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School of Business 07/11/09

The BusinessMakers

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Russ and John present the show for the innovators and the business-builders who make our economy run. Includes: BusinessMakers Quote of the Week—anonymous but thought-provoking words from one of our favorite sources: “Unknown;” This Week in Business History includes such notables as Julius Caesar, Orville Redenbacher, Continental Airlines and H. Ross Perot; Navigating Business Jargon—acronyms, technospeak and trendy new stuff; and Dumbest Moments in Business History—rich people are polluting our planet.

Full Interview text

Russ: Good morning. This is The Business Makers show, heard here and online at And this is that show about the innovators, the business builders, the people that most positively affect our lives.

John: And those have to be the creators, the athletes, and the artists of our free market system here, and those are the entrepreneurs, those people who create some of the most amazing companies, and products, and services that we're all enjoying right now.

Russ: You bet, absolutely. And here's our lineup for this morning. First up for the Aflac Business Makers Flashback, we're going to rollback to earlier this year, in fact, at the beginning of this year, when I got to sit down and talk with Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. And then for our Featured Guest segment, communications expert, Michael Allosso sits down with our own Esther Steinfeld. Michael is the winner for being the most highly rated resource speaker by Vistive International, the world's largest CEO membership organization. He has traveled the world bringing his You On Your Best Day workshop to businesses across America. But first... That's right, it's time for The Business Makers School of Business and this is where John and I sit down and carefully select specific curriculum to share with our audience.

John: That's right, Russ. This is real world curriculum. We round it all up for you.

Russ: You bet.

John: And put it together in a succinct package of information.

Russ: And charge you absolutely nothing.

John: I know. It's the best deal in town.

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

John: Quote of the day.

Russ: And today comes from that very often quoted author by the name of Unknown.

John: Unknown.

Russ: And it goes like this, "He who hesitates is not only lost, but miles from the next exit."

John: That's right. A lot of people have a tendency to want to hesitate, but the great people overcome that initial urge.

Russ: All right, and this brings us to This Week in Business History. So what happened during this July week in business history, John?

John: Well, we're starting off with the Roman empire, this day in business history in 100 BC, Julius Caesar is born.

Russ: Wow.

John: One hundred BC. Died, as everybody knows, in 44 BC. He wasn't born of royalty, so to speak. He was born of a kind of a middle class family, but very ambitious guy. You know, helped put down the Spartacus slave rebellion, and later on the conquered Gaul and part of Great Britain. Unfortunately, when they came back to Rome, they treated him, he was god for a day. They gave him a big parade and all this, and unfortunately he thought it was for more than a day.

Russ: There was a little misunderstanding there?

John: And he found out around in early 44 BC that he wasn't a god.

Russ: All right.

John: Found out the hard way, 24 stab wounds, and when he's in the Roman senate, man. That was it.

Russ: That was it.

John: You're no longer, you're no longer a god, okay. All right, this week in business history in 1804, murder occurred when Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr kills the Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. And this all took place in New York up there where the Palisades are, right on the sandy shores of the Hudson river.

Russ: A duel? Wow.

John: Yeah they were bitter enemies. And a lot of this had to do with the fact that there was very weird election result when, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, deadlocked the election in 1800 against John Adams, and, you know, Hamilton preferred to have the strong federal government, you know.

Russ: Right.

John: And Jefferson was the opposite, and somehow him and Burr got out of sorts.

Russ: And that's the way they used to settle these things, eh?

John: Well, yeah.

Russ: Our guys these days don't do that. Our guys these days are very uncivilized, but they don't believe in dueling.

John: Well, yeah, see, instead of killing an, an opponent, they just destroy them, okay.

Russ: Exactly.

John: This week in business history in 1843, morman leader Joseph Smith says god okays polygamy.

Russ: Well, there you go.

John: There you go.

Russ: Well, that's something.

John: Hey, yeah.

Russ: Eighteen forty-three, I think there was sort of, a desire to increase the population of his following, and boy, polygamy would do that.

John: That, that would do it. I mean, having one wife is tough enough. I mean, I mean, it's worthwhile, don't get me wrong. But, you know, you're living with another human and ups and downs. Imagine living with more than one woman.

Russ: Absolutely.

John: They would have three, or four, or five. Okay, this week in business history in 1854, George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company was born in Waterville, New York.

Russ: Wow.

John: He was the father of, of modern photography. He popularized it. Yeah, that goes to show what a good entrepreneur can do because it takes a heretofore relatively unknown technology and mass produces in such a way that it's affordable by everybody. Unfortunately, though, he, had some spinal disorder and he committed suicide at the age of 77.

Russ: Oh, no. Well, also, it's a timely story because I think the last roll of Kodachrome was just sent off the assembly line about a week ago.

John: That was one of my favorite songs, the Simon and Garfunkel.

[Music: "Kodachrome"]

John: This week in business history in 1861, the first full-scale battle of the Civil War, the battle of Bull Run. Now, there were two battles of Bull Run. This was the first one, obviously. The Union army lost both of them, but this was a major defeat in the Civil War, and everybody thought the war was going to last a few months.

Russ: Yep, and it didn't.

John: Yeah, and so the armies were lined up against each other, and, the people from Washington D.C. were coming out in their carriages and having picnics on the hillside to watch-

Russ: Watching it?

John: -watch this thing. Okay, this week in business history in 1905, the Niagara Movement, founded by W.E.B. DuBois. He's a black guy, an intellectual, and activist. Now some people thought he was a communist socialist type. He might've been, but he had some significant effects on the civil rights movement early on, and he did a lot of good. This week in business history in 1907, is the birthday of Orville Reddenbacher, the popcorn guru. He was born in Brazil, Indiana, and grew up on a farm, and I mean, this was a rags to riches. Joined 4H, and he had this obsession in developing the perfect popcorn and, you know, starting when he's a young man. Earned his fortune in fertilizer and got a business partner named Charlie Bowman and bought a seed corn plant near Valparaiso, Indiana. This guy was famous.

Russ: Yeah, he was.

John: And he was a nerdy looking guy. He had this real high pitched voice. He eventually sold his company. He had an exit strategy, sold it. But he still was on the talk show circuit. I mean, you know, a personality like that's just not going to disappear just because he sells his company.

Russ: I wonder what he would've thought of using corn in the ethanol for fuel.

John: I know, you know, it's I don't think he would've appreciated it.

Russ: I don't either. All right.

John: I know, I don't appreciate it.

Russ: Right, I don't think anybody does now.

John: There's a certain, you know, there's a certain reason to have corn. I don't think it's to drive your car.

Russ: I think the only people that appreciate it are those politicians that rammed it through, that got some big donations as a result of it.

John: Yeah, right, out in Indiana.

Russ: There you go. Okay.

John: This week in business history in 1927, is the birthday of Theodore Harold Maiman. He's the guy that invented the first working laser back in 1927.

Russ: That's interesting, for sure.

John: And he was born, but in 1955, he got a PhD from Stanford, and in the late '50s he worked in a laboratory tooling around and monkeying around with all these devices to produce microwave radiation, etcetera, etcetera. In 1960 using a polished ruby, that's when he got in to light amplification emission, and which later we called the laser. And we all know what that is now.

Russ: Good point.

John: All right. This week in business history in 1933, congress passes the first minimum wage law, $0.33 per hour. Now it's up to over $7.00. I think it ought to be a million dollars a week.

Russ: That's right. If it really works, why don't they just jack it on up there and make us all rich?

John: Yeah, make us all rich, yeah.

Russ: That would be cool.

John: This week in business history in 1934, Ole Evinrude, the inventor of the first outboard motor for boats, he passed away this week in business history.

Russ: Oh man, he passed away in '34?

John: Yeah, yeah, the guy was born in Norway, and his family moved to the United States when he was a little kid. They settled in Wisconsin because they liked the cheese. And he learned about machinery and mechanics by working on the family cheese farm. I don't think it was a cheese farm. I'm just making that up. But the rest is true. When he grew older, he moved around the country, and around the turn of the century, he returned back, started a motor shop. And after that, the rest is history, because on a hot day, Evinrude was on a picnic on a small in a small island with his future wife. Her name was Bess, and it was a romantic date and she mentioned that she'd like some ice cream. And he volunteered to get it. He had to row and he thought well, there's got to be a better way to get this ice cream because it all melted when he came back.

Russ: Ah-ha, another famous idea trigger, right?

John: An idea trigger, melted ice cream so his girlfriend wouldn't raise a ruckus over it.

Russ: Started Evinrude.

John: So, he, he invented the Evinrude motor to shut up his girlfriend.

Russ: Keep the ice cream from melting.

[Music: "Just Good Ol' Boys]

John: Okay, this week in business history in 1934, Continental Airlines commences operation.

Russ: Wow, 1934.

John: Yeah, a lot of people don't know they're that old of a company, and they're still going strong.

Russ: Well, they've gone through several chapters. My favorite chapter was when their commercials were "We really move our tails for you."

John: That's right.

Russ: Remember that?

John: Yeah.

Russ: And it became very controversial, and got pulled off the road.

John: Yeah, another chapter was Chapter 11.

Russ: Yeah, I think they had a couple of those chapters.

John: They had a couple of those. Hey, they came out of it, which is why the auto companies should've done that.

Russ: Exactly.

John: Because even a well-run company will come out of that pretty good.

Russ: Exactly, exactly.

John: Okay, this week in business history in 1939, Frank Sinatra made his first recording debut.

Russ: Wow.

[Music: "My Way"]

John: This week in business history in 1967, Kenny Rogers forms the First Edition.

[Music: "Just Dropped In ( To See What Condition My Condition was In)"]

John: Okay, this week in business history, the Rolling Stones release Honky Tonk Women.

Russ: Oh. What a song.

[Music: "Honky Tonk Women"]

John: Later on in 1970, this week in business history, Janis Joplin debuts in Kentucky.

Russ: Debuts in Kentucky. That's interesting.

John: Debuts in Kentucky, and I might add that one of our reporters, Greg Barr, plays in a Janis Joplin cover band called Cosmic Pearl.

[Music: "Try"]

John: This week in business history in 1978, Lee Iacocca was fired as Ford Motor president by chairman Henry Ford. A bunch of dueling egos going on there, and of course, Ford owned the company. And Lee Iacocco, even though he was high up in the organization, he was a hired hand so.

Russ: And then became unhired.

John: Okay, this week in business history in 1979, one of the most outlandish promotions for a baseball team, to get people to come to the park, was disco demolition night. It was at Kaminski park. It caused fans to go wild and rioting while White Sox had to forfeit the second game of a double header because the riots were so bad it tore up the field. People were taking, the bases were actually stolen.

Russ: I remember from last year, this week last year on business history, you covered this too. And it was some kind of a disc jockey promotion, right?

John: It was a disc jockey, WLUP, and they brought their DJ. There was a large box containing collected records.

Russ: Disco records.

John: Disco records. It was rigged with a bomb, and when it exploded it tore a hole in the outfield grass, and...

Russ: All hell broke loose.

John: Right, and, and they were, and Lorelei and her body guards hopped into a jeep, circled the warning track before leaving the field through the right and center field exit. Then thousands of fans rushed the field and some lit fires, and, it, it was just a mess. You know, you'd think these people would know better. Anyway, I remember when I was at Forbes Field, the Pittsburgh Pirates had nickel beer night or something.

Russ: Yeah, that was always total chaos, wasn't it?

John: By the fourth or fifth ending, people are running out on the field, just going nuts, you know, just drunk as they can be, you know. Okay, this week in business history in 1980, Ronald Reagan is nominated for president by the Republicans in Detroit.

Russ: Wow.

John: Later went on to have two landslide elections, one against Jimmy Carter, and even a bigger one against Walter Mondale. This week in business history in 1981, Leva Rockefeller of the Rockefeller clan is the first woman ordered to pay her husband alimony.

Russ: Wow, you mean before that, there had never been a woman required to pay alimony.

John: No, but she was rich, you know. Her husband didn't have any money.

Russ: Yeah.

John: There you go.

Russ: Yeah, I think it's fair, yeah.

John: Hey, what's fair is fair.

Russ: Right, absolutely.

John: This week in business history in 1992, presidential candidate Ross Perot, at the NAACP speech that he gave at one of his conventions, refers to the people in the audience as "you people."

Russ: Boy, that was one of the first missteps he made, it seems like too. Man, he had a lot of momentum until he did that.

John: This nearly ended Perot's political career. He almost had to step down. And last but not least, this week in business history in 2003, AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape Communications Company.

Russ: Netscape was such a powerhouse.

John: Yeah, right, and they're the ones that joined in a suite against, with a couple of other companies, in a trust suite against-

Russ: -Microsoft. But Netscape was one of those first huge booms that came through an IPO lead mainly by Mark Andreessen. What a story. Okay, so that wraps up the history lesson?

John: That's it.

Russ: My goodness, man, we covered some ground, starting at 100 BC.

John: And I, I might add, I might add that you get an abbreviated version on the radio. If you want the full coursework, go to

Russ: That's right.

John: And you'll get the full monte.

Russ: All right, and that brings us to navigating business jargon. This is our vocabulary lesson of new words, new acronyms, new techno-speak. As most of you know, we do this in a contractually agreed upon contest format.

John: That's right. I want to renegotiate my contract.

Russ: Well, you could try, but I don't think I'm going to give up on this point because I get to select the word. I keep it hidden from John, and, all week long. And then I say the word... And then John has to guess the meaning.

John: And sometimes I'm right, and sometimes I'm wrong.

Russ: That's right, and we're going see. This is going to be a tough one today.

John: Okay, all right.

Russ: The word is spitterati.

John: Spitterati.

Russ: Spitterati.

John: Okay, Glitterati are the people who are glamorous, and famous and get invited to all the great parties in New York and L.A.

Russ: Okay, okay.

John: The spitterati are the people who are detestable, that they're so detestable that the, the French people who, who like to talk to other people, spit on them and they become the spitterati

Russ: You were getting close for a second, but here's what it is.

John: So they're not taunted by French people?

Russ: No, it's celebrities who attend posh soirees, organized to collect saliva for genetic sequencing. And this is happening nowadays. I mean, there, there was one big time hosted up in New York by Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch.

John: So they're trying to create new clones of themselves?

Russ: Well, it's, that could be the end result. It's putting together this whole thing about DNA, and they are these posh soirees spitterati.

John: Oh, okay.

Russ: Okay, you got that?

John: I got it.

Russ: All right, that brings us to dumbest moments happening in business. Tell us we, if we've got one right now.

John: Well, well, this is a dumb thought that could be a dumb moment. We talk about the spitterati and the glitterati, correct?

Russ: Yes we were.

John: Well, the thing is, they're becoming a marked segment of the population, and this is part of this dumb moment. I don't whether it's a dumb moment to be or a dumb thought.

Russ: It's dumb no matter what category you put it in.

John: It's dumb no matter what, but it's probably a dumb moment, because there is a paper that is filed at the National Academy of Sciences, targeting rich people for global warming in this cap and trade, and how to reduce our carbon emissions.

Russ: They are the problem.

John: You never know. The thing about the carbon emissions, you have to first agree that-which I do not-that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

Russ: Right.

John: The EPA came out and said it's a pollutant, so now that's where you're getting these carbon footprints and-

Russ: -cap and trade and-

John: -cap and trade and everything like that. I mean, we breath out carbon dioxide.

Russ: So we better start holding our breath.

John: So, so everybody hold your breath out there, okay? Okay, but-

Russ: Okay, but do rich people breath out more?

John: Well, see, according to this paper that was filed at this conference, the National Academy of Sciences was putting on, it says half the people's climate warming emissions come from less that a billion of its people. It makes sense to follow these rich folks around when setting national targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Russ: Follow them around?

John: This is what these authors wrote. This comes out of Reuters, and Reuters is sometimes suspect news source, but this has the ring of truth to it, for its idiocy. Okay. If world leaders agree to keep carbon emissions in the 2030 at the same level they are now, no one person's emission could exceed 11 tons of carbon each year. That means there could be about a billion high emitters in 2030 in a projected world population of 8.1 billion people.

Russ: You're making this up.

John: No, because rich peoples' lives tend to give off more green house gases because they drive more fossil fuel vehicles, travel frequently by air. They all live in big houses. I mean, look at Al Gore's house.

Russ: Yeah, oh yeah, and he travels around in an airplane.

John: He travels around in an airplane, okay, and a private airplane usually, and that takes more fuel and heat to cool. Now, what these people are missing, most of these people who are wealthy aren't like trust fund people, where they're just living off their inheritance. These people are the producers. They're the ones that are creating jobs. They're the ones that are creating goods and services and food and everything.

Russ: But aren't those jobs that they're creating, those are causing even more carbon emissions. It's like, it's like a multiplication. They're really the problem.

John: Yeah, right, yeah.

Russ: They need to just cut this out, man.

John: Yeah, and then, and they're thinking those countries develop, like India, China, Brazil, and others over time. They'll have more and more of these wealthy people, and they'll have a higher share of carbon reductions to do in the future.

Russ: The problem is success.

John: It's success.

Russ: Save the planet, kill yourself.

John: Kill yourself. Yeah, right, and do, and do it in a hurry, because every breath you breathe is screwing up the planet.

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

John: I know.

Russ: So let's welcome Greg Price on the piano.

[PKF Texas - The Entrepreneurs Playbook]

Russ: And that wraps up the School of Business. Stay tuned in for the Aflac Business Makers Flashback with Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers, followed by our featured guest segment with Michael Allosso, the winner for being the most highly rated research speaker by Vistage International. You're listening to The Business Makers show heard here and online at

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