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Bad Yelp Review? It Could Be the Weather.

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Online review sites, like Yelp and Google, are an important part of many businesses’ success. A few great reviews can create a buzz.  A few bad ones? Well…

As a business owner you can’t ignore bad reviews or blame them on people being jerks (although I admit that will happen occasionally). But three new studies collectively show that you may be able to blame someone else: Mother Nature.

Researchers at Ohio State University collected customer reviews from 32 Florida restaurants and found something interesting: more negative reviews were left on comment cards by customers on rainy days versus dry days. And not by a little, either. The odds of getting a bad review when the weather was lousy increased almost three-fold. Higher temperatures and barometric pressure were also linked to the Florida respondents. Whether or not these were just a bunch of cranky old people was not taken into consideration. Read More…

Why Did SNL’s Bill Hader Frequently Screw Up on Purpose?

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

I know you’re probably nervous about that presentation you’ve got coming up next week in front of the customer’s purchasing committee. Or maybe you’ve got a big meeting setup with a prospect. Or a public speech you’re making to a business group. But c’mon, at least you’re not trying to make a live audience of…oh, anywhere between seven-and-nine million people…laugh every Saturday night.

That’s what Bill Hader had to do. The 40-year-old comedian and current star of HBO’s great show Barry (see it!) became famous as an eight-year cast member of Saturday Night Live where he portrayed legendary characters such as Stefon, Weekend Update’s flamboyant New York City correspondent, the elderly reporter Herb Welch and Vietnam war vet Anthony Peter Coleman and his puppet “Tony.” Read More…

Why Did the Guy Who Got $750K for Catching Barry Bonds’ Home Run Ball Give Half to His Friend?

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Back in 2007 Barry Bonds was chasing the single season home run record previously set by Mark McGuire. On August 7, Bonds broke that record by launching a fifth inning pitch into the right field stands for home run number 756.

Matt Murphy, 21, caught that ball.

It turns out that Murphy was only at the game on a whim. He and his friend, Amir, were on their way to Australia for a vacation and both decided to catch a Giants game while in San Francisco. Obviously, he caught a lot more than that. Read More…

Nancy Pelosi Just Gave Joe Biden (and Every Man) Very Good Advice About Greeting Female Colleagues

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

As a 54-year-old male in business I’ve been struggling with a growing problem over the past few years: how do I greet a female work colleague?

I don’t mean someone I see every day. I mean the many women who I’ve worked with over the years and see only periodically. Some of them have become good friends because I’ve known them for a long time. Others I haven’t known as long but I’ve certainly worked closely with them on projects. So what do I do when we re-connect at a meeting or a conference or see each other at a coffee shop? Read More…

How Did Ulysses S. Grant Make Life-and-Death Decisions? Very Quickly.

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

In December, 1863, General Ulysses. S. Grant had many big decision to make as he made his plans for the spring offensive against the Confederacy.

Grant, a West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican American War, had been a clerk in a leather goods shop in Galena, Illinois, at the start of the Civil War just a little over two years before. By the summer of 1863 he was leading more than a million Union soldiers to crucial victories at Chattanooga and Vicksburg. Read More…

This Is Why You Should (Almost) Always Go for It on Fourth Down But Seldom Do

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Back in 2009, the football coach at a little known but prestigious high school in Arkansas had an unorthodox strategy. The coach, Kevin Kelley, always went for it on fourth down.  Why? Because it made sense to him – and he couldn’t understand why more coaches didn’t do the same.

“You can have an extra down if you want it,” he told the authors of the great book Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games are Won. “(But some coaches just say) no, I’ll be nice and just use three.”

Turns out Kelley was right. His winning percentage was 82 percent. His team won championships. His players loved the risks he took. The fans ate it up. But Kelley wasn’t taking such a big risk. To him, it was crazy not to go for it on fourth down — and the numbers, according to the book, certainly back him up. Read More…

How Did Spike Lee Convince Michael Jordan to Help Fund His Malcolm X Film?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Malcolm X, the masterpiece biographical film about the African-American activist — which in my opinion) should’ve won the Academy Award for Best Picture after it was released in 1992 — was almost never made because its director and co-writer Spike Lee ran out of money months before he could complete production.

“It was a very rough time,” Lee told Bill Simmons in a recent podcast discussion. “I got paid $1 million to make the film and I put that entire salary into the movie. I just didn’t have any more money.”

The studio, Warner Brothers, had cut off funding and Lee was being forced to make cuts to staff, expenditures and the overall running time of the film, all of which was a huge problem for the artist, who had his vision of what the product should be and didn’t want to change what he was doing. Read More…