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When sales of this truck are good, businesses are doing good.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Small businesses are merchants, restauranteurs, service providers, manufacturers, farmers and distributors. But many of them–including many of my clients–are also connected to industries that require construction and contracting work. They put up drywall, pave roofs, lay cables, fix pipes, plant bushes, build houses, install windows, drill holes, hammer nails and do a bunch of other things that drives many industries from construction to government services.   

Speaking of driving, they need vehicles to transport their people and materials. And that car is often the Ford F-series. Since its inception 1948 the Ford F-Series has become the most popular light vehicle truck in the world, with sales mostly in the United States.   Read More…

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been busier than ever

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, sure has been busy this year!

In just the past few weeks, the commission has filed lawsuits against a Washington state assisted-living community for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act, against a grocery chain accused of religious discrimination toward a new hire, a Missouri contractor for subjecting an employee to racial harassment and a California firm that  sells, rents, and services forklift products for “allowing employees to engage in widespread national origin and race harassment.”

Well-known brands have also been recent targets. For example, Whole Foodswas sued by the EEOC last week for allegedly denying accommodations and then firing an employee with a form of kidney disease, automaker Volvo was charged with refusing to hire a qualified worker because of a disability, AutoNation, a national used car dealership, was accused of gender discrimination in Florida and George Washington University’s athletic director was targeted for pay discrimination.

And these are just a few recent cases. Read More…

Are you ready to try a cricket salad? This new restaurateur hopes so.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

If you like to eat ants, crickets, bamboo caterpillars, silkworms and giant water beetles then you’ll definitely want to check out a restaurant called Insects in the Backyard in Bangkok. Yum.

Eating fried crickets and buttery silkworms is nothing new in Thailand, where street vendors have been serving up various forms of pests to hungry natives and adventurous tourists for years. But now the cuisine has gone mainstream. Just a few weeks ago, a well-known chef opened up the country’s first fine-dining establishment that specializes in insect delicacies.

“It’s a new thing,” Executive Chef Thitiwat Tantragarn, a veteran of some of Thailand’s top restaurants said in this ABC News report. “You live in the world, you need to learn the new thing.” Although Tantragarn has had lots of experience with pork and chicken, he believes that working with insects is a “a new world of cooking [and a] new lesson.”

Hey, have an open mind, okay?  According to experts at the United Nations, insects are considered very nutritional, with many that are high in protein, good fats and minerals. They also have a lower environmental impact than traditional proteins and you know you just can’t beat that crunch.

The insect craze has its indirect effects too, spawning new investors and suppliers. One local insect wholesaler to the restaurant is literally salivating at the prospect of having a whole new market to serve.

“In Thailand, there is a long history of local populations, of people consuming insects and they continue to do, in large amounts. But it’s essentially as a snack, not a part of dishes, not a part of cuisine,” said Regan Suzuki Pairojmahakij, a Canadian partner at the eatery, in the ABC News report. “We are interested in moving people away from seeing insects from purely as a snack to be a part of a gourmet and a delicious cuisine.”

Advocates believe that, despite the shock value of the food, new restaurants will be able to create delicious and attractive dishes where insects are the main ingredient. And who knows — continued success in Thailand could mean opportunities for innovative restaurateurs here in the United States.

A pastor hopes his brewpub will be a religious experience for some

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

When you have a drink at the recently-opened Steeple Brewing Company in Hastings, Neb. you’ll not only have a good beer — you may also be having a religious experience. That’s probably what Rev. Damen Heitmann hopes.

Heitmann is an ordained minister. But he also has other special powers, such as being able to create a great batch of custom crafted beer. And, according to the Kearney Hub, he’s putting a clerical touch on his new business and career as brewmaster.

“I like to say we play around with church culture and the weird little things that happen in church communities,” said Heitmann, who, when not brewing beer, continues to be a chaplain at a local college and an associate pastor at a nearby church. Read More…

Small businesses are increasingly victims of ‘Crime as a Service’

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Ask most any business executive and you’ll find that they rely heavily on Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to run their companies. Thanks to these cloud-based services, owners can more efficiently and accurately manage their businesses and their employees are able to access their data remotely from almost any device.

But unfortunately there’s a dark side. The rise of SaaS has also created something else: CaaS . . . or Crime as a Service.

That’s the opinion of cybersecurity expert Larry Johnson, the chief strategy officer of a company that provides cyber incident response to Fortune 500 clients and government agencies. Writing last month on Entepreneur.com, Johnson warns small business owners that CaaS is fast becoming a significant issue. Read More…

They wanted to raise awareness, so they stuffed a cow and hung it in their restaurant.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

This is not a stunt. It’s an ethical act to raise awareness about dairy production. That’s what the owners of Etica, an Adelaide, Australia pizza restaurant, say. But some in the town, according to Adelaide Now, are calling it obscene, shocking and “utterly disgusting.” Read More…

A start-up’s hiring strategy: unlimited salaries

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

A controversial Chinese start-up is going all out to recruit top talent — and its strategy seems to be working so far.

Beijing ByteDance Technology is the company and its mobile app, Jinri Toutiao (or Today’s Headlines), is a news aggregator that has, in just five years, amassed more than 120 million daily users and generated annual revenue exceeding $2.5 billion. The company’s valuation of $20 billion is twice that of News Corp and seven times more than the New York Times. Read More…