Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

I don't know what I think about genetically modified foods. I read somewhere they will save the planet from universal starvation. Or do they violate God's plan, and are they dangerous? I figured I could get up to speed on the subject in a story in The Wall Street Journal last Thursday by Annie Gasparro and Jacob Bunge

Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on Congress to require companies to more quickly alert customers when their personal information is put at risk in cyberbreaches. In a video message Monday, Holder says "a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised ... would empower the American people to protect themselves if they are at risk of identity theft. It would enable law enforcement to better investigate these crimes—and hold compromised entities accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe

We all want to write great stories, and as marketers we understand that the best stories often last longer than competitive advantages. But let's face it, it's often hard to find the "gem" in our company tales. But I assure you, the gems are there and often right in front of our noses. Ben & Jerry's offers a perfect example. Early on in the company's life, as Ben & Jerry's Premium Ice Cream started gaining popularity in and around the company's home state of Vermont, founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield discovered that Pillsbury was strong-arming one of its distributors. The food giant had told the distributor that it could either represent Pillsbury's brand, Häagen-Dazs, or Ben & Jerry's. But not both.

Up to now, Vermont has been famous for producing wood stoves, thick woolens, gourmet foods and maple syrup. But television infomercials?

PajamaJeans? Wonder Hangers? Twin Draft Guard? Meatball Magic? Yes, things are changing in the Vermont econosphere, and leading the charge is Steve Heroux and his wildly successful Williston company, Hampton Direct.

Hampton Direct seeks out and develops products—most often inventions—that save consumers time and/or money and/or solves a problem: i.e., drafts under doors, a lack of closet space, or uncomfortable—yet fashionable—women's jeans.

There’s no doubt the US Postal Service is struggling. It faces a multi-billion dollar deficit, and is considering closing thousands of post offices. For years, the USPS has been complaining that email is eating into its market share. And they’re probably right. What you’re more likely seeing in your mailbox is exactly what I’m seeing: mountains of ads, address labels and catalogs you never asked for, and don’t want. All of this commercial detritus begs the question: How much is junk mail propping up the US Postal Service?

Hurricane Irene menaced the Eastern seaboard, pounding tens of millions of Americans with wind, rain and floods—but largely sparing New York after an unprecedented shutdown of the largest U.S. city ahead of the massive storm. In New Jersey, the ocean surge and rainfall caused severe inland flooding. Gov. Chris Christie said damages there would total at least $1 billion and could reach "tens of billions of dollars." Virginia's governor called the blackout in his state its second-largest ever and warned that electricity might not be restored for a week.

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