Bad Business Ideas

I always get a kick out of terrible business ideas. I came across this anecdote and was surprised that bad ideas for businesses long preceded the App Store. This one is from late-1940s Hollywood:

“Every half mile there seemed to be another car pulled over on a side street, the driver on the boulevard holding a sign that read, MAP OF STAR HOMES. For five bucks you could have the addresses so you could drive to the homes of your favorite TV and movie stars. It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. What, I wondered, about all the fans who couldn’t afford a trip to Hollywood and must settle for writing to their favorite stars? Wouldn’t they relish the opportunity to reach them directly at home? A little research and we learned that three hundred dollars would buy an inch-and-a-half classified ad in Sunday newspapers around the country whose combined circulation would reach more than 25 million readers. We were off and running. Our ad offered six addresses—”you name the stars”—for one dollar.

A Master Clark Lee of Bowling Green, Ohio, was our one and only respondent. In the westerns of the day, the lead always had a Mexican sidekick, whose girlfriend was usually played by the actress Estrellita Rodriguez. Master Lee’s request was for her address only, and he was happy to pay the full dollar for it.”

-From the autobiography of Norman Lear, Even This I Get to Experience, the creator of beloved sitcoms like All In The Family and The Jeffersons who in his 92 years has been everything from a World War II bomber to comedy writer. His fully realized life is a joy to read about.

“Happiness is the exercise of vital powers,
along lines of excellence, in a life
affording them scope.”

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