The Power of Compounding Small Daily Decisions

Sean IddingsBusiness Blunder, Intelligent Fanatic4 Comments

“Haba na haba, hujaza kibaba” [Little by little, the pot gets filled] – Swahili proverb The beauty of learning directly from intelligent fanatics, through their stories, is that the intelligent fanatic often provides the source of inspiration for their great ideas. Ian and I have found that these ideas often come from great leaders that came before them. Intelligent fanatics take these ideas, put their … Read More

Lillian Vernon: Unpacking the Lessons From a Mail-Order Queen

Sean IddingsBusiness Blunder, Intelligent FanaticLeave a Comment

Sometimes its better to get out of an industry. In Brilliant Pivot & Patience I wrote about Edwin Wegman’s pivot from novelty mail order business to a bio-pharmaceutical success. On the flip side, Lillian Vernon built a mail order business from scratch and doubled down on her niche, monogrammed goods, and expanded into other hard to get trinkets. She’d focus on … Read More

Billion Dollars To Bust: Health & Tennis Corp. Of America

Sean IddingsBusiness Blunder, Intelligent Fanatic3 Comments

Have you watched Shark Tank recently? An 83 year-old, who looked 50, along with a younger partner were pitching a new glove for snowboarding. That wasn’t the most interesting part. The older fellow, named Donahue “Don” Wildman, said he built and sold a multi-billion dollar revenue business. He did. That company was Health & Tennis Corporation of America. Don and … Read More

The Birth & Death Of A Consumer Franchise: Waldbaum’s

Sean IddingsBusiness Blunder, Intelligent Fanatic5 Comments

Readers who grew up in the boroughs of New York City or in some areas of New England, prior to the mid 1980s, might be somewhat familiar with our next case. Waldbaum’s was a supermarket chain that started from humble beginnings and grew to dominate their markets. The story behind the company is extremely interesting for numerous reasons. Namely, the founder … Read More

Business Blunder: Pancake Flipper Al Lapin Jr. & International Industries (IHOP)

Sean IddingsBusiness BlunderLeave a Comment

The year was 1958. Former TV-motion picture specialist for the government turned entrepreneur, Al Lapin Jr., started a small pancake shop in downtown Los Angeles. Flipping flap jacks himself, he turned International House of Pancakes into a success from scratch. A year after opening International House of Pancakes, he began franchising the brand. By 1961, the company had eight owned … Read More