TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

How the Late Rock God Eddie Van Halen Hacked His Guitar

Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist and leader of the pioneering metal band Van Halen, passed away on October 6, 2020 at age 65, after battling cancer. Widely considered to be the greatest guitarist of his generation - and maybe of all time - it isn't a stretch to say the rock god influenced every modern player who came after him. Van Halen's wildly inventive innovations, including tapping, or the act of playing the guitar using both left and right hands on the neck, redefined what musicians could do with the instrument - and what rock and roll music could sound like. Van Halen even patented some of his game-changing techniques.

Van Halen wrote this piece for Popular Mechanics in 2015, discussing his patents, rebuilding his guitars and amps, and searching for his signature sound. To honor him, Pop Mech is reprinting the article in its entirety. May he rest in peace.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

What B2B Companies Get Wrong About Volume Discounts

I have a favorite client who always eggs me on to tell the "7-Eleven Big Gulp story" in meetings. "C'mon, tell it," he nudges. Often, I do.

My friend's fascination with the story is well-founded. 7-Eleven does a fantastic job of employing volume discounts. Fountain drink sizes at the convenience store's Cambridge, MA location range from 16 to 32 ounces (priced from 99 cents to $1.39). While 16 ounces of soda - a Gulp - will satisfy my thirst, I inevitably purchase the 24-ounce Big Gulp because it's only 20 cents more. By lowering the price-per-ounce on larger sizes in a manner that mirrors my reduced willingness to pay for more soda, 7-Eleven entices me to purchase a bigger size.

Squeezing me for an extra two dimes may not seem like much, but remember, fountain soda drinks are notorious cash cows. 7-Eleven reports that after introducing the Big Gulp line - which has included sizes as large as 128 ounces (Team Gulp) - profits from fountain drinks increased by close to 100%. Some 7-Eleven operators report that Big Gulp fountain drinks account for almost 10% of their stores' revenues.

The moral of this story is clear: When properly implemented, volume discounts can unleash generous new profits and growth.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

The small-town takeout store worker who won over New Zealand -- and the world

It's Friday night in the small town of Morrinsville and a handful of locals are waiting at the Golden Kiwi on the main street for a greasy parcel of fish and chips.

It wasn't so long ago that Jacinda Ardern was behind the counter, taking orders at the nautical-themed takeaway joint. Now, the 40-year-old New Zealand Prime Minister is one of the world's most recognizable leaders.

Throughout her three-year term, she's attracted headlines -- for being an unusually young Prime Minister, for giving birth while leading a country, for her empathetic handling of the Christchurch mosque attacks, and lately, for her swift, effective action against the coronavirus pandemic.

That's given her an outsized profile for the leader of a country of 5 million people. She's graced the covers of Vogue and Time magazine and hosted American TV personality Stephen Colbert at her suburban Auckland home. Last year, she topped a survey of most trustworthy politicians -- in Australia. And, as she heads into this year's New Zealand's election on October 17, polls put her as one of the country's most popular leaders ever.

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