What we've been reading: hot sauce, podcasts and political arguments

Francois Badenhorst
Deputy editor
BusinessZone and UK Business Forums
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Ah Christmas, that special time of year where you play a particularly risky game of chicken with your bank balance.

None-the-less, it’s a welcome respite. Have a break, you earned it. While you’re having a rest, check out our favourite reads of the past week.

A merry Christmas to you!

The highly unusual company behind Sriracha, the world’s coolest hot sauce

Like this Quartz article explains, “If David Tran were a more conventional CEO, he would be a fixture at conferences, a darling of magazine profiles, and a subject of case studies in the Harvard Business Review.”

But Tran, the creator of Sriracha hot sauce, isn’t a conventional CEO. Far from it. “I started the business with my eyes closed. There were no expectations at all,” he tells Quartz.

His eyes, it seems, are still firmly shut: he’s not increased Sriracha’s wholesale price once, he couldn’t tell you where the sauce is being sold. All he knows is that the sauce has ten distributors.

All Tran wanted, he explains, was a nice hot sauce for his pho. A wonderful story of the product before profit.

The 50 Best Podcasts of 2016

Amid the constant tumult of the modern media industry, the podcast has been a beacon of light. The medium has singlehandedly recuperated radio for the modern listener.

There’s so much good stuff to listen to. Luckily, The Atlantic has patched together this comprehensive list of 2016’s best. The list should make for a handy redoubt when you’ve had enough of the family this Christmas break.

Personal favourites: This American Life, Lore and, not actually mentioned on this list, 99% Invisible.

How to Win Your Next Political Argument

Just in time for this holiday dinner table when your quarrelsome cousin, Greg, comes to visit.

With sage advice like: “Don’t be such a dick” and “let your opponent hang him or herself”, you’ll be fully prepped for Yuletide skirmishes.

Seriously, though, Science of Us, NY magazine’s everyday science vertical, features some of the cleverest writing going. This is no different.

This Product Prioritization System Nabbed Pandora 70 Million Monthly Users with Just 40 Engineers

Pandora internet radio isn’t that big of a deal here in ol’ Blighty. Over in the US, it’s absolutely huge.

The company managed to build this user base with a skeleton crew of engineers by focusing on what matters. How do we identify what matters? Simply ask yourself: what would be stupid for us not to do in the next 90 days?

With little time and money to waste, failing fast wasn’t – and still isn’t – an option. It’s not quite that simple, but Pandora does offer a remarkable framework for how a startup can get the boom without the bust.

Stop coddling your dog - he’s 99.9% wolf

Guys, can we talk? We need to put an end to dog coddling industrial complex. I’ve been saying it for a while and now I’ve finally got back up.

I love Fido as much as the next person – but your dog needs a leader, not a mate.


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