National News

Funny or Die trying

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-25 12:17

It’s been almost eight years since Funny or Die's first viral video, “The Landlord,” took the Internet by storm. Over these years, they’ve dealt with a recession and a $600,000 movie flop, all while handling an enormous viewer following. They sat down for our series, Conversations from the Corner Office, to discuss how staying true to comedy allowed them to stay ahead of the curve.

CEO Dick Glover says Funny or Die isn’t just a name, it’s their business plan.

We live by the mantra: the creative drives the deal, not the deal drives the creative. Have I said that 5,000 times? We make what we hope is funny, great product. Period … And we will sink or swim on how good that is.

Just a year after they launched, the recession hit, and Glover says the company barely survived. In fact, a presentation by Funny or Die’s investor, Sequoia Capital, predicted that the company was doomed.

"The recession hit in 2008," Glover says. "[We got] the famous Sequoia Capital ‘Rest in Peace Good Times’ business presentation … I sat through [it] and wanted to throw up."

Funny or Die downsized, but made sure to stay true to their content and business mantra. Despite the tough economic climate, they were able to grow an enormous following. Glover credits part of this success to maintaining a “start-up” mentality.

I would be very concerned if we ever lost that sense that "Hey, we’re a start-up." And that’s what I learned at ESPN. ESPN, as it became this huge, huge company, I mean huge company … never lost the sense that it’s a sports fan. If a company can be … a person, you know, ESPN’s the guy that you’re wanting to tweet about the game with last night, or in the old days, stand next to the water cooler and talk to. So we want the same thing. We want to make sure this culture does not change as, hopefully, we continue to get bigger and bigger.

President of Production Mike Farah says it's because they aren't afraid to fail, that they can learn, grow, and succeed.

"I've messed up a lot," he says. "I cost us $600,000 on a movie that didn't happen. But what can you do? You just move on."

Often, Glover adds, it's this risk-taking that attracts talent to their studios in the first place, and is what will allow them to create innovative content in the future.

We’re not afraid to fail. We do tons of videos that people don’t like. In fact, one of our selling points to A-list talent is: ‘You’re in an environment that by and large does not tolerate failure…with us if you do some crazy idea and it doesn’t work, who cares? But if it works it gets as much attention as anything else you’ve done.'

Study Reveals What Happens During A 'Glacial Earthquake'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 11:54

Scientists have figured out how massive chunks of ice trigger these seismically-detectable events when they break off a glacier. The findings could help researchers track ice loss from glaciers.

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California Law To Curtail Vaccine Exemptions Clears Hurdle

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 11:33

If the bill passes out of the Legislature, the bill would then move to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. He hasn't indicated whether he'll sign the bill.

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California Lawmakers Vote To Remove Vaccine Exemptions For Schoolchildren

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 11:27

A similar bill, which eliminates all but medical exemptions, has already passed the Senate. Gov. Jerry Brown has not said if he will sign it.

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Make Lava, Not War

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 11:12

A sculptor and a geologist are melting hundreds of pounds of rock in a giant cauldron to create realistic lava flows. Cool! NPR reporter Adam Cole pays a visit to learn more about lava's allure.

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How A Historical Blunder Helped Create The Water Crisis In The West

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 11:06

In 1922, seven states drew up a plan for dividing the waters of the Colorado River. But they overestimated how much water the river could provide — and now 40 million Americans face a water crisis.

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Tama, The Cat That Saved A Japanese Train Station, Dies

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:55

Tourists would come to the Kishi train station near Wakayama City to see the feline hanging out in her office — a converted ticket booth — wearing a railway hat and collar.

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Tell us about the opportunities that changed your life

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:54

What's the best financial opportunity you've ever come across?

We want to know. Tell us your stories of great deals and fantastic job offers — opportunities that changed your life, or ones you missed. 

Write to us! Reach out on Marketplace's Facebook page, send us an email or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND.

Opportunities that changed your life

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:54

What's the best financial opportunity you've ever come across. 

We want to know. Tell us your stories of great deals and fantastic job offers -- opportunities that changed your life...or even ones you missed. 

Write to us! Reach out on Marketplace's Facebook page, send us an email or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND.

Your Wallet: Opportunities

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:54

What's the best financial opportunity you've ever come across. 

We want to know. Tell us your stories of great deals and fantastic job offers -- opportunities that changed your life...or even ones you missed. 

Write to us! Reach out on Marketplace's Facebook page, send us an email or reach us on Twitter, @MarketplaceWKND.

Amy Poehler Asks A Critic Of Women's Sports, 'Really!?!'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:26

Unfortunately for Sports Illustrated analyst Andy Benoit, two people who noticed his dismissal of the Women's World Cup were Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers.

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Haven't Found The Gown? The GSA Can Help With That

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:19

The agency regularly auctions off surplus government items and is now conducting its first online auction of bridal items. If you need to accessorize, there are also veils, tiaras and bouquets.

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Christie To Announce Tuesday That He's Running For President

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:09

WNYC's Matt Katz reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is getting in the presidential race Tuesday. He would be the 14th Republican to launch a bid for the White House.

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Pope: Sometimes Marital Separation 'Morally Necessary'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 10:01

Francis, speaking during his weekly general audience, said couples splitting may be required to protect "the weaker spouse" and children.

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With More People Quitting Smoking, Do We Need E-Cigarettes?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 09:31

It's easy to think that hardcore smokers will never quit, and thus e-cigarettes without the smoke is a better alternative. The changing demographics of smoking suggests otherwise, a study finds.

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Congress Signs Off On Trade Bills, Handing Obama A Huge Win

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 09:26

A final House vote marked a stunning victory for the president by clearing his path to completing the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal involving the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

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Sanders: 'My Goal Right Now Is To Win This Election'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 09:10

In an interview with Morning Edition host David Greene, Sanders discussed foreign policy, racial tension and his 2016 chances.

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Sanders: 'My Goal Right Now Is To Win This Election'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 09:10

In an interview with Morning Edition host David Greene, Sanders discussed foreign policy, racial tension and his 2016 chances.

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Takeaways From The Supreme Court's Obamacare Opinion

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 08:31

The case hinged on six words: "an exchange established by the state." The court agreed with the government's view that that could mean any exchange, including one set up by the federal government.

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In Fair Housing Act Case, Supreme Court Backs 'Disparate Impact' Claims

NPR News - Thu, 2015-06-25 08:26

The court decided the case by a 5-4 margin, saying that claims of racial discrimination in housing cases shouldn't be limited by questions of intent.

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