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Business Trivia Interesting and fun facts on business

  • During the Great Depression, the Kraft Company tried to market a low-priced cheddar cheese powder without success. One of the St. Louis sales reps, looking for a way to unload his allotment of the cheese powder, added individual packages of the cheese powder onto the boxes of macaroni. He then offered grocers the opportunity to sell it as one product, which he called Kraft dinner. Macaroni Cheese soon became part of the Kraft product line.

    In 1980 Ted Turner ignored market research and naysayers, who predicted a 24-hour news network would not survive and started Cable News Network - CNN.

    Model T 1920s had 50% market share.

    Oracle claims that by 2015 mobile devices will alone generate 6.3 Exabyte’s of data (an Exabyte is two to the sixtieth power bytes. or one quintillion) 26 times more than today.

    A man named George Thomas was frustrated in his search for an effective way for people to apply deodorant, until he realized he was holding the answer in his hand. George borrowed the concept of the ballpoint pen and created roll-on deodorant.

    Jeff Bezo borrowed his parent’s life savings, $300,000 to start Amazon.

    The research Institute of America found that 33 minutes after a lecture ends, students usually retained only 58% of the material, by the 2nd day 33% and after 3 weeks only 15%.

    President William Henry Harrison actually killed himself because he spoke too long. In delivering his inaugural speech he spoke for over an hour in freezing temperature on March 4 1841, he caught pneumonia and died a month later!

    In 1980, Sony began distributing the Walkman because Akio Morita noticed that young people liked listening to music wherever they went. Morita decided that no market research was necessary because "the public does not know what is possible. We do."

    Southwest after 9/11 – did not lay anyone off, as it was not their fault. Instead the top management did not draw salary. There was no management discussion on whether to pay workers for the few days the planes were all on the ground. The board declined to accept board fees through to Dec 31st. Even though demand was dramatically down Southwest kept flying a full schedule as soon as airports reopened.

    Clarence Crane, a chocolate dealer, sold peppermints during the summer when chocolate sales declined. He had the mints pressed into shape by a local pill manufacturer. In 1912 the machine malfunctioned and pressed out peppermint rings instead of solid mints. Instead of complaining about deformed mints, Crane knew he had a unique product, which he called Life Savers.

    One morning, as Edison approached his factory, he saw that it was on fire. One of his students came running over and asked, "What shall we do? The factory is burned to the ground, we have no more money and no insurance!" Edison paused for a second and then said to his student, "What a wonderful opportunity to rebuild the factory the way we want it!"

    In 1950, Frank McNamara forgot his cash one evening when he went out to eat, causing him to develop the first credit card, the Diners Club Card.

    In 1952, Kemmons Wilson built the first mid-priced Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tennessee because he and his family were disappointed by the expensive and/or dirty motels they encountered on holiday.

    A chemist dropped a flask on the floor containing a liquid plastic substance. When he tried to pick up the pieces he noticed they stuck together. The result of this accident was the invention of shatterproof glass.

    Winston Churchill was invited to give the graduation speech at Oxford University. He stepped onto the stage, looked out at the audience, paused and then said, "Never, never, never, never give up." He then sat down.

    Penicillin was discovered when Alexander Fleming was examining culture plates contaminated by mold. Under the microscope, he noticed islands of bacteria on the plates surrounded by clear spaces. On further examination, he found that the clear spaces were bacteria-free areas due to the mold, Penicillium notatum. This discovery led to the production of an antibiotic he named penicillin.
    Marriott Hotels cross trains about half its staff to be able to cover other roles e.g., a receptionist is also trained as a bellhop in case they need to help a guest with their luggage.

    Singapore Public Service created an approach to ensure customers do not hear that dreaded saying, “not our department.” They started an initiative called, “No Wrong Door.” Any time you call a government department the person answering the call will manage the call until you reach the right department, even from a completely different part of the government.

    Zappos -Offer $2000, $3000, $4000 to new hires to get them to leave!
    Companies like Google, 3M AES and GE ask individuals to work 20% of their time on special projects. They do this to encourage innovation and it also breaks down silos by encouraging shared solutions.

    In Enron people had to lock their computer careen when they went to the toilet as there was a very competitive atmosphere. If you performed you were left alone and unbelievable traders would sabotage other traders. If you did not lock you computer screen another trader would change your position on a trade to make you look back. No one ever helped each other. One employees is quoted as saying, “Bring them in young, bring them in smart, grain them and drop them.”

    It is estimated Wal-Mart collects 2.5 petabytes of data every hour from its customer’s transactions. A petabyte is one quadrillion bytes or the equivalent of about 20 million filling cabinets worth of text.

    Former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner in the launch of its new strategy. Gerstner told the story that during the IBM transformation of the late 90s, he constantly referred to the metaphor of Tarzan. He often encouraged his leaders to think of their role of leading change as them swinging through a jungle and letting go of the vine of the business and grabbing the vine of the new business that they were creating – all with the threat of hungry lions below and the horizon of success slightly visible through the trees.

    Forty-six percent of salesmen give up after the first 'no'. Twenty-four percent give up after the second 'no', 14 percent give up after the third and 12 percent give up after the fourth refusal. Sixty percent of all business is sold by the 4 percent of salespeople who go back after the fourth 'no'.

    Over 294 billion email are sent a day (2.8 million per second).

    80% of millionaires drive second-hand cars.

    A pc has 1000 times the processing power it took to put a man on the moon.

    Bette Nesmith Graham, in the hope of saving her job in the bank as a secretary, covered her typos with a mixture of water-based paint and a coloring agent that blended perfectly with the bank's stationery. It worked so well that she started bottling and selling her invention (which she called Mistake Out) from her garage. Years later, Gillette Company bought Nesmith's invention, now called Liquid Paper, for $47.5 million.

    The US Army used to march its platoons non-stop for eight solid hours in order to test their endurance and stamina. Now, it marches them for 50 minutes and then rests them for 10 minutes. It has found that the platoons are then able to march much farther than before.

    The Chinese believe that reprimanding is an act of care; that unless someone cares for you, he or she would not bother to express disapproval with your behavior. So, to be scolded is an honor!

    Ronald Reagan is known as a great communicator. Here is an example of how he broke the tension with Gorbachev during the US-Soviet summit in 1985 by telling a joke!

    An American and a Soviet are debating the popular topic of who has more freedom. The American explains that he can march into the Oval office of the White House and say, "Mr. President, I do not like the way you are running the country.” The Soviet replies, "I can also do that. I can walk into General-Secretary Gorbachev's office in the Kremlin and say, 'Mr. Secretary, I do not like the way President Reagan is running America.”

    A group of 3M researchers were trying to develop a synthetic rubber for jet-aircraft hoses when a beaker containing some of the trial substance fell on a lab technician's tennis shoe. No standard cleaning solvent would remove it. With further refinement, the substance became Scotchgard fabric protector.

  • During the Great Depression, the Kraft Company tried to market a low-priced cheddar cheese powder without success. One of the St. Louis sales reps, looking for a way to unload his allotment of the cheese powder, added individual packages of the cheese powder onto the boxes of macaroni. He then offered grocers the opportunity to sell it as one product, which he called Kraft dinner. Macaroni Cheese soon became part of the Kraft product line.

  • Oracle claims that by 2015 mobile devices will alone generate 6.3 Exabyte’s of data (an Exabyte is two to the sixtieth power bytes. or one quintillion) 26 times more than today.

  • A man named George Thomas was frustrated in his search for an effective way for people to apply deodorant, until he realized he was holding the answer in his hand. George borrowed the concept of the ballpoint pen and created roll-on deodorant.

  • President William Henry Harrison actually killed himself because he spoke too long. In delivering his inaugural speech, he spoke for over an hour in freezing temperature on March 4, 1841. He caught pneumonia and died a month later!

  • In 1980, Sony began distributing the Walkman because Akio Morita noticed that young people liked listening to music wherever they went. Morita decided that no market research was necessary because "the public does not know what is possible. We do."

  • The research Institute of America found that 33 minutes after a lecture ends, students usually retained only 58% of the material, by the 2nd day 33% and after 3 weeks only 15%.

  • One morning, as Edison approached his factory, he saw that it was on fire. One of his students came running over and asked, "What shall we do? The factory is burned to the ground, we have no more money and no insurance!" Edison paused for a second and then said to his student, "What a wonderful opportunity to rebuild the factory the way we want it!"

  • Southwest after 9/11 – did not lay anyone off, as it was not their fault. Instead the top management did not draw salary. There was no management discussion on whether to pay workers for the few days the planes were all on the ground. The board declined to accept board fees through to Dec 31st. Even though demand was dramatically down Southwest kept flying a full schedule as soon as airports reopened.

  • Clarence Crane, a chocolate dealer, sold peppermints during the summer when chocolate sales declined. He had the mints pressed into shape by a local pill manufacturer. In 1912 the machine malfunctioned and pressed out peppermint rings instead of solid mints. Instead of complaining about deformed mints, Crane knew he had a unique product, which he called Life Savers.

  • In 1952, Kemmons Wilson built the first mid-priced Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tennessee because he and his family were disappointed by the expensive and/or dirty motels they encountered on holiday.

  • A chemist dropped a flask on the floor containing a liquid plastic substance. When he tried to pick up the pieces he noticed they stuck together. The result of this accident was the invention of shatterproof glass.

  • In 1950, Frank McNamara forgot his cash one evening when he went out to eat, causing him to develop the first credit card, the Diners Club Card.

  • Penicillin was discovered when Alexander Fleming was examining culture plates contaminated by mold. Under the microscope, he noticed islands of bacteria on the plates surrounded by clear spaces. On further examination, he found that the clear spaces were bacteria-free areas due to the mold, Penicillium notatum. This discovery led to the production of an antibiotic he named penicillin.

  • Winston Churchill was invited to give the graduation speech at Oxford University. He stepped onto the stage, looked out at the audience, paused and then said, "Never, never, never, never give up." He then sat down.

  • Marriott Hotels cross trains about half its staff to cover other roles e.g., receptionists are also trained as bellhops in case they need to help a guest with their luggage.

  • "Offer $2000, $3000, $4000 to new hires to get them to leave!" - Zappos

  • Singapore Public Service created an approach to ensure customers do not hear that dreaded saying, “not our department.” They started an initiative called, “No Wrong Door.” Any time you call a government department the person answering the call will manage the call until you reach the right department, even from a completely different part of the government.

  • In Enron, people had to lock their computer screen when they went to the toilet because of its highly competitive atmosphere. Traders would sabotage other traders. If you did not lock your computer screen, another trader would change your position on a trade to make you look bad. No one ever helped each other. One employee is quoted as saying, “Bring them in young, bring them in smart, train them and drop them.”

  • Companies like Google, 3M AES and GE ask individuals to work 20% of their time on special projects. They do this to encourage innovation and it also breaks down silos by encouraging shared solutions.

  • It is estimated Wal-Mart collects 2.5 petabytes of data every hour from its customers' transactions. A petabyte is one quadrillion bytes or the equivalent of about 20 million filling cabinets worth of text.

  • Former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner told the story that during the IBM transformation of the late '90s, he constantly referred to the metaphor of Tarzan. He encouraged his leaders to think of their role of leading change as swinging through a jungle and letting go of the vine of the old business and grabbing the vine of the new business that they were creating – all with the threat of hungry lions below and the horizon of success slightly visible through the trees.

  • Over 294 billion email are sent a day (2.8 million per second).

  • Forty-six percent of salesmen give up after the first 'no'. Twenty-four percent give up after the second 'no', 14 percent give up after the third and 12 percent give up after the fourth refusal. Sixty percent of all business is sold by the 4 percent of salespeople who go back after the fourth 'no'.

  • 80% of millionaires drive second-hand cars.

  • Bette Nesmith Graham, in the hope of saving her job in the bank as a secretary, covered her typos with a mixture of water-based paint and a coloring agent that blended perfectly with the bank's stationery. It worked so well that she started bottling and selling her invention (which she called Mistake Out) from her garage. Years later, Gillette Company bought Nesmith's invention, now called Liquid Paper, for $47.5 million.

  • The Chinese believe that reprimanding is an act of care; that unless someone cares for you, he or she would not bother to express disapproval with your behavior. So, to be scolded is an honor!

  • The US Army used to march its platoons non-stop for eight solid hours in order to test their endurance and stamina. Now, it marches them for 50 minutes and then rests them for 10 minutes. It has found that the platoons are then able to march much farther than before.

  • A PC has 1000 times the processing power it took to put a man on the moon.

  • Ronald Reagan is known as a great communicator. Here is an example of how he broke the tension with Gorbachev during the US-Soviet summit in 1985 by telling a joke!

    An American and a Soviet are debating the popular topic of who has more freedom. The American explains that he can march into the Oval office of the White House and say, "Mr. President, I do not like the way you are running the country.” The Soviet replies, "I can also do that. I can walk into General-Secretary Gorbachev's office in the Kremlin and say, 'Mr. Secretary, I do not like the way President Reagan is running America.”

  • A group of 3M researchers were trying to develop a synthetic rubber for jet-aircraft hoses when a beaker containing some of the trial substance fell on a lab technician's tennis shoe. No standard cleaning solvent would remove it. With further refinement, the substance became Scotchgard fabric protector.

  • These quotes are useful to include as part of a speech or a campaign.

  • Interesting and fun facts on business

  • Every business day Speculand tweets on strategy implementation and we have collected what we consider to be the best ones of 2016 from our boss.

  • Second set of best Tweets of 2016