"All I can say is that I found her heartbreakingly young." -- Senator Susan Young (R-Maine), after seeing Monica Lewinsky's video depositionEDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top
Incognito on the Net
CAN A COMPANY THAT THRIVED BY HOLDING THUNDEROUS PEP RALLIES of soap-selling entrepreneurs find success in the impersonal expanse of the Internet? Amway figures that it's worth a try, especially since a faltering Asian economy hurt business last year. Amway wants to regain its momentum. So now it will sell goods over the Net. But here's the twist: The Amway name won't be there.
Amway plans to open its online shopping business on Sept. 1. The new venture will enable the company's 3 million distributors to sell goods through their own Web-based businesses. However, since not many people log on to their computers to buy soap or toothpaste, for instance, the company also plans to offer dozens of different well-known household brands online.
Executives are still figuring out what to call the new venture. But one thing is certain: It won't be called Amway. The company has been battered by negative publicity, especially in Asian countries, over its multilevel sales approach and almost evangelical fervor. Says Co-Chief Executive Richard DeVos Jr.: "There will be a new Amway face on the Web." Okay, great. But how the heck do you hold a pep rally in cyberspace?EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top
Siegfried and Gorby?
IT'S NOT THE USUAL LOUNGE ACT. He can't sing or do magic tricks. But for one show only, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will appear at the Mirage Casino Hotel in Las Vegas on Mar. 1. It's part of a road show to raise funds for his beleaguered Moscow-based political think tank. Gorbachev plans to speak to the International Foodservice Manufacturers Assn. for $150,000, plus use of a private jet in the U.S. Those assembled will hear about Russia's troubles while mulling over possible investments there.
This gig is about more than drumming up capital, though. The Gorbachev Foundation needs cash. Spokesman Vladimir Poliakov says it lost $80,000 after the ruble's August devaluation. Other funds are frozen in now-defunct Russian banks. So to make money, Gorbachev is lecturing to audiences other than the academic types who usually pay to hear him. After Vegas, he'll speak at the World Masters of Business conference in Australia with another toppled leader, former Sunbeam CEO Al Dunlap. Next, he may emcee Italy's kitschy San Remo pop music festival. Capitalism may make him a money slave, but it can be fun too.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top
Jackie Mania Hits the High Seas
HERE'S A SIGN THAT THE WORLD ECONOMY IS DOING NICELY FOR SOME FOLKS. A family friend of the late Aristotle Onassis has bought the shipping magnate's yacht, Christina O., and will offer a monthlong Millennial Cruise in December. The charter will cost a cool $3.5 million. So far, the owner has taken eight offers on the trip.
Maybe it's the chance to bed down where Jackie O. slept that's drawing them in. Or the fact that the yacht, staffed by a crew of 34, will pick you up and sail anywhere in the world. Or maybe it's the thought of cruising on a 325-footer with its own casino, outdoor Jacuzzis, and a swimming pool that converts to a dance floor, among other amenities.
Still sound pricey? In October, owner John Paul Papanicolaou starts renting the yacht out at the pre-millennial price of $500,000 a week. Papanicolaou, president of Athens-based Titan Brokerage and Christina Yachting, paid $20 million to buy and refurbish the Christina O., which was no longer in the Onassis family.
And if the price still seems steep, you don't have to foot the entire bill yourself. The yacht sleeps 36. So split the tab with friends, and party on.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top