Sunday, July 28, 2002

Brain Drain

One thing I have noticed in my brief time as a blog afficionado: the best blogs are written by people who have more ideas than time (or energy) will permit them to develop. The excess slops over onto the blog, and that can be highly entertaining, as well as informative. Whether this bussiness blog fits that mold, time will tell. But in an attempt to keep track of such ideas, I am hereby initiating a feature called "Brain Drain." This gives me a place to discharge (some of) those many business ideas that come across my dendrites.

While living in Oregon, I toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. Partly for religious reasons, but partly for my own health. As a thought experiment on the money making potential of this (for me) new orientation, I created a franchise called "Vegan" for an exam. A number of the students thought the idea had some legs, but no one has done it on a broad scale yet. You find the occasional quirky outlets, but the closest thing I have found to a full-blown chain -- and this only by surfing the Web -- is emerging in the UK. A restaurant called V1.

In the meantime, we are stuck with meat, but even here innovation is happening. A few years ago, Ted Turner unveiled a chains of bison-burger restaurants called Ted's Montana Grill, and they seem to be flourishing. Of course, Ted has a lot of time on his hands now, so expect big things from TMG. The Web site notes, "Bison is even leaner than skinless chicken." It also has some stranger "facts" about bison: "Bison are the only mammals that don't get cancer." (So we won't either, if we eat them?) "Bison eat snow." (Now there's a diet that would help me shed a few pounds!)

Now meet the new kid on the block: Yaks. Today's NYT had an article on these attractive animals. "Yak is as lean as venison or bison (about 5 percent fat, compared to about 15 percent for beef), and, to some, tastes juicier, sweeter and more delicate." So, if you are looking to start a new business, here is your opportunity! Of course, you may have some competition. This could be just the thing to pull McDonald's out of its doldrums ... the McYak?