Russ: This is the Businessmakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com. This is that show about the make-it-happen people that actually go out there, create jobs, build companies, pay taxes, create taxpayers, do it all.
John: It's very unique to the world that the United States has this cadre of very productive creators in the free enterprise system. Most countries don't have this. Or they don't have-
Russ: Yeah, and people come here from other countries to do it.
John: Right. They come here because they think they have an equal opportunity, as opposed to them having to know somebody or being somebody's family or whatever.
John: This is part of that American exceptionalism you hear about.
Russ: Absolutely. Well, and they also feel like, generally speaking the climate here, at least the history of the free enterprise system has been extremely conducive to it.
John: Right. And you have a better shot of succeeding here than most other places.
Russ: Yeah, that's true.
John: If you're starting with nothing.
Russ: Yeah. Yeah. Well, or are you saying maybe it's 'cause of that infrastructure that the country built?
John: That's right. Yeah. If it hadn't been for that sewer system out there in your front yard we never would've been- never would've been able to do it, keeping in mind, of course, that your money helped pay for that sewer system.
Russ: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
John: And some private company probably installed it.
Russ: Right. I've worked with some people that kind of look at all this a little differently; they say when, you know, when there's big, big government, pro-government people in charge you adjust and you sell to the government.
John: Right. Yeah.
Russ: And when they're not in charge you sell to individuals and stuff. So.
John: Well, the problem with selling to the government is the government doesn't have any money.
Russ: Well, they do. They take your money.
John: They take - well, they take it from other countries or ________ it, yeah. And they-
Russ: But there are. There are some opportunities. I never told you about this one, mainly 'cause it wasn't real successful, but, you know, back when the stimulus money first showed up-
John: Yeah, for the show-already projects. Yeah.
Russ: Yeah. Precisely. And I had the idea I was going to corner the market on shovels.
John: Shovels, that's right.
Russ: And so-
John: You know, that's a - boy, I'll tell you, you are - you are always at the right place at the right time.
Russ: Well, there - it seems like that, but there was a problem. You know-
John: What's - what was that?
Russ: Well, number one, there were a lot of shovels. There's a lot of - you can't believe how many Ace Hardware stores there are out there. You try to get all of those shovels. And I was-
John: Yeah, right. Oh, you wanted to corner the market on shovels.
John: So if anybody wanted a shovel they would have to come to you-
John: And you would charge an exorbitantly overpriced-
Russ: Well, I was going to be reasonable, but I was going to make a profit.
John: Yeah, reasonable, but ______ overcharging.
Russ: Yeah. And as I said, one - the first problem I ran into, there were so many shovels. There are - you know how many stores that sell? It was really hard. Luckily - well, luckily I ran out of money from the shovels that I did, because it-
John: So how many shovels do you have like in your garage, you know?
Russ: I'd rather not say. But the second part of the problem appeared then, and that was that none of these projects that he was giving this money to needed shovels. They weren't shovel-ready or they were building solar collectors and-
John: I know.
Russ: The only - Solyndra, the only shovels they needed was to shovel that money in, I think.
John: Shovel the money in. Now their - now their handiwork is now in art museums.
Russ: That's right. It's famous now.
John: That's right.
Russ: Now I've actually - I brought that because I've had another idea; I haven't done this one yet, and you might want to partner with me.
John: Is this as good as the 3-D glasses?
Russ: Yes. Yes. It's almost.
John: All right.
Russ: You know, if you think about it now, it's one of the first times that I know of that, you know, that there's some people that think they aren't paying enough taxes.
John: Right. Yeah, there's always that group. They feel guilty because of their success.
Russ: Yeah. Yeah. And then there's other people that feel like they're paying too much.
John: Too much. Yeah, right, yeah.
Russ: So it's perfect for an exchange, you know, getting between the buyer and the seller. I will have like a tax credit thing, you know, exchange process.
John: Yeah. Right. Mm-hmm.
Russ: So all you have to do, we're going to do a website, TaxExchange.com, is you just fill out a form and you can check whether or not you think you pay too much or not enough; we don't care.
John: Or not enough. We don't care. We're just the middleman, like bookies in Las Vegas.
Russ: You just - yeah. Yeah. Except we're going to be more honest than bookies. We're not - well, we're going to kind of be like bookies _____ _____. And then what we'll do is take-
John: Like I bet the over/under on ______.
Russ: Right. We'll take all the money from those that feel guilty and we'll split it up among those that feel like they pay too much, and we'll just take a piece off the top.
John: That's pretty - man, you are a - no wonder you've been so successful in business. I'm just a mere mortal.
Russ: Now, well I'm going to buy some ad space in the paper so maybe we can get this thing going, but even just-
John: You can buy them in tax credits.
Russ: Yes. Yes. But we digress.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Russ: And here's our lineup for today. First up, Bill White, three-term mayor for the city of Houston, former U.S. deputy secretary of energy and COO, entrepreneur, lawyer, and now chairman of Lazard Houston.
John: That's right. Yeah.
Russ: We saw that beautiful article in the Houston Business Journal and got him on the show.
John: That's right, yeah. Well, good.
Russ: And you know what, you know, if I were to rank-
John: Is he going to be coming into our studio to do this?
Russ: We're going to do it in his studio.
John: In his studio?
Russ: Yes. Yes.
John: He doesn't travel far outside his studio.
Russ: No, he doesn't. He doesn't need to.
John: Doesn't need to.
Russ: All right. Then we're going to shift gears for the second guest, is the topic is water.
Russ: And it is true - it is true that water is a problem right now. You know, there's a finite amount of it, which, you know, doesn't mean just because you drank water all those water molecules disappeared, because as we know, they kind of recycle.
John: They do.
Russ: Yeah, they do.
John: In rather disgusting ways.
Russ: I hate to think about that too, but they do.
John: I know. Well, all that seawater. We don't have a finite amount of water.
Russ: Well, we have a lot of seawater. That's still finite. And you can make that drinkable now.
John: Well that - yeah, desalinization. Yeah, right.
Russ: Yeah. But the guest that I'm speaking of is a guest that the problem, even though it's finite, is if you get a bunch of it real dirty it's almost taken out of the cycle. This is a-
John: Yeah. As well it should, you know?
Russ: Yes, it should. But if we keep taking it out-
John: It can make you sick.
Russ: If we keep taking it out we're not going to have enough. But this is a company that it's a high-tech company that is cleaning it. Real interesting. I'm going to visit with the CEO, Craig Beckman, the CEO of Albuquerque-based MIOX Corporation.
John: Oh, okay. Cool. They clean water.
Russ: They clean it right there, yeah. And I think he'll come in here-
John: Spic-n-Span. Spic-n-Span.
Russ: -to the Houston Business Journal, where we happen to have our studio set up today, and so if you've got some dirty water, bring it on in here.
John: All right. Yeah. Bring it on, baby.
Russ: Reminds me of that song by the Standelles in the '70s, "Dirty Water."
John: "Dirty Water," yeah, I remember that song.
Russ: Yeah, _____ "Dunt dunt, dunt dunt dunt."
John: Oh right, yeah.
Russ: There you go. All right. But first [audio skip 0:06:57]
Russ: -it's time for the Businessmakers School of Business.
John: School of Business.
Russ: Not your business-as-usual school.
John: No, no, no school of business.
Russ: No. All right. And we kick it off each week with a quote of the day.
John: All right, the quote of the day, here we go.
Russ: Today's quote comes from Jose Marti. Do you know who he is?
John: He was a South American revolutionary hero.
Russ: I'm impressed. I didn't know that until I went to Cuba. He is clearly the Cuban national hero.
John: Yeah. I don't know what he'd think about the guy running it now, though.
Russ: Well, I - listen to this quote and you'll probably think he would think highly of him.
John: Okay. Well let's hear the quote.
Russ: Yeah. 'Cause I mean we don't choose quotes just because we agree with them.
John: What is it, like, "From each according to their means to each according to their needs"? Is that - is that the quote?
Russ: No, it's not that nice. It's this, here it is-
John: [Laughs] It's not that nice.
Russ: It doesn't fall in the category of optimism, either.
John: He's a hero, right?
Russ: Yeah, he's a hero - hero. Here it is. "Man has to suffer. When he has no real afflictions he invents some."
John: Yeah, sometimes that's true.
Russ: Yeah, it is true, but it's not good true.
John: No, it's not good true.
Russ: It's bad true.
John: Well, not everybody invents afflictions.
Russ: Well I think if you live in Cuba you do.
John: Well yeah, 'cause you want that free healthcare.
Russ: That's right. All right, that brings us to This Week in Business History. What happened during right here at the tail end of September, beginning of October?
John: Well, this week in business history in October of 1843 News of the World tabloid begins publication in London.
Russ: Wow. You know, we've reported that before while they were still in business.
John: I know. Right. They've come into hard times because they were caught wiretapping peoples' voicemails and cell phones.
Russ: How do you think they did that back in 1843?
John: Well, I don't think they had voicemail back then.
Russ: So what did they do, eavesdrop?
John: No, they would just grab somebody - no, they would beat the living stuffings out of somebody till they told them what they knew. Hey, life was not easy back in London in 1843.
Russ: I know it wasn't. How did you get a story back then?
John: I know you had to-
Russ: Phew. All right.
John: All right. This week in business history in 1880 the first electric lamp factory - this is a factory - is opened by Thomas Edison.
Russ: Yeah, that's impressive. Lots of places didn't have electricity,-
John: I know.
Russ: And yet he was selling electric lamps.
John: In order to have a successful enterprise you have to have all the other bases covered,-
Russ: Yeah, you do.
John: -the bases that make the product work. And apparently-
Russ: Yeah. So how did he do that?
John: By 1880 I don't think they had alternative current back in those days.
Russ: So what did they have?
John: I don't know.
Russ: All right.
John: This week in business history in 1902 is the birth of founder of McDonald's, Ray Kroc.
Russ: Wow, he was born in 1902.
John: I know. A small-time entrepreneur, got into the fast food business. First worked in real estate and played jazz, even sold paper cups. And he entered the blender industry and he was making sales of - making blender sales calls in California, and did a sales call on a restaurant that prepared food using an assembly line process.
Russ: So like he's the founder of McDonald's, but he was - he saw an idea that somebody else did.
John: He saw an idea and he sat down with a McDonald's brother to work out a deal to franchise their restaurant.
Russ: So they were the McDonalds brothers?
John: The McDonalds - they were actually people named McDonald.
Okay, this week in business history in 1947, the first presidential speech is on TV. Harry Truman, asking Americans to cut back their use of grain in order to help starving Europeans, who now hate us with every passion of their breath of their word. But hearkening back-
Russ: Because we didn't - we didn't share enough grain with them?
John: Well, I think we shared a lot of grain with them, and Europe was still recovering from World War II and suffering, there was a big famine.
Russ: Oh, they were in 1947, when this happened?
John: Yeah. Right. Mm-hmm. And here you go, he asked farmers and distillers to reduce grain use and this, that, and the other thing and, you know, it was on TV. There were only a couple-thousand people that had TV sets that saw the speech, but it was the beginning of a trend.
Russ: Yeah, absolutely.
John: This week in business history in 1957 Sputnik is launched. The Soviet Union, here we are, you know, the beginning of the space race. I mean it was a country mobilized; people had passion. We wanted to be the first in outer space, the first on the moon.
Russ: And we weren't.
Russ: We were first on the moon, but not in space, man.
John: I know; it was just a huge fight and a huge competition, because we didn't want the Communists. Well, now we've got our astronauts hitching rides on Russian spacecraft out to the space-
Russ: Now we ________ this ____ _____.
John: They've already - they've won. Or they're winning; you know, the race is never won. The race is never over.
Russ: Yeah, it's - because there's not a finish line. But I remember this. You're a year older than me, I believe, and so you might even remember it better.
John: I may be more wise.
Russ: You might be, but I was like seven, almost eight when this happened. And I read the Weekly Reader. I don't know if you got Weekly-
John: Yeah, Weekly Reader, yeah.
Russ: And I think I knew kind of that there was a competition, but I didn't really know. But I remember my parents getting up this morning in 1957 and telling us, me and my sister that, "Wow, the Russians, you know, launched a satellite." And I just remember knowing, looking at their face, that - that they didn't feel good about it, you know?
John: No. Nobody felt good about it.
Russ: And so - and so I didn't feel good about it. I felt a little bit better when I found out it was only the size of a volleyball.
John: Doesn't matter.
Russ: I know it didn't. But to me it did. If it was, you know, if it was the size of a Buick I'd have been-
John: A Buick.
Russ: -yeah, I'd have been more worried.
John: Yeah. Right.
Russ: But instead it was the size of a canned ham with little antennas on it. All right?
John: All right. Well, next time he wants to see a Buick orbiting the U.S.
Russ: Well, you know, ____ what.
John: This week in business history in 1983 Earl Silas Tupper passes away. I hear he was born in New Hampshire in 1907, parents had like some sort of a bar boarding house on a farm, and he held these jobs while inventing small gadgets and odds and ends, and worked briefly at the DuPont, where he learned about plastics, was fascinated with the pliability of and the long-lasting effects of plastic.
Russ: As he certainly should've been.
John: And he developed a new form of polyethylene and termed it the material of the future, and eventually built this product mix into food storage containers. Then the commercials were such where you would, you know, you'd put the food in the container, you'd put the lid on, and then you'd burp, you know, you get all the air out of the thing.
Russ: And in case we have some dense listeners right now who haven't put two and two together-
John: Two and two together, yeah.
Russ: -what was the name of the company?
John: Tupperware. Tupperware. They'd have Tupperware parties. He invented the Tupperware. Kind of a grassroots marketing that turned out very well.
Russ: Think about that, he was a product - he was like a chemist; he was a product developer, and when he got to marketing he said, "Tell you what I'm going to do, I'm going to have them have parties."
John: Parties. Everybody likes a party.
Russ: That's right, and they're going to - everybody's going to come over and look at this stuff, learn how to burp it.
John: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And his - he died and-
Russ: He died this week in-
John: He died this week in business history.
Russ: In business history, 1983.
John: And he died in Costa Rica, and it was befitting, they had - they built an oversized Tupperware container and placed him in the container, and they've made sure to burp it before it - kind of a-
Russ: That's what he's buried in?
John: That's the Tupperware version of the 21-gun salute, the burping of the coffin. You didn't know that, did you?
John: That's how they honor their dead in Tupperware-land.
Russ: Well, do they sell coffins at Tupperware parties now?
John: I'm sure they're out there somewhere. 'Cause we all die. And the thing about-
Russ: Well, I know.
John: You know, the interesting thing about death is death has no target market. It doesn't; everybody dies.
John: So your - so really the whole world is your oyster.
Russ: Yeah. Well, there's a huge death business located in our home city, maybe the largest one in the world.
John: Well, a couple of them. Well, there's a couple of them. Carriage Services and SCI. Right, yeah.
Russ: Yeah, _____. Yeah, SCI. They sell everything from coffin nails to cemeteries to-
John: That's right. You can get buried in a cello case if you want to.
Russ: If you want to, over there, man.
John: All right, this week in business history in 1986 Congress introduces legislation to lead the U.S. Congress passing the Tax Reform Act in 1986.
Russ: Speaking of death, geez.
John: Okay. Well, it was - you know, it flattened the tax rates and it also reduced some of the, what you would say, your loopholes.
Russ: Yeah, well, it was a simplification.
John: And even Richard Gephardt, it was a Reagan tax cut deal and-
Russ: Yeah, when they passed it they just - they said, "My god, the tax code is way too big" and they simplified it, and I think the simplification maybe took out 5 or 10-percent. But I think it's like five times as big now as it was then.
John: Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 'Cause, you know, if you're going to fleece the public you get a lot-
Russ: Takes a lot of code.
John: -a lot of pages.
Russ: Well, as you will recall, one of our best guests on this show was none other than Steve Forbes.
John: Steve Forbes about the flat tax, yeah.
Russ: Yeah. And that was-
John: It all made sense, you could fill your tax forms out on a cardboard postcard or something.
Russ: Yes, and revenues would go up.
John: Which the flatter you make the tax rates there, I mean it happened under Kennedy, it happened under Reagan, and it happened under G.W. Bush. Only problem with G.W. was he could not rein in the spending.
Russ: Right. Well, they didn't rein in the spending at all,-
John: Yeah, I know.
Russ: -and then they - he had to deal with some of the repercussions of the subprime mortgage, which you and I know if we wanted to fix the economy today we could just bring that back.
John: Bring that back, you know, zero percent.
Russ: Yeah. Everybody'd be buying houses.
John: Everybody would be back. Man, be let the good times roll.
Russ: Yeah, right. And that wraps up the history lesson today, right?
John: That's right.
Russ: It was good.
John: Hey, you know, I think a C-, an incomplete.
Russ: No. No, no.
John: Yeah, Obama gave himself an incomplete.
Russ: Yeah, so you're going to give yourself an incomplete.
John: Yeah, an incomplete, 'cause I've got next week.
Russ: Well, and it is incomplete, because as you were delivering it new history was happening.
John: You know, history is happening right as we speak.
Russ: I know, it's just mindboggling, isn't it?
John: It - well, it does boggle the mind.
Russ: All right. And that brings us to Navigating Business Jargon. So I come up with the word, I find it out there, I present it to John. John, in the contest format that we deliver it in, has to guess the meaning.
John: All right. Okay.
Russ: Are you ready?
John: I am ready.
John: Okay. Well, that's when one man is talking to another and something that happens that goes wrong, it only could happen between two men, and you have a lot of mansplaining to do.
Russ: I just don't think that's close enough.
John: All right. Okay.
Russ: It's kind - you were heading in the right direction. But according to the expert who came up with this word, and they get-
John: The _______ _____, of course the industry expert.
Russ: Right. No, no, we sometimes can protest and change you. I don't think - here's what they said. "It's explaining in a patronizing way, particularly when done by a man who combines arrogance with ignorance of the topic."
John: Oh, that doesn't compute - that doesn't fit.
Russ: Well, it's - these, you know, it's not politically correct kind of to be a man anymore, and so anything that's kind of macho, man-wise is-
John: Oh, I got it, right.
Russ: You got it?
John: Yeah, I think so.
Russ: All right. But it's kind of interesting anyway.
John: It's a good word, just we need a better definition for it.
Russ: Yeah. Well, we could - if anybody's got a good idea for a better definition of mansplaining-
John: I think it's a great word. It's like-
John: See, it's like duck-shuffling, which is a great word, but has a great definition to it.
Russ: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it does. It does.
John: But mansplaining, great word, weak on the definition.
Russ: Yeah, it is. All right. Right. Duly noted.
John: Well, that's what I'm here for.
Russ: All right. All right, so but before, we still aren't finished.
John: We're not done.
Russ: Before we wrap up the school of business, no, we haven't brought in Greg Price doing the PK Texas-
John: Well, here he is. He's been waiting a long time, 'cause we have-
Russ: -Entrepreneurs Playbook. All right, and that wraps up today's School of Business. Stay tuned in for an interview with Bill White, former mayor of Houston and former U.S. deputy secretary of energy, followed by an interview with Craig Beckman, the CEO of Albuquerque-based MIOX Corporation. This is the Businessmakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com.