The Olympic haves and have-nots

weekend-reads-torchyThe Olympics, which has rolled into London for its 2012 incarnation, may be the biggest sporting event in the world, but that doesn’t mean its participants are the richest.


Indeed, most of the 10,000 athletes who have descended upon London will have had to embrace some fairly entrepreneurial qualities to get there – working hard, keeping costs low and hopefully attracting a bit of income through deals with sponsors.


But then there are the major stars, who certainly don’t have to toil away at part-time jobs in order to pay the mortgage. According to Forbes, the 20 highest-paid Olympians earned $448 million collectively over the past 12 months.


Top of the list is Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, who raked in $54.3 million between July 2011 and July 2012.


Other comfortably-off Olympians include Usain Bolt and basketball players LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Check out the full list here.


Even if you’re at the top of the tree, it’s good to sometimes take a look at what the smaller fry are doing, if only for your own business’ benefit.


That’s exactly what Groupon CEO Andrew Mason has been doing by moonlighting on weekends as a maitre d’ at a Japanese restaurant in Chicago.


Why on Earth would the boss of a 12,500-employee business spend his time doing this? Mason says it’s to understand how a small business ticks and learn how to tackle problems in his own company.


“In addition to actually greeting customers as they come in,” Mason told Bloomberg.


“I’m running between the front of the house, where we have one system, and the back of the house, where we have another system, entering redundant data from one into the other. I’m just managing the mess that is this technology infrastructure for the business.”


Maybe Zynga CEO Mark Pincus could do with a little help. The games business has had a pretty poor run recently, with its stock price suffering an alarming dip. Here’s a Q&A with Pincus on what has gone wrong.


How is your sales pitching? If it needs a bit of fine tuning, here are six top tips on how to write a winning proposal for potential clients.


Finally, if you thought the only education provided by Sesame Street is its teaching of the alphabet, then think again. The long-running US TV show has developed a highly sophisticated social media strategy, as explained in this interesting piece


However, if you’re thinking of taking on the Cookie Monster as your marketing chief, you probably need a little more help than Sesame Street can provide.


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