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Philip S. Naudus

Their product appealed to the wrong demographic — so, they set out to change the demographics of car owners

Illustration of a koala in a Michelin Man outfit holding a platter inside of a fancy restaurant. There is a pile of tires behind him.
Images by Philip and Linda Naudus. Based on images by Ishan (Unsplash) and macrovector (freepik).

After years of experimentation, the Michelin brothers had brought their latest invention to life — a removable automobile tire. Car owners no longer needed to replace the entire wheel after getting a flat, and Michelin tires were so resistant to punctures that they came with an unprecedented warranty. Édouard and André Michelin started manufacturing their tires and waited expectantly for sales to roll in.

But to their dismay, few people were interested.

In 1891, automobiles were viewed as unnecessary extravagances. Manufacturers barely made one car for every ten thousand people — those wealthy enough to afford a car didn’t particularly…


Keeping it real — timeless advice from a top dog

When I was in high school, I had a crush on a girl. She was different from anyone I had ever met — mostly because she was a zombie. After I was forced to beat the love of my life with a shovel until her brains came out, I found myself running to escape from the zombie apocalypse.

Background by liuzishan via freepik

Then, I was betrayed by my beloved mentor, who would not let me into the underground bunkers that I had helped to build. When I came across a nuclear reactor, all I wanted to do was just hide away from the world…

Your history teachers never told you what Neanderthals did in their spare time

Background by kjpargeter via freepik

“With such delicate burthens of dildos and fadings,” the servant exclaims in Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, Jump her and thump her.”

Clearly, the great playwright was quite familiar with dildos. But even back in the early 1600s, sex toys were nothing new. As it turns out, our ancestors were far more creative than we often give them credit. Read on, and we’ll take a deep look at the history of how people got it on — since ancient times.

Lessons from the father of advertising

Background by Heidi Fin via Unsplash

If you know anything about marketing history, you have certainly heard about David Ogilvy, better known as the father of advertising.

But in 1953, Ogilvy still had quite a bit to learn about the industry he was about to transform. After being contacted by Rinso Detergent, Ogilvy set out to research everything there was to know about removing stains. As he continued reading through dull reference material, the idea of a lifetime flashed through his mind — if he compiled everything he had learned into a useful list that described the best ways to remove stains, readers would tear the…

The psychology of indecision

Background by vectorpouch via freepik

Have you ever deliberated over whether to have one last slice of pizza? You’ve convinced yourself that you’re starving, only to realize after-the-fact that you made the wrong choice. There’s a psychological reason why we’re surprisingly bad at guessing what will please or annoy our future selves — it’s a mental state known as joint evaluation.

Joint evaluation is when your mind begins to focus on the similarities or differences between two or more possible outcomes. Do you want a large or small chocolate? Should you eat or go hungry?

But as soon as you have committed to one course…

From the Aztecs to Hershey — the origins of everyone’s favorite treat

Background by upklyak via freepik

Throughout history, chocolate has always been treasured as a precious food. The earliest evidence for the human consumption of cacao dates back to nearly 1,000 BC. Although we know very little about the people known as Olmecs, most historians agree that they consumed cacao as an unsweetened beverage.

Around 500 AD, the Mayans began roasting cacao to make cocoa. From examining a recipe inscribed into a pot, historians know that the Mayans used cocoa to make their beloved Chokoh’ Ha’ (hot chocolate), which was similar to the beverage invented by the Olmecs. …

How my wife coped with the death of her father and the birth of our daughter in the span of 3 months

Image by Greg Rakozy via Unsplash

My wife and I were pregnant with our first child when we received a phone call that would change our lives forever.

My wife’s dad had been in a car accident, and had been rushed to the hospital. Although he had sustained no visible injuries, his health was declining. The doctors tried to investigate the cause of his condition, but nothing seemed to make sense. He hadn’t sustained a concussion, had no signs of trauma, and had no internal bleeding.

The doctor began running random teats and finally made the diagnosis we had never expected: leukemia.

My wife was a…

Trying to change the world is exhausting, and I was failing

Image by Philip and Linda Naudus. Background by Simon Wilkes via Unsplash.

I used to teach math at a Title 1 school, which means that almost everyone in my class was beneath the poverty line. Because each student barely paid more than $10 per month in tuition and school fees, I couldn’t expect a generous salary.

Thanks to food stamps, my family managed to make ends meet. But it was all worthwhile — after all, my job was far more than just an occupation. It was a calling.

Most of my students expected to remain poor indefinitely. They had no hopes for their futures. No dreams. They didn’t even fantasize about becoming…

Despite success stories, the juvenile correction system does not give underage offenders an incentive to change

Images by Warren Wong via Unsplash and

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

After graduating from high school, I decided to take a gap year to volunteer at a juvenile correction center. I naively expected to make a difference in someone’s life.

After three months of training, I met “William” (not his real name). I was seventeen years old, and he was sixteen. Throughout my sheltered upbringing, I had never so much as met a shoplifter, but this young man had committed a felony.

William had been in and out of correctional programs, and his probation officer was starting to lose…

Philip S. Naudus

High school teacher by day, koala by night. My wife is a cartoonist with a Ph.D., and she co-authors all of these articles. Contact:

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