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Ever Wonder Why YouTube Hasn’t Destroyed America’s Funniest Home Videos?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

The football game is over. Your dinner is settling somewhere near your stomach. You’re flipping through channels on a Sunday night, looking for something to watch when you pass by America’s Funniest Home Videos. Wait…what? Is this a re-run from the ’90’s?

No, it is not. The show is now in its 28th season. It runs Sunday nights on ABC where, having completed more than 600 episodes, is the longest-running primetime entertainment show on the network. It is syndicated in over 50 countries and 193 territories around the world. According to the Los Angeles Times, an average of 5.5 million people watch this show every week in the U.S. alone. During the summer it consistently wins its time slot for the valuable 18-49 year old age group. Read More…

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This is Why I Never Invest in Individual Stocks

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

A long time ago in an era far, far away I once bought a stock.

This was in 1988 and the company, which made a new kind of bar-code scanner was hot, young but established with a few years of operations and a growing customer base. It was a good, publicly held company. I was a good, responsible, certified public accountant working for a good, well-known Big 6 accounting firm. Because I was in my twenties and an incredibly brilliant guy who knew everything there was to know about the world of high finance I thought: hey, why not make a killing on Wall Street? And so I set forth to earn my fortune.

Following all the rules of good investing, I read the company’s public filings and it’s quarterly and annual financial statements. This was before the internet so I requested and read analysts’ reports. For about three months I tracked the company’s stock daily in the Wall Street Journal. Convinced that I had found the right investment, I took the plunge with a $10,000 investment – pretty much all of my savings at the time. Baby, my ship was about to come in! Read More…

Why Veteran Entrepreneurs Laugh at You for Following Your ‘Passion’

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

A quick search on Entrepreneur.com will turn up hundreds of articles about “passion.” Just be careful when you read them.

One article offers tips for “loving your career and working with passion.” Another author lists “nine ways you can profit from your passion.” If that’s not sufficient, you can read about the “simple ways to turn your passion into a paycheck” or get an expert’s thoughts on “why you should let passion drive your success.”

It’s all nonsense, of course. Ask any long-time business owner and you’ll hear the same thing: passion is overrated. If everyone “followed their passion” who would take out the garbage? Read More…

Stop Calling Yourself the ‘CEO’ and Start Telling People What You Do

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

J D Wetherspoon is well-known in the United Kingdom for its more than 890 pubs, as well as a chain of upscale bars and boutique hotels. The firm, founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, grosses about $2.2 billion a year and employs more than 37,000 people. Martin prides himself on visiting anywhere from 10 to 20 of his establishments each week. He writes notes on the staff, the cutlery, the quality of food and, of course, the beer. Oh, and he consumes about two to four pints of it just about every day.

Martin’s official title at Wetherspoon, which is a publicly held company, is chairman and founder. But, don’t you dare call him that. “I’m a publican,” he said in a recent BBC interview. “My day-to-day life is running pubs.” Read More…

This Company Wants to Sell You ‘Raw’ Water

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Mmmm…yummy. A big glass of unpurified, unsterilized water from a stream or other water source that may contain harmful microbes and bacteria. Does that sound like a good idea to you? For some start-ups, it sounds like a great one!

These companies actually believe that “raw water” is even better than that horrible, filtered, disinfected stuff that comes out of our taps. And they’re out to create a new hot industry based on these ideas.

One company doing this is Live Water, which sources its products – delivered of course in a reusable glass – directly from a spring in Oregon. They also sell tools to help customers do their own raw water sourcing. According to their website, raw water is a “new, yet ancient idea,” that, unlike filtered or bottled spring waters, is not subjected to UV light, ozone gas and other sterilization techniques that “destroys beneficial sources of minerals and probiotics” that helps prevent “anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, and countless other ailments (that) are linked to an imbalance of proper gut bacteria.” Read More…

Small Businesses Should Be Thankful for Amazon.com

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

“Without Amazon, we wouldn’t be here.”

Those were the words of Robert Wang, the creator of the Instant Pot, a retail phenomenon that, according to this piece in the New York Times, has “upended the home-cooking industry.” The Instant Pot is a kitchen gadget that’s used by its devotees to perform virtually every kitchen task imaginable from sautéing to pressure cooking, steaming and “even making yogurt and cheesecakes.”

The device, which is mostly available for less than $100, has doubled its sales every year since 2011 and has spawned a legion of devoted fans. Wang, an Ontario based engineer, deserves most of the credit for the product’s success. But he’s quick to give credit to another unlikely source: Amazon.com.

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This Guy Fooled TripAdvisor Into Ranking His Garden Shed the Top Restaurant in London

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

If you’re running a small business you know all about how important online reviews can be.  Many of us check the ratings on popular sites like Yelp, Google, FourSquare and TripAdvisor before visiting a store, staying at a hotel or eating at a restaurant.  A couple of reviews, bad or great, can make or break a business.

But how reliable are these sites, and how easily can they be manipulated? Sadly, easier than you may think. That was proven by a freelancer named Oobah Butler.  Writing on Vice, Butler set out to make his garden shed the top rated restaurant in all of London on TripAdvisor.

It was all fake — and he succeeded.

Read More…