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How one product ended an art form

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For thousands of years, possibly in every culture, humans carried cloth handkerchiefs.

They were the privilege of wealthy humans. Evidence of handkerchiefs dates to 2000 BC, when wealthy Egyptians carried bleached white handkerchiefs made of expensive linen. In western culture, the handkerchief became art by the 14th century. Queens embroidered silk, lace handkerchiefs. They were carried not just for personal hygiene, but also became symbols of love, according to bonjourparis.com. Even Shakespeare wrote about them. By the early 20th century, every respectable person carried a handkerchief, many tatted by grandma.

Then, in the 1920s, the cloth handkerchief was rendered obsolete when the paper company Kimberly-Clark came up with a disposable tissue. But how could one product effectively kill thousands of years of tradition and art?

The answer is probably the flu.

From 1918 to 1920, the flu pandemic infected 500 million people around the world. At least 50 million died. Some sources say 100 million. Everyone knew people who died of the flu. People were wary of touching things. They avoided crowds and conversations.

The public suspected everything, but they especially suspected handkerchiefs. People were urged to carry them to avoid sneezing in public so they wouldn’t pass cold and flu viruses. But, didn’t that mean the viruses were in the actual handkerchief?

Kimberly-Clark’s disposable tissues were soon adopted by ordinary people. Thus, Kimberly-Clark hit on a slogan that matched the angst of the times: Don’t put a cold in your pocket. It was true that the product genuinely enhanced personal hygiene. And, that was the beginning of the end of the handkerchief.

Today, only men’s pocket squares remain as the remnants of the heyday of handkerchiefs, an art form rejected because of the flu.

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The Twinkie: A treat shaped by current events

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Evan-Amos / CC0

 

The legendary Twinkie, once America’s most irresistible shortcake, started out as a toss-off product created to mark time until the strawberry season.

The maker, now known as Hostess Brands, introduced the cake in 1933 literally because they had a bunch of shortcake pans not being used. The company’s main product was a shortcake filled with strawberry cream. After the strawberry season ended, there were plenty of pans but no product — or sales.

Company vice president, James A. Dewar, decided to make a simple sponge cake and fill it with banana cream. (Legend has it that he named the confection Twinkies because he noticed a sign for Twinkie Toe Shoes.)

But current events and customer preferences intervened to change the new treat.

Bananas were rationed in World War II and banana Twinkies became hard to source. So the company whipped up a sugary vanilla flavor so beloved that banana never returned.

Twinkie sales soared throughout the 1950s, due in part to Hostess’ sponsorship of the children’s TV show, “Howdy Doody.” Twinkies made the movies, too, most notably 1984’s “Ghostbusters,” in which Egon Spengler uses a Twinkie to explain psychokinetic energy.

In 1979, Twinkies made unanticipated headlines during the trial of Dan White, who killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. White’s lawyer argued that White had grown increasingly withdrawn and depressed from gorging on sugary foods, including Twinkies. The argument that White suffered from his changed eating habits helped bargain his sentence down to manslaughter. This decision soon became known as the “Twinkie Defense.”

Throughout subsequent decades, however, the product maintained its acclaim. In 1999 President Bill Clinton even included a Twinkie in the Millennium Time Capsule.

When Hostess filed for bankruptcy in 2012, devoted Twinkie fans snapped up every package they could find. Mere months later, store shelves throughout the nation brimmed with Twinkies again.

Today, the Twinkie is an authentic icon in American business history.

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The man who went from prison to CEO: The inspiring story of Roy Castro

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Roy Castro. Photo courtesy of STRIVE.

 

It’s a freezing January, and Roy Castro is hosing down ice cream trucks. It can’t be pleasant. But, it was actually something of a miracle.

Just a year before in 2002, Castro walked out of prison. He was 27 years old. In prison for 15 years off and on since age 16, this time he vowed not to go back to drug dealing. That was harder than he thought.

Living with his aunt, he spent a year looking for a job. Fifty interviews later, a felon like Castro figured he was never going to get a job. He hooked up with old drug connections. Time to do what he could to support himself.

That very day, a neighbor told him about STRIVE, a program that they said could help him get a job. He reluctantly showed up and his life began to change.

STRIVE’s tough love speakers hit the audience hard on the ideas and behaviors that kept them out of the mainstream. The approach worked for Castro. The program helped attendees get a job, but more importantly taught them to keep a job. He learned how to dress and be on time. He learned humility. Teamwork. How to work in an organization.

STRIVE got him his first job and he hosed down those ice cream trucks for years while he planned how to move up. It took 10 years to climb the ranks, but he did. He followed his plan of saying yes to challenge. He took advantage of small opportunities to make them big.

By 2012 he had a $3 million ice cream delivery business and he was panicked. He didn’t know how to grow or even keep his business: Taxes, finances. He knew nothing of these things.

Once again he called on STRIVE. On the eve of Thanksgiving, he sent an email to Goldman Sachs executive Dina Powell McCormick whose card he had carried around for six years. It just so happened McCormick was in her office that late hour before the holiday. She remembered him. She immediately emailed him and pulled strings to get him a place in the company’s Ten Thousand Small Businesses educational program.

Once there, Castro saw he was over his head. So many business people with lots of experience. Then, he saw McCormick. He vowed not to let her down. He would work harder than anyone in the room. Triple hard.

The next year Castro graduated number 1 in the class. Legendary investor Warren Buffet handed him his diploma.

Using the knowledge he gained, he grew his business to $10 million a year.

An extraordinary life: A boy who at age 11 was homeless with his drug addicted mother, who went to prison at 16, became a man who made his way, overcoming all obstacles.

Roy Castro’s rules and secrets to success

From a life as a 13-year-old living on the streets to a young life in prison to the CEO of a $10 million company.

Roy Castro started at the bottom and these are his rules for getting ahead:

1 – Tame your ego. Be prepared to admit when you are wrong. Be humble.

2 – Say Yes when others say No. When you hear others refusing a task, take the task.

3 – Ask for the crumbs. A small opportunity is a chance to create big opportunities.

4 – Make the sacrifice. Work as hard as you can even at simple tasks. Save money. Show up on time.

5 – Separate from the pack. Don’t be one of grumblers.

6 – Speak your truth. Admit what you don’t know. Ask for help.

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5 mistakes to avoid when writing a CV

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Your CV serves as a first point of contact with employers. To ensure it creates the right impression, avoid making these five mistakes.

1. Listing the wrong information. Ensure that your current phone number and email address are correctly listed. Do the same for all dates.

2. Not proofreading it. Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation are a sign that you pay attention to details. If possible, get someone to proofread your CV to ensure it’s easy to read and contains no mistakes.

3. Noting your interests. Unless they have something to do with the job you’re applying for, don’t devote space on your CV to your hobbies.

4. Not keeping it to the point. It’s okay to leave out jobs if they have little to do with the position you’re applying for and you held them many years ago. Only relevant and recent employment experience should be identified in your CV.

5. Providing references. Generally, it’s best to leave your personal and professional references off your CV. If the hiring manager wants them, they’ll ask.

Remember that your CV should be a summary of your professional skills. Anything more than two pages is too long and probably won’t be read.

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Every time you write Kleenex,a lawyer gets his wings

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In 1920, Kimberly-Clark, a Wisconsin paper company, became the first to offer a disposable handkerchief. They called it Kleenex.

Now a lot of people call it that, too. And that’s a problematic victory.

Unlike in 1920, today there are lots of brands of facial tissue, but only one is called Kleenex. It’s a Registered Trademark. As long as it remains a distinctive product name, no other company can use it. You start advertising Joe’s Pink Pop-up kleenex and a lawyer is going to have a chat with you.
Companies have to protect their trademarks and they’ve gone to all sorts of lengths to do it.

Newspapers large and small have received missives from lawyers noting that Kleenex is a Registered Trademark. Many companies have taken out ads in trade magazines for journalism and advertising reminding writers and editors that their trademarks should not be misused. The one thing you don’t want with a Registered Trademark is that the word or phrase becomes generic.
It’s not a trivial matter since companies spend millions to create and defend their products.

So, as a reminder:
– Botox is not “a generic term for botulinum toxin.”

– Inline skates are not all Rollerblades and you must not write that you went rollerblading.

– Bleach is just bleach unless you are actually using Clorox.

– TABASCO is a seasoning made by the McIlhenny Company and is not to be confused with other little spicy bottles of sauce.

– You can be stuck on Band-Aid brand, but not every bandage stuck on you is a Band-Aid.

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3 modern hiring strategies that work

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Are you searching for your next star employee? If so, here are three out-of-the-box recruitment strategies that really work.

1. Shoot a video
Research indicates that job postings that include videos are viewed more often and have higher application rates than those that don’t. In addition, recruitment videos are easier to share on social media than job postings. The video can be humorous, inspiring, informative or whatever best suits your company’s aims.

2. Harness the power of AI
There are a number of software programs that use artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline or automate the hiring process, including sourcing candidates, screening resumes and shortlisting applicants. These programs allow recruiters to use their time more efficiently and identify the most exceptional candidates for a given role.

3. Recruit candidates online
Nowadays, most businesses understand the importance of recruiting online via company websites and social media platforms. However, you should also consider having a presence on industry forums, message boards and blogs. This allows you to discover and engage with potential candidates in an informal environment.

In addition to using these hiring strategies, you may also want to consider hosting a recruitment event such as a barbecue, a conference, a hackathon or a speed networking event. If you use these methods, you’re likely to improve your chances of landing your dream candidate.

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Generation Z: A workforce like no other

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Generation Z (ages 18-22) is in the workforce. The hypervisual, technological natives see little, if any, distinction between working at home or office, physically or digitally.

Gen Z’ers are skeptical, in a good way, and with the worldwide web at their fingertips, they’ve always been free to explore their options and alternatives.

A Northeastern University study reports that after watching their parents in the wake of the 2008 recession, Gen Z’ers are much more determined to steer clear of debt than pursue great wealth.
According to Tracey Franklin, Merck’s VP of talent recruitment, employers from the massive corporation to the little shop on the corner are now appealing to “the most purpose-driven generation of all time.”

So, what kind of jobs are Gen Z’ers seeking? According to recent research by Glassdoor.com, becoming a software engineer is their No. 1 choice. After all, in addition to tech companies, software engineers are also needed in retail, banking, and manufacturing industries, among others.
A close No. 2 is the software developer, followed by sales associate, mechanical engineer, data analyst, business analyst, engineer, receptionist, investment banking analyst, and financial analyst. Although they also aspire to work in the accounting, media, and aerospace industries, seven of the top ten companies with the most Gen Z applications were tech companies.

The Gen Z’ers’ primary buzzwords for choosing their current employers are “work environment,” “flexible hours,” and “good pay.” Also in the top 10, “Free food,” “company discount,” and “easy work.” Their primary reasons for looking elsewhere: “Long hours” and “low pay.”

As for staying with a company long term, previous Glassdoor Economic Research cites culture and values, trust in senior leadership, and the presence of career opportunities and advancement.

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