Tag Archive | "business"

Zero to One


Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future is a book by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. In it he talks about the challenges of producing real innovation to drive a start-up business.

He emphasises doing something new. You have to get a monopoly, with a broad scope. I could start a Finnish restaurant in Leeds for example but I wouldn’t have a monopoly. I would be the only Finnish restaurant in Leeds, but I would actually be competition with all the other restaurants in Leeds nonetheless. Read the full story

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Trump Slams Romney’s Pretentious ‘Business People’ Book (2/2)


Last time:

But yes, HOSTILE TAKEOVERS ARE A BIG PROBLEM IN THE BUSINESS WORLD…

Not least because they can risk utterly destroying the personal reputation, or worse still, the business reputation of the person undertaking the purported hostile takeover in question.

In fact, that’s pretty much the only problem.

But it’s still a biggie.

Kind of.

Well, from a particular point of view, I guess. Read the full story

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This Ambitious Start-Up is Changing the Face of Marketing


{navel+gazers} is not like any other digital marketing agency you’ve dealt with.

We understand that businesses don’t care about gimmicky terms like “clicks”, “kerning”, or “art”. Businesses care about profit.

And so do we. That’s why we’ve designed a custom-tailored brand solution that strategically guarantees a return on your investment. Shouldn’t your solutions be strategic? Doesn’t your brand deserve recognition? Read the full story

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Pathetic Résumé Supercharged by Plastic Folder


ANAHEIM, CA—The offices of Walworth and Rhodes were gut-punched with excitement upon seeing that an applicant’s otherwise completely unimpressive résumé had been placed inside a plastic folder.

With a work history that made him an unequivocal leper in the job market, applicant Kirk Scheer had little choice other than to resort to the plastic folder. Read the full story

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TGIT – Thank God It’s Tuesday


Last November and December, I experienced some shortened work weeks thanks to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Both holidays were preceded by shortened three-day work weeks, so I had to be extremely focused, making efficient use of every minute of every work day.

I cut way back on the amount of time I would otherwise spend watching lame YouTube videos involving practical jokes where some unsuspecting dude gets kicked in the family jewels (I can never get enough of that highbrow humor). Read the full story

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Business Lesson #58 – Help your employees make better decisions. Remove all restrooms


Periodically Glossy News asks me to don my business consultant hat (a stylish Italian grey fedora) to share innovative business strategies to grow your business and improve your employees’ productivity.

As a sought-after business process improvement expert and author of the popular business handbook, Stop Tasering Your Team – and 50 Other Strategies to Improve Employee Morale, I can help businesses prosper – if only they’d stop and listen to me for once. Read the full story

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Why grow your business when you can OPTIMIZE YOUR REAL-TIME ROI YIELD!


I’ve spent the better part of the past 25 years (and the worse part as well) in sales and marketing. One thing that has always impressed me in checking out the marketing collateral and the web sites of the major industry front runners is how I have absolutely no idea what they actually do.

You see, smart marketers learned a long time ago, that when it comes to beating the competition, you don’t have to build a better mousetrap. You just have to know how to market it better. And that starts with the words you use to describe your products and services. Read the full story

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Guy Who Sort of Looks Like Stephen King Makes Extra Cash Brooding in Corner at Corporate Events


BOSTON—The employees of Boston Consulting Group were treated to a special guest at the latest corporate event held by the renowned management consulting firm.

It was only within the first few moments of the evening that those lucky enough to attend first noticed what appeared to be none other than famed horror writer Stephen King sitting at a corner table, appearing withdrawn and internally tortured.

Eagle-eyed guests soon realized it was in fact part-time welder and local Stephen King impersonator Buddy Frenkel. Read the full story

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Business Lesson #61: Hug your way to business success


Welcome to installment #61 in Glossy News’ periodic series of business lessons on how you can take your business to never-before-imagined levels of success.

In this challenging economy, companies are forced to do more with less and continue to look for ways to squeeze efficiencies, often by means of painful layoffs and other draconian cost controls. The management at Glossy News has a better idea: Hug your company’s way to success. Read the full story

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Business Lesson #83: What to do when your customers complain


Corporations do a lot of things well, but one thing that some of them could use a little help with is how to say I’m sorry when they screw up. Historically, like George Bush, most companies are not very good at saying “I’m sorry. I screwed up.”

Recently some very familiar names have been getting a lot of practice in the fine art of the apology: Toyota, BP, Goldman Sachs, Apple Computers, anyone who has ever held public office in the state of Louisiana, and for anyone in Seattle who follows baseball, the 2013 Seattle Mariners. You see, corporations aren’t perfect. They’re human, just like you and me (at least according to the U.S. Supreme Court). Read the full story

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Business Lesson #84 – How to write an apology letter to upset customers


Last week, we talked about how to handle situations when your customers complain about a product defect, such as, “How come when I use your curling iron, it turns causes my hair to evaporate?” Of course the best policy is to blame the problem on the customer or someone else – when in doubt blame it on al Qaeda terrorists … or Congress.

When all else fails you may have no choice but to eat crow and admit some eensy weensy tiny bit of responsibility for the problem, such as “in rare cases, some inconclusive studies have suggested that there could be a remote chance – and by remote we mean almost less than 50% – that our artificial sweetener could cause an eensy weensy tiny bit of permanent blindness and complete hearing loss in Hispanics and Pacific Islanders under the age of 70.”

In these situations, you need to craft a very carefully worded, earnest and sincere corporate apology letter – one that comes from the heart, with sincerity and earnestness – preferably ghostwritten by a professional apology letter writer in a high-priced Manhattan PR firm, who knows just the right caring words to say in order to avoid a costly class action lawsuit.

When crafting your company’s sincere official apology letter to customers, make sure it contains all of the following six elements:

defective chemistry setElement One: State your company’s previously untarnished reputation for quality. Okay, say you’re sending out this letter to 60,000 customers because it turns out that your Junior Chemist toddlers’ play set included enough radioactive plutonium in each kit to build a miniature nuclear bomb. Regardless of what the cluster f*ck is that your quality control team created, you must always start your letter by proudly declaring this sort of problem has never happened before in the 108-year history of your company. (It does not matter that your company started in 2007.) Make up compelling statistics about how your company has always had a 99.5% customer satisfaction every year since 1955. Mention that in annual consumer satisfaction polls, your company was voted “The company customers would most like to hug” three times in the past five years. Be sure to include a footnote to the survey. (Don’t worry. Nobody will ever actually bother to look up this survey. Who has the time?)

Element Two: Mention your rigorous quality control procedures. Discuss how you use industry-leading safety testing procedures to ensure against the slightest possibility of product malfunctions. Mention how you disassemble and re-assemble every single piece nine times to be sure it is easy to assemble and disassemble. Don’t forget to mention that your products proudly say MADE IN AMERICA on every label – people love it when they think you’re patriotic. Don’t reveal that in actuality, everything other than the MADE IN AMERICA label was made in Taiwan.

Element Three: Apologize. This must be limited to not more than ten words maximum. I suggest something like “If you were not completely happy, we sincerely apologize.” To go on any further might imply that you actually felt bad about what happened or that you thought your company actually did something wrong. And you don’t want to leave your product liability attorneys with that impression.

Element Four: Tell them what you plan to do to fix the problem. This is where you state that you are committed to spending whatever amount of money it takes to ensure this problem never happens again (up to a maximum of $250.00) and that you will keep them posted about the improvements you make. Oh, don’t worry. You won’t actually have to spend money on improving your systems, processes and procedures. Just put into the budget a line item for say, $150,000, for the purpose of ensuring that in the future, the wheels on the Little Missy training wheels don’t fall off anymore. This line item will eventually get axed due to budget cuts and downsizing, and pretty soon everybody will have moved on to more important issues, like how your company is going to solve the problem of spontaneous combustion of your Little Missy “Hug Me” dolls.

Element Five: Thank them for being a customer. Offer them a cheesy gift. Thank them profusely for bringing this product defect issue to your attention and reiterate how grateful you are to have them as a customer. Create the impression that you are sincere by inserting their name repeatedly like this:

“MR. CRENSHAW, we at [Your company name here] want to thank you, MR. CRENSHAW, for being MR. CRENSHAW and for purchasing the Johnny Chainsaw play toy for your five-year old. We sincerely apologize to you, MR. CRENSHAW, for the small problem of the chainsaw starting on its own when the room temperature exceeds 53 degrees, and pledge to you, MR. CRENSHAW, to fix this problem immediately. Did we mention that we appreciate your business, MR. CRENSHAW?”

Hello Kitty mugThen be sure to include a lovely gift (and by “lovely gift” I mean those Hello Kitty coffee mugs in your warehouse that had the defective handle so you could not sell them) as your way of thanking them for their business. Or perhaps you could include a coupon for a free upgrade to the Johnny Chainsaw DELUXE model guaranteed not to self-start automatically at any temperature!! And then include a brief explanation of the 17-step process required for redemption of their gift coupon, including the requirement to provide five cereal box tops and copies of their previous four years’ tax returns. And in fine print, remember to state “Allow 18 – 24 months for delivery.”

Element Six: Tell them how they can get more information. In an effort to show that you want to answer all their questions, I recommend you include a short series of FAQ’s like this:

Q: What if I don’t receive my Johnny Chainsaw DELUXE play set within 18 – 24 months? What do I do then?

A: in the unlikely event that you have still remembered about this offer 18 to 24 months from now and still have not received your Johnny Chainsaw Deluxe play set, call our toll-free customer service hotline at 1-800-URSCRUDE and they will be happy to check on the status of your shipment.

call center adYou of course don’t actually have to staff a customer service hotline. That would be an added staffing expense you certainly can’t afford, thanks to all the lawsuits that have been filed against your company lately as a result of sales of your Fun-tastic Magic Finger Slicer Magical Illusion toy. Simply have all calls go to a voice mail box with an outgoing message that says something like this:

“Thank you for calling [Your company name here]. Currently we are experiencing higher than normal call volumes – because some people are a little upset that our Nutri-Power High Fiber Health Food Snack Bars have been found to cause diarrhea and migraines lasting up to three weeks.” Currently all of our customer service representatives are serving other customers. But your call is important to us. Please leave your name and number and we will call you back within 18 – 24 months.”

Follow these steps the next time your company ends up in a tight spot due to a product or service PR disaster and before you know it, your customer headaches will be leaving in droves.

In closing, we would like to sincerely apologize to those of you who have been reading Glossy News lately and have complained about the quality of our weekly business advice. Rest assured there will be a complete 100% refund of any subscription fees you have paid thus far. For more information on how you can receive your refund, call our customer service department in New Delhi, India on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 2am and 3:15am Eastern time. And be sure to include your previous four years’ tax returns.

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Business Lesson #74: Build team loyalty with self-guided mobile spy robots


If there’s one thing nearly every American can agree on it’s that having aerial surveillance cameras capable of eavesdropping on our every move from outer space is a wonderful thing.

Oh, sure, sometimes surveillance cameras can be used for evil, like the time they caught this journalist doing 45 in a 35 mph zone. But video technology can also be used for good – say, to observe remotely whether employees are wasting time at work playing video games, when they should be wasting time pretending to make sales calls.

That at least appears to be the thinking behind a new, state-of-the art mobile video robot called the Ava 500, a name most experts consider a far better name than the original idea: the Self-Navigational Operations Observational Prototype (SNOOP for short).

The Ava 500 is the world’s “first self-driving business collaboration robot,” according to the manufacturer’s cheery marketing brochure. Now, business executives can collaborate with employees without leaving their corner office, using a mobile robot with a two-way video camera that lets them roam the halls or join in on team meetings remotely. Employees will love it.

Want to check in on your crew of illegal Mexican factory workers to see if they are keeping pace with their production quota of 1,500 sneakers per hour? No problem. With the press of a button, you can remotely walk along the assembly line floor to inspect the quality of their work, without leaving your yacht in the Caymans. Hey, looks like it’s already been ten minutes and Pedro’s still not back from his five-minute lunch break. Uh oh. Pedro’s got some ‘splaining to do.

The Ava 500 is built by iRobot, the same company that brought you the Roomba, a self-guided mini-vacuum robot and the perfect tool for terrorizing house cats. Skeptics scoff that the Ava 500 resembles a rolling parking meter. But don’t be confused. The Ava 500 doesn’t take quarters. But it does take incredibly detailed videos of whatever managers want to observe, including that stash of pot Pedro left on his desk. Oh, Pedro is so fired. And thanks to the Ava 500, firing employees from 2,000 miles away has never been easier.

Companies are using this powerful mobile video robot to improve communication with remote locations, cut down on travel costs of busy executives and improve employee morale. With fewer visits from assholes from Corporate, employees have never been happier – especially when they gather round to watch the Ava 500 unsuccessfully attempt to negotiate its way down a flight of stairs. It’s hilarious.

robot bosses - RoombaAnd now that companies have Ava 500s roaming every production line floor and bank of cubicles, they are seeing dramatic gains in productivity, thanks to the fact that employees’ moves are now under 24/7 scrutiny. However, Facebook status updates appear to have fallen noticeably since the arrival of these mobile office droids. Experts caution that it is possible to abuse how managers employ this state-of-the-art video robot technology and suggest some basic Dos and Don’ts.

DO give your robot a friendly name like Charlie, Todd or perhaps Thad, to make employees feel less threatened.

DON’T have “Charlie” swing by your employees’ cubicles every fifteen minutes asking “Have you submitted your TPS report yet?” Unless they’ve seen the film Office Space, they won’t get the joke.

DO use it to facilitate brainstorming sessions between Corporate and your manufacturing plant about how to eliminate waste in the production process.

DON’T have it stand next to Pedro with an arrow pointing at Pedro and saying the words “Here’s a way to eliminate waste.”

DO remember to reboot your robot periodically. The software is still a bit buggy.

DON’T use the AVA 500 to spy on employees in the break room to see if they’re smoking or drinking in violation of company rules. (Use the AVA 630 Micro Bot instead– installs in any overhead light fixture in minutes. They’ll never even notice it.)

robot bosses - HallwayDO encourage employees to try using the AVA 500 on their own so they can see how it can help them.

DON’T encourage employees to ride around the factory floor on Ava’s back. Or attempt to ride her down 5th Avenue during Rush Hour. Or attempt to have sex with her. I trust the reasons for all of these do not require elaboration.

Companies that have installed this exciting new technology have observed a 36% drop in employee theft, a 49% drop in workplace drinking, and an 85% drop in employees wanting to work there anymore.

Bert Kowalski of Waukesha, WI was so impressed by the potential of this technology that he has installed one to monitor his kids’ behavior in the house while he’s at work. He named his robot Margaret. Bert reported that recently his younger daughter insisted she was home alone all day, reading the biography of Abraham Lincoln, but thanks to Margaret’s 20 mega-pixel retinal imaging camera, Bert could see that she had her boyfriend over and they were, well, let’s just say they did not learn much about Abraham Lincoln.

Bert shared that he thought about going into her room for a father-daughter talk on the importance of trust, but that seemed an inefficient use of his time. Instead, thanks to Margaret, Bert was able to lecture her from the comfort of his bed while watching the Milwaukee Brewers game on TV.

Or at least he thought I could do that. Turns out Bert’s wife lectured him about privacy rights and told him never to do it again. How did she know that Bert had done it, we asked? Bert relied, “Turns out Margaret is a snitch. Damn.”

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Business Lesson #39: Awlays Proffread Yoru Wrok


As a successful entrepreneur and highly sought-after business guru, Glossy News often consults me to provide my business advice for people trying to climb the ladder of success “How can I ever become as successful as you?” Well the short answer, of course, is “You can’t. Don’t waste your time trying.”

That said, there are still several things you can do to ignite your career, including offering to have sex with your company’s president or blackmailing the CFO with photos from last December’s Holiday Office party. But these strategies are best reserved for the experienced career climber. For someone with your more modest level of talent and ambition, how about we start with something a bit more basic, shall we? Read the full story

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Power Wheels Offer Green Solution


NEW YORK- Mattel, parent company of the popular toy brand Power Wheels, has announced their bid in to the economic future of this country. They have announced a partnership with the Ford Motor Company to begin selling Power Wheels on their car lots. Read the full story

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Indianapolis Mayor Thinks A Bunch of Really Tall Skyscrapers Would Be Pretty Neat


INDIANAPOLIS – Peering philosophically out of his city-council building office window Monday, Mayor of Indianapolis Greg Ballard thinks that a whole bunch of “really freaking tall” skyscrapers would be pretty neat right about now.

Even though his office remains devoid of the sort of budget that would fund such a project, Mr Ballard privately imagines what it would be like to replace Monument Circle with a record-breaking 3,000 ft structure he would affectionately name Ballard Tower. Read the full story

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Little Caesars Pizza sues Ancient Rome for brand infringement


BATTLE CREEK, MI – America’s leading cereal manufacturer, Kellogg’s is suing a Californian non-profit organization, the Maya Archeology Initiative, claiming the nonprofit’s use of a toucan in its logo (left) too closely resembles Kellogg’s famous Fruit Loops cereal icon, Toucan Sam. Apparently Kellogg’s is trying to corner the market on both high-fructose breakfast cereals and cartoon toucan characters. Read the full story

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