Russ: Good morning. This is the BusinessMakers Show here, heard here and online at thebusinessmakers.com. And this is that show about the innovators, the entrepreneurs, those that most positively affect our lives.
John: That's right, Russ. These are the go-getters.
Russ: All right. And here's our lineup for this morning. Our topic is energy. And first up for the Aflac BusinessMakers Flashback we are going to be revisiting our interview with John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company and now founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy. And for this mornings featured guest segment I am going to be visiting with Bob Schwartz of Energy Ventures, the Norwegian based venture capitalist firm focused exclusively on technology for the energy industry. But first... That's right. It's time for the BusinessMakers School of Business. And like we like to point out, if we don't teach it, you don't need it.
John: And I think people really need to come to grips with the fact that they really need this information.
Russ: That's right.
John: All right.
Russ: And we kick off the School of Business each Saturday morning with a quote of the day.
John: Quote of the day.
Russ: And this morning, I'm gonna quote Andy Rooney from Sixty Minutes fame.
John: Andy Rooney, yeah.
Russ: Here's the quote. "Nothing in fine print is ever good news.
John: That's right. As I think about it, I can't think of anything I've ever seen in fine print –
Russ: That's good. That's surprises you on the positive side, right?
John: That's right. That's why it's small. [Laughs]
Russ: And that brings us to This Week in Business History. What happened during this last week in January in business history?
John: Okay. This was back in 1850, 14 years before the Civil War. The inventor of the box kite, Lawrence Hargrave, is born. Now he had a very eclectic background , engineer, astronomer, inventor, aeronautical pioneer, and he immigrated into Australia when he was 15. And he invented a lot of things and never got a patent for any of one of them. But the box kite was the one that actually stuck to things. And actually he built one large enough to lift a man and there's some aeronautical principles in that.
Russ: Did you ever have a box kite?
John: I never had a box kite. I've had a lotta boxes. And I've had a lotta kites. But could never understand how that thing would get in the air.
Russ: It's unbel- – I had one, and it –
John: You still have it?
Russ: No, but – in fact, I didn't have it very long. But while I did have it, it just – you just let go of it and it just went up. And it made no sense whatsoever to me why it flew.
John: This week in business history in 1880, William Claude Dukenfield, also own as WC Fields, was born in Philadelphia.
Russ: What a guy.
John: Yeah. What a guy. Very funny. This week in business history in 1920, former Ford Motor Company, Henry Leland, launches the Lincoln Motorcar Car Company which he later sells to his former employer.
Russ: Oh, so he was sort of venturing out there from the family namesake company and did pretty good with Lincoln.
John: He did pretty good. Yeah.
Russ: And then sold it back to Ford.
John: There you go. All right. Well, this week in business history in 1922, I would say one of the most successful food ventures of all time, because the Eskimo pie was patented by Christian K Nelson. This guy was not an Eskimo.
Russ: He wasn't.
John: He was from Iowa. He was a Danish immigrant schoolteacher. Owned a candy store and got the inspiration – when a young lad went into his establishment and couldn't decide whether to spend his money on ice cream or a chocolate bar –
Russ: It seems like the inventor of the Eskimo pie should have actually been an Eskimo to me. I don't know, man. Don't you think?
John: I would think if I were part of the Eskimo tribe, I would certainly wanna get some royalties going here.
John: Okay. This week in business history in 1924, leave it up to those communists. They take a beautiful city like St. Petersburg and name it after a dictator, Leningrad.
Russ: I bet that didn't go over very well for a while.
John: All right. This week in business history in 1935, the first canned beer – now when I read this, I was surprised. I thought canned beer was earlier than this.
Russ: Yeah, 1935. Wow.
John: By the Krueger Brewing Company. They must not a done a very good job of it because you don't see Krueger Beer anywhere.
Russ: That's right. That's right.
John: This week in business history in 1941, Neil Diamond, born in Brooklyn, New York, had –
[Music: "Sweet Caroline"]
Russ: So Neil Diamond is 69 this week. Wow.
Russ: Getting up there.
John: Yeah. Okay. This week in business history in 1954, Oprah Winfrey is born in Mississippi and she was an actress, TV host. I was working in Baltimore at the time when she hosted this stupid show called Dialing for Dollars.
Russ: Okay. That's where she got start on TV.
John: Right. And when she started out in the news and didn't make it, so they demoted her to Dialing for Dollars and she did this show with this other guy and they – you could see like three minutes of movie, then they'd cut and they'd do commercials. And then if you called in with a count in the amount, you got the – got some dollars.
Russ: You got some dollars. Okay. So Oprah's now 56.
John: Yeah. And she's done quite well for herself.
Russ: She's done all right.
John: This week in business history in 1958, the Leggo Company patented their first design of Leggo bricks.
Russ: Wow. What a success story that is.
John: And it's the amazing thing is even though it's 58, the bricks are still compatible so that there's no planned obsolescence.
Russ: Boy, no kidding.
John: Yeah. This week in business history in 1962, the twist is declared impure and it was banned from all Catholic schools.
[Music: "The Twist"]
John: This week in business history in 1964, introducing the Beatles album is released in the US. And in the same week five years later, the Beatles perform their last gig which is a free concert, no thanks to Yoko Ono.
[Music: "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
Russ: Right. You always accurately pinpoint that that was cause of the demise.
John: Well, it's like the early death of Mozart. Just imagine if he just woulda lived a normal lifespan.
John: 'Cause back in those days – which probably woulda been another ten years or so. Just think how prolific he was in that short amount of time. Same thing with the Beatles.
John: Okay. This week in business history in 1965, Noah W and Joseph McVicker receive a patent for Play-Doh. There's a toy product that's kinda stood the test of time.
Russ: Yeah. I wonder if their patent includes the way it's supposed to smell.
John: Well, he smell you just can't – man, it's like a – it's like nirvana.
Russ: Like a bakery smell or something.
John: It's like the best cookie dough you've ever smelled.
John: Don't make this mistake of eating it because it is –
Russ: No. It doesn't have a good taste.
John: It tastes like a semi-damp concrete mix.
Russ: Right. So anyway that means it's 45 years old now. Jeesh. Wow. Cool.
John: I know. This week in business history in 1970, I would say a iconic anti-war movie Mash, directed by and created by Robert Altman, although it was based on a book. But I remember seeing it when it first came out. It was great.
Russ: So it premiered this week, which means it's like – well that was 40 years ago. Wow.
John: And when I saw it, it was part of a double feature.
Russ: Double feature.
John: With Patton. So you talk about –
Russ: Patton? Wow.
John: Yeah. The movie. So it was pretty cool.
Russ: That's interesting.
John: Yeah. This week in business history in 1978, President Carter, one of his probably biggest mistakes, issues his executive order on Intelligence No. 12036, which is an executive order, that banned domestic surveillance and political assassinations.
Russ: All of it hurt us internationally in our intelligence, right?
John: Yeah, right. And I'm not saying – some people think JFK had a lot to do with the assassination of the President 2 of Vietnam –
John: – which really put that country into a tailspin. But I'm not saying this political assassination or domestic surveillance should be something that's an everyday thing.
John: But to start curtailing what our intelligence institutions are able to do and not do by – just because one guy doesn't like it is pretty bad.
Russ: Pretty bad. Pretty tough, yeah.
John: This week in business history in 1984, we found out that George Orwell was wrong. And we also found out that Apple Computer was going to unveil its McIntosh personal computer.
Russ: Yep. That's right. This is when they did it, in 1984 this week. Wow.
John: 'Cause I remember in the '60s reading 1984 and it was like a long way off, 1984. There was some discussion on a lot news shows about how close did we come to 1984.
Russ: Oh yeah.
John: And the Apple Computer –
Russ: The McIntosh.
John: They had a commercial that was like 1984, big brother and women who comes with the track suit and throws the hammer through the screen and everything. It was great.
Russ: It was quite an announcement.
John: Okay. This week in business history in 1986, the 25th space shuttle, Challenger 10, explodes 73 seconds after liftoff. There's a teacher on board, Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger disaster, as did the rest of the crew.
Russ: Yeah. Man, that was quite a tragedy. Until then, we were pretty much error-free with the shuttles, yeah. Wow.
John: Error-free, right, yeah. This week in business history in 1992, President Clinton and Jennifer Flowers accuse each other of lying over her assertion that they had a 12-year affair.
Russ: Yeah. I think most people ended up believing in Jennifer Flowers.
John: Well, yeah. It had the ring of truth and –
Russ: It did.
John: Yeah. No question about it.
John: But still, nobody really knows.
Russ: That's true.
John: This week in business history in 1993, Sears announced it's closing its catalog sales department after 97 years.
Russ: And what a disappointment that was to me, 'cause I grew up in a small town and, man, the Sears and Roebuck catalog is what –
John: Oh, that was – that was –
Russ: You could see what was going on in the world.
John: Yeah. They'd close the schools and gave everybody the day off when the catalog –
Russ: That's right. That's right.
John: This week in business history in 1996, the 23rd American Music Award, Garth Brooks wins.
[Music: "Friends in Low Places"]
Russ: Yes, he did. All right. And that wraps up this morning's history lesson.
John: Yes, it sure does.
Russ: Okay, good job as usual.
John: Well, thank you.
Russ: And that brings us to Navigating Business Jargon, our vocabulary lesson. And the way we do this is I get to gout and find and choose the word and John as no idea what it is.
John: I was lucky last week.
Russ: Yes, you were. You won the –
John: it was called irritainment.
Russ: Irritainment, yeah.
John: It was a good word. Duck shuffling's still my favorite.
Russ: Oh, I love duck shuffling, too. You bet. And the way it works is I say the word. And then John guesses the meaning. And if he gets it right, we proclaim him a winner. And if he doesn't, we proclaim him a loser.
Russ: Here it is.
John: All right.
Russ: Meta ignorance.
John: Meta ignorance.
John: Okay. Meta means many or a lot. Okay? And ignorance is someone who's really – has an uneducated view of just about everything, or ignorance – it's not a person. It's the demonstration of a lack of basic knowledge in many areas.
John: So it's someone who's really ignorant.
Russ: I think I'll have to give you a winner. It was obviously an easy phrase.
John: Now why just because I guess it, do you think it's an easy phrase?
Russ: The official meaning is not knowing what you don't know.
Russ: Meta ignorance.
John: All right.
Russ: But we gave you a victory there, so you're a winner today.
John: All right, okay.
Russ: All right. That brings us to Dumb Moments in Business. Do we have one this morning?
John: Yeah. This is what happens when you get all excited about bringing a football team to your town or a professional baseball team, professional football team – or basketball or hockey. You're all excited and you vote for these tax plans to build the stadiums.
Russ: Absolutely, man. Yeah.
John: Okay. And it may be the people who live there don't think they're paying it. They think it's a bunch of out-of-town tourists that come here.
John: But we all pay for it one way or another.
John: 'Cause sooner or later, those sports palaces become obsolete.
Russ: Usually it's soon as opposed to later. Man, they lose value quickly.
John: Right. And in 1975, the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan was built for $55.7 million dollars.
Russ: Which is a bargain price compared to today.
John: Yeah. Right. Then the Lions, of course, after a while, they – the stadium revenue wasn't keeping up with the other teams.
Russ: Yeah. We need a new one.
John: Bells and whistles.
Russ: Oh, yeah.
John: These NFL owners get what I call stadium envy.
Russ: Yeah, that's right.
John: – the other guys' stadium, and "Gee, I can have this."
Russ: That's right.
John: Well, what happens is someone bought the Sports Palace for about the same price people buy their homes, $583,000.00. It was sold in auction back in November to an unidentified Canadian real estate company.
Russ: The Pontiac, Michigan Silverdome.
John: The Silverdome, yeah.
Russ: – sold for $580,000.00?
John: Yeah, mm-mhmm.
Russ: My goodness gracious. Of course, Michigan's got their own problems right now, too. That coulda played a role.
John: Well, their problems are of their own making.
Russ: Well, that's probably true.
John: See, the government was the ones, the local government wanted to build the Silverdome for probably – I'm sure the public was involved in some way.
John: The local government in Michigan and in Detroit, it's basically a dysfunctional mass of people that just don't know what they're doing. And this is proof positive.
Russ: Yeah. So maybe it isn't a good deal to pay $583,000.00 for it.
John: I guess, the land value – they probably bought for land and salvage or something like that.
Russ: Okay. All right. And before we wrap this morning's School of Business, it's time for the very popular PKF Texas, entrepreneur's playbook. Let's welcome Greg on the piano.
Greg: This is Greg Price with PKF Texas' Entrepreneur's Playbook. As organizations work through their 2010 budgets and we see the economy teetering back and forth on the edge of pulling out the recession or falling back into it, one of things on the minds of most CEOs is: "How can they improve the profitability of their organization?" One of the answers is to get better information from your accounting system.
At a customer site we started doing some analysis of their sales revenues and customers. The controller was our sponsor, and was looking to use the power of their new dashboard reporting tool we implemented at their headquarters to tell them more about their business. One of the items they were challenged with was knowing whether or not, a customer was profitable.
Our dashboard reporting tool indicated that they were showing some profitability on 40% of its small customers and approximately 75% on its larger customers. Having never had this information before, the controller went down the hall and visited with the VP of Sales and a plan was developed to redesign sales processes.
With our help, we redesigned the process to focus on value and cut waste. More time was spent in directing the smaller customers to web based support/ordering and large customers with more commodity based sales also to web based support/ordering. Reducing back office support on these areas allowed the organization to cut costs by 35% on the smaller customers and 7% on the large ones. Larger customer profitability increased by 20% and smaller customer profitability increased by 100%.
If you are not getting this information from your accounting system, you should contact us. With Dynamics NAV and our dashboard tools, we can help bring that type of information to the forefront.
To read and comment on the PKF Texas' Entrepreneur's Playbook, visit my blog, fromgregshead.com. PKF Texas the fit, that's right!
Russ: Okay that wraps up this mornings School of Business. Stay tuned in for the Aflac BusinessMakers Flashback where we are going to roll back to our interview with John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company and now founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy. And for the featured guest segment I am going to be visiting with Bob Schwartz of Energy Ventures, the Norwegian based venture capitalist firm focused exclusively on technology for the energy industry. You're listening to tbe BusinessMakers Show heard here and online at thebusinessmakers.com.