Tag Archives: Honolulu

Our Bird: the Superb Bird of Paradise … Plus Some Jokes


Lophorina superba
Lophorina superba

Though we have clients around the world, and though we have a core network that stretches across the US, our home base is in Honolulu, Hawaii. You may find various projects we’re involved with at the state and local level interesting and inspiring, wherever you are on the planet.

I focused my last piece on Hawaii’s High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), a state agency initiated in 1983 to assist in the development of the tech economy; we are a part of its Service Provider Program, through which we give consultations to start-ups. This piece goes in a completely different direction, to discuss our sponsorship of the Superb Bird of Paradise (yes, that’s a real bird) at the Honolulu Zoo – one of only five American locations where this bird can be viewed by the general public.

I will first talk specifically about the bird, because it has what could be the most amazing mating ritual you have ever seen in an animal. I will also discuss birds of paradise in general because their “female choice” mating process is intriguing to explore. Then I will talk about why we partner with the zoo and its impressive attitude toward conservation: part of the reason why we chose to sponsor one of their species, after all, is because of the zoo’s firm and proven dedication to environmental sustainability.

Also, throughout the piece, I will discuss another animal that could be considered – like the Superb Bird of Paradise – to have one of the most incredible mating rituals in the world. I will start with that description now:

Mating Ritual of the Three-Toed Sloth

Because the three-toed sloth has three toes, it prefers everything in groups of three – such as the steps of its mating ritual. It goes, instinctually, as follows:

Mating Call – Like the Superb Bird of Paradise, the three-toed sloth begins its mating ritual with a call to the female. The call starts out, traditionally, with a loud bellow of dissatisfaction. However, since the onset of the digital age, this call has changed significantly. Now, sloths are able to use the Internet, SMS messaging, and even their central social hub, Slothbook, to submit their bellows of dissatisfaction electronically. (Continued below)

Super Bird of Paradise & Female Choice

What’s so remarkable about the bird we sponsor, the Super Bird of Paradise, is the way that the male displays to the female – primarily by manipulation of its feathers. The male bird, which is primarily black but also has turquoise markings, captivates the female by presenting himself as a black oval wall with a strikingly blue smiley face (you can’t make this up). The Cornell Lab of Ornithology created a video narrating the ritual and explaining how the male bird adjusts its feathers to wow his potential mate.

Female choice falls under the general category of sexual selection, Charles Darwin’s second-most prominent concept (behind natural selection). Regardless of whether you agree with the theory of evolution, the way in which female choice plays out in birds of paradise and elsewhere in the animal kingdom is fascinating, for three main reasons:

  1. Women on Top: For millions of years, the female birds of paradise have been deciding who is the optimal mate; the male has a remarkable display, and beauty has been the deciding element over skill in flying, thermoregulation, or any other factor. Female choice has determined which male birds breed and which do not.
  2. Hours & Weeks of Study: Female birds of paradise have been observed studying males for up to six weeks before mating with them; they have also been observed watching males display for as much as five or six hours in a single day!
  3. Beauty Broadens the Playing Field: Consumer products purchased by human females, such as clothing and accessories, are all a matter of personal opinion. Once the function is served (the straps, bag, and clasps of a purse, for example), it’s all the style of the design. By choosing on the basis of style (looks), female birds of paradise have chosen impressively extreme displays, furthering diversity.

Mating Ritual of the Three-Toed Sloth (Continued)

Display – The way that the male three-toed sloth presents itself to the female is also similar to the Superb Bird of Paradise. The sloth wears baggy trousers to avoid frightening the female away with his amazingly beautiful genitalia. (Continued below)

Superb’s Partnership & Honolulu Zoo’s Conservation Approach

We work hard to optimize the environmental efficiency of our data centers and all of our locations. Because we have been so conscientious with what we do internally, we thought that sponsoring an animal at the zoo would be a good way to showcase to the public one of our core business principles: conservation.

The main educational objective of the Honolulu Zoo is environmental awareness. Specifically the zoo is interested in getting across the idea to anyone who visits that animals, habitat, and culture are all interrelated. Manifold programs embraced and initiated by the Honolulu Zoo provide evidence of ongoing efforts to sustain the beauty of Hawaii for future generations.

Mating Ritual of the Three-Toed Sloth (Continued)

Dance – The final stage of the mating ritual, once the male has called and displayed, is the dance. As everyone knows, the male three-toed sloth is well-known for its breakdancing. Prior to dancing, the sloth gets extremely drunk.


The Superb Bird of Paradise is truly a remarkable animal. Like the male bird, we must show what we’ve got next to the offerings of other companies in a competitive marketplace. Like the Honolulu Zoo, Superb Internet is committed to environmental sustainability. What better way to showcase it than by sponsoring an amazing and unique bird that shares our name?

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Display – The way that the male three-toed sloth presents itself to the female is also similar to the Superb Bird of Paradise. The sloth wears baggy trousers to avoid frightening the female away with his amazingly beautiful genitalia. (Continued below)

Hawaii’s High Technology Development Corporation … Plus Some Jokes


Downtown Honolulu, HI, view from Punch Bowl.
Downtown Honolulu, HI, view from Punch Bowl.

Superb Internet may have a worldwide presence, with our international clientele and core network in five US states, but our main office is in Honolulu, Hawaii. Though you may not live in Hawaii, looking at our involvement in the local and statewide community might be meaningful for those looking to start a business or get involved with similar associations in their own localities.

Today, I will talk about the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), a Hawaii agency started in 1983 by the state legislature. The idea behind the HTDC is to boost knowledge-sharing and innovation in the high-tech field – building a broader, more robust economy with more professional and lucrative careers for those living in the state. The organization also assists high-tech startups to get off the ground so they can have a better chance of competing with the big players.

Our specific involvement with the organization is as a part of its Service Provider Program. After talking a little more about the organization as a whole, we will get into exactly what our involvement in the program is below; I will also discuss the various other initiatives that are part of the HTDC’s efforts to provide support for the high-tech field, creating better integration and synergy between businesses.

Throughout the piece, I will describe one of the more exciting ideas that arose from a former startup that initially utilized the HTDC. Here is the first part of that story:

HTDC Initiative: Helicopter Made out of Coconuts

First they called Hans Frauchild a mama’s boy. Then, they called him a ne’er-do-well madman. Next, they called him a lucky madman. Now, they call him a genius. By “they,” I mean Frauchild’s parents: they were very abusive. Nonetheless, it’s understandable that they doubted their son’s vision. (Continued below)

Mission of the High Technology Development Corporation

Funded by the state of Hawaii, the mission of the HTDC is fourfold:

  1. Create and maintain an infrastructure for business-incubation. The intentions of this infrastructure are to both directly help businesses succeed and to foster the formation of connections between businesspeople throughout the state.
  2. Strengthen and broaden services that are already in place to help new and established companies grow, including the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and FastTrac TechVenture.
  3. Access funds for technological research from public-sector and private-sector sources. HTDC both seeks grants to bolster its own mission and counsels new and small companies to write stronger grant proposals for their internal needs.
  4. Assist with recruitment strategies – through events, affiliations, and the Internet – so that high-tech firms can find better employees.

HTDC Initiative: Helicopter Made out of Coconuts – Continued

Ever since he was 14, Frauchild said that one day he would tie together thousands of coconuts in such a way that they could form a “mega-chopper” – a helicopter the size of a blimp – capable of circling the earth four times before needing to land. Frauchild said that his flying machine would use the coconut milk as its fuel. (Continued below)

Service Provider Program, Workshops & Centers

Let’s take a look at four of the major pieces of the HTDC, a few samples of how its mission is being applied on the ground.

  1. Service Provider Program: This part of the HTDC is the way in which Superb Internet is specifically involved. We and other companies with strong track records from 22 different fields provide consulting advice for businesses that are just getting started – answering whatever questions we can and referring as necessary.
  2. Workshops & Seminars: The HTDC holds various presentations throughout the year, focusing on subjects of interest to those in the high-tech field, including information and advice in the following broad categories: 1.) Law; 2.) Seed funding; 3.) Public relations and marketing; 4.) Sales; and, 5.) Operations.
  3. Manoa Innovation Center (MIC): Located in Honolulu near a campus of the University of Hawaii where most of UH’s research is conducted, MIC focuses on tech firms that are new or relatively new to the market. This facility has been in place since 1992.
  4. Maui Research & Technology Center (MRTC): Located in Kihei, Maui, the MRTC both focuses on assisting newly developing companies, as well as helping tech companies that are just developing a presence in Maui. MRTC also assists with the US government’s tech R&D.

HTDC Initiative: Helicopter Made out of Coconuts – Continued

Oh, they laughed; and some people spray-painted his property. One particularly bold naysayer spray-painted Frauchild himself. In 2013, the jury is in on Frauchild. Over 30,000 Hawaii residents now commute via Frauchild’s statewide system of mega-choppers. Says one happy comptroller who uses the system every weekday, “I always said coconut milk was powerful. But Hans proved it. Then he left on a rocket ship.”


As you can see, the mission of the High Technology Development Corporation is fairly simple: grow the economy, specifically the high-tech economy. Superb Internet is involved in HTDC because we want to be a part of our statewide community, and because we believe that businesses can survive and thrive when we find ways to work together.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood