Intelligently Extending Your Brand

Fast-food behemoth McDonald’s recently released a new item – dubbed Fish McBites – and it has been noted that they did not spark sales. Really? That’s a surprised? No one lined up for Fish McBites? No one in the entire company thought this might be a bad idea?

Meanwhile, as Chick-Fil-A, In-n-Out Burger and Krispy Kreme roll out their brands, people line up – some for days in advance of the stores opening. What is the difference? In a word, it is probably focus. The latter examples, for the most part, focus on their core businesses. It could be argued that Chick-Fil-A is getting close to expanding too far out of their comfort zone. If you have been to the Dwarf House, which actually predated the fast-food version of their stores, then you probably know what I mean. They would probably be better to get rid of some of their products rather than continuing to expand the lineup.

McDonald’s is probably no different.

Continue reading “Intelligently Extending Your Brand”

One Reason Kids Don't Get Enough Exercise

I talked about bus routes in Charlotte a while back. I would have to assume that other cities have the same problem, but I could be wrong – I’ve lived here for a while now, so the rest of the world may just be a part of my imagination now.

Regardless, I’ve noticed that not only do I see the city bus stopping every few hundred feet, but the school bus will stop about as often. Worse, the bus stops almost as soon as it pulls out of the school. Seriously?

Continue reading “One Reason Kids Don't Get Enough Exercise”

The Money (and Politics) of the NFL

Though sports are often in the news – almost always daily – recent announcements make things all the more interesting.

In Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers are seeking money for stadium upgrades. This is interesting on several fronts. One, because what we see as outsiders is that the team did not necessarily ask for the money – the city very nearly offered it. The first mention of the money was an article that essentially suggested the city would be open to offering money to the team if they were interested.

True or not, who in their right mind would turn down free money if it is offered?

Continue reading “The Money (and Politics) of the NFL”

Marissa Mayer and Working Remotely

The uproar this week is that recently appointed savior of Yahoo Marissa Mayer may have just caused herself irreparable damage by issuing a decree that requires everyone to work from the office rather than from home.

Even well-regarded titan of all things Richard Branson weighed in on the subject.

But what is really the issue here?

Surely Sir Richard would agree that not everyone can work from home all the time, can he?

Pieces of the business puzzle may be complimented by remote workers, or even replaced outright, such as a kiosk that provides check-ins to a flight or prints boarding passes, and a plane can assist in the flying through automated systems, there are simply times when a physical body needs to be present.

This isn’t much different.

Continue reading “Marissa Mayer and Working Remotely”

Are movies going to undergo a fundamental change?

Our youngest has said for years that he wants to make movies. Unfortunately, he doesn’t actually do so, but that is a story for another time. This does, however, lead to another discussion – the movie industry. We want to try and get him to think about what it may mean for his future.

Namely, with all things technological changing as fast as they do, it’s important to understand that “making movies” may not be just what he thinks it is – and though he doesn’t even make movies now, knowing that the opportunities that are presented in the future may be different from those know is equally important.

Continue reading “Are movies going to undergo a fundamental change?”

Back-to-Back Bombs in Baghdad

Way back in 2001, just after the second plane hit the second World Trade Center tower, before anyone in the US really thought much about terrorism, I turned to my girlfriend (who would later become my wife) and told her that it made sense that the second plane would wait a short while. It means that they get more media coverage. And it would not surprise me in the least if we would see something else a short while later (which we did). And so on.

As it turned out, there wasn’t a whole lot more after the Pentagon plane hit, but there certainly could have been more. A whole lot more.

Continue reading “Back-to-Back Bombs in Baghdad”

Boy Killed While Trick-or-Treating

A man in Sumter, South Carolina, saw masked people outside his house and opened fire. With an AK-47 assault rifle. Shots struck a 12-year-old boy. Thirteen times. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter.

With all the hubbub about whether or not teenagers should be trick-or-treating (and there are even municipalities enacting laws to enforce such a ban), perhaps the larger issue to ask is: Why in the world would someone have an AK-47 loaded and ready to fire, on Halloween of all nights?

Continue reading “Boy Killed While Trick-or-Treating”

Bailout Money Madness

Way back in December of last year, rumblings were heard about a deal for freezing rates for homeowners having trouble with their mortgages. Yesterday, it was announced that the government may have the plan ready to use about $50 billion from the financial bailout in order to guarantee $500 billion in mortgages.

This must be new math, because I have no idea how $50 billion can guarantee $500 billion. Regardless, I want some of that action. I really don’t get how the people who pay their mortgages and their car loans and credit card bills and every other debt they incur don’t get any relief, while those who don’t pay their bills get to take a free ride. It makes you wonder why you should bother being responsible.

Continue reading “Bailout Money Madness”

FDIC Plans to Raise Fees to Banks

With all the excitement that banks are having lately – 13 insured banks and savings and loans have failed this year, including two major thrifts – the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has decided that they need more money coming in to help shore up the money going out.

As the insurance fund stands (and there apparently is an actual fund), the balance is somewhere around $45.2 billion, which is below the minimum level set by Congress, and the lowest level since 2003.

Continue reading “FDIC Plans to Raise Fees to Banks”

The Great Charlotte Gas Shortage of 2008

It’s times like this that I wished that I had some better way of displaying headlines. I don’t know what, exactly. Maybe a big flashing sign. Or perhaps a rotating banner. Just something, because a story like this just begs for something more than text. I could always go retro and bring in the good old blink element, but that would just be annoying. So I suppose that means I’ll just tell the story.

For those of you who don’t live in Charlotte, or in the general area, we’re low on gas. Really low. It’s not because of the weather – at least not the weather that we have here. When Hurricane Ike hit what seems like months ago, apparently they shut off our gas pipelines or something. Because for the last week or so, stations all around town have gradually been shuttering their pumps, and now we’re down to almost nothing. Gas-wise, I mean. Lots of lines, and plenty of horns. Even one arrest (maybe more, that’s just all I’ve heard about).

Continue reading “The Great Charlotte Gas Shortage of 2008”