business news in context, analysis with attitude

I've been fascinated this week to see how Stanley Tucci has launched a new collection of cookware in partnership with Williams-Sonoma.

To be clear, I'm a fan of all things Tucci.  Not just because we grew up in the same part of the world - in Westchester County, New York.  (Though I'm about six years older than he is.) Not just because we're both the sons of educators.  Not just because we both went to the same acting school.  Not just because his "Big Night" is one of my favorite movies.  Not just because we had a couple of meetings many years ago about a screenplay I'd written.  Not just because he was once very kind to my children. And not just because his "StanleyTucci:  Searching For Italy" is a favorite travel/food series.

It is because of all those things.

To me, Stanley Tucci is a great business lesson because of how he has created a community of fans - and consumers - simply because of his love of food.  He has described himself as a passionate cook, though has acknowledged that he only makes about 15 things, over and over.  But that passion for food has translated into a thriving business that has taken him beyond his film/TV/stage roots, and created an entrepreneurial enterprise that keeps expanding into unexpected directions.

He never seems to be exploiting it - he just seems to be having a good time, and he is always on brand, even as the brand evolves.

That ought to be a lesson for food retailers who spend too little time and effort talking about food.  They get so involved in operations that they forget about what should be the essence of their business models, what should make them different, what should be their advantage.

I think about this a lot - especially when I am making a favorite bolognese sauce that I've adapted from a Tucci recipe. (And one of these days, maybe I'll be making it in one of his pans.)

I have an excellent Pinot Noir to recommend to you this week - the 2021 Row 53, which is a terrific example, I think, of how Oregon winemakers are the best at making Pinot Noir - there is something richer and deeper about them, more so than from any other place.

Time for my guilty pleasure of the month (and probably longer) - Amazon Prime suddenly popped all eight seasons of "Mannix" the CBS detective series that ran from 1967-1975.  It was one of my favorite series when I was a kid, and while I have all eight seasons on DVD, watching them requires actually digging out my DVD player.

On streaming, I can just call an episode whenever I feel like it.  Great stuff - a little dated, to be sure, but wonderful to watch from time to time.

That's it for this week.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.