Friday, January 30, 2009


By: Jake Kilroy | January 30, 2009 10:53 AM

I have long been in contact with Krista Farmer,a public relations rep for HometownQuotes.

Some weeks ago, she made a comment about being "blessed" to work where she did. She added that her bosses, Bob and Hunter, had created the perfect working environment, with an open-door policy and babies in the workplace (lucky).

Now, there are plenty of bosses across America that treat their co-workers like friends and they get the best out of them.There's always a fair percentage of good bosses vs. bad bosses. And then I thought, so why not reward good behavior?

So I asked Bob and Hunter some...IMPORTANT QUESTIONS!
NAME: Hunter Ingram (30), Bob Klee (49)
COMPANY: HometownQuotes, an insurance quoting company
HEADQUARTERS: Franklin, Tenn.
BK: "Thank You" by Ray Boltz
HI: "Round Here" by Counting Crows

1. Which celebrity of the 20th Century do you think should be considered a great American philosopher? My choice is Groucho Marx.
BK: Bob Hope.

2. What is the most accurate occasion to wear a top hat these days?
HI: Halloween.
BK: Lincoln's birthday.

3. What's your favorite way to spend a rainy Saturday?
HI: Hanging out with my wife.
BK: Shopping with my wife.

4. Why do I want to fall asleep every time I hear the word "insurance?"
BK: Insurance may seem dull, until you realize how much it helps people. My favorite part of being an insurance agent was learning about my customers and their families. Many of them weren't just customers, they were also friends.
HI: Because to most, it is boring...until you need it.

The 27 Word Question
For some insane reason, some were comparing the recent love for Twilight to the love for Harry Potter. Choose one book series as the superior choice and defend it in exactly 27 words (no more, no less).
BK: I haven't read either book series, but my son is a huge Harry Potter fan. Twilight is targeted more toward teenagers. Harry Potter has more adult fans.
HI: I'm going with Harry Potter. Harry Potter appeals to a much broader audience than Twilight. J.K. Rowling does a bang-up job of painting pictures with words.

The Beatles Question
Who was your favorite Beatle? Why?
BK: Paul McCartney. He was a great front man.
HI: Don't really have one, but if I had to pick, I would pick Ringo. With a name like Ringo, you have to be cool.

1. An employee of yours speaks very highly of your comfortable work environment, where workers can approach either of you regarding work issues or life situations. How do you remain authoritative as well as approachable as a leader? How do you keep the balance?
BK: I think what makes us approachable is that we just genuinely care about our people. If we see a need, we do what we can to take care of it. We also hold everyone accountable for being honest with us. If someone is frustrated with a situation or policy, we expect them to talk to us about it. We believe in addressing small issues before they become larger ones.

2. How far does HometownQuotes work? As a theme of your business is to provide local help, how does the business keep to its roots as it grows? What is the next step in expanding?
HI: Our company operates nationally. We partner with insurance agents and companies across the country to help consumers compare insurance quotes and, hopefully, secure a better insurance rate and/or more desirable benefits. The more we grow, the more "grassroots" we become - more insurance agents talk about us and more consumers can compare a better variety of insurance options. Our next step in expanding is actually taking place right now...but it's top secret.

3. How does an entrepreneur break in to the insurance business?
BK: Either find a partner with experience in the insurance field or get experience by becoming an agent or working for an agent. On the front end, the insurance learning curve is pretty steep. We have competitors in our "space" with no insurance background. That is the competitive difference that Hunter and I bring to the table. We were frustrated agents using, what we perceived to be, a broken system. While we didn't invent the internet space in which we're competing, we believe our background helped us see a problem and improve on it. That's why we've been successful in the insurance space on the internet.

4. According to your website, you are allowed to have babies in the workplace, as a way of helping employed parents. What are some other benefits you've been able to provide? Do you feel that benefits are directly related to job performance? What is the philosophy there?
HI: Yes, the babies at work program has been great. It's beneficial for us because we're not spending money on temporary workers or replacements. It's helpful for parents because they're not worrying about the costs or worry associated with childcare. We also offer flexible hours, paid vacation day for employee birthday, monthly potluck lunch, a learning library and some benefits. I believe the more we can provide for our employees, the happier and more productive they will be. We plan to offer more benefits as we continue to grow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An (Imagined) Interview with Gordon Gekko

An (Imagined) Interview with Gordon Gekko
By: Jake Kilroy | January 27, 2009 2:57 PM

It's been a week since our new president took office and there's already been some changes made. But the changes that everyone seems to be waiting for are new economic policies.

We'd like to see what Barack Obama is going to do for business.

But since I can't get an interview with our new president, I thought maybe I should head into the lion's den, find the most cutthroat man in business. The most beloved, the most feared. A man who knows money like bees know honey.

Who could that possibly be?

Gordon Gekko.

That's right. I interviewed Gordon freakin' Gekko.

Or kind of.

You see, Gordon Gekko is quite busy and fictional, so it was hard to get a hold of him. Instead, I took everything he said in Oliver Stone's Wall Street and pieced it together like a real interview. So...technically, Gordon Gekko has, in fact, said all of the following responses.*

He has spoken on economic downturns before, knows quite a bit about business and offers a unique perspective on the economy, as we move from 2008's fourth quarter to 2009's first quarter.

And now, my interview with Gordon Gekko!

[In Mr. Gekko's office, 11:33 AM, a pale, lanky and meek journalist enters a grand office to shake hands with a slick businessman who suspiciously looks a lot like the actor Michael Douglas]

Hi, Mr. Gekko.
Hiya, sport.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
What the hell's going on?

I've called your office and spoken with your secretary, Natalie, the last few weeks.
This is the kid who calls me 59 days in a row.

Yes, that would be me.
Ought to be a picture of you in the dictionary under "persistence," kid.

I can assure you that I'm not nearly as creepy as I sound.
So you say. Nice to meet you. Hope you're intelligent.

Thank you. I'll try my best.
So what's on your mind, Kemo Sabe? Why am I listening to you?

Well, I'll get right to it. Last year was not a good year for business. The stock market, the recession, bailout upon bailout--even the porn industry asked for government aid. Is 2009 going to be a better year?
Well, let me clue you in, pal. The ice is melting right underneath your feet.

It's still that bad? Is it getting worse? Or are some taking worse hits than others?
Somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made. It's simply transferred from one perception to another, like magic.

Wait, what? Magic?
The illusion has become real. And the more real it becomes, the more desperate they want it. Capitalism at its finest.

But there seems to have been some serious flaws in the system--2008 saw quite a number of financial collapses.
The richest 1 percent of this country owns half of our country's wealth, $5 trillion. One-third of that comes from hard work, two-thirds comes from an inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons, and what I do, stock and real estate speculation.

I think those numbers may be somewhat outdated. And that's quite a bleak outlook, even for a cutthroat businessman such as yourself. You're saying that hard work isn't how you got to where you are?
Hey, he's learning, huh?

Really though, what about hard work?
What about it? You work hard?

Well, I'd like to think so.
Where did it get you? My father, he worked like an elephant pushing electrical supplies until he dropped dead at 49 with a heart attack and tax bills. Wake up, will you, pal? If you're not inside, you are outside, OK?

I don't even know what that means actually. And I have to disagree with you. I'd say hard work and good ideas are the two focal points of any good startup. I mean...right?
You got 90 percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price of a paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everyone sits there wondering how the hell we did it. Now, you're not naive enough to think we live in a democracy, are you, buddy? It's the free market. And you're part of it. Yeah, you've got that killer instinct. Stick around, pal. I still got a lot to teach you.

I still don't understand exactly.
Now, you had what it took to get into my office. The real question is whether you have what it takes to stay.

I'm trying here, Mr. Gekko. I really am. And I'd like to stay, but I understand if you'd like to reschedule. It's close to lunch.
Lunch? You gotta be kidding me. Lunch is for wimps.

OK, well, then I'll stay.
What a surprise.

I can leave if you'd like.
Stick around. This could be fun.

OK, but really, I'm trying here, Mr. Gekko. Honest. I just don't know very much about Wall Street.
You're not as smart as I thought you were, buddy boy.

Mr. Gekko, I...
The most valuable commodity I know of is information. Wouldn't you agree?

Yes. Or sort of...
So what do you say we cut to the chase.

Well, I'll just go to the next question. What is good advice for entrepreneurs?
Read Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

And if they aren't that cutthroat?
Roll the dice and play a little Monopoly.

Ah, OK. Next question. A little more serious. Your Bluestar deal never went through. At your first meeting, the union representative for Bluestar Airlines, Carl Fox, said "The only difference between the pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn't allow unions."
Unions are killer.

However, though he did reject your offer, Fox's son Bud was actually the one who set the deal up for you. In fact, when Bluestar's Toni Carpenter asked about your marketing strategy, Bud Fox came up with a three-point plan to save the dying airline.
I got a stockbrother that wants to run an airline.

Yes, but he had some good insight. He said that you need to have strengths in three areas of the growing business: modernizing, advertising and expanding.

And you supported him?
He's got a hell of a career in front of him.

Even though he would later, to borrow a phrase, "sandbag" you?

Well, I'm just wondering how cutthroat you actually are, as you've suggested that emotions should not be tied into business dealings.
Don't upset me here.

I'm not. I'm really, really not trying to do that. I'm really not trying to strike a nerve, but...
All right. Congratulations, buddy. You scored.

No, I don't mean to dig into personal affairs, but are you able to look at Bud Fox as a businessman and not an enemy?
You ever wonder why fund managers can't beat the S&P 500? Because they're sheep and sheep get slaughtered.

Again, that seems a little more cutthroat than our average subscriber would consider himself.
The public's out there throwing darts at a board, sport. I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things.

And I understand that it's the cutthroat approach you have that got you to where you are, but I don't know how that looks in our business magazine.
Looks as good on paper. We're in the kill zone, pal. We lock and load.

Well, this isn't just the public throwing darts. Many of the experts featured in our publication have studied business.
Most of these Harvard MBA types, they don't add up.

Give me guys that are poor, smart and hungry, and no feelings. You win a few, you lose a few, but you keep on fighting. And if you need a friend, get a dog. It's trench warfare out there, pal.

Reviewing your own personal motto and business model, I'm guessing that you have no friends then?
Bright, but not bright enough, Sherlock.

So you do have friends? Are they as cold as you consider yourself to be?
I got roasted the other night. A friend of mine asked, "Why are we honoring this man? Have we run out of human beings?" I mean, it's not always the most popular guy who gets the job done.

Very true. "No gentleman likes making love to a servant."
I beg your pardon. Is that a proverb?

No, that's actually Dylan...Bob Dylan...

And I hate to rehash the subject, but Bud Fox once said that he wanted to "be an entrepreneur in the Italian 16th century sense of the word." What do you think he meant?
Pretty soon, everybody is going to be scrambling for parachutes, only there's not enough to go around. Management has them. You don't.

So, pretty much, starting your own business is really the only sensible route? I'm trying to read between the lines.
When the time comes, you're going to parachute out a rich man.

Thank you. I'm kind of catching on here.
You done good, but you gotta keep doing good.

Thanks, I'll try.
Astonish me, pal.

Again, I'll try. But that may be it. Personally, I'm not too deep in the stock market. I don't have very much money and everything seems kind of risky right now.
You're walking around blind without a cane, pal. A fool and his money are lucky enough to get together in the first place.

I majored in journalism and minored in political science, so I'm still having a hard time...
I opened the doors for you. I showed you how the system works, the value of information, how to get it!

I know, I know...this is just really hard for me. I just...I'm trying, you know?
Sunshine, what's wrong?

I'm just trying so hard at this interview and now I'm realizing how unprepared I was, and I have a rush deadline on this thing, and I've still got fact-checking to do, and we've got some research projects coming up...
Relax, pal. Nobody's going to blow the whistle on you.

Ok...then can I ask the one non-business question I've been dying to ask?

Really? It's not a very important question though and it has nothing to do with business.
It's all right. It's ok.

Ok, it true that you own a freakin' robot butler?
Can you believe it?

So you do?

Wow. That is unreal, man.
I tell you, we're going to a new age, pal.

Why do you own a robot butler anyway?
Doesn't talk back. Doesn't steal silverware.

Actually...that's a good point.
Thank you.

I suppose I should ask one final question. Feel free to take your time on this one. I think everyone's expecting it. Anyway, here goes. What do you have to say about all of the neglected shareholders in all of this wild economic craziness?
We're not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality. America...America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market, when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire made sure of it because it was their money that was at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company!

OK, I kind of see where you're going, but I feel some sort of tangent coming on...
You own the company. That's right. You, the stockholder. And you are all being royally screwed over by these bureaucrats with their steak luncheons, their hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets and golden parachutes.

You use so many parachute metaphors, Mr. Gekko. I just...
The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book, you either do right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I have been involved with, there were 2.5 million shareholders who have made a pretax profit of $12 billion.

Wait, seriously? Wow, I wasn't even aware that...
I am not a destroyer of companies! I am the liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

Ladies and gentleman? Mr. Gekko, it's just you and me. And you're yelling. And where'd you get that microphone? And you know what? I'm tired. I think we should just wrap this up. You seem wildly exhausted and mildly delusional. I think...
Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms...greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation you call the U.S.A.

Though I will admit that your last line about the United States was pretty killer, I don't know what Teldar Paper is or does. You seem very tired and it sounds like we should end this interview.
OK, Billy, I'll talk at ya.

Talk at me? What? Is that even a phrase? Really? And also, it's Jake, Mr. Gekko. Not Billy. It's Jake...Jake Kilroy. Please try to remember that when a fact-checker calls. Oh, by the way, who should I put down for contact information? A PR person of some sort?
Call The Wall Street Chronicle, extension 1605.

And if that fails?
Then call me.

Will do. Any last advice?
Money never sleeps, pal.

Thank you, Mr. Gekko. It's been...interesting. Have a good day.
See you around, buddy.

*Go ahead. Rent Wall Street. See if I lied. Every quote above is legitimately from that movie. It took me an entire evening, a bowl of tofu and vermicelli, three sodas, a box of Wheat Thins and a half gallon of milk to do it, but I did it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Are You Seriously Telling Me that I Could be Dick Tracy?

Are You Seriously Telling Me that I Could be Dick Tracy?
By: Jake Kilroy | January 23, 2009 1:52 PM

I've been wanting a freakin' watch phone ever since I was a kid.

Ever since I saw Dick Tracy.

I'm talking more about the movie adaptation, of course, as the comic's initial debut was slightly before my time (seeing as how people could read the original comics in "Hoovervilles"). But the movie ... oh, what a movie for a kid to see at that age! It was at exactly the right time, too, when I needed to mature beyond educational programming like Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow to rampant vixens with cleavage and goon mobsters with tommy guns.

Clearly the next step in entertainment for a spaz kid, such as myself.

Look, the point is: LG is gonna give me my freakin' watch phone.

I should explain how much this truly means to me. I wore out my imagination with Dick Tracy.

I'd play it at school with friends, at home with siblings and parents, in my room by myself. I'd boss around anybody I could to get answers. I'd pace my bedroom, mumbling leads to myself. I'd spy on my elderly neighbors (they were the only ones I could keep up with), taking notes of what they did. And all the while, I'd provide updates to the police commissioner through my official Dick Tracy toy watch phone, which made my skin itch, from the burning sensation of the truth! ... and cheap red plastic.

Also, yes, if you're already thinking it, James Bond did have a really cool watch phone deal, too, but he also had like ... 900 other things that were unreal. So, let's just let Dick Tracy have this one. Also, I played Dick Tracy as a kid, not James Bond. I wouldn't start playing James Bond until I could tolerate gin and woo women.

As a kid, my bike was my police car, the neighborhood kids were all allies or suspects, and my toy watch phone was ... well, my real watch phone.

And now a legit watch phone is here!

Yesterday, Wired Magazine posted a video sneak peak of the LG Watch Phone.

Since the photos on the LG Watch Phone subsite are probably copyrighted, I made a weak attempt to build my own cheaper version of the LG Watch Phone. The LG Watch Phone looks something like this:

[rubber band not included]

Now, watch phones are not entirely new.

According to a BusinessWeek blog, "LG isn't the first to try. A decade ago, Japanese manufacturer Hitachi's U.S. unit released a digital mock-up picture of a cell phone watch that was no thicker than a credit card, had a flip-up screen and could access the Internet wirelessly, do videoconferencing, and locate you anywhere in the world with a built-in Global Positioning System. Last year, SMS Technology, an Australian company, began selling a cellphone watch for $300."

LG, wanting to sound more futuristic than periodicals, addressed previous attempts on their watch phone subsite, saying, "Smaller tech companies have been reaching to release the first practical watch phone with no luck. Expensive, cheap and clunky--it simply hasn't been done."

Ah, yes, "expensive" and "cheap"--the LG Marketing Team, true masters of both words and technology.

To further the notion that the LG Marketing Team is on par with L. Ron Hubbard, the subsite gives its release date, "Exactly when? We don't know ... but the day WILL come ..." (which you're supposed to read with an echo at the end, as if you're fading into the darkness).

When LG is not being laughably and suspiciously vague, the company's site adds, "Coupled with a Bluetooth headset, the LG Watch Phone will allow for convenient communications with the luxury of wearing a stunning piece of jewelry and without the annoyance of having one more thing in your pocket."

However, the technicalities stop there, as the rest of the subsite is essentially a sales pitch.

Instead, the BusinessWeek blog says, "LG has crammed in a lot of state-of-the-art technology. The phone watch works on third-generation wireless networks, has a tiny camera for two-way video calls and a built-in music player. There's also a short-range Bluetooth transmitter so the user can make calls with a wireless headset. And because the screen is too small for a proper keypad, LG installed voice recognition software, allowing users to dictate text messages instead of typing them out."

And after being quite the buzz at the 2009 CES Show in Las Vegas, you can now sign up for instant notification alerts when the LG Watch Phone goes on pre-order or actually on sale.

Features not yet included: laser, zipline, fold-out satellite, blueprints of the moon, minibar.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Want A Baby In The Workplace (To Do My Job)

I Want A Baby In The Workplace (To Do My Job)
By: Jake Kilroy | January 19, 2009 3:10 PM

I want a baby.

But not in the traditional sense of "bundle of joy." Instead, I'd like a baby to do my job for me. After failing to find an assistant that I could pay $1 an hour, I gave up hope. I was lost. I did a lot of soul-searching. Needless to say, I was listening to a lot of Joy Division.

Anyway, last week, I was looking to contact HometownQuotes, a Tennessee-based insurance quoting company, but became distracted. While on the company's website, I noticed a few interesting pictures [such as the one on the left] and learned that the company was promoting a new program in their office called "Babies In The Workplace." I clicked on it to find out more and it led me to

And that's when it hit me: I could get a baby to do my job for free.

No, my job is not easy enough that any baby could do it. But I feel like I could train a baby to do it, because I'm just that good at training.

So I contacted the founder of Babies In The Workplace, Carla Moquin, and learned that the main theme of her program is actually helping parents be near their child(ren) throughout the work week. A small misunderstanding on my part. But no matter!

I would continue with my glorious plan, because the point remained that Moquin was still my best contact for getting a baby to do my job. I mean, I've only been trying for a matter of days now. Moquin's been trying to get babies into the workplace for years.

In 2005, Moquin was researching topics to write for freelance articles so she could supplement her income as a soon-to-be-divorced mother. She stumbled upon an article about a babies-at-work program. This led to an interview that led to more interviews, more articles and more research.

Then she started writing a book about it.

"But the book was going to take too long to go through the agent and publication process, so I created a website in June of 2007 to get this information out. By that point, I had located several dozen baby-friendly companies," Moquin recalls. "The website led to an article in The Boston Globe in late 2007 and interest from Time Magazine."

Moquin founded the Parenting At The Workplace Institute in December 2007, finished and published the original book and how-to guide in July 2008 and totally redesigned the Babies In The Workplace site around the same time.

It seems Moquin wants babies in the workplace more than I do. America's thinking, however, doesn't seem to be in line with Moquin and myself--though the country's perspective of babies in the workplace is improving.

"As the workplace has become more flexible, focused on task productivity instead of 'desk time,' and more technology based instead of industrial, children have increasingly been welcome into the workplace, although there is still a long way to go," Moquin says. "The Society for Human Resource Management estimated that 29 percent of businesses allowed children at work in 2007, up from 22 percent in 2006."

Even though Moquin and I want babies in the workplace for marginally different reasons (Moquin: helping parents, Me: helping me), we should consider what could be done to get these babies in the office. I mean, once they're here, does it really matter if I teach them what to highlight in articles or how to utilize Profnet, a website for journalists (and baby journalists, which we'll call "Journies" to sound more adorable)?

What could we do to get these babies in the workplace? I asked Moquin.

"The primary step to make things easier for parents and families in the workplace is for employers to learn the connection between employer flexibility and business success," Moquin says. "Organizations like Winning Workplaces and WFC Resources provide useful information on the connection between happy workers and a productive workplace. The single most effective step for an employer is simply being willing to try new options, such as flexible schedules, babies at work, etc., on a small scale and within an established framework. Many family-friendly (and this includes people without children) policies can be intimidating in theory from the standpoint of traditional office structures. Once they're put in place, however, as long as they're set up with appropriate guidelines, employers generally find that the benefits for the business in terms of retention, morale, teamwork, productivity and customer loyalty far outweigh any theoretical concerns they may have had."

Yes. Moquin had laid the groundwork for my plan. It didn't matter if she was doing an exceptional amount of good for parent-employees. She still had the resources to help me, and maybe a baby or two hanging around that I could put to work for a good price. I mean, the program is called Babies In The Workplace. I'm really just giving these babies something to do.

I investigated further.

"Our database of baby-friendly companies encompasses more than 23 different types of industries and more than 37 states, and several in other countries," Moquin says. "And baby-friendly companies range from two to 3,000 employees."

Certainly this database was my golden ticket to napping on the job while Gizmo (that's what I'd like to name my baby assistant) would do all the work for me.

After doing all of my research about Moquin, I figured I could sway her into putting a baby in my cubicle to learn the good skills of journalism. I mean, come on, I would be giving this kid life lessons from an early age. The baby could probably already freelance by the time he or she entered kindergarten.

Mildly amused and wildly delusional, I pressed the issue, asking Carla the hard-hitting questions...

JK: Am I able to purchase a baby to put to work from Babies In The Workplace?
CM: We may be able to arrange for placement of babies, with attached parent, for team building and morale enhancement.

JK: Attached parent, eh? I don't like the sound of that. How many babies am I able to purchase anyway? What is the going rate?
CM: There is no limit to the number of babies you can procure, although it is probably most effective when you have fewer babies than employees on the premises. The going rate is quite reasonable, considering the alternative of not having the accompanying parents at work at all after they have a baby.

JK: I see. Now, when I purchase said army of babies, can I name all of them or do they already respond to assigned names?
CM: Babies are very intelligent and start learning language before birth, so they may respond to their names very early in life. However, you are welcome to give them nicknames, subject to parental approval.

JK: "Gizmo" it is! "Hellfire" if my workload increases and I need a second baby, which I highly doubt. Also, what do these babies know about fact-checking and article proofing?
CM: The babies do not come pre-programmed, but they learn quickly. One problem you may encounter is that, even when they know exactly how to fix your article, you'll have to wait for your answer until they learn to talk.

JK: I don't really want to idea! Can I race these babies?
CM: Considering that most babies-at-work programs stop allowing babies when they start to crawl, the races might not be very exciting to viewers. Babies love to explore, though, so you are welcome to invite them to race.

JK: Excellent! Since I doubt any one of my relatives, friends or co-workers would support this inane scheme, does wearing a top hat and pointing to it count as a good reference?
CM: Definitely. Especially with babies. And it's even better if you dance at the same time.

So I created this picture with Photoshop to show Carla Moquin what a cool, hip baby-owner I could be (notice the bonus sunglasses):

Is that reference enough for you, Carla?

Keep your fingers crossed everyone.

WRITER'S NOTE: The rough draft of this blog didn't include me ever explaining that Babies In The Workplace was to help parents. Originally, I made it seem like it was a legit temp agency, trying to help babies get out of unemployment in such an awful economy. All of my quotes and statistics were going to make it look like there were actual toddlers doing office work across America. It worked perfectly. However, I abandoned this draft to avoid confusion among readers and because Carla Moquin is way too kind for anyone to believe she would ever be involved in such a ridiculous project.*

* Still though, how rad would it be if baby "Gizmo" could do my job?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Industries of 2008: The Good, The Bad & Jake Kilroy

Industries of 2008: The Good, The Bad & Jake Kilroy
By: Jake Kilroy | January 6, 2009 11:30 AM

What was popular last year?

No, seriously, that was a real question. I have no idea. If I had to go by my standards of living as the only research, then Butterfinger and Jameson sales were through the roof for this nation.

Instead, I suppose I should rely on Mindy Woolen, public relations for Sageworks, a provider of financial analysis on private companies, aggregates private company financial data in real time from CPA firms.

So, anyway, the point is: we've got ourselves a list of popular and unpopular. And now that we've also got a new year underway (it's very nice to meet you, 2009), let's figure out the past so we can predict the future. Kind of like wizards with logic, I suppose.

"The list was compiled by looking at sales growth rates of privately held companies, and I've broken the list down into regions of the country, as I found it interesting to compare where certain industries are doing well and where other industries were hit the hardest," says Mindy Woolen. The information also covers 1,600 industries and 70 financial metrics.

Anyway, here's some information!


The Top Ten Best Industries (According to Jake Kilroy, without any regard for stats)*

1. Military Weaponary for Impending Robot Wars

2. Research and Development to Harry Potter being real

3. Anything having to do with the play Wicked

4. Anything having to do with the Twilight book series or movie

5. Obama merchandise

6. Subatomic Chocolate (you heard me)

7. The comeback of Britney Spears

8. Video games

9. Bacon

10. Jake Kilroy

Top Ten Industries in the West (by Sales Growth Over the Last 12 Months)

1. Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services (15.39%)

2. Computer Systems Design and Related Services (14.93%)

3. Building Equipment Contractors (14.62%)

4. Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services (12.49%)

5. Utility System Construction (9.69%)

6. Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers (9.12%)

7. Building Finishing Contractors (8.42%)

8. Limited-Service Eating Places (8.13%)

9. Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (7.75%)

10. Other Specialty Trade Contractors (7.20%)

Top Ten Industries in the Northeast (by Sales Growth Over the Last 12 Months)

1. Grocery and Related Product Wholesalers (11.13%)

2. Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services (9.81%)

3. Highway, Street and Bridge Construction (9.49%)

4. Advertising and Related Services (9.05%)

5. Architectural, Engineering and Related Services (8.82%)

6. Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (8.74%)

7. Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing (8.72%)

8. Offices of Physicians (8.28%)

9. Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers (7.82%)

10. Nonresidential Building Construction (7.63%)

Top Ten Industries in the South (by Sales Growth Over the Last 12 Months)

1. Petroleum and Petroleum Products Wholesalers (15.18%)

2. Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing (14.37%)

3. Miscellaneous Nondurable Goods Wholesalers (10.86%)

4. Computer Systems Design and Related Services (10.63%)

5. Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing (9.24%)

6. Building Equipment Contractors (9.01%)

7. Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services (8.60%)

8. Limited-Service Eating Places (8.45%)

9. Offices of Physicians (8.38%)

10. Highway, Street and Bridge Construction (7.94%)

Top Ten Industries in the Midwest (by Sales Growth Over the Last 12 Months)

1. Computer Systems Design and Related Services (12.35%)

2. Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services (8.64%)

3. Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (8.53%)

4. Offices of Other Health Practitioners (7.90%)

5. Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers (7.63%)

6. Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing (6.99%)

7. Offices of Physicians (6.57%)

8. Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers (6.56%)

9. Architectural, Engineering and Related Services (6.16%)

10. Utility System Construction (6.07%)


The Top Ten Worst Industries (According to Jake Kilroy, without any regard to stats)*

1. Television consulting

2. CD stores

3. Socialetismology

4. Making up words

5. Heavy metal

6. Strikethrough typing Flying cars

7. Hired guns

8. Bush Administration

9. Print journalism

10. Jake Kilroy

Worst 10 Industries in the West by Sales Growth/Decline Over the Last 12 Months

1. Legal Services (-1.19%)

2. Activities Related to Credit Intermediation (-1.14%)

3. Lumber and Other Construction Materials Merchant Wholesalers (-.97%)

4. Automobile Dealers (.82%)

5. Other Motor Vehicle Dealers (.89%)

6. Activities Related to Real Estate (1.39%)

7. Highway, Street and Bridge Construction (2.30%)

8. Lessors of Real Estate (2.52%)

9. Building Material and Supplies Dealers (2.80%)

10. Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers (2.88%)

Worst 10 Industries in the Northeast by Sales Growth/Decline Over the Last 12 Months

1. Other Motor Vehicle Dealers (-3.70%)

2. Residential Building Construction (-3.57%)

3. Building Material and Supplies Dealers (.27%)

4. Printing and Related Support Activities (.91%)

5. Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing (.92%)

6. Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (.97%)

7. Activities Related to Real Estate (1.01%)

8. Hardware, and Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers (2.21%)

9. Automobile Dealers (2.96%)

10. Other Amusement and Recreation Industries (3.50%)

Worst 10 Industries in the South by Sales Growth/Decline Over the Last 12 Months

1. Lumber and Other Construction Materials Merchant Wholesalers (-9.04%)

2. Building Material and Supplies Dealers (-3.28%)

3. Residential Building Construction (-1.97%)

4. Printing and Related Support Activities (-1.58%)

5. Other Motor Vehicle Dealers (.41%)

6. Agencies, Brokerages and Other Insurance Related Activities (1.41%)

7. Activities Related to Real Estate (1.50%)

8. Utility System Construction (1.93%)

9. Full-Service Restaurants (2.03%)

10. Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers (2.47%)

Worst 10 Industries in the Midwest by Sales Growth/Decline Over the Last 12 Months

1. Lumber and Other Construction Materials Merchant Wholesalers (-7.70%)

2. Building Material and Supplies Dealers (-3.67%)

3. Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing (-1.73%)

4. Highway, Street and Bridge Construction (-.88%)

5. Hardware, and Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers (.12%)

6. Electrical and Electronic Goods Merchant Wholesalers (.35%)

7. Other Amusement and Recreation Industries (1.08%)

8. Activities Related to Real Estate (1.21%)

9. Plastics Product Manufacturing (1.57%)

10. Agencies, Brokerages and Other Insurance Related Activities (1.75%)

* This is clearly done by my own obnoxious free will without any consideration of a mathematical or scientific process. Nothing financial. Total whim. Seriously.**

** I really like footnotes.***

***I wish footnotes were a more popular industry.

You can find out more about industry trends at, and can find out more about everything else (life, traveling, friendship, gambling, who knows?) if you just keeping reading this blog of mine every week.