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Founder of Wendy Passes away...now what?

It is kind of rare these days to see such a personally that effects the outcome a company so much.. With borders collapsing, and international trade, it seems there is little room for that American invention called the figure head.

I think there is no need to mention the likes of Lee A. Iacocca, Victor Kiam and Orville Redenbacher, but they are a dying breed.

Our tech industry of course has more than it’s share of those figure heads. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are still very much figure heads...if not legends. Those two have figured in the tech soup mix since the whole PC thing started.

One of the great things about this (Joel’s) site is that we don’t only talk about software, but much about the process of how we accomplish things. Joel’s letters on business strategy are simply excellent.

What ever the case...without a doubt the time is for Wendy’s to find a larger than life character. Do you find another character, or perhaps one of his 4 daughters is a real character. Simply put, they need a character...and a loveable one at that.

Since that really is what Dave Thomas was....a nice lovable character. I will miss that nice and simple character. We need more of those nice and simple characters in these trying times. He never did seem to yell when he was trying to sell!

Ok, Dave Thomas does not exits any more...now what should Wendy’s do with their advertising?

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Thursday, January 10, 2002

> With borders collapsing, and international trade, it seems there is little room for that American invention called the figure head.

It's hardly American.

There are many figure-heads in advertizing: the Man from Glad and Mr. Clean; the guy with a Dutch accent who advertizes ING; the guy in the I AM CANADIAN advertisements; the "wazzap?" people in the beer commericals; ...

> now what should Wendy’s do with their advertising?

If they mention that a vegetarian can find something to eat there, I might drop in sometime (as I already do at, uh, Burger King, I think it is, when I am travelling).

Christopher Wells
Thursday, January 10, 2002

Dave Thomas was a vegetarian - at least in the last 5-10 years of his life (having suffered several heart attacks and, of course, cancer).

The menu features salads and other vegetarian-fare - particularly in the US stores that I have visited. Given the kind of business Wendy's is in (franchised fast food) their menu is pretty good.

Walter Rumsby
Thursday, January 10, 2002

Why are people in the geek community making such a big deal over this?  I mean, a friend whose emails usually consist of "I'm trying to do XYZ with javascript and PDQ is happening" sent me a link to a news story about Dave Thomas.  I don't get it.  Famous people die every day.  Why is this one different?

A.Nonnie Mouse
Friday, January 11, 2002

For those of us who don't live or come from North America, could someone tell me what Wendy's is/was and why its founder/owner merits a mention on Joels front page.

This is not a criticism, I'm just curious.

Jonathan Naylor
Friday, January 11, 2002

Dave was an orphan and high school drop out who just wanted to make hamburgers.  He appeared in his own adversitising and and thus became well known.  Started with one hamburger restaurant.

From the joelonsoftware prospective: He was passionate about his product, he insisted on quality (whether you liked Wendy's food or not, it was a good value and consistantly prepared), and stayed personally interested in the most important aspects of his company.  By appearing in his own commercials, he was personally involved in marketing.

From a personality prospective:  Homespun, sense of humor, not a coporate exec type, more like one of your favorite uncles.  His love for his business came across.

Terry Kearns
Friday, January 11, 2002

This is better:

http://www.nationalreview.com/weekend/people/people-lopez011202.shtml

Terry Kearns
Friday, January 11, 2002

Heh, and Jonathon, I've visited a Wendys when I've been in the states on business. If you like our typical high street burger joints, you should definately visit one of these!

Robert Moir
Sunday, January 13, 2002

What to do with the advertising?

Did anyone ever see the film "Weekend at Bernies"?

Tony
Monday, January 14, 2002


>>It's hardly American.

>>There are many figure-heads in advertizing: the Man from Glad and Mr. Clean; the guy with a Dutch accent who advertizes ING; the guy in the I AM CANADIAN

Those are figure heads...but not owners, or the CEO of the company. Perhaps I was not clear on that point.  It is very rare indeed that the owner, or CEO of a company becomes the vehicle to sale the product.

It is this reason that makes the passing of Wendys CEO interesting. It is the end of an era.

As for the fuss.....nah I don’t think there has been much.  However, you can see my original question is one of marketing.

In case many people don’t understand...now....software is very much a mature industry. Hence, marketing, and how you sell software is now more similar to food then ever. Does your software company need a figure head?

Is not Joel’s creating a persona by hosting these discussions groups?

Yes....there are many lessons to be learned here....

Albert D. Kallal
Thursday, January 17, 2002

End of an era? No owners as figure heads?
Gates. Jobs. Joy.

Lauritz
Friday, January 18, 2002

Spolsky :)

Mike Gunderloy
Saturday, January 19, 2002

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