Warren Buffett is reported to have given his rationale for why he "liked" the cigarette business to John Gutfreund, then chairman and CEO of Salomon Brothers, in 1987: "It cost a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's a fantastic brand loyalty," as Bryan Burrough and John Helyar reported in Barbarians at the Gate.
Shari Cole was trying out a new pesto pizza recipe in her test kitchen in Arizona when we talked. Every once in a while she'd leave a sentence hanging and, after a slight pause, say something like "no, that's undercooked" or "I don't like the taste" before returning enthusiastically to the point at hand. Nothing is more vital to the success of her going-on-six-year-old Simply Shari's Gluten Free + Fabulous Line of cookies, pastas, pizzas and sauces than that they taste good enough to cross over into the mainstream.
Today marks the official publication date of And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road, by the former editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Martha Roach.
I'll always be a sucker for an old-fashioned American Dream success story. In the case of Lifeway Kefir, I get the feeling that the chapters yet to be written will be as exciting as the ones already in the book are inspiring.
As a nation, it may be decades before we fully come to terms with the impact of our post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but there are hundreds of thousands of men and women -- and their families -- who deal with it every day, often unaware of what exactly hit them. A new public service campaign for the Wounded Warrior Project by the PlowShare Group aims to increase awareness -- and enlist support for -- the needs of veterans who are recovering from the "invisible wounds of war."
I'm told "Mid Century" furnishings are back. Or is that over already? Why not, then, freeze-dried foods?
Raw material prices are rising on just about everything. Fuel costs are up. Manufacturers say that they can't absorb the spiraling costs of commodities on their own any longer and that consumers will have to share the pain. The selling of the great price increase of 2011 has begun.
Calls for cooperation among natural competitors and other adversaries seem to be breaking out across the nation, all presumably for the greater good of the Citizen Consumer. It's about putting information, and the power that results from having it, in the hands of the people, of course. There will be skeptics.
When I was growing up, adolescent boys came in two varieties: DC Comics fans and Marvel Comics fans. I was the former even though I knew, in my heart of hearts, that the latter were somehow cooler, just like the Rolling Stones were just a touch hipper than the Beatles.
You had to admire the marketing genius behind George Ball declaring 2011 "The Year of the Vegetable" in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last month. Ball is, after all, chairman of the W. Atlee Burpee Co., purveyors of fine seeds and plants. But the time is right; there's a feeling in the air. Daniel F. Akerson could declare it "The Year of the Internal Combustion Engine" until he was literally blue in the face and he would not get any traction.