Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:16 pm
By Theo Francis
Credit Chiang Ying-ying / AP
Lego Group, maker of those iconic plastic building blocks, inspires an almost fanatical following in some quarters. But as a business, it turns out, it came close to going bust by following the hot advice of the day — and then recovered by turning to a more prosaic playbook.
We've been following some big developments today in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in Britain. Prosecutors are charging eight people - including a former top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron - and a woman who was Rupert Murdoch's top lieutenant. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.
NPR's business news starts with a box office high.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: The new Batman movie "Dark Knight Rises" set a box office record over the past weekend. There were questions, of course, about how much money it would bring in after Friday's shooting in Colorado in a theater where the movie was showing.
And let's go next to Silicon Valley, California, with a program called NewME, or New Media Entrepreneurship. It's a boot camp to encourage women and African-Americans - two groups that are dramatically underrepresented among technology entrepreneurs. We've been hearing about it this week. Seven participants from across the country are sharing a house in San Francisco. They're getting coached on their business plans, and as Amy Standen of member station KQED reports, they're attempting to perfect the art of the pitch.
Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.
Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.
Think about it — when you order something online, you avoid long lines, there are infinite options at your fingertips, and no one can see your face. So it comes as little surprise, then, when people order food online, they might go a little overboard.
On Friday, Planet Money's Caitlin Kenney told Morning Edition listeners how public pension plans are going to look a lot less healthy very soon. A new study shows just how bad they might look, even as it offers some caveats to its own results.