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School of Business 05/01/10

The BusinessMakers

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Russ and John present the show that features those who most positively affect our lives, the drivers of our economy: the innovators and the entrepreneurs. Includes: the BusinessMakers Quote of the Day—FedEx founder Fred Smith’s college professor, commenting about Smith’s proposal for FedEx; This Week in Business History includes the sale of Manhattan for cloth and buttons, the election of Winston Churchill and a boat named Monkey Business; the Jargon Challenge Round—trendy technospeak you should know; and Dumbest Moments in Business History—a cleric reveals the cause of earthquakes.

Full Interview text

Russ: Good morning. This is the BusinessMakers Show heard here and online at And this is that show that features those that most positively affect our lives. The innovators and the entrepreneurs.

John: And they're the drivers of the economy. I mean all that creativity, athleticism, artistry and everything they do, they do improve our lives without a shadow a doubt.

Russ: You bet.

John: Yeah.

Russ: And here's what we've got lined up for today. For our featured guest segment I am going to visit with Chuck Ashman, founder and CEO of Business Matchmaking. That's the organization that connects Entrepreneurs and small business people with Government projects, as well with large corporations. And then for our Aflac BusinessMakers Flashback, we are going to revisit our 2007 interview with the National Administrator for the Small Business Administration, Hector Barreto. But first... That's right. It's time for The BusinessMakers School of Business. And this is not your normal business school.

John: Yeah, we spend a lotta time and effort putting this stuff together and researching it.

Russ: You bet. All right and we kick off the School of Business each Saturday morning with the quote of the day.

John: Quote of the day.

Russ: You bet.

John: Yes.

Russ: And this is a quote about one of the guests we've had on the show -

John: Okay.

Russ: - Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx.

John: A Yalie, too, right?

Russ: You bet. Well -

John: Okay.

Russ: - in fact the quote is supposedly the professor at Yale commenting on Fred Smith's idea that he submitted for a grade for FedEx -

John: Right.

Russ: - and it goes like this: "The concept is interesting and well-formed but in order to earn better than a C, the idea must be feasible."

John: Wow. There you go.

Russ: Now, if he had submitted the business plan to the School of Business here at The BusinessMakers, we'd have prob'ly given him an A+, man.

John: Well, no. We would give him an F.

Russ: An F?

John: And then we would have taken his idea and made -

Russ: And run with it.

John: - and run, yeah, run with it.

Russ: All right. That brings us to This Week in Business History. John, what happened during this first week in May in business history?

John: This week in business history in 1626, the Native Americans sell Manhattan Island for $24.00 in cloth and buttons.

Russ: Man!

John: The entire island.

Russ: That must've been some fancy cloth and buttons.

John: This week in business history in 1888, George Eastman patents the Kodak box camera.

Russ: Wow. Well and now, man they are humming in the digital world, too.

John: That's right, yeah.

Russ: You bet.

John: As you well know.

Russ: You bet.

John: Okay. This week in business history in 1912, one of the great newspapers in the world, Pravda, starts publishing and their owner/operator/editor/publisher is the Soviet Communist Party.

Russ: Right.

John: So the people who picked up their Pravda that day, knew they were gettin' the straight story -

Russ: Yeah, sure, right? [Laughter]

John: - of what is goin' on. Yeah.

Russ: I'm sure they did.

John: They're still around.

Russ: Are they?

John: Actually, I got on one of their email - I get like their updates every now and then on Pravda.

Russ: Do you really? Wow.

John: Yeah, it's amazing.

Russ: But it's different now, I mean it's a little bit more honest, isn't it?

John: Well, somewhat.

Russ: Right.

John: Okay. This week in business history in 1918, General Motors acquired the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.

Russ: Wow.

John: Right.

Russ: So that was in what year?

John: In 1918.

Russ: Okay, so I, I just automatically assumed they always had Chevrolet, but they didn't. Interesting.

John: No. No. It was a, you know, General Motors.

Russ: Yeah, cool.

John: Okay, all right. This week in business history in 1933, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is born in Augusta, Georgia.

[Music: "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"]

Russ: Wow.

John: Okay, this week in business history in 1940, Winston Churchill lights up a big ol' Churchill cigar when he becomes PM of Britain.

Russ: Wow.

John: And he was an underdog.

Russ: Yeah. Yeah.

John: You know, 'cause he was - people laughed at him and thought he was finished.

Russ: Yeah.

John: Because he did not favor appeasement -

Russ: Boy he didn't.

John: - of Adolph Hitler.

Russ: I recently toured the space where he spent, during the actual war itself -

John: Yeah.

Russ: - and man it is - it's really cool.

John: I hear it's quite a -

Russ: Ah!

John: - just like it were with us.

Russ: Oh yeah.

John: His cigar is still in the -

Russ: Oh yeah.

John: - they still have a cigar in the ash tray, yeah.

Russ: Yeah, oh yeah. It's cool.

John: Okay. This week in business history in 1941, interesting - a year later, after Winston Churchill becomes PM of Britain, Joseph Stalin becomes Premiere of Russia.

Russ: That's interesting for sure.

John: I know, yeah and -

Russ: It's an exciting week, here.

John: - you know, several hundred thousand million deaths later, he passed away. This week in business history, Mad Magazine debuts. It used to be one of my favorite magazines. I don't pick it up much anymore but -

Russ: Yeah?

John: - when it first started, it was a very good parody of just about everything -

Russ: Yeah.

John: - out there, you know and -

Russ: Yeah, that's true and they're still publishing it today?

John: Absolutely.

Russ: Wow.

John: Yeah, they are.

Russ: So they're 58 years old now.

John: That's right. Okay, this week in business history in 1957, the Pulitzer Prize is awarded to John F. Kennedy for his book, Profiles In Courage.

Russ: Yeah.

John: Now it's alleged that, you know, he didn't write it.

Russ: Okay.

John: And there's two people they think did write it -

Russ: Okay.

John: - but they're really not - there's one that everybody thinks probably did write it.

Russ: Who's that?

John: That's Ted Sorenson -

Russ: Okay.

John: - who was Kennedy's alter ego -

Russ: Sp- yeah.

John: - speechwriter and -

Russ: And a -

John: - and advisor and all that.

Russ: - somewhat famous ghostwriter, right?

John: A famous, yeah a famous ghostwriter and he's still alive today. So it's alleged that he may have written it.

Russ: Yeah.

John: But the -

Russ: There's another one, too?

John: Yeah, well the name Marilyn Monroe keeps popping up, you know?

Russ: [Laughter] So maybe she wrote it?

John: Maybe - yeah, she may have written it. You know? I don't have any proof to that but anyway -

Russ: It's plausible.

John: - she was a lot closer to Kennedy than Ted Sorenson ever dreamed of being, you know, so -

Russ: [Laughter]

John: - all right.

Russ: Okay.

Russ: Yeah.

John: Well documented in the book and the movie The Right Stuff.

Russ: Yeah.

John: And, you know, let's light this candle or something.

Russ: That's right. Yeah. In my opinion, he was huge. That was a huge step but somehow or another, he seems to take like a secondary or tertiary role behind, you know, John Glenn and The Right Stuff but -

John: Well yeah, so he, well see it's a limited orbit.

Russ: Yeah.

John: I mean, he wasn't even in orbit.

Russ: Yeah.

John: He just, he just penetrated outer space -

Russ: Yeah.

John: - and was up there not very long and then came back down. Yeah.

Russ: Few minutes, yeah, but still I think that was probably a pretty big deal.

John: This week in business history in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech.

Russ: Whoa.

John: Yeah.

Russ: So that, that as 57 years ago, wow.

John: And one of the great -

Russ: Oh yeah.

John: - I would say unifying speeches -

Russ: Oh yeah.

John: - of all time.

Russ: Yeah it was incredible.

John: Okay. This week in business history in 1982, IBM releases a PC DOS version 1.1.

Russ: The - yeah.

John: You know, it's pretty elementary when it's got a - it's a 1 and a .01.

Russ: Yeah, yeah. Well this was actually the first upgrade off of 1.0. I was, I was right in the middle of that at the time, with IBM and running one of their product centers and we all thought, "Well what was wrong with 1.0?"

John: 1.0.

Russ: You know, and we've gone a little bit further than that, now. [Laughter]

John: Yeah, 1.1. Yeah, so -

Russ: There you go.

John: - one giant leap for computerkind.

Russ: Right.

John: Okay. This week in business history in 1987, Gary Hart, become a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party and he quit -

Russ: Right.

John: - it was alluded to in many news reports that he liked to chase skirts and -

Russ: Right.

John: - and was kind of a philanderer -

Russ: Right.

John: - even though he was already married -

Russ: Right.

John: - and all that. And so he was finally becoming so upset with these reporters, he just said, "Look. I challenge you, follow me around. You know, I don't care. You're gonna find out there's nothin' to any of this." So, like a week later, on a cover of National Enquirer is Gary Hart with a woman named Donna Rice sitting on his lap -

Russ: Yeah. Yeah.

John: - in front of a boat. They were in a boat and the name of the boat was "Monkey Business."

Russ: [Laughter] I think they caught him.

John: I think they caught him, yeah. Yeah.

Russ: That was unbelievable. I -

John: Oh yeah, yeah.

Russ: You know, okay, so that wraps up this morning's history lesson?

John: Hey, you know, we started out with the Indians being swindled and -

Russ: Ended up with Monkey Business.

John: - with Monkey Business.

Russ: All right and that brings us to the Jargon Challenge Round.

John: Ah, yes.

Russ: And we present the vocabulary lesson in the form of a contest.

John: That's right, as a contest format because I don't know the - I don't know what he's gonna come up with folks.

Russ: Right, right.

John: And I know that sounds, "Oh that's just showbiz schlock." Well it's not.

Russ: And I go out and find a word and I say the word.

John: Right.

Russ: And John guesses the meaning.

John: Okie dokie.

Russ: This, this morning's word is a noun.

John: A noun.

Russ: Right.

John: Person, place or thing.

Russ: Right.

John: Okay.

Russ: And before I say it, once again a warning. No wagering, please.

John: And void where prohibited by law.

Russ: That's right.

John: Okay. All right.

Russ: You ready?

John: Yeah.

Russ: Pass face.

John: Pass face?

Russ: Yeah.

John: So saving face when you're trying to, you know -

Russ: Yes there is.

John: - keep your dignity about you -

Russ: Yeah.

John: - when everything's falling apart.

Russ: Right.

John: I would say pass face is when the embarrassing moment that humiliates you is gone by so fast you can't even save face. You've, you pass face.

Russ: [Laughter] That's a good try buddy.

John: Yeah.

Russ: But you're a loser today. And the definition of pass face is -

John: Yeah?

Russ: - a picture of a human face that is used instead of a password as part of a security system.

John: Oh.

Russ: Yeah. See there?

John: So you stick your head against a -

Russ: Yeah.

John: - one of those computer pads.

Russ: And they say, "Is that you or not?"

John: Like instead of a fingerprint you just go -

Russ: Right, yeah. Right.

John: You stick your nose up against it and okay, right.

Russ: [Laughter] All right and that brings us to Dumbest Moments in Business. Do you have a story for us this morning, John?

John: Well, you know, the world's had a lotta these earthquakes, you know?

Russ: Oh yeah.

John: You know, and then we had the volcano go off.

Russ: Oh, yeah.

John: But that, you know, that big volcano in Iceland -

Russ: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

John: But I finally got to the root of what's causing it.

Russ: Okay.

John: And -

Russ: And that is?

John: This comes from a senior Iranian cleric. Now this isn't like some evangelistic minister -

Russ: Right.

John: - off the rails or something.

Russ: Right.

John: Or a priest or something like that -

Russ: Right.

John: - here in the United States because we don't operate under a theocracy.

Russ: Right.

John: So this cleric - if you're a cleric in Iran, you got some clout.

Russ: You do.

John: You got some swag over there.

Russ: Yeah.

John: So he says the reason why all these earthquakes are going on is because women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for the earthquakes.

Russ: Well - damn them!

John: That's why that we're having so many earthquakes. I thought this was really ridiculous but -

Russ: Yeah.

John: - when you hear the progression, it makes sense.

Russ: All right.

John: Okay, 'cause the women who do not dress modestly, they first lead young men astray.

Russ: Yeah.

John: Then they corrupt their chastity.

Russ: Yeah.

John: To - and then they spread adultery in society which, huh, consequentially increases the earthquakes.

Russ: [Laughter] It's that last step that's so - automatically go from -

John: It's that - yeah, it's - yeah, right so you go from you know - and so that's why it's -

Russ: That's it!

John: That's why, so.

Russ: Wow.

John: So -

Russ: So maybe this isn't a dumb moment. Maybe it's a smart moment.

John: It, it - well, it remains to be seen but it sounds pretty dumb to me.

Russ: [Laughter] All right.

John: Right.

Russ: All right. And before we wrap up this morning's School of Business, it's time for the very popular PKF Texas Entrepreneur's Playbook.

Greg: This is Greg Price with PKF Texas' Entrepreneur's Playbook.

The other day I was listening to a presentation made by a highly successful local CEO of a technology company with offices here in Houston. One of the subjects he covered was the trials and tribulations of getting two previous competitive organizations working together collaboratively as one company.

I found that discussion interesting because I have begun to notice other common patterns in both business and leisure that parallel the CEO's comments. Here are some examples:

  1. I was on my way to watch a collegiate softball game the other day and a friend of mine said, "I hope you all do well this weekend". He was on his way to watch the baseball team. My response to him was, "I hope we win in baseball too."
  2. I was visiting with a prospective client, and the Controller said, the operations personnel cannot do anything right. We have to spend hundreds of hours each year correcting their mistakes. When I met the operations personnel, they said no one ever asked them if they knew what they were supposed to do, or if the processes were correct for their business model.

In these two small examples, you can see how commitment and communication, or the lack thereof, contributed to both problems. My friend is not committed to the success of the university's sports programs. He is committed to his sport, baseball. And only provides passive support at best towards the softball program. And at our prospect, just the simple act of listening to both sides of the organization and leading a focused and directed discussion brought daylight to a highly poisoned relationship.

So what did our CEO do to get his organization working together? I will leave you with two thoughts:

Aerial photography, and Two bricks

Any guesses as to what they did?

To read and comment on the PKF Texas' Entrepreneur's Playbook, visit my blog, And be sure to check out the new mobile ready website at PKF - PKF Texas, The Fit That's Right!

Russ: And that wraps up this morning's School of Business. Stay tuned in for the Aflac BusinessMakers Flashback where we roll back to 2007 when I sat down with Hector Barreto, the National Administrator for the SBA. And that will be followed by our featured guest segment, where I visit with Chuck Ashman, the founder and CEO of Business Matchmaking. You're listening to the BusinessMakers Show, heard here and online at

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