From CNN host to bagel pitchman. Fresh off his announcement that he will be retiring from his long-running CNN talk show, Larry King has already moved on to his new career. King has signed up with Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., a Delray Beach, Florida-based bagel eatery to serve as the company's pitchman and help to develop franchises in the Southern California region. Hawking bagels may seem below the famous talk-show host, but these aren't just ordinary bagels. According to the company, they have developed a "14-stage patented water technology that creates Brooklynized water, allowing franchises to produce a distinctive Brooklyn bagel anywhere in the world." In a press release, the Brooklyn-born King said of the bagels, "One bite and I was back in Brooklyn."
Why entrepreneurs are ditching blogging. Sam Lessin, CEO of Brooklyn-based media start-up Drop.io, is just the latest in a growing line of entrepreneurs opting to communicate their expertise over an e-mail newsletter rather than a blog, reports GigaOm. In Drop.io's case, Lessin set up a subscription newsletter with a monthly fee ($1.99). Like any true entrepreneur, he took it one step further, launching his own subscription newsletter service called Letter.ly. After two years of blogging, Lessin said he felt that a free, public blog was "disingenuous if not straight hypocritical given my strong belief in the value of information." AnyClip co-founder Nate Westheimer hasn't shut down his blog, but he has launched a premium newsletter and Aviary.com is using Letter.ly to do the same. Ultimately, says GigaOm, none of this discounts the fact that blogs are still a great way for entrepreneurs to raise their profile. Check out Drop.io's profile in our slideshow of Brooklyn's Best Entrepreneurs.
Facebook moving in on Google's lone social network strongholds. Orkut isn't close to a household name in the U.S. But the Google-owned social network is the largest in both Brazil and India. Not for long, says TechCrunch. "India looks like it is about to fall to Facebook," Erick Schonfeld writes. That's according to stats from comScore, which reports that in May Facebook had 18 million unique visitors compared to Orkut's 19.7 million and that Facebook has grown 177 percent in India in the last year, compared to 35 percent for Orkut. Is Brazil next?
How to defend your brand. Seth Goldman has built a strong brand and an eco-friendly, socially responsible culture at Honest Tea. (If you haven't checked it out, he chronicles that experience in the Mission Driven Business blog for Inc.com) But when Coca-Cola took a 40 percent stake in the company, he faced skepticism over whether he would be able to mesh Honest Tea's natural simplicity with Coke's global brand. The New York Times takes a look at Goldman's relationship with the beverage giant, starting with one argument over Honest Tea packaging that promised no high-fructose corn syrup. Executives at Coke took that as a slam against their own products. "We got a strong request to change the wording," Goldman tells the Times. The article pulls advice from other business owners, including Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com, who talks about preserving his company culture when he sold to Amazon.com in an article from our June issue.
Finding a niche in the chicken coop. Today's Wall Street Journal cites a growing number of businesses that are cashing in on the so-called "pet-chicken market." Yeah, that's right. Selling everything from chicken diapers (a la ChickenDiapers.com) to custom coops, entrepreneurs around the country are settling into the growing niche market. The Journal reports that the website BackYardChickens.com, which had only 12,000 members in 2008, now has a total of 60,000. The site's founder, Rob Ludlow, says the local food movement may explain the trend. He tells the Journal, "They are the only backyard pet that can make you breakfast." But the chicken niche isn't the only one gaining speed. Check out our story on the rising goat and sheep lawn mowing industry.
How many employees is a CEO worth? Though the gap between CEO and entry-level pay has shrunk marginally in recent years, some companies could employ dozens, or even hundred more people if their chief executives weren't paid so exorbitantly (via Daily Finance). The gap is smaller in technology, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing where employees on the ground floor get better pay, but in fields like retail the disparity is huge. Here's how to determine your own salary.
Can Silly Bandz stick around? Can the company behind the stretchy bracelets that have become the accessory of choice on elementary playgrounds everywhere prevent their trend product from going the way of the Beanie Baby or slap bracelet? The Wall Street Journal poses the question, and talks with experts who recommend BCP Imports LLC work on its brand development, product diversification, and licensing.