Goin' to That Penthouse in the Sky
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Penthouse founder dies. He loved women and had a unique way of showing it. Bob Guccione, founder of Playboy's raunchier counterpart Penthouse, died yesterday at the age of 79, the New York Times reports. Guccione used a $1,170 loan in 1965 to get started in London and managed to overcome an early mistake: Accidentally sending the initial pornographic brochure to clergymen and the wives of Parliament members. After coming to the United States in 1969, Penthouse enjoyed more than a decade of success, leaving Guccione with a net worth of $400 million by 1982. But financial troubles would soon arise. "The dissolution of the Guccione empire took years," The Times reports. "A $17.5 million movie containing hard-core sex scenes and graphic violence ... was shunned by distributors, and Mr. Guccione lost heavily. He once hired 82 scientists to develop a small nuclear reactor as a low-cost energy source, but it came to nothing and cost $17 million." In 2003, Penthouse's parent company filed for bankruptcy and Guccione resigned a few years later.
Big plans for America's oldest brewery. After 181 years in the beer business, the Yuengling family has plans to expand operations outside of its home state of Pennsylvania. The Wall Street Journal confirms that Dick Yuengling, the company's sole owner, has signed a letter of intent stating it will buy an old Coors brewery in Memphis. The roughly $20 million factory investment will double the company's manufacturing capacity and enable it to distribute beyond the 13 east coast states it currently serves. But, the CEO warns, "If this deal goes through, we are going to grow very slowly and methodically ... We are around for 181 years and we're in no hurry." For more on how Yuengling became a niche national treasure, check out our feature here.
How to land your product on store shelves. You may have a great product, but unless you can get it on to store shelves, the world may never know of it. To that end, the New York Times has put together a handy how-to guide for getting your product onto store shelves. In addition to links to relevant trade organizations, the guide also has a number of tips and tricks from other small-business owners on how they managed to land their initial shelf space. As one business owner explains, "Everything about getting your product on store shelves has to do with building relationships. Relationships with bloggers, brokers, buyers and, of course, the customer."
Apple's latest brawl. A bona fide word war broke out this week between Steve Jobs and RIM executive Jim Balsillie over the value of 7-inch versus 10-inch tablets devices. Monday Jobs said that Apple has no plans to pursue a seven-inch iPad and had a few choice words for competitors like RIM. He suggested that 7-inch devices "include sandpaper so users can sand down their fingers" to be able to tap onscreen keys. Tuesday Balsillie fired back, stating in an email that "customers are getting of being told what to think by Apple" and its "distortion field." This isn't the first time relations have soured between the two companies, the Financial Post reports, harking back to the "Antennagate" controversy.
Making the news by buying it. The Times Co. took The Boston Globe off the market about a year ago, but that didn't stop one entrepreneur from making an unsolicited offer yesterday to buy the publication. The Boston-based entrepreneur Aaron Kushner made an "attractive bid to buy the Globe and other holdings in the Times Co.'s New England Media Group, including Boston.com and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette," reports The Boston Globe. Kushner and a group of more than a dozen investors have not disclosed the amount of the bid, but the Globe's publisher, Christopher Mayer, wrote a memo to employees last night acknowledging the offer and what it means for the newspaper. "While we cannot stop others from having interest in our business, I am viewing any potential outside interest in the Globe as a reaffirmation that we are doing all the right things and moving the business forward," Mayer wrote.
Is social media worth it? Looking particularly at business-to-business companies, the Wall Street Journal explores whether Facebook and Twitter are effective marketing tools. "Some B-to-B owners say social networking is actually ideal for their demographic since it can take months for their kind of buyers to commit to a purchase," the article reads. But aren't B-to-B buyers people - people who are on Facebook - too? Meanwhile, the wider small business community is also pondering the value of staying social online. You can check out our story here.
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CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.