We love folks who have a way with words.
Here’s a roundup of quotes from North Texas innovators that inspire, inform, motivate, or simply make us laugh.
Dallas Innovates publishes “The Last Word” each day in the Dallas Innovates Every Day e-newsletter. Make sure you don’t miss a thing by signing up here.
If you have a few wise words of your own, let us know.
Friday, Oct. 18
“What the human brings is the act of innovation and randomness and mistakes. Sometimes the best creations are discovered through mistakes.”
Senior Vice President of Network Strategy
American Airlines Group
…on how AI will affect network planning in the future (and whether or not humans will be involved), via the DBJ.
Machines don’t tend to make mistakes, Raja says. “They’re really good at recognizing patterns that aren’t evident to the naked eye, but they can’t necessarily, on their own, provide the kind of innovation that the human can.”
Thursday, Oct. 17
“We have an opportunity to be the electrification capital of the world.”
CEO and Founder
We have the pieces to be known as the electrification capital of the world here in North Texas if we stake it, name it, and claim it as a region, Hunstable said at Venture Dallas in September.
The high-efficiency electric motors Hunstable’s company, Linear Labs, is designing could help make the region the hub of powering things with electricity.
Having sold in 2016 his San Francisco-based video streaming technology to IBM for $130 million-plus, the West Point-trained engineer funded research by his dad, Fred, that produced an electric turbine—machinery that turns energy from spinning devices into power for doing work—that the younger Hunstable says gives electric vehicles 10 percent more range than regular magnet motors.
Beyond his own business, Hunstable cited the presence of large local presences of big players in mobility such as Toyota, which since 1997 has sold a hybrid gasoline-electric car called the Prius. He added that he’s working a deal with Lockheed Martin for “33,000 meter motors that’s hopefully going to be bundled as we move forward.”
Wednesday, Oct. 16
“Life is too short to work with the wrong people. Pick the right ones, and take your time finding them. Breakthroughs are the result of solving the right problems the right way with the right people.”
CEO and Founder
Skip Howard is all about technology that has the potential to change the world for the better. He’s doing that as the CEO and founder of Spacee, a post-mobile augmented reality startup that’s revolutionizing the retail industry.
Spacee partners with retailers to create interactive experiences that improves a visitor’s experience. It’s partnered with Men’s Warehouse, Walmart, Mercedes-Benz, and most recently, Vitamin Shoppe.
Last week, Spacee announced its Vitamin Shoppe partnership, and enable digital transformation for the stores. Now, every product is smart through Spacee technology. Howard says he and the team plan to deploy the solution to various Vitamin Shoppe locations this year.
Tuesday, Oct. 15
“They needed a job.”
…on the inspiration for creating a new software program to help previously incarcerated people and those recovering from addiction.
“I had done a lot of prison work on teaching business plans and entrepreneurship, and as these guys were getting out of prison, that’s the first thing they needed,” Garcia says. “A job.”
Garcia’s company, Cornbread Hustle, works to give previously incarcerated people and those recovering from addiction another chance through its Dallas staffing agency, and now, a software program called Cornbread Hustle Powered By Freedom 365 Virtual Recovery System. It’s free for people in her program to use.
“HR departments are working with us to implement this to provide an anonymous tool for their employees if they need it,” Garcia says. In addition, a felony district court in Dallas County plans to use the program in a pilot.
Friday, Oct. 11
“There are up to five times more people watching others play games than actual people playing the games.”
President and Chief Business Officer
…on the rise of the “spectator era” in gaming.
McKinney-based Playful Studios, which raised its latest $23M funding round by non-traditional means in September, is working on a variety of new projects that are designed from the ground up to maximize the experience for gamers, viewers, and creators (streamers).
The spectator trend “has been growing steadily in the past few years, but has been massively accelerated with the advent of live streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Live, and popular games like League of Legends and Fortnite,” Stanley says.
Thursday, Oct. 10
“We give all our entrepreneurs a little gas in the tank to get up the first hill.”
…on the Dallas-based VC’s accelerator program.
But, it’s the Dallas-based VC fund’s mentors who are the ones to help those entrepreneurs “see beyond the first hill, to the next hill, and the next,” Matthews said at RevTech’s Tech Trends in Retail event held recently at the Neighborhood Goods flagship store in Plano.
RevTech Ventures is known for boosting startups that sit on the intersection of retail and technology. That support may include investments, year-round mentorship and support, and a program for accelerator graduates—as well as keeping entrepreneurs staying up-to-date on the latest emerging concepts.
(And if you’re unfamiliar with Neighborhood Goods’ concept, think coworking, but for retail.)
Wednesday, Oct. 9
“Originally, it was just a bucket list item.”
…on making the transition from working as an attorney to becoming an author.
Self-published author and Dallas resident Elizabeth Dyer recently won a Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award—”the highest award of distinction in romance fiction.”
Dyer says becoming an author is a form of entrepreneurship. While it can be a lot of fun, it can also be very overwhelming and extremely time-consuming, she says. “When people say they write full time, they don’t mean, typically, that they’re writing eight hours a day, because there’s all this other business stuff that goes into it.”
Tuesday, Oct. 8
“From a private-industry standpoint, we are facing this huge hockey stick of [attempted] attacks.”
Chief Information Security Officer
…on cybersecurity and trucking, via the Wall Street Journal.
Data and automation are creating opportunities for hackers in the transportation sector, the WSJ reports.
A “growing reliance on technology means that bad actors could divert valuable cargo from its destination, paralyze logistical networks, or enable trade secrets to be compromised,” according to the publication. “Hackers are already making attempts to break in.”
Reynolds, CISO at Omnitracs, a Dallas-based fleet-management technology provider, is also the president of the North Texas chapter of InfraGard, a security partnership between businesses and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Monday, Oct. 7
“We like the nimbleness. We only met with Diane von Furstenberg in May.”
Co-owner of DC International
…on the growth strategy behind Dallas-based, family-run e-commerce company, Leatherology, via the Dallas Morning News.
Sister-and-brother duo Rae and David Liu came home to Texas to lead Leatherology, a brand known for its personalizable leather goods and unique painted-on designs.
The siblings have upped the game with a new collaboration: “The younger generation has evolved the brand enough that it has grabbed the attention of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who asked them to put a couple of her signature prints—a leopard and geometric patterns—onto leather,” writes Maria Halkias in the DMN.
It was “Instagram, of all places,” that opened up a conversation that led to the new capsule collection, according to WWD. A photo ended up in the feed of Sandra Campos, CEO of Diane von Furstenberg that led to the DVF x Leatherology collection.
The brand’s craftsmanship is all in the family: A factory in China that makes the goods is owned by the Liu family, and the Carrollton HQ handles the personalization. DC International is the parent company of Leatherology.
For now, the pair looks to keep their options open: “The siblings don’t want Leatherology to become a wholesale business with merchandise sold by other retailers or to open their own branded stores,” reports the DMN.
Leatherology also offers custom options for corporate giving. The company offerings have been described as affordable luxury, but you will rarely see its logo on the front of its products. “Our brand isn’t the focus of the story—you are,” according to its website. “We want each customer to make our items their own through monograms, company logos, slogans or even the occasional hashtag.”
Friday, Oct. 4
“Everything in Texas is big—so is our data center. It’s a pretty big place.”
CEO of Google
…during a roundtable Thursday in Dallas, via the DBJ.
Pichai and First Daughter Ivanka Trump visited El Centro College, where they announced the expansion of a training program that provides high-tech job training to community college students. Pichai also signed a White House pledge that aims to provide 250,000 training and education opportunities throughout the next five years. More than 350 companies have signed, including DFW-headquartered AT&T, American Airlines, and Toyota.
In June, Google announced its already-under-construction $600 million data center in Midlothian, where key online tools and resources will be developed, including search results, YouTube videos, Gmail, and various apps. Google also gave Midlothian Independent School District a $100,000 grant for the development of STEM programs in schools. Read more about that here.
Thursday, Oct. 3
“The lack of innovation and risk taking is catching up with all these retailers that watched the last 20 years happen to them. It’s death in the middle.”
Retail Strategic Advisor, Keynote Speaker, Writer
…on how businesses must innovate to stay ahead.
While many think this is the era of a retail apocalypse, Dallas-based Dennis disagrees—brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going away, and instead are focusing on delivering something “unique, memorable, and intensely customer relevant.” Dennis is well known for this assertion that “physical retail isn’t dead, but boring retail is.”
Matt Alexander, the founder and CEO of Plano’s Neighborhood Goods (known for its next-gen approach to the department store), even brought this up during a recent RevTech Ventures event. To Alexander, a retailer’s purpose has to extend beyond just selling product—which is quite different from the traditional model.
“I think the reason we have the opportunity to even exist as a company is largely a result of a lack of self-awareness in the retail industry in general,” Alexander said. “Steve Dennis, who’s involved with RevTech, has said for a long time that ‘physical retail isn’t dead, boring retail is.’ And that’s become a very significant statement throughout the industry.”
Wednesday, Oct. 2
“Leaders will try and fail, try and fail, but the important thing is to remain optimistic and great things will happen.”
Former President George W. Bush
…on leadership as a catalyst to solve the world’s largest challenges.
“Failure is just part of being a business leader,” President Bush said at an event in Dallas hosted by Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global, peer-to-peer network of some 14,000 business owners.
Bush, who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009, met with leaders “to discuss how leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurism can transform industries and communities around the world.”
Tuesday, Oct. 1
“Sacrifice is something we experience in the startup ecosystem quite frequently, but it’s not always the tangible sacrifices that make the biggest difference. “
Rent My Wardrobe
Monday, Sept. 30
“Eventually, I want you to get rid of me.”
Developer and Owner
Options Real Estate of Texas at Dallas
Anderson is a helper at heart, and often invests his time and money in entrepreneurs he believes in, many of whom rent space from him at Tyler Station—the mixed-use “collaborative village” that’s home to artisans, craftspeople, creatives, and entrepreneurs—and other developments.
“I’m always trying to get the artists and the craftsmen to own real estate so they can build wealth and get a piece of the action,” Anderson says.
What makes him different from other investors, he says, is he has no interest in long-term, high-interest loans, nor in having equity in a company or entrepreneur.
Friday, Sept. 27
“The first-ever North Texas Film Festival has a broad range of films that will speak to a variety of people and special interests—from films on sports to military service and veterans to the environment to horror stories, family features, and more.”
CEO and President of Dallas Film
Executive Director of DIFF and NTXFF
… on the new film festival that made its debut in Plano on Thursday.
The North Texas Film Festival (NTXFF) will be in full swing this weekend. The inaugural event opened with a screening of “The Laundromat” last night and will close on Sunday with “Two Popes.” The festival is incorporating programming from North Texas VetFest, EarthXFilm, and Vans.
Proceeds from this year’s inaugural NTXFF will benefit VIFM. In honor of VIFM, the NTXFF will showcase “A New Leash on Life: A K9’s for Warriors Story” and a shorts block with films created by veterans or pertaining to military service.
EarthXFilm will have its own shorts block too, focused on climate and the environment on Saturday at 12 p.m. And, in honor of “The Tony Alva Story” screening, NTXFF is collaborating with Vans to bring a skateboarding exhibition to the Cinemark West Plano at 2:15 p.m.
Plus, the Texas Archive of the Moving Image will host a pop-up event: North Texas people and businesses can drop off their old films and videotapes for free digitization on Sunday from 12 – 7 p.m. at Cinemark West Plano and XD. To qualify for the free service, participants must donate a digital copy of their materials to Texas Archive of the Moving Image’s (TAMI) archive.
The North Texas Film Festival is produced by Dallas Film and powered by Capital One.
Thursday, Sept. 26
“Active use is suspected to be associated with improved subjective well-being, whereas passive browsing is suspected to be particularly harmful.”
University of Texas at Dallas
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
— on the effects of social media and “FOMO” in a new study
“Studies suggest young people are mostly passively browsing,” Burnell said, emphasizing the difference between “active social media use—uploading content and initiating direct interactions with other people—and passive use, described as browsing feeds without any kind of social exchange.”
Burnell’s social media research is part of the Blackberry Project, which is a multiyear study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“This study of the possible effects of young people lurking online is the first investigation to show that the fear of missing out may follow from comparing your inner experiences to someone else’s ‘greatest hits’ posted online—and that this fear predicts feeling depressed and bad about yourself,” Burnell said in a UTD post.
Wednesday, Sept. 25
“Noticing trends in other industries can be crucial to figuring out where policy is going in the future.”
Chief Legal Officer and Secretary
… via D CEO
“Observing small but important events that have nothing to do with your business can provide a perspective into the bigger picture,” Sine says.
Meet the 31 honorees in D CEO’s 10th annual Corporate Counsel Awards program. Sine won Outstanding General Counsel in the Large Legal Department category.
Tuesday, Sept. 24
“I’ll tell you what, my failures can be attributed to one thing: Piss‑poor preplanning. You’ve got to preplan this stuff.“
Entrepreneur, Restaurant Mogul, Author
… Real talk from Romano during a ’40-minute master class’ in support of the Greater Dallas Food & Beverage CPG Community group.
Best known for creating popular restaurant staples like Fuddruckers, Cozymel’s, Macaroni Grill, Eatzi’s, and Nick & Sam’s, Romano regaled the group with stories from his long career. His most recent creations are Trinity Groves, the West Dallas food incubator, and the Network Bar, which has been likened to a “LinkedIn country club.”
Monday, Sept. 23
“At the end of the day, consulting is a people business.”
Wilson Perumal & Company
… on the company’s recognition as a great place to work in ALM’s Consulting Magazine.
Dallas-based Wilson Perumal & Company (WP&C) was named the No. 1 small strategy consulting firm on ALM’s Consulting Magazine’s annual “Best Firms to Work For” list. The firm ranked No. 2 among small firms across all service lines.
It’s the third year for WP&C to earn a spot on the list.
“Doing interesting work, the right way, means WP&C consultants get ample opportunity to team, learn, and grow,” Partner David Toth said in the magazine. But recruiting carefully for the right fit is a big part of it, he said. And, “the company has a strict “no jerks” policy.”
The boutique management consulting firm was founded in 2009. “The team rallies together behind a common goal: helping global companies solve some of their most difficult issues,” according to the company. WP&C wants to provide a fresh perspective to help companies that “struggle with the complexity of today’s world.”
What next? Wilson Perumal’s priorities in the coming year include deepening its relationships at its flagship clients in commercial, private equity and defense sectors — and “continuing to recruit top talent to build out the team.”
Friday, Sept. 20
“We have to make downtown Dallas more walkable, more livable, and more navigable—and that’s the commitment I’ll make to you today.”
…during Downtown Dallas Inc.’s Fall Forum and State of Downtown.
The mayor talked about how downtown Dallas is becoming a more vibrant place, and how it’s become home to roughly 12,000 residents.
Johnson also named the new AT&T Discovery District under construction as one of the area’s major investments. “I truly think this will become a destination for all citizens in Dallas,” Johnson said, via WBAP.com.
Thursday, Sept. 19
“Innovation comes from taking risks, and all the good characteristics of amazing IT teams can lead back to being purpose-driven.”
Chief Information Officer
Medical City Healthcare
…on the role of innovation in healthcare, via Becker’s Healthcare.
“It is a purpose higher than any one of us or a job or function,” Dallas-based Miller says. “I can take risks differently; I can do the right thing for our patients differently; I can empower differently. It’s all about being purpose-driven. It’s never about just one person, but the focus is on the patient in the bed.”
Wednesday, Sept. 18
“We believe if we focus on continuing to meet people’s needs, the money will come behind that. It’s just a fundamental way of living.”
CEO of Eosera
…on her company’s business philosophy, via D CEO.
Fort Worth-based Eosera all started when Dickerson realized it had been decades since there had been significant progress in the world of earwax removal, and decided to find a way to help. She and Joe Griffin left big pharma behind, found a lab at the UNT Health Center, and launched a company.
Today, Eoseara makes a half-dozen products sold on shelves across the country by Amazon, Target, CVS, and more.
“We knew it would be much easier to find a hole in the market and try to fill it rather than build a product and go find a place for it,” she told D CEO. “We heard loud and clear that there was an opportunity, as no one was focused on ear care.”
Tuesday, Sept. 17
“I didn’t have a silver spoon growing up. When I landed at the airport in the USA, I couldn’t afford a coffee.
Despite tough life circumstances, I have always been a dreamer and wanted to make something of my life by hook or crook.”
Access Healthcare Services
…on his early career journey, via Jayneil Dalal on LinkedIn.
“I always feel inspired by the success stories of fellow immigrants,” Dalal, who’s the lead UX designer at AT&T, wrote on LinkedIn during last week’s Venture Dallas. Jain, who’s also a managing partner at Perot Jain, moderated a panel on the Future of Mobility at the event.
Monday, Sept. 16
“If you don’t see it, you’re not going to be it.”
Claudia Romo Edelman
We Are All Human Foundation
via The Dallas Morning News.
The We Are All Human Foundation—a nonprofit that promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion—launched a first-of-its-kind national pledge called the “Hispanic Promise,” which more than 45 corporations signed earlier this year. It’s a call to action for companies to hire, promote, retain, and celebrate Hispanics in the workplace.
Last month, we told you about how the Hispanic Promise was to be featured at the first Dallas gathering of the Hispanic Leadership Summit.
At the event, about 15 Dallas- and North Texas-based companies signed the Promise, including AT&T, Ericsson and YUM! Brands. That makes business sense and creates opportunity, Pinnacle’s Nina Vaca told The DMN, given the region’s large Latino population. “We can’t have the Latino community left behind here in Dallas.”
Dallas is about 42 percent Latino, according to The DMN.
Friday, Sept. 13
“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-living the last.”
CEO of Blue Jean Networks, LLC
…via TECH Fort Worth.
Sunny Lowe, a local serial entrepreneur, kicked off TechFW’s Fall TechNest series.
Thursday, Sept. 12
“Ask yourself: ‘How many times have I been on camera so far today? Ten times? One hundred times? Am I on camera right now?'”
Managing Director of RevTech
…on new retail concepts and the technologies that power them, via LinkedIn.
“In retail settings, the relevant question is increasingly this one: ‘Fine, I’m on camera, but what benefit is it bringing to me?'” Matthews asks.
RevTech will explore these themes during its upcoming annual event, Tech Trends in Retail, at Neighborhood Goods in Plano on September 19.
Wednesday, Sept. 11
“Best definition of sales that I’ve ever heard: ‘transfer of enthusiasm.’“
…commenting on a job description, via Twitter (@marshal).
“Agreed! My friend once pointed out how negatively I spoke about sales. She looked at me and said: ‘Tina, selling is a transfer of enthusiasm. Nothing else.’ That was a game changer for me,” Tina Roth Eisenberg (@swissmiss) also tweeted.
Entrepreneur Haas recently moved back to Dallas-Fort Worth after spending 8 years away. “Home prices in Texas are amazing. $350k gets you a custom home—5 bedrooms, 3 car garage, 15 mins to downtown Fort Worth,” he tweeted.
Tuesday, Sept. 10
“Education is a great equalizer.”
Elda M. Rojas
Chief Academic Officer
…on the role of education in the advancement of the Hispanic community, via @MartyTakesDAL on Twitter.
We Are All Human Foundation hosted the first Dallas Hispanic Leadership Summit yesterday, coinciding with the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. The goal was to spark conversation and drive actionable solutions for the Latino community.
Leaders from major Dallas-Fort Worth-based businesses were in attendance, including AT&T, Texas Instruments, Southwest Airlines, and Pinnacle Group.
Monday, Sept. 9
“Anyone that is drawn to this program is naturally in one way or another a sponge. Whether it is receiving or giving, oftentimes it’s a combination of both.”
Cynthia St. John
Chiefologist at Chiefology
…on mentoring in the M-Crew program, via TechFW.
Watch this clip as Cynthia St. John shares her perspective on being a mentor in the M-Crew program.
Quincy Preston, Alex Edwards, and Lance Murray contributed to this report.
Icon image: m_pavlova/istockphoto
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