Start-Ups | Map & List | Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Research Triangle NC

Map & List of Start-Ups | Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill Triangle NC 

Map List of Start Ups in Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill Triangle NC
Map List of Start Ups in Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill Triangle NC 
A while back I found a developer to research and upload a list of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham NC area start-ups from various sources to this Google Map. Here is the original list with sources. It is shared with the public and shows the concentrations of start-up in the area. Here is a photo (right) that map, which of course can be off depending on the accuracy of the sources used to gather the locations of these start-ups, however the most interesting take-away here is that the largest cluster of start-ups happens not to be in Chapel Hill, Raleigh or Durham, but the so-called Triangle area known for high tech research across numerous segments. In addition someone could also categorize them, like blue pins for agricultural sciences, red pins for computer software, etc.

Who Owns The Copyright to The Banana Duct Taped To a Wall

If a Banana Gets Duct Taped To a Wall, Is It Copyrighted or Can It Be Trademarked Art?

banana duct taped to the wall photo
my banana duct taped to the wall photo
With the banana taped to a wall craze (Time: why you are seeing taped up bananas all over the internet), everyone is taking on the trend and adding a twist - car dealers are taping bananas to car hoods, which is crazy in itself if a manufacturer has to spend millions on design and it requires a dollar in tape and fruit to attract eyeballs, instead of the design. People are sending banana and duct tape texts with jokes. Some are posting to Facebook, with their own banana and tape quotes, about how absurd it is for a piece of art to sell for so much - 120k - and then how even more absurd it was for someone to eat the art installation, declaring that "it's a good banana."

And, in this blog, me going to my kitchen and sticking a banana to the wall with duck tape from the closet.

But, who owns the copyright or trademark to such a thing? One would think the manufacturer of the tape would have some claim, although the trademark could simply be silver nondescript tape over a yellow banana. One might also wonder if the yellow banana is patented by the company that grew it?

Then, because it is so easy to replicate, maybe it is not strong enough to earn a trademark? It is like one cannot trademark a common word or common item.

Perhaps some attorneys will be able to comment on this and get the banana / tape / intellectual property conversation party started.

Otherwise, expect to see pins, posters, shirts, socks, and toys of....the taped yellow banana: everywhere.

Stingray Foot Protection Booties & Boots | Product Development Thought Experiment

Making a Case For a Product To Protect Surfers & Swimmers From Stingray Barb Stings

After stumbling across Brian Chernicky's article on there being no stingray resistant surf booties for sale online, I literally could not believe that there was no product in existence that offers surfers and swimmers real protection from stingrays, so here is the case for someone / company making a product that offers some help to the tender feet of those who dare to enter ocean waters where this creature with a razor sharp tail hides in the sandy shallows waiting to be stepped on!
Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash

The Problem 

Products are developed by start-ups and corporations because they solve a problem. The problem in this case is that tons of people get injured by the stingray every year. In fact, according to CNN, in October of 2019, 176 people were attacked and stung in a single day at Huntington Beach California. This is not like a bee sting where one who is not allergic can easily brush off the pain - if you get stung by the same animal that stabbed the beloved Steve Erwin through the chest I might add, there is often or most likely the need to seek medical help in order to check to make sure the barb fragments are out of the affected area and if not then they must be surgically removed. Okay, so not only is the problem the threat of physical injury from the barb stab, and ensuing possible infection and complications, but now a little math: 176 x average cost of an urgent care visit = $$$$ (*please comment if you know the answer)

Similar Successful Products: Snake Bite Proof Boots

Snake proof boots which helps hunters or anyone planning to walk through high grass or the woods, or deserts, or wherever vipers might strike are insanely popular, yet do we hear of any day in the USA where over 100 people were bitten in one spot by snakes? By the way 4783 people search for snake bite proof boots per month.

Competitive Products Already in Existence

There are these products already out there which are really designed as wading boots and guards to protect those fishing in areas where stingrays might be lurking, at nearly $70. They would be much different than a product designed as a best stingray protection product for surfers or swimmers in that that kind of product would need to be much less bulky, and way more stylish, at way less cost. Here we can start seeing some of the obstacles to designing stingray resistant booties, or socks for that matter.

Confusing Words

Now, while you might think stingray boots would refer to something created to fend those triangular shaped monsters of the shallow off, in this case, they refer to the many cowboy boots made from the hides of stingrays, which might create confusion once a product is branded and marketed with similar verbiage. When people search for "how to clean stingray boots" they will really be meaning those cowboy boots, so the expectations will need to be adjusted. 

Competing Against Natural Methods of Prevention

Can people do without anti stingray booties? That is the question. Does the product really need to be created? Just like hunters might stomp around in the woods hoping snakes feel the vibrations and move out of the way, swimmers and surfers have read that stomping or doing the stingray shuffle in the sand will scare away the stinging fish we are discussing here, but that may be a myth, and the worst part is that it may even increase the odds of getting "bitten". More research is needed here. 

 Limited Application - Making a Choice

While you've got to start somewhere, it may be best to start with puncture proofing the soles of boots. But, now you have to pick a product to do that with, whether it is surf booties or dive booties, and there is a difference! And, when you start sourcing make sure you aren't getting dive boots when you are really wanting surf boots. The difference between the two might be subtle but surfers don't want a thick sole while divers too, and surfers want tighter fitting booties so they don't fall off while diver boots may be a little looser. Then there is the question of just making a puncture proof sole when the stingray tail may whip up and strike the ankle, or hit someone in the leg, so now we are looking at sourcing materials that go far beyond the sole. Puncture proof wetsuit anyone?

Stingray Trademarks and Patents

With all of this said it is good to check for existing patents and trademarks, and there does appear to be some there, albeit it you'll need a lawyer to determine what's possible. Someone who was looking into this product idea with me, as we chatted excitedly over tea, said to me that one patent is there but doesn't seem to have a product out yet, while I remember seeing a few things but didn't think they were strong enough to prevent stingray boots from being born. 

Issues With Legal Claims 

There is also a question about whether one can create some barb sting prevention and say it is stingray proof - because then what happens if the product defects or does not work, which leaves one to say stingray protection boot or not say anything at all. 

No Other Products Marketed As Stingray Boots

Speaking of not saying anything at all, many products out there might say puncture proof, none that I saw seem to really say or state or market language that leads people to believe that their booties will shield them from barb stings, leaving people to just assume that water shoes protect them against rays, when in fact they probably don't even come close, which brings us to discussing the material science required to pull this off. 

What Materials Are Actually Stingray Proof?

Well, I don't know, but I found a material scientist on Fivver who provided this report, which basically recommended: SuperFabric, HexArmor, Turtleskin, etc. - ultimately saying Kevlar should be used. 

Where To Source Stingray Proof Boots?

Now comes the fun part: sourcing new products. The first place I checked was Alibaba, because a friend of mine just developed a surf leash key chain here and found some great manufacturers there. I spent a few nights writing letters to the five I found that said they made surf booties, but then found that actually they were making dive boots. When I asked if they could put a Kevlar layer in (which beware may be patented already even if it is as easy as slipping in a layer into the existing upper and sole) they said yes and that I'd need to pay $100 for a sample to be sent. A sample coming from China will take forever and the back and forth will too, so this is where my thought experiment ended. I did get a few photos of mock ups, but nothing I saw or read on there I would want to actually buy. 

Design Considerations

Beyond the patent and trademark issues of basically putting a layer of some material that is puncture proof into an existing boot design, one must consider that it has to be light enough, work okay in salt water, not hurt the skin, etc., and actually work! And, who is going to test it? 

PR Stunt Not To Do!

My friend joked that one could take the sample stingray resistant booties or whatever they turn out to be and walk through the stingrays at the local aquarium's petting zoo where they have such animals for kids to touch. Of course, one could talk with them about ideas on how to actually test the shoes out but the point is that one must be careful how the testing actually happens. One can assume that needle testing, etc. might simulate the real thing, but beta testing a product like this for real could get one in trouble, legally, physically, and psychologically if it hurts animals or the people testing. 

Getting Started

If you're actually interested in getting started, it may pay off to get a good domain to sell the product on a single product website, such as:

During my tea time product dev research which I love to do on my off time, I looked these up and they were available, so I purchased them (and will gladly let them go super low if you end up bringing this product alive to save the surfing and swimming soles, legs, ankle, etc. of the world.

I played around with some logo ideas too, like this:
stingray boot booties

Disclaimer: this article is not intended to be accurate, truth, or helpful in any serious way.  No one is to assume anything useful or hold the blogger responsible for anything discussed is a thought experiment after all, intended to attract a community of commenters to discuss the idea. 

Public Lectures & Events at UNC Chapel Hill | NC State | Duke

UNC Chapel Hill, NC State & Duke University's Lectures Open To The Public

Because I always like attending public lectures at universities near me, and because they are always so hard to find all in one spot, I am including links here to the event calendars where public lectures would be listed at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, and NC State: 

  • NC State public lectures / calendar events link: 
    • NC State College of Design's public lectures:
    • Poole School of Business -
    • Agricultural Institute
    • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
    • College of Education
    • College of Engineering
    • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
    • College of Natural Resources
    • College of Sciences
    • Wilson College of Textiles
Come back later to check new additions as this is a work in progress or comment with what's missing.

The last public lecture I caught was actually at UT, when Dr. Robert Sapolsky (Stanford professor of biology, neurosurgery, neurological sciences) spoke at UT on how his studies on primates relate to human behavior & thinking, so I hope to find some good ones here. If you know of any upcoming, please contact me with details, or post a comment.

Another link to other local events that sometimes includes expert talks and workshops at universities:

New Product Idea For 2020 | Calm Mask | Cool Gadgets

The Calm Mask Is a New Product Idea For 2020 

What to do when you're bored as a product innovator? Use Google Trends to search for business ideas that you can transform into cool gadgets! You'll notice how well products that cultivate calm did in 2019, like weighted blankets, etc. and so you'll likely see more of this for trending products 2020. If you are looking for fresh marketing ideas, read on.
calm mask cool new product idea 2020
Photo by John Noonan on Unsplash

New Business Ideas & Innovative Products

One future business idea for 2020 could be a calm mask. This hot new business idea could be a small but profitable idea because it would actually physically produce a real calm response in humans by reducing the heart rate. It would literally be one of the only cool products out there that is actually cool, because this mask would actually be cold enough that when placed on the face, it would cause the heart rate to drop. This phenomenon is called the MDR or mammalian diving reflex, and it occurs when humans dive in cold water, and that cold water sets off a physiological response that lowers the heart rate and creates a calm efficiency that would be helpful for swimming underwater. 

A life hack product could be creating a calm mask to place over the face to relax those who are experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, or who want to otherwise relax within seconds. I have even heard a medical professional talking about how it is common for psychiatric patients to have it in the medical notes to put a cold pack on the face of a patient experiencing an episode in order to calm them down. 

New Product Development 

While this new idea may result in what many would consider a weird or funny product, it could be one of the most insanely cool gadgets of 2020. 

Legal Risk

One big reason I think not to pursue this product is because it is a medically oriented product and that may require a lot of legal research and fees, along with dealing with compliance and possible law suits if the product harmed someone. There is one Youtube where a guy puts his face in cold water and his heart rate goes down by dozens of points, so while that shows that the response is very real, this unusual product could also be blamed on problems associated with its use. 

Plus, once you've paid for all of the doctors, lawyers, new product design, etc. and go from having an idea to actually starting, the product may be fairly easy to duplicate if it is doing well as a new product on Amazon, though I think the biggest deterrent is the legal risk to creating something that could literally cause unintended harm when used. 

If anyone is interested in pursuing what seems to be an easy invention idea, because the manufacturing should be fairly easy - basically a strap to the face cold pack in the form of a mask that has high surface contact and use a skin friendly material that protects from frostbite - then I hope you'll post in a comment how you overcame the liability issue. Is it as easy as adding a disclaimer? Or is it even worth it to make something that might carry such risk?

Of course, in thinking up this cool new product idea I bought the domain which I would gladly pass along should someone want to bring the idea to life. 

Why Every Company Could Use a Chief Corporate Philosopher

Why a Chief Corporate Philosophy Officer Is a Great Idea, But Not So Popular

chief philosopher officer
Photo by Mike Gorrell on Unsplash
Forbes ran an article back in 2018 about why every board needs a Chief Philosophy Officer. The Big Think says it's important to hire philosophers. Roger Steare has actually set up a consulting business called The Corporate Philosopher. It's all about examining issues, which is a cornerstone of innovations, and interestingly enough, ethics (two often opposing forces)

Back in college I was a philosophy minor. I would have actually majored in philosophy had my university offered such a major. I took every course I could and found it in every way profound, illuminating, and absolutely delightful. Not to say that there wasn't a deep discomfort with how philosophy works, and while it is exciting to explore, analyze, and investigate ideas, a lot of internal conflict arises with this process. This is because the science of philosophy questions everything. And that is a very uncomfortable thing to do especially when traditions rule.

Elon Musk As Chief Philosophy Officer

In opinion the reason, Tesla is doing so well is because they take a philosophical approach to learning and problem solving. They question everything. Take Musk's 1st principle of learning, which is seemingly a simple invention of solving a problem with out looking at, or being overly influenced by precedent solutions. However philosophy calls into question everything and and in that way burns it all down. There are no sacred cows in philosophy.

Questioning Things Doesn't Feel Good For Business, But...Should

A chief philosophy officer would the one that goes around questioning. We know how people don't like being questioned, right! Myself included. Oh, you do? Want to volunteer for a little police interrogation and see how the face produces those tell tale bullets of sweat.

 A chief philosophy officer would be are quite a dangerous role because you know what happens to people who question things. There is the caveat in crime circles and the mafia of don't ask too many questions. Even the messenger doesn't even ask questions and was typically killed, spawning the saying don't kill the messenger. And we all know what happened to the famous Socrates when he asked too many questions. Hemlock (the plant, not the tree) He was looked at as a total nuisance to society. So while a chief philosophy officer sounds very cool (almost Lebowskiesque - aka The Dude) thing to be, sitting back leisurely in a leather wing back asking questions to those sitting before him or her in the hot seat, squirming and sweating.

Why There Are No Chief Philosophy Officers 

When they leave for the shadows, they will of course plot against that meddling (yes, Scooby Doo reference there) chief philosophy officer. This is probably why there are no chief philosophy officers in any significant volume thriving within fortune 500 companies. Another reason why there are no chief philosophy officers as because philosophy is also interested and exploring and establishing ethics. And ethics as a way of slowing or stalling business and innovation like nothing else. And it doesn't always solve the problem, causing a backfire effect in some cases.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Corpse Flower Blooming at NC State in Raleigh - 2019

On August 1, 2019, Corpse Flower Named Lupin Bloomed At The Plant Conservatory At NC State

2019 Corpse Flower Lupin Bloomed - NC State
2019 Corpse Flower Lupin Bloomed - NC State

I had been waiting for a long time to witness a corpse flower bloom, and finally when I saw the news that Lupin was coming to NC State, I went over with the fam to catch the bad wind. We had made a reservation but even then when we got there it was a long line. Finally when it was our turn we walked up slowly to the plant, but there was no smell of rot or decomposition, just normal greenhouse air, plus sweaty people. However, when I was finally facing the plant, which by now had pretty much bloomed and was kinda falling apart, and then put my nose over the cup where down below all of the stink is produced, I was met with a scent that literally made me gag uncontrollably!

So, there is your official report of what it is like to smell one of these stinky plants. It definitely lives up to its reputation.

Haiku Syllable Counter Tool | Tool to Count Syllables in English

English Haiku Syllable Counter Tool

Here is a haiku syllable counter tool I had built in JavaScript by a developer. It will also help you with your haiku format with this syllable counting algorithm, which can also double as a tool to count syllables in English. Once you enter your words, scroll down to see the syllable output below the field where you wrote in your haiku


Count Results

Count Results

results will appear here.