April 26, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Philip Sopher wrote about the history of beer gardens:
- Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, in modern day Germany, decreed in 1533 that beer could only be brewed between September and April.
- This was in part because beer brewed during colder months tasted better.
- This encouraged breweries to create underground cellars to store beers for the summer.
- To keep the beers cool they planted trees above the cellars.
- Soon they placed a layer of gravel and some tables and the areas became popular drinking spots.
- So popular in fact, that the owners of inns and taverns wanted to ban breweries from directly selling beer to customers as they were taking away too much business.
- In 1812 the government compromised and said that breweries could continue to sell beer, but they couldn’t serve food.
- This didn’t prevent patrons from bringing their own food, so beer gardens went on to become a nice place to have picnics.
Read more here.
Source: The Atlantic
April 24, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
In some parts of China, strippers are called to perform at funerals wrote Te-Ping Chen and Josh Chin:
- The presence of strippers draws large crowds which is thought to bring good fortune into the after-life of the deceased.
- The services cost $322 a session, and companies may put on up to 20 shows a month.
- The practice isn’t limited to the mainland – women in short skirts and stilettos sometimes perform at Taiwanese funerals.
- The Chinese government is trying to crack down on the practice, calling it “obscene”.
Read more here.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
April 23, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Wendy Paris wrote about the destination divorces business:
- A destination divorce is when a couple goes to a foreign city or country specifically to get divorced.
- The idea is that by leaving friends, family, and children behind, the former lovers can agree to an amicable separation in a stress free environment.
- If things start to heat up, then either of the two could leave to, for example, get a massage at a relaxing spa. After cooling down they can return level-headed.
- Companies that arrange such trips charge between $7,000 and $12,000.
- The price includes the cost of the hotel, lawyers, and onsite mediation services.
Read about the industry, why it used to be far more popular in the past, and more over here.
April 22, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
The largest cigarette maker in the world is a company owned by the Chinese government wrote Andrew Martin:
- One third of all the cigarettes smoked in the world are smoked in China.
- The China National Tobacco Corp made 2.2 trillion cigarettes in 2013 – more than the next five biggest competitors combined.
- The company directly employs half a million people at surprisingly high wages.
- Another 19 million people benefit indirectly, by, for example, farming the tobacco for the cigarettes.
- The company is fond of sponsoring elementary schools, informing children that tobacco can help them succeed.
- The regulator responsible for overseeing the industry is so intertwined with the cigarette company itself that it shares the same headquarters, organizational structure, website, and even chief executive.
- In fact the regulators hand out packs of China National Tobacco Corp cigarettes at formal events.
- All this generated $170 billion in revenue in 2012 – more than Apple. 7% of the Chinese government’s budget is dependent on the tobacco industry.
Read about the American who helped kick start the growth of the tobacco industry in China, why international brands have such a tough time competing in China, and more details here.
Via: Marginal Revolution
April 21, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Attentiv provided some analysis of meetings:
- The average meeting costs $338, in terms of people’s time.
- Meetings most frequently begin at 11am.
- The average meeting has nine people in it.
- On average three of those participants will feel like the meeting was a waste of their time.
- 10% of all meetings last longer than four hours.
See other details, and take in some charts over here.
April 20, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Barbara DeLollis and Keri Anderson wrote about the “Clean the World” initiative:
- Hotels that sign up collect their used soaps, shampoos, and other products.
- The products are then sterilized. Depending on their state of use they are repackaged, or melted and reformed. These are then donated to those that can use them.
- It’s a global initiative – Sands China has collected over two tons of products.
Read more here and here.
Source: USA Today, Boarding Area
April 19, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Nicholas Thompson spent time with an “elite money hunter”: a 67 year old gentleman who, since 1987, has been collecting and recording all the spare change he finds abandoned on New York streets and sidewalks:
- Chilly mornings when people are wearing gloves and thus fumble with their wallets are a good time to find loose change.
- Too cold though and people won’t go outside, making it more difficult to find stray coins.
- Bus stations where people have to find exact change are also promising hunting grounds.
- Night birds may want to keep a watch on stumbling patrons reaching into their pockets around bars in the evenings.
- Up until 2006 one could expect to make around $58 a year this way in New York City.
- Then Apple bought in the era of the modern smartphone and people became more focused on their screens. Annual takings jumped to $95 a year.
Read more here.
Source: The New Yorker
Via: Marginal Revolution; Kottke
April 17, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Alice Truong wrote about a customer segment that is often overlooked by the marijuana industry: pets.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that dogs respond well to the pain soothing effects of weed.
- This is backed up by scientific research which shows that mammals usually have cannabinoid receptors.
- However while some American states have medical marijuana laws, vets still can’t prescribe the drug.
- If this were changed then it could be a boost to the legal weed market which is expected to have $10 billion in sales by 2018.
- Some companies are working around the regulations. One company is unable to label its marijuana laced doggie treats as ‘organic’ since that’s a federally regulated label. Instead its advertising promotes it as “organic-like”.
Read more about the business, its challenges, its future, and other details here.
Centives has some other fun coverage of pet perks here.
April 16, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Yep, Barbie, the doll, has a team that manages her Instagram account for her, writes Julia Rubin:
- Barbie enjoys a celebrity lifestyle. In her photos she’s at elite events wearing the most fashionable clothes and accessories.
- Her style and celebrity have drawn 700,000 followers to her account.
- She’s clearly fond of taking selfies. Her friends, boyfriend, and dog sometimes feature but she seems to prefer to be alone in them.
- The team that managers her Instagram account use her star status to get her into top events around the world, such as The Golden Globes, where she’s given the same status as other, realer celebrities.
- The management team travels around the world with Barbie, prepping her wardrobe and managing her social calendar.
- Currently Barbie doesn’t accept sponsored money from the designer dresses she exhibits – but that’s something that advertizers could look into down the road.
The full article discusses how the idea came about, the secret to ensuring the Instagram posts are well received, and more. You should read it here.
April 15, 2015 in Daily Bulletin
Want a business with a relatively stable demand base unaffected by recessions or the wider business cycle? Look into the graveyard business! Sarah Stone created a handy dandy guide to explain some of the key considerations:
- Graveyards have a difficult problem: unlike most other businesses what they sell – land to bury people in – is limited and will run out.
- Luckily most graveyards are run as non-profits so they don’t have to worry too much about taxes as a part of their cost base.
- It’s important to build a long term trust fund that can keep the graveyard financed for generations to come.
- If a graveyard does fill up its life could be extended by creating new graves in the spaces between, and under the pathways around, existing graves.
- In countries such as Germany, Australia, and New Zealand graves are thought to be more of a lease on land. After the lease runs out the remains are exhumed and cremated, creating space for a new grave.
- When all else fails cemeteries can look into multi-story stacked graves to continue to pay the bills.
- If, as eventually all business do, the graveyard goes bankrupt then the local municipality may agree to take over control of the land.
- It may also be sold to investors who would pay for the remains to be reburied somewhere else – nobody really wants to live or work in property built atop a gravesite.
Read about what makes the United States unique in its treatment of burial plot rights, what happens to those who pre-pay for a plot after a graveyard goes under, and more over here.
Source: Today I Found Out