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The Brilliance of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce ‘Fiasco’

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

If you know Rick and Morty, then you’ll know that in the third season there’s a story about how Rick broke out of prison and split up his daughter’s marriage and then is involved in a huge multi-dimensional battle involving other Ricks and when it ends Morty gives a speech that blames it all on McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. Look — I’m not about to explain Rick and Morty to you. Just watch it.

You won’t be alone. There are many people who love the Adult Swim cartoon. This became apparent last weekend when, with everything that’s been going on in the world lately, Rick and Morty fans took to the streets to protest — even violently in some places — a shortage of Szechuan sauce at McDonald’s. Read More…

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How Did Mister Rogers Raise $140 Million for PBS in Just 7 Minutes?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Back in May, 1969, the Public Broadcasting Service was facing serious cuts in its budget.  Executives from the organization went to Capitol Hill to plead their case in front of a subcommittee of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce. The chairman of the committee, John Pastore, was a self-described “tough guy” and not known for being a spender. PBS needed $20 million at the time to keep functioning – an amount equal to about $140 million in today’s dollars. With their backs to the wall, the corporation’s executives called upon their very best salesman to save the day. That person was none other than Fred Rogers.

Who doesn’t know Fred Rogers?  Well, at the time, quite a few people didn’t. For one, Pastore had never heard of him or his show (“Are you the narrator?” he asked. “How long is it?”). Although the 41-year-old Rogers had been on the air in a few local markets for the almost 15 years he had only begun specializing with children during the past six. Rogers had yet to gain the national prominence that would one day establish him as arguably one of the nation’s greatest communicators to children. His Mister Rogers Neighborhood show on PBS would eventually run for decades, and Rogers would ultimately win countless awards and change the lives of millions of young children to this very day. Read More…

Listen Here, Ladies: Guys Have Work-Family Stress Too!

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

You know what? It’s actually more stressful to be a working guy than most people think. If you don’t believe me then take a look at a recent new study  from the American Psychological Association.

The research, which took several years and included the examinations of about 250,000 people around the world, concluded that men have similar levels of work-family conflicts as women.

“We essentially found very little evidence of differences between women and men as far as the level of work-family conflict they report,” Kristen Shockley, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and the study’s lead researcher said. “This is quite contrary to the common public perception.” The study found that, when pushed, men complain of similar challenges meeting their family needs and balancing their work-lives as their female colleagues.

Amen, Dr. Schockley. Amen! Read More…

This Bakery Owner Refused to Give Away Freebies. She’s Wrong.

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

If the producers of a popular TV show asked you to provide free product in exchange for “promotion” would you? Laura Worthington refused.

Worthington owns Laura’s Little Bakery in Liverpool, England. Recently, she was asked to bake a cake for one of the stars of a popular British TV show called Love Island. Her payment? “Exposure” on the show’s social media accounts, she was promised. Worthington was not impressed.

“Exposure doesn’t pay my bills,” she told the show’s producers, according to this Buzzfeed News report. “And I’ll be honest I think it’s a disgrace that companies like you go to small independent businesses asking for free stuff.”

It’s not the first time this has happened to her. Worthington claims she gets a request for free cakes “at least once a week.” The requests come from individual people, organizations seeking donations, discounts requested by customers making big orders and even other TV shows, like the X Factor. Read More…

This Is Why Boomer Business Owners Should Stop Whining About Millennial Employees

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

I was at a conference of equipment manufacturers in Texas recently and the talk turned to the millennial generation.  The audience was mostly middle-aged men and women. Business owners. It didn’t go well.

“They don’t work as hard we do,” one  said to the group’s nods of agreement. “They’re just not loyal,” said another. More nods. “They complain too much,” someone else complained.

Y’know, kids today and all that.

When we think of millennials, many business owners I know have an image of the lazy, bearded, craft-bourbon-drinking hipster sporting a man-bun and Civil War-era clothing. Or the whiny barista who breaks down the moment a customer is rude. Or the entitled snowflake who respects and tolerates everyone — except for those who have opinions different from her own.

That image is wrong. Read More…

How Steve Jobs Misled a Room Full of Tech Media and Changed the World

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Have you ever purposely misled a customer? The public? The media? Steve Jobs did. And he did it to change the world.

The story goes back to 2007, when Apple was first introducing the iPhone. Jobs knew that he had a product that would have an enormous impact on the way humans use technology — and also have an enormous impact on his company’s future profits.

Unfortunately, Jobs had a big problem: the iPhone didn’t really exist. Yet in January of that year, he planned to demo the iPhone to an audience at the company’s Macworld conference that included customers, partners, tech media…and the world. All he had to show them was a flawed, unfinished model and some big ideas. So what did Jobs do? He decided to mislead his audience. Read More…

Did Your One Big Customer Disappear? Poor You!

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

This is a story about a friend of mine who almost, very nearly, went out of business.

Her name is Tammy. OK, that’s not her real name because if I told you her real name she’d kill me. But she’s a real person and she owns a company with her brother that specializes in manufacturing specialized parts that go into custom machines used in the food processing industry. Boring stuff – but it’s a good business. Basically, it’s a job shop started by their parents after World War II and employs about 30 people. Tammy and her brother work very hard and the company had been very profitable…up until about three years ago. That’s when KSI pulled out.

Who’s KSI? That’s another made up name for another real company that was Tammy’s biggest customer at the time. When I say biggest, I mean that KSI accounted for about two-thirds of her sales. They’ve been that way since her dad landed the contract when Tammy was just a toddler. Read More…