The Last Word: UT Dallas Professor xtine burrough on the Dancing Baby Meme

Read “who said what” in our roundup of quotes about all things North Texas, including Ferris City Manager Brooks Williams; new Dallas Fed President and CEO Lorie Logan; SMU grad Marillyn Seeberger; Corporate Finance Associates' Dan Vermeire; the TRA's Dr. Emily Williams Knight; entrepreneur coaching guru Nick Kennedy; and more.

“Gosh, it really is a naked baby, right? Clothes or no clothes, but it’s this nude figure that is used to symbolize a lot of different circumstances.

xtine burrough 
Media Artist and Professor 
UT Dallas
.…on the wild afterlives of the Dancing Baby meme, via CNN Style.

The “Dancing Baby” became one of the first viral Internet memes when it was released in 1996 by its original creators, Michael Girard, Robert Lurye, and John Chadwick. The 3D graphic of a baby in a diaper dancing and wiggling around was shared not by TikTok or Instagram but via millions of email forwards worldwide. 

26 years later—after countless remakes, twists, and variations on the dancing baby theme—it’s gotten new life through a more lifelike, strangely transfixing version made by the original creators in collaboration with Vienna-based HFA-Studio. New dancing babies are set to be released as NFTs next week.

CNN talked with UT Dallas’ burrough about the phenomenon.

“It was released as something that was welcomed to be remixed,” burrough told CNN. “And we saw the results of that, and we are still seeing the results of that. And that really gives people the freedom to take the image and allow it to meet the context of today.”

Musing on “the physics of a dancing baby,” burrough got to the heart of the matter with a straightforward observation: “The way it moves, it’s really hard not to laugh at it.”


Thursday, May 12

Ferris City Manager Brooks Williams. [Photo: City of Ferris]

“We believe this is a creative solution that shows if you care about people, you can honor the desire for limited government in the choices we make for ourselves while still providing valuable services for your citizens.

Brooks Williams 
City Manager 
City of Ferris
.…on using Federal Rescue Plan funds to provide free healthcare for all city residents, via WFAA.

The city council of Ferris, a suburb southeast of Dallas, has unanimously approved a plan to provide free healthcare to all its residents. The city will pay for this out of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“From what we’ve found, we’re the first city in the state and in the country to do something like this,” Williams told WFAA. 

The city will be partnering on its program with MD Health Pathways, a Dallas-based team of doctors, nurses, and caretakers that will provide Ferris residents with “Access for All” healthcare at both brick-and-mortar sites and mobile settings.

Williams told WFAA the program will offer “convenience, consistency, and efficiency through a combination of telehealth, cloud-based data management, mobile healthcare team deployment, low-cost essential medication delivery, and patient advocacy.”

“We are determined to not violate the free market of healthcare,” Williams added. “But we are also focused on local solutions that meet the needs of our citizens.”


Wednesday, May 11

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas incoming President and CEO Lorie K. Logan. [Photo: Dallas Fed]

“I believe strongly in the Federal Reserve’s mission and in the critical role it plays in promoting a healthy economy that truly works for everyone.

Lorie K. Logan 
Newly appointed President and CEO 
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
.…on taking the helm of the Dallas Fed this August.

Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas announced Logan’s appointment as its new president and CEO, effective August 22. 

Logan will represent the Eleventh Federal Reserve District on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in the formulation of U.S. monetary policy, while leading the Dallas Fed’s 1,200 employees.

49-year-old Logan currently serves as EVP of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She is also manager of the System Open Market Account for the FOMC, overseeing the system’s $9 trillion securities portfolio and leading the implementation of FOMC monetary policy.

“I look forward to engaging with business and community leaders across the Eleventh District and representing all of the hard-working people of the district at the FOMC,” Logan said in a statement. “I’m excited about moving to Texas and becoming involved in the community.”

Logan replaces Robert S. Kaplan, who retired from the Dallas Fed last October. Former First Vice President Meredith Black has been serving as interim president; she plans to retire on September 1 after 39 years of service.


Tuesday, May 10

Marillyn Seeberger [Photo: SMU]

“I don’t want to just take up space on the planet.

Marillyn Seeberger
Aspiring Screenwriter 
.…on graduating from SMU this week at age 85 with a BA in film and media arts.

This Saturday, Seeberger will lead other film graduates into SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium as their marshal for the Meadows School of the Arts commencement ceremony. Then she’ll be ready to get to work in her new career as a screenwriter—at age 85.

“I always wanted to write,” she said in a statement. “I knew I had stories to tell with a little bit of fact and a little bit of fiction.”

At 18 in 1954, she’d planned to attend OU, but ended up getting married and having three daughters instead. After moving to Dallas in 1968, she joined the film production team at the Bloom Agency—then the biggest independent ad agency in Dallas—in the heart of the “Mad Men” era. By 1981, she was Bloom’s first woman vice president of broadcast production, helping to produce national ad campaigns, music videos, and award-winning corporate films. 

She was the first woman to lead nearly every film and production professional organization in Dallas, and created her own production company, Turtle Island Pictures.

But… “I always wanted to write.” 

After creating her SMU senior production class film, “The Author,” she now feels she has the chops to take on screenwriting professionally. “It was important to me to have the credentials to be a screenwriter,” she says.

Now, two words will likely be coming soon to her laptop: “Fade in…”


Monday, May 9

Dan Vermeire

“If you’ve been thinking you want to get a deal done in the next two or three years, you better think about doing it right now, because it isn’t going to get better than this.

Dan Vermeire
Managing Director and Principal
Corporate Finance Associates
.…on trends in the “M&A Super Cycle,” via D CEO.

D CEO has announced the winners of its 2022 Mergers and Acquisitions Awards, and touched off the results by quoting Vermeire on the recent M&A frenzy that’s swept not just North Texas, not just the U.S., but the world.

In 2021, market conditions created a sellers’ paradise, D CEO says, with high valuations, low interest rates, plentiful private equity and venture capital, and baby boomers ready to cash out—leading to a global deal market that topped $5.8 trillion for the year—a 64% YOY increase.

Vermeire closed more than twice as many deals in 2021 as he had in 2020.

“The toughest thing was to pick and choose which deals to work on,” he told D CEO. “The lawyers and accounting firms that handle closings—it got to the point where you had to get on their list, and you had to wait in line in order to get your deal closed.”


Friday, May 6

[Image: istockphoto]

“The Texas Restaurant Show is a catalyst for our industry—creating a unique opportunity for our leaders to gather, collaborate, and reinvent the future of hospitality…

Dr. Emily Williams Knight
President and CEO
Texas Restaurant Association
…on the TRA’s 2022 Texas Restaurant Show coming to Dallas July 9-11.

The Texas Restaurant Association is presenting the Texas Restaurant Show this July 9-11 at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Five thousand people are expected to attend, bringing more than $2 million in revenue to Dallas-area businesses.

Now in its 85th year, the Texas Restaurant Show—formerly known as the TRA Marketplace—will feature “state-of-the-science” products and equipment, cutting-edge culinary technology, and the latest innovative trends from more than 400 exhibitors. Industry leaders will be on hand with advice, and the go-to event is a “party with a purpose”—the Lone Star Bash featuring the Texas Restaurant Awards.

“The past two years have demonstrated the value of working together and learning from each other,” Knight said in a statement. “We’re proud to present the Texas Restaurant Show in Dallas this year, an event and a city which embody the spirit of collaboration and innovation that will carry us into the future.”

This year’s Lone Star Bash will highlight signature dishes and cocktails from more than 30 esteemed chefs and 15 cutting-edge mixologists, competing for the People’s Choice title for Best Dish and Craft Cocktail.

The competition will be followed by a live performance by Red Dirt rocker Stoney LaRue, with all proceeds benefiting the Texas Restaurant Foundation.

Registration for the 2022 Texas Restaurant Show is available here and you can book a booth here


Thursday, May 5

Nick Kennedy, founder of Nick Kennedy Coaching. [Courtesy photo]

“More people should try entrepreneurship. It’s risky, but not as risky as you think.

Nick Kennedy
Founder
Nick Kennedy Coaching
…on going for it, via LinkedIn.

Kennedy is the former founder and CEO of Dallas-based RISE Air. He’s also served as president of Surf Air and is a former director and leadership coach at Townsend Leadership. Most recently he’s become founder and chairman of The Good Entrepreneur Institute, based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

As a coach, he says on LinkedIn, “I sit with leaders and I help them make decisions so they don’t make the same mistakes I made when I was a CEO running my own business. After I sold my last business, I took several years off, I spent time learning a lot of hard lessons. I wrote a book about it [‘The Good Entrepreneur”], and I write here on LinkedIn regarding all the lessons I learned.”

His advice on taking risks with entrepreneurship?

“Likely worst case is you have to find a new job,” he writes. “Likely best case is you change the trajectory of your life forever. It’s way riskier to stay where you are.”


Wednesday, May 4

Dr. David Spetzler

Dr. David Spetzler [Image: Caris Life Sciences]

“We call it the molecular revolution, and it’s going to change healthcare and how we think about health forever.”

Dr. David Spetzler
President and Chief Scientific Officer
Caris Life Sciences

… on the company’s blood testing for various cancers through molecular analysis, in D CEO.

“The number of false positives in the existing screening process is crazy high,” Dr. David Spetzler told D CEO. But he said, while a “perfectly sensitive test” can catch a cancer, it can be at the expense of telling people they have cancer when they don’t.

“That’s not acceptable,” the CSO said.

North Texas-based Caris Life Sciences’ newest lab in Phoenix is just one example of how it continues to innovate. The company is developing “the most powerful blood-based assay ever,” Spetzler said in an announcement last week. The $45 million liquid biopsy facility analyzes blood cells to reveal more than a “binary yes or no.”  Caris aims to launch its diagnostic assay called Caris Assure to deliver tumor profiling and cancer diagnostics.

A leader in precision medicine, Caris has an extensive database of cancer markers that’s a library of tumor biomarker results linked to outcome data. The company also developed a Genomic Profiling Similarity Score that can compare molecular characteristics of a patient’s tumor against Caris’ database.

Caris’ profiling tool for tumors uses over 6,500 mathematical models in a machine-learning algorithm. 


Tuesday, May 3

Tyrus Sanders [Photo: Regions Bank Corporate Communications]

“If the region is going to continue to grow, the opportunity is in the southern sector. You have to think about where the basketball is going to go, not where it is.”

Tyrus Sanders
Executive Vice President
Regions Bank
…on growing the region’s presence in Southern Dallas County, via Bisnow.

Sanders is Region Banks’ Dallas market executive for commercial banking. He sees Southern Dallas County as playing a key role in future of growth for the region—and his bank is putting its money behind that belief. 

Regions Bank has provided a $10 million line of credit to assist the capital campaign for Fair Park, Bisnow writes, along with a $1 million equity investment in the Texas Mezzanine Fund, a Dallas-based community development fund that finances businesses and economic development projects in underserved Texas communities.

The bank has also partnered with James Armstrong III, president and CEO of Builders of Hope, a nonprofit developing affordable housing in urban communities in Dallas.

“We’re going to provide him with a line of credit so he can buy lots from the city that are part of the land bank so he can have inventory to do infill housing,” Sanders told Bisnow. “Before that, he didn’t have a facility to buy a bulk number of lots to build on. He had to do one piece at a time.”

The moves by Sanders and Regions Bank are just part of the renewed focus on Southern Dallas, Bisnow writes, including the Dallas Regional Chambers’ launch of SouthernDallasCounty.com, the Dallas City Council steering $1.5 billion in funding for renovations of Fair Park and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and more.


Monday, May 2

Linear Labs co-founder Brad Hunstable [Photo: Quincy Preston]

Fort Worth making waves again. We are going to keep pushing the limits in new tech. From Energy 2.0 to Mobility to even Bitcoin.

Brad Hunstable
Founder and CEO
Linear Labs
…on Fort Worth becoming the first U.S. city to mine bitcoin, via LinkedIn.

Like many in Fort Worth and across the region, Hunstable got excited last week when Fort Worth became the first city in the U.S. to mine bitcoin—right out of its city hall.

Three S9 Bitcoin mining machines donated by the Texas Blockchain Council began running 24/7 last Tuesday in the city hall’s climate-controlled IT Solutions Department Data Center, following a city council vote that authorized the six-month pilot program.

“We want to make sure not only Fort Worth, but the entire state of Texas, is crypto friendly to be the crypto capital of the world,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said on a live Twitter feed that day. 

“With the support and partnership of Texas Blockchain Council, we’re stepping into that world on a small scale while sending a big message—Fort Worth is where the future begins,” Parker added in a statement.


Friday, April 29

Brad Phelan, director of technology commercialization, UT Southwestern. [Photo: LinkedIn]

We don’t want to have really exciting research that then needs to wait two years to get to the point where it can have commercial application.

Brad Phelan
Director of Technology Commercialization
UT Southwestern
…on the promise of Pegasus Park, via LinkedIn.

Moving medical progress forward faster is imperative. UT Southwestern’s Brad Phelan is digging in and pushing things forward—and one thing he’s especially excited about is the promise of the Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park.

Just last month, Pegasus Park marked the opening of BioLabs, a 37,000-square-foot facility offering shared wet labs and strikingly designed office spaces, all located within the hub’s reimagined 23-acre campus

When it comes to accelerating the move from research to commercialization, “The reality of Pegasus happening and driving those collisions is here,” Phelan says.


Thursday, April 28

Video still of a promotional video for the Jason Boso-owned Truck Yard off Lower Greenville. [Video still: Truck Yard]

That is going to benefit our city so greatly by having more variety of food options, by having a more diverse food culture, by creating a larger community here, thereby creating competition, thereby elevating the level of food.

Jason Boso
Chef/Owner
Truck Yard
…on a new city of Dallas ordinance that makes it easier for mobile food vendors to do business, via D Magazine.

Dallas may be about to enter a new era of food truck heaven.

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved a revised code governing food trailers, food trucks, and food carts. Permits will now cost less and require fewer trips to City Hall. Fees have been lowered, and chefs have more freedom to do things like cook raw fish and poultry on-site. They also will be required to go to commissaries weekly instead of daily.

Previously, food trucks only had to get permit once a year, but more affordable food trailers were required to get a permit each time they served.

With the updated code, opportunity now abounds for anyone with wheels and a hunger to serve even hungrier customers.

“What this does, first and foremost, is it cuts the barrier of entry, the capital cost to get into this, by 50% or more. Then it cuts operational costs by 50% or more,” Boso, who owns both Truck Yard off Lower Greenville and a commissary, told D.

Boso, who also owns Twisted Root Burger Co. and Tacos & Avocados, co- write the wording of the updated ordinance.

“This opens up this entrepreneurial business for diversity,” Boso told D. “It opens it up to underprivileged communities.”


Wednesday, April 27

JeffSinelli

Jeff Sinelli, CEO of Which Wich. [Photo by Marissa DeFalcis]

“After 18 years of bags and Sharpies, we really went full tech.”

Jeff Sinelli
CEO
Which Wich
…on his chain’s new virtual cashier platform, via the Dallas Morning News.

Sinelli’s restaurant chain is moving forward from the pandemic by innovating—with a goal of advancing into the digital age while addressing labor shortages that have plagued restaurants nationwide.

One big innovation Sinelli’s team developed is rolling out now in the newly reopened Which Wich sandwich shop in downtown Dallas: YellowLAB, a virtual customer service platform.

When a customer approaches a YellowLAB screen, sensors ping an available “remote cashier” who appears on the screen, greets the customer, and takes their food order. Their order is sent to the kitchen, and when the food is ready, the customer gets picks it up at the counter. Meanwhile, the remote cashiers get added flexibility and autonomy over their work schedules.

“We built this model to reduce labor,” Sinelli told the DMN. “We used to have six to eight people working in a store at a time, and now we’ve cut that number in half.”

“I think we had to do this as a company that wants to evolve itself,” Sinelli added. “After 18 years of bags and Sharpies, we really went full tech. But during the digital transformation of brands, the human interaction has been missing, and we wanted to bring that back.”

Sinelli told the DMN his team didn’t waste time during the pandemic.

“During COVID, a lot of people retreated, but we created,” Sinelli said. “And we’ve had the luxury of really taking our time during COVID to really do it and do it right.”


Tuesday, April 26

AI Masters Degree UNT

Worlds Inc. CEO and founder Dave Copps [Photo: Michael Samples]

Winning the war between our ears before we take on the market and the world is absolutely my favorite topic to take on with fellow entrepreneurs.”

Dave Copps
Co-founder and CEO
Worlds Inc.
…on discussing “all things entrepreneur” with Business Navigators, via Twitter.

Copps discussed the entrepreneurial mindset last week for the servant leadership nonprofit Business Navigators

His company, Worlds Inc., is a leading intellectual property developer and licensee of patents related to 3D online virtual worlds. Launched in 2020, the startup’s “extended reality environment” builds AI-models to give businesses and organizations a new way to view their physical world.

One of his messages to Business Navigators was to “Embrace Ridiculous.” Why? Because “ridiculous is the radical evolution of thinking big,” he says.

“It’s okay to stare the world in the face and radically elevate your expectation of what it will give back,” Copps noted, followed by other insights:

“We embrace ridiculous by playing impossible games.”

“When you ask the world for big things, what’s possible expands in direct correlation to your expectations.”

Want more? Read the serial entrepreneur’s advice on company culture and the seven mindsets for abundance in startups


Monday, April 25

Hypergiant CEO Mike Betzer [Photo: Hypergiant]

If you look at our energy power plants, what’s protecting them? It’s a wire fence that I could literally drive a car through.”

Mike Betzer
CEO
Hypergiant
…on “solving the big problems” with AI, via FUTR Tech.

Betzer appeared on the FUTR Tech podcast to talk about how his company’s data science platform is solving some of the “big problems” in critical infrastructure, national security, space, and defense. 

Betzer says America’s critical infrastructure is now national security, and Hypergiant  is working to help keep it safe.

“We are protecting people’s lives, we’re protecting our grid, we’re protecting our infrastructure. If there’s a terrible thing that happens—the power grid gets shut down, the communication grid gets shut down, the water supply gets shut down— as we saw in the Texas freeze that happened a few years ago, people panic in about 24 hours,” Betzer tells FUTR Tech.

There’s nothing protecting our power plants, Betzer adds, “and we have to change that—that’s national security.” 

To do that, our country needs to design a safer, more secure future by using AI, he added.

“You have to be able to design the future, but you have to also be able to execute upon the future,” he said. “We’ve got an awesome fleet of data scientists who can help our customers be successful. We design the future, and then we use [our Hyperdrive data science platform] as the engine that sits in the middle that actually delivers that capability.” 

Betzer explained that in a way, AI is simpler than many people think.

“We’re just trying to leverage data to make decisions,” he tells FUTR Tech. “That’s all that AI is. Now, there’s some places where there’s really cool AI that’s doing things to replace humans—but generally speaking, it’s just leveraging data that’s coming at you with such a pace from so many sources, that a human can’t make that decision.” By using AI, Hypergiant can make that data update automatically, “and you don’t have to worry about it.”


Friday, April 22

Dallas Mayor Eric johnson [Photo: City of Dallas]

Turning off non-essential lighting at night for a few weeks helps our ecosystem, conserves energy, and saves money.”

Eric Johnson
Mayor of Dallas
… from his Earth Day proclamation urging Dallas residents and businesses to join “Lights Out Nights” through May 12.

Every spring and fall, nearly two billion birds travel through the state of Texas—between a quarter and a third of all birds migrating throughout the U.S. Light pollution in big metros like Dallas causes millions of them to die each year as they migrate, when they’re disoriented by urban lights and collide with buildings.

To mark Earth Day today, Mayor Johnson urged Dallasites to do their part to keep birds on the wing—by turning non-essential lights off or down between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from tonight through May 12.

Lights Out Nights have become a worthwhile tradition in Dallas, and I encourage all of our residents and businesses to again participate if they’re able to do so safely,” Mayor Johnson said in an official proclamation.

Lights Out Texas is a statewide initiative led by former First Lady Laura Bush, conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds.

“Dallas is a global leader in addressing environmental issues,” the mayor added. “And on Earth Day, I’m proud to say that the people of our city have made major strides by taking small steps, such as this one, together.


Thursday, April 21

Haley Taylor Schlitz [Photo: SMU]

I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there.”

Haley Taylor Schlitz
Dedman School of Law
Southern Methodist University
… on being poised to become SMU’s youngest-ever law school graduate, via the Dallas Morning News.

Haley Taylor Schlitz is used to being ahead of schedule.

As a public school fifth grader struggling to be acknowledged as a gifted student, she began home schooling and rocketed ahead. At age 13, she graduated from high school. By 16, she’d graduated from Texas Woman’s University and won acceptance to nine different U.S. law schools. 

She chose SMU’s Dedman School of Law, and is now poised at age 19 to become SMU’s youngest-ever law school graduate on May 13. 

After that, she hopes to work on education policy issues for an elected official or nonprofit. She already has political experience—in June 2020 at age 17, Haley was elected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was one of the youngest delegates at the DNC that year.

She also wants to help increase opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color.

“Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation’s gifted and talented programs,” Taylor Schlitz said in a statement. “Society will lose out on the potential scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who starts the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color.”


Wednesday, April 20

Apex CEO William Capuzzi [Photo: Apex Clearing]

Our mission is all about democratizing finance through access—and education is a vital part of that.”

Bill Capuzzi
CEO
Apex Fintech Solutions
… on partnering with Zogo, a “next-gen” financial education app, founded by CEO Bolun Li when he was a 19-year-old student.

Dallas-based Apex, which calls itself “the fintech for fintechs,” announced today it’s partnering with Zogo Finance, the next-gen financial education app, to transform the way investors learn on their own.

Created by Austin-based founder and CEO Bolun Li as a student, Zogo takes a Gen Z approach to financial education by offering users gift cards and rewards for learning on the Zogo app.

The app covers everything from investing strategies to e-sports, healthcare, insurance, and more. With the new partnership, the modules will now roll out to investors nationwide by integrating into fintech platforms like Fintron and UNest—both mutual clients of Apex and Zogo.

Millennials and Gen Z are reinventing investing, which requires companies to adapt to their evolving interests, financial aspirations, and educational needs,” Bolun Li said in a statement. “Apex shares our vision of harnessing technology to create customized, flexible, and accessible learning opportunities to support investors of all types.”

“Partnering with Zogo helps us empower our clients and their millions of customers,” Capuzzi added.

Since Zogo’s 2018 founding, users have completed over 16 million “lessons.

Zogo currently serves over 500,000 users and partners with 180+ financial institutions, from banks to credit unions to large corporations including Dallas-based clients RelyOn and Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union.

The Zogo team is hiring aggressively across Texas, with plans to add around 50 people this year, according to a spokesperson.


Tuesday, April 19

DFW*ATW 2021 President Shanthi Rajaram

Shanthi Rajaram [Photo via DFW*ATW]

“Women continue to make progress in leadership but still represent less than 30% of the C-suite.”

Shanthi Rajaram
President
DFW*ATW
… on the “why” behind the organization’s upcoming 20th anniversary Women in Tech event—empowering women.

A “powerhouse of speakers” is planned for the annual DFW Alliance of Technology and Women summit themed “The New, Now and Next” on May 11.

“This being our 20th anniversary, we’ve worked to exceed expectations,” said Rajaram, DFW*ATW president.

Rajaram, who is president and CEO of Frisco-based IT consulting firm Amazech Solutions, encourages women to “crack the courage code.” In an interview with Dallas Innovates last fall, the CEO says being “comfortable with the unknown” helped her start her own entrepreneurship journey.  

Inspiration from DFW*ATW events can be catalytic, she says. 

Held at the InnoTech Dallas conference in Irving, the day-long Women in Tech summit will feature five sessions and 17 experts from business, education, and politics who will take a deep dive into technology and career topics impacting women.

Kelly Ann Doherty, EVP and chief administrative officer of Mr. Cooper Group will keynote the summit. Doherty’s career has spanned work within President George W. Bush’s administration and at NASA before her ascent to the C-suite. Following the keynote, panelists will include Texas state Senator Angela Paxton, and technology thought leaders from PepsiCo, Texas Instruments, McKesson, Accenture, the University of North Texas, and more.

DFW*ATW, the largest organization dedicated to women in technology in Dallas, is a nonprofit group committed to increasing the number of women in leadership and strengthening the pipeline of girls entering technology fields.

Go here for details and registration.


Monday, April 18

NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice developed G.O.A.T Fuel, an organic energy drink. [Image: G.O.A.T. Fuel]

“It’s not about one person being the goat. It’s about us coming together and just understanding that we all have greatness inside of us.”

Jerry Rice
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman
G.O.A.T. Fuel, Inc.
…on the success of his G.O.A.T. Fuel energy drink, via D CEO.

Rice truly is a GOAT. The greatest NFL receiver of all time, he caught passes for 22,895 yards in his career—more than 13 miles—by far the most of any NFL player in history.

Now he, his daughter, and his son-in-law are making news for racing past the energy drink competition with Plano-headquartered G.O.A.T. Fuel.

Just two years after launch, the brand has bolted out of e-commerce and now has over 7,500 retail accounts, including Target, Central Market, 24-Hour Fitness, and, this summer, Walmart.  

Along with Rice’s son-in-law, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer Trevion Gold, the company moved G.O.A.T. Fuel’s headquarters from the West Coast to Plano last April. Shortly thereafter, the brand announced an exclusive partnership with rising Miami Heat star Tyler Herro, a young NBA player who has earned the nickname “Baby G.O.A.T.” from fans for feats like scoring 37 points in a playoff game.

Jerry’s daughter, G.O.A.T. Fuel Co-Founder and CEO Jaqui Rice Gold, told D CEO one thing their brand has going for it—besides her dad’s NFL eminence—is a traditional Chinese medicine ingredient. 

[Image: G.O.A.T. Fuel]

“We’re the only mainstream energy drink brand on the market right now utilizing cordyceps mushrooms,” Rice Gold told D CEO. “The ingredient helps our bodies utilize oxygen by improving your VO2 max [the maximum oxygen amount utilized during intense exercise]. It is also an anti-inflammatory and prevents any energy drink jitters or crash.”

“Now that we’re here in Dallas, we’re really looking to scale and embed ourselves in the community,” Rice Gold told D CEO.


Thursday, April 14

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones presents Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith with jersey after announcing historic partnership. [Photo: Blockchain.com/PR Newswire]

“They have more fans than crypto companies have users.” 

Peter Smith
Co-Founder and CEO
Blockchain.com
…on the Dallas Cowboys, via The Block.

In a press conference yesterday, Smith and Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones announced that Blockchain.com is the team’s official digital asset partner in a multi-year sponsorship deal.

“Long before the NFL gave the green light to work with crypto companies, we’ve been getting to know the Cowboys and the Jones family,” Smith wrote yesterday on his company’s website. “Over the past few months it’s been an honor to get to know Jerry Jones. He’s a luminary in business, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and is synonymous with American culture. He showed what a wildcatter from rural America could do, taking Texas’ best known professional sports team and transforming it into the most valuable sports brand in the world.”

In the coming years, Smith hopes to reach the 80% of Americans who haven’t explored cryptocurrencies.

“Which means all roads for reaching that 80% lead to football — and the Cowboys,” Smith wrote. “A recent survey conducted by the NFL found that a whopping 54% of Cowboys fans believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of online financial transactions and 41% believe that they’d be willing to transition away from traditional banking and use crypto instead.”

Smith says he’ll start the sponsorship “with stadium and in-game activations, in which fans have a never before-seen-experience using crypto and web3 as part of their gameday experience. We’ll also ensure that education is going to be a primary focus.”


Wednesday, April 13

Chef Beto Rodarte and his son Chef Julian Rodarte opened Beto & Son in Trinity Groves in 2016. [File photo]

“Phil Romano gave me my first at-bat to open my own restaurant when I was only 23 years old.”

 

Julian Rodarte
CEO
Trinity Restaurant Group
…on taking over as CEO from noted Dallas restaurateur Phil Romano. 

Rodarte (above right with his father Beto) is the co-owner of Beto & Son, a “next-generation Mexican food” restaurant at Trinity Groves—the restaurant incubator destination on the west side of Dallas’ Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.  

Today the Trinity Groves Restaurant Group announced that Julian Rodarte is its new CEO, succeeding noted restaurateur Phil Romano in the post.

In a statement, Rodarte gave a big nod to Romano before laying out his future plans.

“[Romano’s] confidence in me catapulted my career,” Rodarte said in the statement. “I’m excited to take the baton and further the vision for West Dallas, as well as implement my ‘Next-Gen Twist’ on the new restaurants that I will be opening at Trinity Groves. Over the next few years, we have a very exciting vision for the expansion of our city’s culinary scene, and we look forward to creating more iconic Dallas brands like Beto & Son, Cake Bar, and Kate Weiser [Chocolate].”

Romano gave Rodarte his stamp of approval, adding that the young chef has the “creativity to create exciting and unique concepts that better cater to today’s generation.”

Trinity Groves has seen a long list of restaurants shuffle through its venues since opening in 2014. Currently, besides the ones Rodarte mentioned above, it also features Holy Crust Pizza, St. Rocco’s New York Italian, Sum Dang Good Chinese, Babb Bros BBQ & Blues, and Milagro Taco Cantina.


Tuesday, April 12

Taylor Shead, founder and CEO of STEMuli. [Photo: STEMuli]

“We know the importance of hydration, activity, and sleep.”

 

Taylor Shead
Founder and CEO
STEMuli Technology
…on the importance of students’ sleep amid what a recent report calls a “sleep equity” crisis, via Dallas Observer.

Shead, a board member of the Dallas Education Foundation, helms a startup that created an “educational metaverse” for DISD. STEMuli’s virtual schooling platform is being piloted at Dallas Hybrid Preparatory at Stephen J. Hay in Oak Lawn—DISD’s first permanently hybrid school.

But whether students are learning from home or in the classroom, Shead worries that they’re not getting enough sleep, something that impacts both their health and their potential.

“[Dallas Hybrid Prep] tasked us with being creative to consider what would benefit students, and we consider these external factors as all contributing factors to whole, healthy children,” Shead told the D.O., adding that her company’s metaverse will one day be integrated with products like Apple Watch to measure and improve students’ sleep.

The need is great, the D.O. says, citing a CHILDREN AT RISK and Mattress Firm report which says at least 33% of U.S. kids are sleep-deprived. Though Dallas has one of the best-sleeping kid populations in the U.S., with the “second-lowest” rate of sleep insecurity, the report says areas in Dallas with high poverty rates had 27% more sleep insecurity than the city overall—pointing to a nationwide childhood “sleep equity” crisis.


Monday, April 11

Texas State Senator Royce West [Photo: Royce West]

“This addition could make North Central Texas a ‘third coast‘ for life science innovation.”

 

Royce West
Texas State Senator
…on the opening of BioLabs at Pegasus Park in Dallas, via LinkedIn.

Senator West was one of the North Texas political leaders at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last month for BioLabs at Pegasus Park. The new coworking space at the Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park offers 37,000 square feet of shared wet labs and office space for up to 35 life science startups.

The facility’s goal is to serve as the epicenter for life science innovation in North Texas, and to empower biotech trailblazers pursing their next breakthrough.

“Our state has immense intellectual capital; this effort will help to attract venture capital to catapult us into one of the most innovative states and add to our economic diversity,” West said on LinkedIn.

You can see inside BioLabs at Pegasus Park in our story here.


Friday, April 8

Iris Burch, president and CEO of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. [Photo: Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center]

“When you let it soak in that it takes more than 24 straight hours to call out the names of each child victim, it’s heart wrenching.”

 

Iris Burch
President and CEO
Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
…on the Save Jane Awareness Campaign, which was observed throughout the Dallas area today.

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center took a stand against child abuse today with its Save Jane Awareness Campaign. Volunteers from across North Texas read out the names and ages of 27,484 children who were victims of child abuse in Dallas County last year—with “Jane” and “John” voiced to protect the minors’ identities.

The reading of the names took a total of more than 24 hours, with readings scheduled from 8 a.m. this morning at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Garland Police Department, NorthPark Center, Grand Prairie Public Safety Building, Irving Family Advocacy Center, Dallas Love Field Airport, Park South YMCA, and the South Dallas County Government Center.

“DCAC hopes that with the relaunch of the Save Jane Awareness campaign, North Texans will recognize the absolute urgency of child abuse issues in Dallas County,” Burch said in a statement. “This has to stop and we are a force dedicated to eradicating child abuse in our city, and providing healing services to those who are the unfortunate sufferers to this terrible crime.”


Thursday, April 7

Shirin Nilizadeh [Photo: UT Arlington]

“It’s a kind of hack to the recruiting process.”

Shirin Nilizadeh
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
UT Arlington
…on finding a way for job applicants to push their resumes to the top of the digital pile.

Nilizadeh has found that job applicants can improve their position, on average, by at least 16 spots on a pool of 100 applicants by employing an algorithm that utilizes job-specific keywords.

Resumes are ranked by text-embedding algorithms by how closely they match job descriptions.

“We found out that you can tailor your resume for a specific job by using specific keywords that could get you pushed toward the top,” she said in a statement.

Nilizadeh’s paper—“Attacks Against Ranking Algorithms with Text Embeddings: A Case Study on Recruitment Algorithms”—was accepted into the Proceedings of the Fourth BlackboxNLP Workshop on Analyzing and Interpreting Neutral Networks for NLP (Natural Language Processing).

“We thought recruitment algorithms were the best example of such ranking algorithms and therefore we decided to work on them,” Nilizadeh said. “The goal of our attack was to identify the keywords from the job description that can improve the ranking of the resume.”

The research showed that using more keywords improves a resume’s ranking. But it also found that adding too many similar words or phrases might not improve a resume’s ranking at all.


Wednesday, April 6

Brinker International SVP and Head of Innovation Wade Allen [Photo: Brinker, background: istockphoto]

“We need automation on all fronts, whether it’s in the kitchen or in the dining room or through delivery.”

Wade Allen
SVP and Head of Innovation
Brinker International
…on partnering on drone deliveries of chicken wings in Granbury and other Brinker innovations, via PYMNTS.com

Last week, we told you about Brinker’s partnership with Israel-based Flytrex to deliver chicken wings by drone to backyards in Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth. In flights that average 3 minutes 30 seconds, wings zoom over Lake Granbury, pause above their destination, and are lowered to the ground in a bright yellow bag, while the Flytrex drone hovers 80 feet above.

Automation is “the heartbeat—the Genesis, if you will—of everything that we do in the innovation department,”Allen told PYMNTS.com. He added that payment options like “mobile order-ahead technology” can help families simplify their in-restaurant dining experiences.

From drones over back yards to robots serving tables to delivery bots rolling down sidewalks, Brinker is trying it all—and helping to reshape the future of how we all get food.


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Tuesday, April 5

Markus Pineyro, co-founder of KRAVE and founder of Urban Taco. [Photo: Del Sur Restaurant Group]

“We don’t have to go out and build a brick and mortar restaurant. We can launch digitally within three to four weeks.”

Markus Pineyro
Co-Founder
KRAVE
…on opening his virtual food hall in Dallas this June, via Dallas Eater.

Urban Taco founder Pineyro is launching something very different early this summer at 3510 Ross Avenue in Dallas: KRAVE, a virtual food hall he calls “the restaurant of the future.”

According to Dallas Eater, the venue will build on ghost kitchen trends that arose with the pandemic. The takeout-only spot will offer a range of brand offerings in one lobby, including Which Wich sandwiches, Austin’s Flyrite fried chicken, Pokey O’s ice cream, Tribal Cold Pressed Juices, Momo Shack dumplings, Paciugo Gelato—and oh yes, Urban Taco.

“We worked with an analytics company that surveyed the entire metroplex, and based on about 90 different touch points, this company told us exactly the type of food that we need to have based on our location,” Pineyro told Dallas Eater, adding that he plans to start with around six different food options and build up to eight.

His “Last Word” above refers to the fact that KRAVE can easily add new restaurant concepts and give up-and-coming chefs a place to launch with a lot less real-world investment.


Monday, April 4

“[Texas has] a bigger GDP than Brazil.”

Mikko Hautala, Finland’s Ambassador to the U.S. [Photo: Business Finland]

Mikko Hautala
Finland’s Ambassador to the U.S.
…on the strength of the Texas economy, during a week-long visit to the “Texas Triangle” to strengthen economic ties.

Hautala and a delegation of Finnish business leaders visited Dallas and other cities in the Texas Triangle last week, in a bid to strengthen economic ties between Finland and Texas.

People say “everything’s big in Texas” for lots of reasons, but Hautala honed in on GDP is a key yardstick of the state’s economic strength.

“In Europe, when people look at the U.S., they remember New York, Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, and places like that,” Hautala told Dallas Innovates. “For us, the key message to Finnish companies and travelers is that there’s also the U.S. South, and Texas is the center of that.”

Meanwhile, Texas continues to make GDP headlines, posting a 10.1% increase in the annual growth rate of real GDP in Q4 2021, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, while the rate for the U.S. rose only 6.9%.

And an analysis by SmartAsset found that Dallas and Tarrant County combined edged out Harris County in GDP growth over the last three years, according to an article in the Dallas Business Journal, with a combined GDP growth of $11.24 billion.


Friday, April 1

Judges evaluated the students’ knife skills, teamwork, safety and sanitation, the taste of the food, and menu development, specifically regarding recipes and cost. [Photo: TRF/TRA]

“The future of our hospitality industry here in Texas could not be in better hands.

Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D.
President & CEO
Texas Restaurant Association & Texas Restaurant Foundation
…on the 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational held March 25-27 in Frisco.

Chefs and restaurant entrepreneur hopefuls from high schools across Texas gathered in Frisco March 25-27 for the 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational, a “Top Chef” and “Shark Tank”-style competition.

The event, managed by the workforce development foundation of the Texas Restaurant Association, featured dozens of teams of five students each.

The big winners were the Culinary and Management teams from Mansfield’s Ben Barber Innovation Academy and Frontier STEM Academy, who won first place in both categories.

2022 Texas ProStart Invitational 1st place Culinary and Management winners from Mansfield’s Ben Barber Innovation Academy and Frontier STEM Academy. [Photo: TRA/TRF]

The two teams from Mansfield will go on to represent Texas at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. May 6-8. The first-place finish is a triumphant return for the management team from Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy, which earned top Texas honors in 2019—then brought home first prize from the national competition.

2022 Texas ProStart Invitational 2nd place Culinary winners from Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy in Rockwall. [Photo: TRA/TRF]

The second-place Culinary winners from Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy in Rockwall.

Want more? Go here for Every Last Word 2022: The Q1 Archive.

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