CNBC Blogs Funny Business with Jane Wells


  Tuesday, 8 Apr 2014 | 1:43 PM ET

Here's what happens when you 'vape' hashish for TV

Posted By: Jane Wells

Here's a little behind-the-scenes slice of a normal day in the news biz. Or maybe I should say a NORML day.

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  Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 | 9:24 AM ET

Cold, hard business lessons from a Girl Scout

Posted By: Jane Wells

You think selling Girl Scout cookies is easy? Well, of course it's easy. They're delicious.

But selling more than 21,000 boxes? That's an art. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, apparently.

In a hilarious parody video created by Mashable, the very real 12-year-old Katie Francis of Oklahoma City reveals her strategy for selling the most cookies in Girl Scout history.

The video starts sweetly enough, as the sixth-grader announces that she recently broke the old record "by selling 21,477 boxes of Girl Scout cookies." Her secret?

Play hardball.

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  Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 | 6:18 PM ET

Real 'Wolf of Wall Street': Buy this strategy

Posted By: Jane Wells
Jordan Belfort and Leonardo DiCaprio
Getty Images
Jordan Belfort and Leonardo DiCaprio

Jordan Belfort is back.

Now that "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a certified hit, the man whose life the film is based on is back selling something. This time, however, it's all legal.

Belfort is selling a program on how to be a successful salesperson using "ethical persuasion." "Success in the absence of ethics ... is failure, it's not success at all," Belfort said in a free webinar Wednesday.

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  Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 | 3:15 PM ET

Peer-to-peer's new meaning: Bathroom rentals

Posted By: Jane Wells

"This was an experiment, right?" said Travis Laurendine, standing in a men's room. "The experiment was, 'What if you could make a company that's so funny that it markets itself?'"

The experiment may be succeeding.

Laurendine co-founded Airpnp, based on the very successful Airbnb, a site which allows people to rent out their homes. In the case of Airpnp, however, people are renting out their bathrooms, hence the 'P.'

"People in the United States take 3 trillion pees a year3 trillion," he said. "Do the math. Trust me, I have."

Peer-to-peer takes on a whole new meaning.

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  Monday, 24 Feb 2014 | 12:38 PM ET

Chocolate toothpaste? We put Crest to the test

Posted By: Jane Wells

Now you can have your cake and brush your teeth with it, too.

Crest has released three new flavors targeting "experiential consumers" or "daredevils," including Mint Chocolate Trek, Vanilla Mint Spark and Lime Spearmint Zest, all marketed under the new "Be" line—as in, "Be adventurous ... inspired ... dynamic."

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  Friday, 21 Feb 2014 | 5:26 PM ET

Don King on business, Putin and concussions

Posted By: Jane Wells

Only in America could someone like Don King succeed. Where else could a man drop out of school, go to prison for killing a man, find God, meet Muhammad Ali and end up being the greatest promoter since P.T. Barnum?

This week, King is in Cleveland to promoting a boxing event airing on Showtime. The "Cleveland Show for People Care," at the Cleveland State University Wolstein Center marks a homecoming for a man whose very first promoted event happened here in 1972 with Muhammad Ali.

"Boxing is life," King told CNBC. The main event Friday features relatively unknown lightweights Angelo Santana and Hank Lundy. Young prospects Amir Imam and Jared Robinson will fight at junior welterweight. But King is intent on bringing back the glory days of heavyweight boxing to the U.S.

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  Friday, 7 Feb 2014 | 10:58 AM ET

The Doerrs? It's the #VCCoverBands game

Posted By: Jane Wells

Sitting around waiting for your smartphone to ring with news that your start-up will get the funding needed to finally start up? Kill some time playing the latest enterprenerd time-suck on Twitter, the #VCCoverBands hashtag.

Such fun mashups are a favorite pastime for tweeters. For example, #IfThatMovieWasJewish led to creative suggestions like "The Devil Wears Schmatta" and "The Wizard of Oy."

But melding the names of famous musicians or bands with venture capital firms? That takes real nerds.

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  Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 | 10:49 AM ET

LA's priciest real estate? Not where you'd think

Posted By: Jane Wells

The most expensive real estate in Los Angeles may be 6 feet under.

"It's a deal at $699,000," said Tom Gregory, standing over the cemetery plot he owns. "It's about $10,300 per square foot."

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  Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 | 1:30 PM ET

Sugar v. corn syrup: Sweeteners clash in court

Posted By: Jane Wells
Soda production line
Dario Pignatelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Soda production line

The battle between sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has gone into the fifth (sixth?) inning. Which will win is anybody's guess.

The two sides have been in court for three years, suing each other for false advertising.

The Western Sugar Cooperative filed the first lawsuit in 2011, accusing the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and backers such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland of misleading the public with an educational campaign promoting HFCS as nutritionally identical to sugar.

"Sugar is sugar," the association said back then, as it spent an estimated $50 million to promote HFCS. It even sought—unsuccessfully—to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to let it change the name of HFCS to "corn sugar."

The CRA countersued in 2012, claiming that the sugar industry was smearing HFCS in order to get consumers to buy products sweetened with sugar.

(Read more: Global food prices tick up on higher sugar costs)

Both agricultural industry groups benefit from taxpayer subsidies and protections. Corn is the most highly subsidized crop in the U.S., with the federal government paying an estimated $10 billion or more in various forms of aid between 2010 and 2012, according to the Environmental Working Group's database.

And while Congress cannot agree on a farm bill, it did agree to renew a controversial safety net for the sugar industry that inflates prices.

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  Saturday, 1 Feb 2014 | 9:00 AM ET

Seahawks vs. Broncos: See whose fans are 'clumsy'

Posted By: Jane Wells

Russell Wilson isn't the only person in Seattle who fumbles around. The Seahawks quarterback is near the top of the 2013 fumblers list at 11, though the Broncos' Peyton Manning isn't far behind at 10.

I guess it comes with the territory.

According to SquareTrade, a company that sells extended warranties for mobile devices, Seahawks fans in general are "clumsy." A lot clumsier than Broncos fans. One in 4 people in Seattle have had a cellphone accident over the last year, compared with only 16 percent in Denver.

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About Funny Business with Jane Wells

  • If it was up to Jane Wells, she’d spend her entire day combing Mother Earth for stories and observations just for this blog. She has more fun writing Funny Business than anything else she does... professionally, that is. Funny business is whatever Jane considers hilarious, strange, fishy, or ridiculous, which pretty much covers everything on Wall Street. It is her hope this blog makes you smile, even when the news is grim. After all, it's only money.


  • Jane Wells

    Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for