I don’t know about you, but I feel like everyone is throwing around the word “disruption”—it’s the newest buzzword. If you want to get someone’s attention in an interview, mention “disruption” and/or “innovation,” and you’ll definitely get it.

People use the words as if they are interchangeable, meaning the same thing. But they really don’t. They are related in that they are about change, the perception of change, and being open-minded.

What’s an example of “disruption?”

To me, the ones that we can all relate to are the iPad and iPhone, introduced by Apple. When they first came out, they revolutionized the mobile tablet and smartphone industries. I remember when my co-worker Todd was telling me that on his new iPhone he could use his fingers to enlarge an image. I recall thinking, “Why would you need to do that? Who would use that function?” Of course, now I use it all the time, especially with photos.

“Innovation” on the other hand is usually referring to something more incremental. For example, with each iteration of the iPhone, the camera quality has gotten better, you can self-edit, colorize, and etc., right on your iPhone. I would characterize that as innovation versus disruption.

But the real issue at hand is that every single industry is facing a constant stream of innovation. Of interruptions. And of disruptions. As a business owner, I can tell you that it’s kind of hard to keep up.

I know that in my own company, I am attempting to look into the future to provide tools and processes for my teams to help me explore what changes we need to make inside the company, and at what pace. I’ve always believed in the “Ready. Aim. Fire.” approach, as compared to “Ready. Fire. Aim.”

Here is some food for thought:

Speaking of iPhones and disruptive change, a few years ago, I read the biography “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. Although it is well over 500 pages, I found so much inspiration and information while reading that book that I could not put it down. Steve Jobs was so creative and an out-of-the-box thinker. And of course his management style was well-publicized.

A few weeks ago, I heard a speaker do a presentation on “The Lost Interview of Steve Jobs,” which was done in 1995 by Robert X. Cringely for the PBS documentary “Revenge of the Nerds.” Only 10 minutes of the 70-minute interview were used in the film. The original tapes were actually lost in shipping. It was not until 2011 after Jobs died, that the film’s director, Paul Sen, found an old VHS copy of the original unedited interview—in his garage.

I had the opportunity to view a few clips of the interview. Remember that in 1995 the internet was just beginning to be a household word. (I remember that, when my company launched our website in 1996, we were one of the very first in our industry to do so.) I highly recommend watching “The Lost Interview” (you can get it here). It’s a great place to get inspiration for your new innovative idea. You will see a completely different side of Jobs and hear him describe what has now become the omnipresent Amazon, iTunes, and other disruptors.

So back to the phrase, “disruption versus innovation.” I recommend you don’t use those words lightly.

And don’t forget, incremental innovation is oftentimes the most prevalent form of progress.

Karen

Leyla Acaroglu’s “Disruptive Design” e-book
Image from Leyla Acaroglu’s “Disruptive Design” e-book

The Caplan women discuss past, present, and future of the company

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Family Business Magazine July August 2017

Los Alamitos, CA (July 2017) – The Philadelphia-based national publication Family Business Magazine featured Frieda’s Specialty Produce in its July/August cover story, highlighting the company’s trailblazing history and continued success.

In “A Fruitful Female Partnership at Frieda’s,” author Hedda T. Schupak writes about Frieda’s family dynamics, work-life balance, current vision, and future plans for the specialty produce company co-owned by president and CEO Karen Caplan and vice-president and COO Jackie Caplan Wiggins.

“Sisters Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins have grown Frieda’s, the pioneering specialty produce wholesaler, since taking over from Frieda Caplan, their mother. Now that Karen’s daughter Alex [Jackson Berkley] has joined the business, they’re beginning to contemplate the next transition,” wrote Schupak in the introduction to her exclusive interview with the Caplan women.

“We’re in discussion now on succession planning…what our options are for leadership of the company,” said Karen per the article.

As a senior account manager, Berkley talked about her current position and working toward taking the over the reins in the future. “I’m on the path and would be good at it,” she told Schupak. But for right now, “I’m trying to grow the business and push our numbers forward and to be a good leader, family member, and employee.”

The current issue of Family Business is available via paid subscription, or pay-per-issue. Past issues are available for free.

The Philadelphia-based Family Business Magazine is the preeminent magazine and digital media publisher dedicated to multi-generational family companies, providing the latest news, trends and in-depth interviews, how-to articles and handbooks with more than 7,500 active paid circulation and 10,000 e-newsletter subscribers.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

I am a second generation Angelena, born and raised in Southern California. Even though I have lived here all my life, I discovered a part of L.A. that I never knew was there.

And that is the amazing Metro rapid transit system, based out of Union Station, in downtown L.A. (or, as it is now referred to, “DTLA”).

Even though the most frequent complaint about Southern California is our lack of a rapid transit system, you can see from this diagram that we apparently do have an amazing system. In fact, LA Metro is the third most comprehensive system in the country.

I was intrigued when I received an invitation to attend a Metro Art Tour this past Saturday. Apparently, in addition to six Metro rail lines and almost 100 separate stations, some real artistic treasures are contained inside the actual Metro stations.

So, off I went on Saturday morning to meet a small group at Union Station. For some historical context, the L.A. Union Station was built in 1939 and is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the western United States. It is widely regarded as “the last of the great train stations.” The station’s combination of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne styles makes it one of L.A.’s architectural gems. It has appeared in many films.

"City of Dreams, River of History" mural by Richard Wyatt, 1995, at Union Station
“City of Dreams, River of History” mural by Richard Wyatt, 1995, at Union Station

I’ve been to Union Station many times, mostly for events. But as a passenger, I was impressed with how clean the station is, and at 11 a.m. on a Saturday, just how many Angelenos use it. You can learn about the many well-known artists and the artwork they provided to the station here. If you’re an art student or art lover, you would have a field day walking through the station.

So, our group jumped on the Red Line and headed to Hollywood. After a 15-minutes ride, we got off at Hollywood/Vine (probably the most famous intersection for visitors to Hollywood). As we took the escalators up, we found ourselves staring at the famous Pantages Theatre and an impressive section of sidewalk filled with “Stars.” But it was actually the inside of the station that got my attention.

View of Pantages Theatre from Hollywood/Vine Metro
View of Pantages Theatre from Hollywood/Vine Metro

The walls contained tiles that made it look like a Hollywood stage with big, thick curtains. The large poles were decorated in tiles that made them look like palm trees. The ceilings were covered completely with empty film reels! They even had two movie cameras from another era on display! And of course some of the floor tiles were yellow (reminiscent of the Yellow Brick Road); on the walls were hand-painted tiles of characters from The Wizard of Oz.”

Interior of Hollywood/Vine Metro Station
Good Witch Glinda tile at Hollywood/Vine Metro

At the Vermont and Sunset Station, which is near many major hospitals and the famed Hollywood sign, the décor was enhanced with floor tiles highlighting medical and scientific symbols, and one wall showcased a particular astrological constellation.

“Ecliptic/Illume” installation by Michael Davis at Vermont/Sunset Metro Station

Although our tour was only of those two stations, our guide gave us a brochure that showcases all of the Metro stops. I am already planning to find an excuse to ride the Metro to get from Long Beach to DTLA to Santa Monica sometime soon.

If you happen to find yourself coming to Southern California, Metro Rail Tours are offered on the first Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday of each month.

While you’re parked at Union Station, I recommend that you walk across to Olvera Street, part of the historic district of El Pueblo de Los Angeles. The popular area has many mercados, restaurants, street vendors, and some of the most delicious and authentic Mexican food around.

Now I – and you – know how to bypass most of the traffic in L.A.! Take the Metro and catch an Uber, Lyft, or taxi to your destination.

Karen

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Shoppers’ favorite table grapes are in steady volume through August

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Champagne Grapes - Crushin' It

Los Alamitos, CA (July 2017) – California-grown champagne grapes have arrived and are in good supply from Frieda’s Specialty Produce in Frieda’s-branded 16/1 lb. clamshell. Book now to keep your summer sales fizzy!

“With summer entertaining in full swing, champagne grapes create excitement in grape merchandising as their small, snack-able size is perfect for charcuterie and cheese platters,” said Alex Jackson Berkley of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “Merchandise two facings in the grape case or cross-merchandise with cheeses, wine, and champagne.”

“The weather got warmer earlier than anticipated, so the fruit will be ready to ship in volume this week,” added Berkley.

Frieda’s also offers seasonal California-grown specialty grape varieties such as Yellow Sweetie (16/1 lb.) and Thomcord (10/1 lb.), along with many other summer top-selling tropical fruits such as lychee, rambutan, cherimoya, and dragon fruit.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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This week, I traveled to Portland, Oregon, because a friend of mine from the East Coast visits Portland each summer to teach a food industry business class at Portland State University. The added benefit to him is he gets to hang out in a super cool area for a couple of months. I usually only get to see him at industry events. Because it’s just a two-hour plane flight, a few weeks ago I proposed that I go up there to have dinner with him and his wife. He suggested I join him as a guest at his business class. So, it was a two-fer.

I didn’t really have any expectations of Portland, especially since I was going to be there for about 24 hours. Was I ever unexpectedly delighted!

The first thing I noticed were the greeters at the airport. These lovely people stood in the corridor as you transitioned between the arrival gates and moved toward the baggage claim. They were saying, “Welcome to Portland!” Obviously if you had a question, you could ask them. I then noticed signage as I exited the terminal: “Portland is rated Best Airport in the USA” since 2013.

As I arrived downtown at my hotel, I felt a little less stressed than usual. Everyone I had encountered seemed so pleasant and happy. And that experience continued throughout my stay.

It was a gorgeous, warm evening, so we dined outside in the courtyard of my hotel. And the next morning, as I drove around the city visiting a few grocery stores (of course I visited grocery stores!), and headed back to the airport, I found myself feeling “chilled out.”

I don’t watch much TV, so I have never seen “Portlandia,” but I am aware that Portland is a mecca of great food places, microbreweries, and lots of amazing wineries. I’ve always heard that Portland is a special place, but I didn’t expect to experience something so special during a 24-hour visit. I noticed a slower pace than L.A. and other cities. Lots of trees and greenery, and many small businesses.

Flickr_DavidWilson
Photo Credit: Flickr/David Wilson

I guess Portland just left me with a happy feeling.

What if every place you traveled to was welcoming and made you feel special…and ultimately happier?

And in the business world, what if the sole purpose of the company you worked for were to make its employees and customers happy? What would have to change? How would you have to change?

My experience in Portland actually reminded me of a recent book I read: “Delivering Happinessby Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com. (Read about my recent visit to its headquarters here.) At the end of the book, Tony writes, “Even though this book will serve as a handbook for future Zappos employees…I wanted to write this book for a different reason: to contribute to a happiness movement to help make the world a better place.”

It’s interesting how your attitude and expectations can affect your experience, whether traveling or working.

Karen

“My hope is that through his book, established businesses will look to change the way they are doing things, and entrepreneurs will be inspired to start new companies with happiness at the core of their business models…and more and more companies will start to apply some of the findings coming out of the research in the science of happiness field to make their business better and their customers and employees happier.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos.com

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Get summer sales sizzling with Frieda’s new 2-lb. Hatch chile pouch and a successful Hatch Chile Program

Frieda's Specialty Produce -Hatch Chile Pouches

Los Alamitos, CA (June 2017) – Hatch chiles from New Mexico return in August and Frieda’s Specialty Produce is ready to turn up the heat with a new 8/2-lb. retail pouch.

“These pouches help retailers reduce shrink and increase sell-through at the register,” said Alex Jackson Berkley of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “With Hatch Chiles looking identical to Anaheim chiles, this bag will help retail buyers accurately track sales, and cashiers to accurately ring up product. Plus, the package educates shoppers on how to roast the chiles for ultimate flavor.”

Exclusively grown in the Mesilla Valley near the town of Hatch, New Mexico, and available fresh once a year, Hatch chiles are sought after by chile pepper fans everywhere for their zesty, bold flavor, especially when roasted over an open flame. Many retailers also host in-store chile-roasting events to build excitement and provide shoppers with an authentic New Mexico Hatch chile festival experience.

“August is the only time of year when Hatch chiles are available fresh for roasting, and serious Hatch chile fans go crazy for them,” said Berkley. “Frieda’s has organized in-store roasting events since 2011, and retailers see the Hatch chile halo effect through sales across all departments. Shoppers who buy fresh or roasted Hatch chiles will also pick up cheese, chips, and beer to enjoy with their chiles.”

“This is the perfect time to start planning for your Hatch program to increase summer sales,” said Berkley.

Weather is always a factor when it comes to Hatch chile supply.

“Our team just visited our partner growers in New Mexico last week and we learned that, while the recent heat wave affected the early crop, we are still on track for the August start,” said Allen DeMo, Director of Procurement and Sourcing at Frieda’s.

“The Hatch chile supply is looking good for the season,” he added.

Call Frieda’s team today to pre-book the ever-popular Hatch chiles, only from New Mexico and only for a limited time!

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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