after essentially acknowledging that we overuse the phrase, says the plan “is an opportunity to demonstrate world-class compassion.” Listen, I know I’m looking at a tree in a forest. Because I agree with Floyd. This is a chance for our city to make a huge difference in the lives of a whole bunch of kids. And the xenophobia that has sprung up in some quarters in response to their plight is appalling. So why must I bog down in Floyd’s rhetorical device? Just doing what I do.

Clay Jenkins Has Got It Going On. Speaking of the county judge, read Gromer Jeffers’ column about Clay Jenkins. Funny to learn that Jenkins got the idea to bring those migrant children to Dallas from his 8-year-old daughter. But the salient point of the column is that this plan shows just how fully Jenkins has stepped out from under the shadow of John Wiley Price. Strong work.

North Texas Foreclosure Filings Fall by More Than 40 Percent. Good work, people.

Gooooooaaaaaalll! Soccer happens real hard today at 3. Jozy Altidore is available to play, but some people think he shouldn’t. Here’s a preview of the match that predicts Dallas’ own Omar Gonzalez will start. But the preview also predicts that Belgium will win 1-0, which is clearly wrong.

Full Story

Tango Frogs Return to Lower Greenville

Have you heard of the Dallas family of frogs that survived a city ordinance threatening their home, and then narrowly escaped a deadly fire and hurricane-strong winds knocking them down to an almost certain death? And in the midst of it all, they were split apart, an emotional heartbreak leaving three in Nashville and three in Hillsboro?

Well, even if you haven’t, thanks to a few kind-hearted Texans, the Dallas half of these amphibious creatures will have happier days ahead of them. And if you drive by Taco Cabana on Lower Greenville today, you can see them, returned to their original home, nearly 30 years later.

Full Story

Phil Romano and Kenneth Hersh Win Big at 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

EY revealed its Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners for the Southwest Region at a June 21 event at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The program honors outstanding entrepreneurs who have driven economic growth and demonstrated passion through innovation. Two of the winners, Kenneth A. Hersh, co-founder and CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management, and Philip […]

Full Story

Matt Rutledge, Founder of Woot, Launches His Next Dumb Idea: Meh.com

The guy who invented the deal-a-day concept, Matt Rutledge, has gone to Kickstarter to announce his next gig. Watch the video below for details about the stuff and things, but here’s my summary: he’s relaunching Woot.com. Except now it’s called Meh.com. And, yes, he’s gone a bit Colonel Kurtz on us, as the video says. Man, if some magazine just had a 4,000-word profile of this guy, now would be the perfect time to publish it.

Full Story

D CEO Named Best Regional Business Magazine in the Country

D CEO magazine raked in seven wins at an Editorial Excellence Awards event hosted by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. The competition, which attracted more than 650 entries, was judged by 27 faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Full Story

NCPA Names An Interim Leader; Will Continue to ‘Collaborate’ with Ousted President and CEO

The board canned the founding president, John C. Goodman, for alleged sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty. The ousted chieftan struck back in the media, denying the charges and calling the people on the board “scared” and amateurish. Meantime, the National Center for Policy Analysis has been trying to carry on in a business-as-usual manner, issuing a flurry of announcements about their experts doing this or that and appearing here and there. Today the right-leaning Dallas-based think tank had yet another announcement, naming former bank CEO and business strategist Dennis McCuistion its interim president and CEO.

In an interview, McCuistion said he expects to fill the posts anywhere from six months to a year—or until a permanent replacement for Goodman can be found. He also said he’ll take a leave of absence from his job at UT-Dallas, where he’s been serving as executive director of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance. Meantime, McCuistion added, the NCPA will continue to collaborate with Goodman on certain ongoing projects, just as it would with any other expert. One example: the Healthcare Contract with America initiative, which Goodman, the so-called father of Health Savings Accounts, helped shape. So, there’s no problem in an organization continuing to work with someone who was judged unfit for serious reasons to run the organization? No, McCuistion replied in a nutshell.

Full Story

Leading Off (6/20/14)

Dallas ISD Board Names Home-Rule Commission. The 15-member panel includes the husband of trustee Carla Ranger and the son of trustee Lew Blackburn. I’ll leave the hot sports opinions to Eric over on Learning Curve, but, umm, seriously?

NorthPark Center Planning Major Expansion? Owners Nancy Nasher and her husband have sold a 60 percent stake in the mall for $362 million. The transaction has prompted speculation that big changes could be coming to the North Dallas shopping mecca, since the last time they took on an investment of this size was to finance the hugely successful addition of a fourth side to the building in 2006.

Police/Fire Pension Fund Lost $60M on Luxury Homes. The bad investments in Hawaii, Aspen, and other spots likely contributed to the decision by the fund’s board to dismiss administrator Richard Tettamant.

Report Details Structural Flaws in Allen’s $60M Stadium. The school district hopes to begin repairs this fall — during which time the Eagles’ football team will have to play its “home” games in Plano — and reopen it by graduation time in May 2015.

Full Story