Consider ketchup. Tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and a little salt. There's not much more to it than that. And yet it is on top of that humble ketchup bottle that the H.J. Heinz company built a $28 billion empire.
Today, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that it will partner with investment firm 3G Capital to buy Heinz for$23 Billion in cash. But with debt assuption, the whole deal is valued at around $28 billion.
The Pittsbugh-Based Heinz owns all sorts of products like Classico Spaghetti Sauces and Ore-Ida fries, but it is the company's ketchup that is so iconic. "If you think about it this is a brand -- like Fedex or Coke or Starbucks more recently -- that has become the placeholder for the category," says Harvard business historian Nancy Koehn. "If we ask for ketchup and we don't get Heinz -- wherever we are -- there is a little bit of a reboot ... it looks wrong."
Koehn says Heinz has always been innovative in terms of production, marketing and distribution, and was even in front of the pact when it came to safety and regulatory standards. Also, says Koehn, " A lot of the foods that grew up with ketchup -- including fast food in the 1950s -- grew up literally in tandem with alliances and suply relationships with Heinz."
Whether or not electric cars ever make it big, this week could eventually be looked at as a turning point. Not so much in the development of the cars themselves but in how they're perceived by the public -- and written about in the press.
This past weekend, the New York Times published a story about Tesla, EV cars, and new charging stations. Suffice it to say that it was not a story Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk was pleased with, seeing as how the the car wound up on a flat bed truck.
Now, Musk is challenging the report with detailed logs of the trip that New York Times reporter John Broder wrote about.
“Bottom line, Tesla pitched a road-trip story to the New York Times and is now unhappy with the story that the New York Times’s printed. And is going after them for faking it and slanting it and the whole thing when really it just wasn’t the wisest trip to begin with,” says Wired Magazine contributor Chelsea Sexton. “ It’s not what the EV experience represents.”
Sexton points out that, in general, there is a double standard for electric vehicles.
“No new product does absolutely everything in exactly the same way as the product its replacing,” she says. "And yet when it comes to electric cars that’s the expectation."
Sexton says EVs are great for lots of things, like running errands and commuting.
"(EVs) are not great for boat-towing and road trips and off-roading," she says. "Neither is a Corvette.”
Whether or not electric cars ever make it big, this week may eventually be looked at as a turning point. Not so much in the development of EVs but in how they're percieved by the public and written about by the press.
This past weekend the New York Times published a story about Tesla, its cars, and its new charging stations. Suffice it to say that it was not a story Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk was pleased with, seeing as how the the car wound up on a flat bed at one point.
Now, Musk is challenging the report with detailed logs of the trip Times reporter John Broder took in the Tesla.
Small amounts of the drugs that people take end up in wastewater and then in streams and rivers. It's usually not enough to harm the health of humans who swim in or drink the water. But there is growing evidence that pharmaceuticals in wastewater may affect wildlife.
President Obama will cap off a busy week of politicking with some R&R in Florida, traveling to the West Palm Beach area for what his spokesman called "some well-deserved downtime."
Maureen O'Connor pleaded not guilty to a money laundering charge, but agreed to repay $2 million she took from her late husband's charity. O'Connor's attorney said she had a gambling problem, stemming from a brain tumor.
"Canada will never become a safe haven for zombies, ever," the nation's minister of foreign affairs declared this week. It was a tongue-in-cheek moment in Parliament. Or is tongue-in-cheek the wrong analogy in this case?
The German economy shrank 0.6 percent during the last quarter of 2012, dragging the eurozone deeper into recession. There are some positive signs, however.