The Sugar Lifestyle 101

If you enjoyed my earlier post about SugarDaddyForMe.com, here’s another gem for you.

Moms and dads might want to proceed with caution, particularly those with a daughter attending college in-state.

SeekingArrangement.com — another website that helps gold-digging Sugar Babies hook up with deep-pocketed Sugar Daddies — has released its annual “Top 20 Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools” list, and Towson University clocked in at No. 44, while the University of Maryland, College Park, placed No. 71.

In 2013, 71 Towson University students signed up on SeekingArrangement.com, bringing the school’s total membership to 85 students, according to the website’s communications team. At UMCP, 48 new students signed up last year for a total of 153 registered student-users.

University of Central Florida came in at No. 1, with FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FOUR new sign-ups last year!

College students are the most-represented demographic on the site, accounting for 42 percent of overall Sugar Baby membership, according to a press release. Overall, “the dating site” saw a 54 percent increase in the number of college students who sought “financial aid from wealthy benefactors in 2013.”

If you come to find out your daughter is among those new sign-ups, take solace in the fact that you are not alone. The site boasts that about 1 million students worldwide logged onto SeekingArrangement.com last year in search of a so-called benefactor, with the average haul being $3,000 per month.

The membership spikes are no surprise, according to Brandon Wade, the site’s founder and CEO.

As the cost of a college education continues to climb and financial aid programs become more competitive, it only makes sense for students to seek alternative funding sources, Wade said in a statement.

Really, they’re being fiscally responsible — student loans are so 2012. Plus, having to repay loans would mean having to find a job. It’s far easier to market your body — that counts as entrepreneurship, right?

Now, if you think the website might be sending the wrong message to our country’s young ladies, it gets better.

“As an incentive, SeekingArrangement offers free premium memberships to students who register using their .edu email accounts,” the press release says.

Don’t worry, there’s more:

“SeekingArrangement is rolling out a number of ads and promotions marketed towards college students. These include: a scholarship contest, free premium membership, and a commercial enticing students to seek a Sugar Daddy for all their financial needs.

The rare opportunity to finish college debt-free is made possible by the increasing popularity of the sugar lifestyle. Within this network of sugar seekers, students are getting their college debt compensated by fostering real connections on SeekingArrangement.com.”

“Why hope for financial aid when you can guarantee it with a Sugar Daddy?” Wade said in the statement. “Student loans lead to endless debt, which amounts to more than a new graduate can handle. Sugar Scholarships provide real solutions to the problem of student debts.”

Sugar seekers? The sugar lifestyle?! Sugar scholarships?! I simply can’t make this stuff up.

 

By the way, Brandon Wade is an entrepreneur if there ever was one. In addition to launching SeekingArrangement.com in 2006, Wade also launched these sites:

SeekingMillionaire.com — matching millionaires with fellow millionaires

MissTravel.com — “the only travel dating website where beautiful people travel free”

WhatsYourPrice.com — the site where singles can buy and sell first dates

And last but not least, CarrotDating.com — “the world’s first bribe-for-a-date app”

College football’s money teams

terpsIn college football, it’s all about the pursuit of being No. 1. That’s what Auburn and Florida State are playing for Monday night in the BCS National Championship Game.

But there is more than one way of ranking college football teams, and we’re not just talking about the difference between the Associated Press media poll and the USA Today coaches poll. There is also the Brewer rankings.

Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, has devised a formula to determine the financial value of college football teams. In his rankings, the University of Texas is No. 1, worth $875.0 million, followed by Notre Dame at $811.5 million. (Auburn is ninth, Florida State 22nd.)

As in those other rankings, the University of Maryland also has a bit of a way to go in the Brewer list. UM football comes in at No. 64, valued at $25.8 million. Maryland’s new conference home starting in the fall, the Big Ten, places six teams in the top 30, led by Ohio State at No. 4, with $674.8 million.

H/T The Wall Street Journal

YouTube Preview Image

Site calls University of Maryland underrated for entrepreneurship

Despite high rankings for entrepreneurship from various media outlets, one site says the University of Maryland is highly underrated.

PandoDaily, which aims to be “the site-of-record for that startup root-system,” used its own method for ranking the entrepreneurial quality of colleges, the StartEngine College Index, and decided that UMCP is the second-most underrated school in the country, and the most underrated public institution.

How did they do that? Well, they created a list of every college with 15 or more alumni whose startups got investor funding. They took the total funding to date each startup received and divided that by the number of founders, creating the measurement “capital per founder,” or CPF. From there, they found the median CPF for each school, which was used to determine the ranking.

University of MarylandMaryland’s median CPF was $10.3 million, second in the nation only to Northwestern University. It beat out all of the Ivy Leaguers, of which Princeton University ranked the highest, third place, with a median CPF of $10.1 million.

Although the university’s number of founders, 18, is meager compared to Stanford University’s 207 and Harvard’s 130, it comes down to the amount of money people tended to invest in those startups, which was generally higher at UMCP.

But PandoDaily, why the tone of surprise? Here is how the writer, Howard Marks, reacted to the stat:

“Who saw that coming?  The Terrapins have zero reputation for being an entrepreneurial bunch, but here they are crushing private schools (including the entire Ivy League) on the StartEngine index. Maryland ranks second, with a median IPF of $10.3 million.”

Marks goes on to remind the reader that, after all, Google cofounder Sergey Brin completed undergrad at UMCP. However, perhaps he forgot a little bit more than that.

It’s also alma mater to Ramit Varma, co-founder of Revolution Prep and  Jeong H. Kim, whose electronic communications firm, Yurie Systems, was acquired for $1 billion. And let’s not forget Under Armour founder Kevin Plank — it’s no secret where he went to school given his company’s elaborate Maryland Pride creations for the college’s sports teams.

The school’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship offers competitions, pitch practice, tech transfer opportunities and a network of angel investors. The university’s Hinman CEOs program was the nation’s first living and learning program for entrepreneurs.

Not to mention, UMCP’s undergraduate Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was ranked 15th in the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine’s report, and college rating website unigo.com declared UMCP the fourth best college for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Underrated, perhaps, but does UMCP really have “zero reputation” for entrepreneurship?

Prince George’s hospital to be built at Largo Town Center

The new $645 million, full-service hospital planned for Prince George’s County will be built at Largo Town Center, eventually replacing the financially stressed Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly.

The board of Dimensions Healthcare System, which oversees several medical facilities in the county, including PGHC, unanimously voted Thursday morning to choose Largo from a short list of three other locations.

Hospital officials can now seek approval to build from the Maryland Health Care Commission, with an eye on a 2017 opening. The medical complex will include a hospital with between 260 and 280 beds, a trauma center, specialty care and general care. The University of Maryland Medical System plans to operate it.

The $450 million project will be funded through bond financing, with the state and the county each contributing $200 million.

Four locations were seriously considered: Morgan Boulevard Metro Station, Woodmore Towne Center, Landover Mall and Largo Town Center. A search committee narrowed it down to the latter two, and earlier this week, the committee recommended Largo. County Executive Rushern Baker III and other officials then threw their support behind that choice.

The centrally-located Largo site offers immediate access to the Largo Town Center Metro Station and is about a mile from I-495.

Accessibility was a key factor in the decision, officials said, because the new facility will be the major regional hospital. It’s also close to existing commercial development and wouldn’t cost as much as other sites to improve roads and other infrastructure.

Continue reading

Airline merger ‘bridge too far’?

airplanesAfter other airline mergers, why does the federal government want to block the marriage of US Airways and American Airlines? The University of Maryland’s Michael Ball says this merger could be just too much of a competition suppressor and rate hiker.

Ball, associate dean for faculty and research and dean’s chair in Management Science for Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, put it this way:

“The American-US Airways merger may just be a ‘bridge too far’ that noticeably dampens competition. To be sure, both are not among the healthiest airlines, and a merger would certainly benefit the combined patient.

“However, the Justice Department is right to be concerned about the negative impact on passengers. The combined airline would have very strong competitive positions at certain airports and a near monopoly at Reagan National. There is perhaps a strategy the DOJ could pursue that requires the combined airline to reduce its position at some airports, but this might just be too complicated to work out in a reasonable time frame.”

YouTube Preview Image

 

College Park: An eat-able community?

The Common (photo provided)

The Common (photo provided)

College Park is the latest jurisdiction to launch what has become an ubiquitous marketing tactic: the restaurant week.

The first annual College Park Restaurant Week, in which local restaurants will offer a variety of food and drink specials, begins Sunday and runs through Aug. 17.

(At just eight days long, the campaign comes fairly close to actually staying true to its name. Many of the dozens of other summer and winter restaurant weeks held throughout the state are more like 14 days long.)

Rather than the usual format of offering prix-fixe three-course dinners (and two-course lunches, in many cases), College Park Restaurant Week takes a more general approach. It’s up to the restaurants to choose the pricing structure — and it varies widely.

Also, College Park Restaurant Week has fewer participants (16 restaurants) than most of the others. That’s to be expected for an inaugural year — and for an unapologetically college-y college town that boasts ample quick-service options but a select few choices for fine dining.

That last comment should not be interpreted as mocking; As a Terp, I frequented plenty of top-notch, casual eateries. There’s Marathon Deli, with the always-satisfying gyro platter; Plato’s Diner, where literally anything is delicious at any time of day; Hanami Japanese Restaurant and Kiyoko Express with awesome and affordable sushi; Bagel Place for all manner of heavenly creations….I’m getting carried away here (and pretty hungry, too).

But it has come to my attention (thanks to The Gazette) that my characterization of College Park’s food scene might be outdated, because in addition to its vast assortment of casual eateries, there are also a number of nicer, sit-down restaurants.

Continue reading

These companies are heating up…

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) announced 23 finalists on Wednesday for the 13th Annual Maryland Incubator Company of the Year awards, which recognize notable firms that are either currently working out of an incubator in the state or have recently graduated from one.

The Emerging Technology Center in Canton is the leading mother hen, with the most “eggs” named as finalists.  Five companies from the ETC, which is part of the Baltimore Development Corp., made the list. Next in line is bwtech@UMBC, the incubator housed at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which produced four finalists.

Winners will be announced June 13 at a ceremony at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.

The finalists are:

From Betamore in Federal Hill:

  • Riskive

From the Bethesda Green Business Incubator (BGBI):

  • Savenia Labs

From the Bowie Business Innovation Center (BBIC):

  • Vertical Wind Ventures LLC

From bwtech@UMBC at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County:

  • Blue Wave Semiconductors Inc.
  • KoolSpan
  • Light Point Security
  • Plasmonix Inc.

From the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) in Canton:

  • ADASHI Systems
  • Boss Medical LLC
  • Curiosityville
  • Rehabtics
  • Foodem.com / RKA Enterprises LLC

From FastForward at Johns Hopkins University:

  • Clear Guide Medical

From Frederick Innovative Technology Center (FITC) in Frederick:

  • Mosaic Power (also worked out of the MCE)

From Garrett Information Enterprise Center (GIEC):

  • GCC Technologies LLC

From the Germantown Innovation Center (GIC):

  • Biologics Resources LLC
  • DSPlogic Inc.

From the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) in Columbia:

  • Social Growth Technologies, Inc.
  • Unbound Concepts Inc.
  • Vasoptic Medical Inc.

From the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH) at the University of Maryland, College Park:

  • Maryland Energy and Sensor Technologies LLC

From Shady Grove Innovation Center (SGIC) in Rockville:

  • Creatv MicroTech Inc.

From the Silver Spring Innovation Center (SSIC):

  • SOL VISTA

Visit mdincubatoraward.com for more information.

Signing away success

john hancockNarcissism is a bad sign.

Seems obvious, but that’s the title of a new report by researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, who studied the correlation between narcissism — as measured by the size of a CEO’s signature — and the success of his or her company.

Companies led by a narcissistic CEO tend to perform poorly, especially for firms in more uncertain environments, said study author Nick Seybert, an accounting professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Seybert and his team — graduate student Charles Ham and Sean Wang at the University of North Carolina — sifted through 400 Securities and Exchange Commission filings to pull out CEOs signatures.

They found larger, more embellished signatures gracing the pages of firms that tended to over-invest in capital expenditures and acquisitions, received lower returns on assets and paid lower dividends to shareholders.

The study drew upon existing psychological research linking a large signature to an inflated ego, which is one of the defining characteristics of a narcissist. Such a person also tends to take excessive risks, make decisions without consulting others, dismiss feedback and blame failure on external circumstances.

Sounds like a keeper.

“Despite prior findings showing risk-taking sometimes is good, our results show that risky behavior from these narcissistic CEOs generates negative, declining performance over the long term – especially in firms that are younger, small and/or R&D-intensive,” Seybert said in a statement.

Prior studies about CEO narcissism focused on other indicators, such as the size of the individual’s photo in an annual report. But Seybert said those variables likely have more to do with the marketing department’s tactics than the CEO’s leadership style.

“The signature derives directly from its source and indicates personality according to decades of psychology research,” he said.

The study also found that CEOs labeled narcissistic were more likely to receive higher cash and stock compensation than their more tolerable CEO counterparts.

“Simply and counterintuitively, narcissism pays off for the CEO at the expense of the firm,” Seybert said. “Corporate directors should keep their CEO’s narcissism in check and think twice about pursuing the ego-driven ‘superstar CEO,’ especially in an era of scrutiny on CEO overcompensation, which peaked in public outrage a few years ago.”

That’s good advice. Here’s another tidbit: Write smaller, or risk being singled out, accused of having a personality disorder and blamed for your firm’s shortcomings.

Signing off,

alissa

USM spends in top-10 for research, earns in middle-of-pack

It’s no secret Maryland public universities are trying to get better at commercializing professors’ and students’ research.

But in 2011, the universities did not get much bang for their buck.

A report by The Chronicle of Higher Education shows the University System of Maryland spent almost $1.07 billion on research in fiscal year 2011. For that investment, the system received just $1.3 million through licensing technology to start-ups.

Compare that to the top-ranking institution — Northwestern University  — which spent $484.1 million but got $191.5 million through commercialization.

According to The Chronicles’ data — compiled through survey responses from 153 universities, plus four more that replied anonymously — the University System of Maryland spent the ninth-most money on research while receiving the 78th-most license income.

The system — which pulls most of its research funding from the flagship University of Maryland, College Park, University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Maryland, Baltimore County — did manage to receive the 14th-most patents, with 77. The University of California System was first with 343 patents issued.

Overall, universities reported license income of $1.8 billion and research expenditures of $40.9 billion.

(Photo: Colin Gore, grad student in material science and engineering at University of Maryland, College Park working with Eric D. Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center. Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

UMD’s Anderson, Stanford deny hiring reports

UPDATE (11:25 A.M., July 17) – The San Francisco Chronicle reports a Stanford spokeswoman has denied that Anderson is in talks to take over the university’s athletic department. However, the paper still Continue reading