Dee Adams’ Online Class

Class Notes

Class Notes

Biz Quiz

1. True or false?
The Wright brothers tried to start an African-American newspaper but couldn’t make any money in the competitive field, so they turned to aviation.

2. Which of these occupations have to be concerned about repetitive stress syndrome?
A. Football Player
B. Masseuse
C. Symphony violinist*

3.  What circumstance inspired Jeff Bezos to start Amazon?
A. Consumers wanted to pay less for books, Bozos believed the Internet, and e-commerce would allow him to meet the needs of the public.

B.  Bozos had a passion for books and he believed that selling them out of his garage would be a low-cost way to start-up a business.

C.  The publishing industry had a bad distribution system.

4.  After leaving office Eliot Ness of The Untouchables fame began
A. Writing detective stories under a pen name.
B. Started his own security and bodyguard company.
C. Sold shoes.


1. True

2.  All of them
*Source: KQED Northern California This Week

3.  C

4.  According to journalist and author Jonathan Eig, the answer is C.

Two Interviews with Shoestring Entrepreneurs

Charlie Rose

American-born chef, Daniel Rose, now has a famous restaurant in Paris.
During 20-minute interview, he reveals details of how  he figured out his niche and went from a tiny space without heat and with one employee…himself… to new quarters and 16 employees.

Shahid Khan

Billionaire auto parts manufacturer and pro sports team owner discusses how he arrived in the U.S. and worked his way up into the auto parts business.


Bad Product Design

Deadly Consequences

If you watch America’s Test Kitchen, then you’ll know that the critique of products is a regular feature on the PBS Program.Sometimes, host Christopher Kimball admits to being shocked by the total incompetence of some of the product designs that have been tested on their show.  And his reactions are humorous.

However, a tragic recent national news story illustrates that product design is serious business.

The back of a limousine caught fire on a bridge in San Mateo, California, and only five of the nine women and the male driver were able to get out of the burning vehicle.

Now legislators rush to pass new safety legislation for fire extinguishers while others speculate about the cause of the fire and level blame, but one fact that is glaringly apparent, is the design of the stretch limo that caught fire is poorly designed.

According to an ABC news report, which displayed the interior design of a similar limousine, it would’ve been difficult for passengers to exit quickly, especially when sudden panic and confusion are added to the equation.

Watching the report, it was very apparent that little thought had been given to common sense safety measures for passengers needing to exit the vehicle quickly for any reason.

And incredibly, if one expert is to be believed, some limo models apparently were built with a waste receptacle positioned near the area over the gas tank… a waste receptacle in which someone could conceivably toss a cigarette. Door locks were difficult for passengers to open. In the case of the limo that caught fire, there was only one door.

Lesson: A tragic story with many, many lessons. From a business standpoint, there was a violation of law or regulation and therefore liability, but one can’t help but wonder had the limo been designed intuitively, could the women have merely quickly piled out of the side of the vehicle?

The story not only underscores the importance of safety issues and product design but points out what can happen when someone enters the wrong profession with a lack of requisite reasoning skills, expertise, and proficient skill set.

Americas Test Kitchen

Americas Test Kitchen

Abc Kgo
Limo Owner Explains What Could Have Gone Wrong in Fatal Fire

Abc Kgo7 News
Limo Owners Weigh In on Possible Causes of Fire

The Black Russian by Vladimir Alexandrov

Princeton Professor Uncovers Lost History

An unexpected sentence in a Russian memoir startled the Princeton professor. He decided to investigate the mention of a famous African American man living in Moscow. Intrigued, the professor of languages and literature had studied the history and culture of the era, but had never heard or read previously of anyone prior to 1917, of that ethnicity, from any part of the world living in Russia.

Professor Alexandrov spent a year traveling around the U.S. and to exotic
locales around the world to gather research on the life and times of a man not mentioned in history books.

Fredrick Bruce Thomas, born on a Mississippi farm to remarkable parents who’d been enslaved.
Thomas later worked in the most advanced hotel in the United States as a valet before moving to Europe where he eventually became a millionaire entrepreneur… his father brutally murdered in the states, long ago; Thomas’ life would play out set against the political and historical upheaval of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Professor Alexandrov recounts the history of Frederick Bruce Thomas’s life in a compelling one-hour lecture.
The author’s blog is a rich source of  background material. The biography of Fredrick Bruce Thomas illustrates many take away lessons not just entrepreneurial.

Another lesson:  Professor Alexandrov found a hidden, long forgotten topic, within his field of interest, investigated further and discovered an amazing story.

What topic or subject interests you most? What little-known information might you uncover in your field? Or what early products, processes, or methods  might possibly be revived , adapted as a superior offering in the 21st century?


Amazon title

Author’s Blog