Tag Archives: business

Found and Lost: Original Nabisco Graham Crackers

As one of my 3 blog post followers, chances are you are aware of my penchant for low quality junk food snacks that I’ve written about here and here. Among those, for decades, has been my affection for Nabisco Honey Grahams, a sugary edible I was so passionate about that I once wrote Nabisco a 5 page letter (since lost – damn!) telling them how crappy their packaging was. Yes, I have always had too much time on my hands.

Then a not-so-funny thing happened. Nabisco discovered “health,” changed their cracker recipe and began selling tasteless cardboard without all the bad stuff that made the cracker so good. I was done with Honey Grahams. And, after a taste-test of alternative graham cracker wannabes, I resigned from the entire category altogether. Done.

Recently I discovered the not-so-new Nabisco Grahams Originals. Heaven was mine again. The taste was great. Molasses & sugar and no high fructose corn syrup poison. And, as you’re supposed to do when eating snack foods like this (and cereal) I read the box over and over. The product was made by Mondelēz International, a company I discovered was the parent to Nabisco. The good ol’ “National Biscuit Company.” I thought about it. But paid little attention. But then the story turned sordid.

Turns out that Mondelēz International recently chose to ship more than 600 good jobs making popular snacks, like Oreos and Nabisco Grahams, to Salinas, Mexico. Executives at Mondelēz decided to offshore those jobs because it is easier to exploit low-wage, unprotected workers in Mexico. This would lower production costs for the Ritz Crackers, Oreos and other foods that are sold in the United States at the same price point, resulting in more profit.

So once again food has become political. And I had to decide whether to support this behavior or give up on Nabisco Graham Originals. Well, I’ll miss that tasty treat. And Oreos, too. Buh-bye.

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Entrepreneurs and Students of Business Will Love Chaos Monkeys

I recently read this recently published book and thought it was great. Not flawless. But insightful. You may be interested.

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon ValleyChaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful story at multiple levels. What begins as a humorous lark surrounding the funding shenanigans of a small tech start-up evolves into a corporate drama involving Facebook on the eve of its IPO and shortly after. Author Martinez is the epicenter of this tale, offering an unblinking 360-degree view of his work and life according to him. In fact, while some might believe there is TMI about his admittedly sordid life, more accurately it underscores the entrepreneur’s mantra that life is work and work is life.

Martinez is a funny guy, inventing some crude as well as poignant metaphors to make his points. (e.g. “A founder should prefer to be arrested for public homosexual, pedophilic bestiality than to have his or her company ignored by the media…”) And his points are many. He shares the aftermath of investment; the winners, losers, options, dilutions and taxes that follow. We witness the corporate infighting for status and recognition in the effort to advance closely held beliefs in a business that is being invented before our eyes -as well as the effort to secure a place in that business hierarchy.

For many the book will bog down in the detail of data mining, targeting and ad serving technology. See, I lost you already! For me, who has used these tools on the buying side since the earliest days, I found it both fascinating as well as vindicating. That is, I wasn’t as stupid as I thought, the tools really were that bad. And therein is a lesson that can apply more broadly than the examples in the book. A great read while the examples are fresh and the players still active. Potentially will have legs as a historical perspective and business object lesson.

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