Funny Business with Jane Wells


  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.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 | 3:15 PM ET

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

Posted By: Jane Wells
Airpnp: For when you gotta go
Former New Orleans comedian Travis Laurendine has started a business called Airpnp, a site that allows people to rent out their bathrooms to folks who need to go.

"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.

»Read more
  Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 1:50 PM ET

For the serious wine lover: Merlot in a keg

Posted By: Jane Wells
Merlot sales no longer 'Sideways?'
David Duncan of Silver Oak Cellars and Jennifer Putnam of Napa Valley Grapegrowers say Merlot is back in vogue ten years after the movie "Sideways" nearly destroyed the market for the varietal. But Clay Shannon isn't so sure.

Drought, schmout. Yes, California is in the middle of what could be the worst drought in 500 years (or not), and Napa Valley has only received a fraction of its normal rainfall. But 2013 was dry, too, and California still produced a record grape crop. Rains came last month, and farmers hope more will follow.

"It's not a complete disaster," said David Duncan, president and CEO of Silver Oak Cellars. "The vines adjust themselves. They're more used to Mother Nature than we are."

(Read more: How Israeli tech will help California's drought)

That's not to say all is well in the vineyard. Groundwater supplies may be adequate for the moment, but without more rain, growers may over-pump water. "We're going to pray that all this goes away ... and we're going to get wet," said Clay Shannon, who owns Shannon Ridge Family of Wines.

There may be bigger issues to deal with than water, however. U.S. wine sales grew only 2.7 percent last year, according to one wine analysis, as growth slows in the face of competition from craft beer and cocktails.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 | 12:59 PM ET

Want your own office? Here's one talking point

Posted By: Jane Wells
Is an open-floor plan at your work making you sick?
Pidjoe | E+ | Getty Images
Is an open-floor plan at your work making you sick?

Is your office one of those places with a wide, open floor plan broken up by cubicle walls that reach up to your navel, giving everyone the illusion of privacy where none exists?

That's why you're sick all the time.

A new study gives strong evidence to what most of us already know: We need our own offices. Close the door, leave me in peace, and you'll be amazed at how productive I am.

(Read more: Chocolate toothpaste? We tried it!)

I know it costs more. I admit I'll be a tad irresponsible at first and stream an episode of "House of Cards" because, finally, no one can see what's on my computer screen.

But at least I'll be here.

The study appears in the latest issue of Ergonomics, a journal you're not likely to find tucked between People and The Star at Rite Aid.

It summarizes the self-reported information from nearly 2,000 workers, finding that the more open the floor plan, the more likely people called in sick for short periods of time.

»Read more
  Monday, 24 Feb 2014 | 12:38 PM ET

Chocolate toothpaste? We put Crest to the test

Posted By: Jane Wells
Chocolate-flavored toothpaste put to the test
CNBC's Jane Wells samples three new flavors of toothpaste from Crest, including Mint Chocolate Trek, Vanilla Mint Spark, and Lime Spearment Zest. Mmmm.

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."

»Read more
  Friday, 21 Feb 2014 | 5:26 PM ET

Don King on business, Putin and concussions

Posted By: Jane Wells
Don King: Know what you want & go get it
Boxing and self promoter Don King talks to CNBC's Jane Wells about reviving the heavyweight division, MMA, peace in the Middle East, and having confidence in yourself.

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.

»Read more
  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.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 | 10:49 AM ET

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

Posted By: Jane Wells
Be buried near Marilyn for only $699,000
CNBC's Jane Wells looks at what may be the most expensive real estate in Los Angeles, a burial plot only a few yards from Marilyn Monroe's crypt in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

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."

»Read more
  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.

»Read more
  Monday, 27 Jan 2014 | 3:31 PM ET

Stupor Bowl: What pot and football have in common

Posted By: Jane Wells
Source: Skreened.com | Stonerbowl

The Super Bowl has gone to pot.

Both teams playing in Sunday's big game—the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos—hail from states where recreational marijuana is now legal for people over 21. They are playing in New Jersey, a state slow to roll out a medical marijuana program, but one where at least one legislator wants to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado. A variety of public opinion polls show most Americans now favor legalization.

Suddenly, the Super ... Bowl ... takes on a whole new meaning.

»Read more

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.


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


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