Personal Space

Like Kids, Like Parent Company

Though Hot Topic Inc. has moved a bit out of the realm of small business, founder Orval Madden still runs this publicly traded company with his original theme intact: music. Selling music-licensed and music-influenced apparel and accessories to teenagers in 212 malls across America, the 100 employees in Hot Topic's City of Industry, California, headquarters look a lot like the kids they market to. Dyed hair and piercings abound in the open office environment where employees sit three feet away away from the CEO and watch MTV on monitors hanging overhead to keep up with the latest alternative music trends. And Hot Topic offers the best perk we've heard of lately: Any employee who returns from a concert with a fashion report gets their ticket price reimbursed.

Book 'Em

Herb Kay isn't one to mince words. If you want to live comfortably after 40 years of safe investments, that's fine. But if you want to be filthy, stinking rich before you're gray, then check out Kay's aptly titled How to Get Filthy, Stinking Rich and Still Have Time for Great Sex (Bard Press, $19.95). Kay delivers a lightning quick course in Entrepreneurship 101, punctuated with his natural motivational speaking tone, on basics like funding, business plans and LLC vs. corporation status. But what sets this work apart is the sex stuff. Don't get too hot under the collar--Kay uses sex as a metaphor for everything you enjoy doing outside the office and how being stinking rich can help you create a balance between your personal and work lives.

Contact Sources

flyswat Inc.,

Hot Topic Inc., (626) 839-4681,

Mission Critical Systems Inc., (877) 744-3444

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This article was originally published in the May 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Personal Space.

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