TIME technology

Rap Genius Dumps Co-Founder Over Annotations to Alleged UCSB Shooter Manifesto

Rap Genius Mahbod Moghadam
Mahbod Moghadam, RapGenius co-founder, during the Digital Life Design Conference at the HVB Forum on Janu. 19, 2014 in Munich. Tobias Hase—DPA/AP

Mahbod Modghadam made comments like "his sister is smokin hot" on alleged mass shooter Elliot Rodger's manifesto

Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam is leaving the site over inappropriate comments he inserted into the manifesto left behind by the man believed to have gone on a rampage that killed six people near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Co-founder and CEO of Rap Genius Tom Lehman said in a statement Monday that when Rap Genius posted Elliot Rodger’s 141-page rant, believed to be the prelude to mass murder, on their site, Moghadam annotated it with irreverent notes like, “beautifully written,” and “Elliot barely mentions his sister Georgia throughout the book! Towards the end, however, he tells us that they did not get along and becomes extremely angry when he hears her having sex with her boyfriend. MY GUESS: his sister is smokin hot.”

The annotations have since been deleted.

Moghadam sent Gawker the following statement after writing the posts:

I was fascinated by the fact that a text was associated with such a heartbreaking crime, especially since Elliot is talking about my neighborhood growing up.

I got carried away with making the annotations and making any comment about his sisters was in horrible taste, thankfully the rap genius community edits out my poor judgment, I am very sorry for writing it

Lehman said in a statement that Moghadam’s comments “not only didn’t attempt to enhance anyone’s understanding of the text, but went beyond that into gleeful insensitivity and misogyny. All of which is contrary to everything we’re trying to accomplish at Rap Genius… I cannot let him compromise the Rap Genius mission.”

Though the statement maintains Moghadam resigned, Re/Code is reporting that Moghadam was actually fired.

This isn’t the first time the startup that got a$15 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz in late 2012 to “annotate the world” has come under fire for its co-founder’s behavior: Moghadam infamously told Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to “suck his d***”, later blaming a brain tumor and drug use for the comments.

TIME Economy

These 7 States Are Running Out of Water

California Drought
Cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino, Calif., on March 13, 2014. Marcio Jose Sanchez—AP

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This post is in partnership with 24/7Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

The United States is currently engulfed in one of the worst droughts in recent memory. More than 30% of the country experienced at least moderate drought as of last week’s data.

In seven states drought conditions were so severe that each had more than half of its land area in severe drought. Severe drought is characterized by crop loss, frequent water shortages, and mandatory water use restrictions. Based on data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the states with the highest levels of severe drought.

In an interview, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meteorologist Brad Rippey, told 24/7 Wall St. that drought has been a long-running issue in parts of the country. “This drought has dragged on for three and a half years in some areas, particularly [in] North Texas,” Rippey said.

While large portions of the seven states suffer from severe drought, in some parts of these states drought conditions are even worse. In six of the seven states with the highest levels of drought, more than 30% of each state was in extreme drought as of last week, a more severe level of drought characterized by major crop and pasture losses, as well as widespread water shortages. Additionally, in California and Oklahoma, 25% and 30% of the states, respectively, suffered from exceptional drought, the highest severity classification. Under exceptional drought, crop and pasture loss is widespread, and shortages of well and reservoir water can lead to water emergencies.

MORE: 10 Companies Paying Americans the Least

Drought has had a major impact on important crops such as winter wheat. “So much of the winter wheat is grown across the southern half of the Great Plains,” Rippey said, an area that includes Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, three of the hardest-hit states. Texas alone had nearly a quarter of a million farms in 2012, the most out of any state, while neighboring Oklahoma had more than 80,000 farms, trailing only three other states.

In the Southwest, concerns are less-focused on agriculture and more on reservoir levels, explained Rippey. In Arizona, reservoir levels were just two-thirds of their usual average. Worse still, in New Mexico, reservoir stores were only slightly more than half of their normal levels. “And Nevada is the worst of all. We see storage there at about a third of what you would expect,” Rippey said.

The situation in California may well be the most problematic of any state. The entire state was suffering from severe drought as of last week, and 75% of all land area was under extreme drought. “Reservoirs which are generally fed by the Sierra Nevadas and the southern Cascades [are] where we see the real problems,” Rippey said. Restrictions on agricultural water use has forced many California farmers to leave fields fallow, he added. “At [the current] usage rate, California has less than two years of water remaining.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the seven states with the highest proportions of total area classified in at least a state of severe drought as of May 13, 2014. We also reviewed figures recently published by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service as part of its 2012 Census of Agriculture.

MORE: The Most Polluted Cities in America

These are the seven states running out of water.

1. California
> Pct. severe drought: 100.0%
> Pct. extreme drought: 76.7% (the highest)
> Pct. exceptional drought: 24.8% (2nd highest)

California had the nation’s worst drought problem with more than 76% of the state experiencing extreme drought as of last week. Drought in California has worsened considerably in recent years. Severe drought conditions covered the entire state, as of last week. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency earlier this year as the drought worsened. California had 465,422 hired farm workers in 2012, more than any other state. Farm workers would likely suffer further if conditions persist. The shortage of potable water has been so severe that California is now investing in long-term solutions, such as desalination plants. A facility that is expected to be the largest in the Western hemisphere is currently under construction in Southern California, and another desalination facility is under consideration in Orange County.

2. Nevada
> Pct. severe drought: 87.0%
> Pct. extreme drought: 38.7% (5th highest)
> Pct. exceptional drought: 8.2% (4th highest)

Nearly 40% of Nevada was covered in extreme drought last week, among the highest rates in the country. The drought in the state has worsened since the week of April 15, when 33.5% of the state was covered in extreme drought. According to the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD), the main cause of the drought this year has been below average snowfall in the Rocky Mountains. Melting snow from the Rocky Mountains eventually flows into Lake Mead, which provides most of the Las Vegas Valley with water. John Entsminger, head of both the LVVWD and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said that the effects of the drought on the state has been “every bit as serious as a Hurricane Katrina or a Superstorm Sandy.”

3. New Mexico
> Pct. severe drought: 86.2%
> Pct. extreme drought: 33.3% (6th highest)
> Pct. exceptional drought: 4.5% (5th highest)

More than 86% of New Mexico was covered in severe drought as of last week, more than any state except for Nevada and California. Additionally, one-third of the state was in extreme drought, worse than just a month earlier, when only one-quarter of the state was covered in extreme drought. However, conditions were better than they were one year ago, when virtually the entire state was in at least severe drought, with more than 80% in extreme drought conditions. NOAA forecasts conditions may improve in much of the state this summer.

Visit 24/7 Wall St. to see the remaining states on the list.

More from 24/7 Wall St.
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TIME texting

Your Cell Phone Is Going to Ruin Your Weekend

At least that’s Alex Cornell, a videographer known for some of his provocative videos, thinks. Cornell released this guide to a potentially worrying trend: group texts destroying weekend plans. The inspiration for the video? Cornell couldn’t say exactly when he spoke to Mashable. “Honestly, it’s every text conversation I ever have these days,” he said.

[Mashable]

TIME Careers & Workplace

11 Surefire Ways to Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

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Maria Teijeiro—Getty Images/OJO Images RF


This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

By Brent Gleeson

The loftiest goal I ever set in the early stages of my professional career was to become a Navy SEAL. Achieving that milestone gave me a new perspective and set the foundation for the rest of my life. Nothing seemed too far from my grasp.

The first six months of training, called Basis Underwater Demolition/SEAL, is designed to identify those not solely committed to the mission of becoming a Navy SEAL, separate them from the herd, and force them to quit. Unless you quickly identify what you personally need to be successful, you will fail. Here are 11 important tactics I learned during that journey that I use every day in the constant pursuit of personal and professional success.

1. Get the simple things right.

During training, Sunday was always depressing, because you knew the inevitable torture that Monday would bring. Monday was inspection day. To be successful as a SEAL, your attention to detail must be unwavering. So you start with the little things, like making your bed and cleaning the floors. I used to keep my bed impeccably made and sleep on top of the covers with a sleeping bag. If everything wasn’t perfect, you paid for it. And sometimes when it was perfect, you paid anyway. The lesson: If you can’t get the simple things right, you can’t expect to successfully tackle more daunting tasks.

2. Set both realistic and unrealistic goals.

Successful people are relentless goal setters. They break down larger milestones into smaller, more achievable tasks. One of the most unrealistic goals a SEAL candidate can set is completing Hell Week. You don’t sleep for a week. You run countless miles with boats, logs, and backpacks. You swim dozens of miles in the frigid ocean. You run the obstacle course daily and do more pushups and pull-ups than you can count. All while battling second-stage hypothermia, sores, and often fractures. Some students quit just minutes into Hell Week. You can’t allow yourself to imagine what the end will look like. So you make–and achieve–one small goal at a time and pray for the sun to come up the next day. A series of near-term realistic goals will help you get closer to your big audacious ones.

3. Work hard.

This one seems obvious, but many people underestimate the level of effort it takes to be successful and achieve aggressive goals. It astonishes me that some of the guys showing up to SEAL training put no real time or effort into preparation. If you don’t work hard preparing for potential success, you won’t change that behavior when things get really tough.

4. Get others to work with you.

A SEAL training class is broken down into boat crews of seven guys each: three on either side of the boat and a coxswain in the rear steering. During the first phase of training, you take the boats out through the surf and paddle miles up and down the beach every day. I was in a winter class, where the swells can be up to 10 feet or more. It takes every man digging in and paddling hard just to get through the surf zone without getting tossed upside down. When setting goals and pursuing success, you must sometimes lead and get others to paddle with you. You can’t do it all alone. The minute you realize that you don’t know everything and need help along the way, the better off you will be.

5. Don’t make excuses.

Successful people don’t make excuses for failure or shortcomings. They acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and seek feedback from trusted advisers. The longer you sit around making excuses, the further you will drift from the possibility of achieving your goals.

6. Don’t underestimate others.

One of the most fascinating things about SEAL training is that out of the couple hundred guys who start a training class, you could never hand pick the 30 or so who will graduate. Rarely is it the Rambo types who make it. Usually they are the first to go. Underestimating people, whether peers or competitors, is one of the worst things you can do. People who go far in life measure others by qualities such as integrity and strength of heart. Empower those around you, and you will be surprised by the outcome.

7. Be willing to fail.

When entering this phase of my life, I knew that statistically, the odds were not in my favor. I also knew that if I didn’t try, I would never forgive myself. I decided that I would rather try and fail than be the guy who says, “I was thinking about trying that.” You simply can’t look at life through a lens of fear. If you take a calculated risk and fail, at the very least you have a valuable learning experience. Get back up. Dust off. And never, ever, be out of the fight.

8. Embrace the repercussions of your actions.

On your path to success, you will make mistakes. One of my early mistakes was slacking off on my pushups after the obstacle course during the first day of the third phase of training. An instructor was looking through the rearview mirror while sitting in the truck. He was counting to see if I did the required 50. I decided to do 30-ish. That mistake earned me a spot with the “cheaters” the following week while at the shooting range. Each day, before we started, during lunch, and between drills, the cheaters would line up and sprint to the top of a nearby mountain in full gear. If you failed to make the cutoff time, you ran it again. It was torture. But the week after, I miraculously cut my four-mile run time by three minutes. Learn from your mistakes and turn the consequences into something positive.

9. Don’t back down.

My favorite passage from the Navy SEAL creed reads: “I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.” Enough said.

10. Laugh when you want to cry.

Staying positive seems like an obvious trait for successful people, but it’s easier said than done. Your character is defined by what you do when things get tough. During Hell Week, one of the fun tasks is called “steel pier.” After spending some time in the cold water of San Diego Bay, you strip down to your undershorts and lie down on the freezing metal pier while the instructors spray you with hoses. Your body convulses uncontrollably as it reaches stage-two hypothermia. But the guys who found the strength to laugh (partly because of delirium) during this event were the ones standing proud at graduation. When things get rough and are out of your control, don’t forget to laugh.

11. Make sacrifices.

Success comes with sacrifice. Let selfish ways fall by the wayside, and know that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. The most successful people in the world have made significant sacrifices along the way. To become a SEAL, you give up comfort, and the discomfort only increases the further you go. But you get used to it, because you know what you are doing is worth it.

The path to success is paved with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but you can’t lose heart. Stay strong, be humble, and lean on others for support when necessary.

Read more from Inc.com:
How 4 Entrepreneurs Started Up (Really) Young
Firing an Employee–Even a Bad One–Is Hard to Do

TIME marketing

10 Truly Terrifying Mascots You Can’t Un-See

McDonald's

We warned you

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

McDonald’s new mascot, Happy (right), has been called “terrifying.” And so it is, at least to some observers, what with its oversized, human-looking teeth; its crazed, bulging eyes; and its freakishly attenuated arms. But it’s disturbing on another level, too: it was clearly the work of a focus-group-driven corporate bureaucracy trying to satisfy a lot of internal constituencies, as opposed being the original work of a creative team. Obviously inspired in part by Spongebob Squarepants, it’s easy to imagine that Happy was tested and retested, subjected to the scrutiny of a battery of consultants, and tweaked and retweaked until nobody was offended. That was until it was unleashed on the public — at which point nearly everybody was offended. But as horrifying as Happy might be, he’s got lots of company. See who else makes consumers squirm.

140521155928-mascots-jolly-green-giant-620xb

The Jolly Green Giant was such a popular character that the company he represented, the Minnesota Valley Canning Co., took his name in 1950. But in his earliest iterations in the ’20s and ’30s, the Green Giant didn’t always seem so jolly. In fact, it was the future ad wizard Leo Burnett who in 1935 added the “Jolly” to the Green Giant’s name and who took the first steps toward making him less terrifying in print ads, in part by replacing his scowl with a smile. In the character’s first TV spots in the ’50s, though, the giant was scarier than ever. Finally the by-then-thriving Burnett agency discovered that by downplaying the his presence, he was not only far less frightening, but also far more effective.

140521165915-mascot-mucus-620xb

We all complain about TMI ads that spend 30 seconds focused on some distasteful body function or embarrassing malady. But hey, products for gross stuff deserve marketing too. Enter Mr. Mucus, which can most accurately be described as an anthropomorphized glob of snot. He is the villain in a series of spots for Mucinex, the expectorant originally marketed by Adams Respiratory Therapeutics. But Mr. Mucus might soon meet his demise: Reckitt Benckiser, which acquired Adams in 2007, isreviewing its advertising and might end the phlegmy foe’s 10-year run.

See 7 more terrifying mascots at Fortune.com.

TIME Copyright

This Is How the Patent Trolls and Trial Lawyers Won

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

For over a year, intellectual property reform advocates and their allies in Congress have been trying to advance legislation designed to crack down on so-called patent trolls, which are firms that don’t build products, but rather seek to extract license fees or legal judgments from other companies. Until recently, prospects for reform appeared good, as lawmakers honed legislation that would curb the worst kind of patent troll abuse.

But this week, the process ground to a halt, after Sen. Pat Leahy, the powerful Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, abruptly yanked the “Patent Transparency and Improvements Act” from the Senate agenda, effectively killing the bill for the foreseeable future.

Patent reform advocates reacted with dismay, but Sen. Leahy said he had no choice because lawmakers had been unable to bring the issue’s various stakeholders together. “I have said all along that we needed broad bipartisan support to get a bill through the Senate,” Sen. Leahy said in a statement. “Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal.”

“If the stakeholders are able to reach a more targeted agreement that focuses on the problem of patent trolls, there will be a path for passage this year and I will bring it immediately to the Committee,” Leahy added.

The bill would have increased transparency in patent ownership, allowed patent infringement cases to be stayed while the suits are litigated, and cracked down on frivolous demand letters. The bill would have also opened to the door to what’s known as “fee shifting,” which is the idea that if plaintiffs lose a patent case, they should be on the hook for the defendant’s legal fees.

According to multiple reports, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat, pressured Leahy to abandon the legislation, warning that the bill had no chance of passing the full Senate. “While the announcement came from Leahy, sources close to the negotiations all pointed to [Reid] as the one who really killed the bill,” Ars Technica reported. Reid “played a decisive, behind-the-scenes role in the legislation’s fate, according to sources on and off the Hill,” Politico added.

Several powerful D.C. lobbying interests, including trial lawyers and the pharmaceutical industry, opposed the bill, according to multiple reports. Reid has raised nearly $4 million in campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees associated with the legal profession since 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Lawyers and law firms groups are Reid’s top donors over that period of time.

Needless to say, trial lawyers are among the groups that benefit the most from rampant patent litigation. Engine Advocacy, a non-profit group that works to advance the agenda of startups on Capitol Hill, expressed disappointment at Leahy’s action.

“This news is devastating to the welfare of startups who will continue to face the threat of patent trolls,” wrote Engine Advocacy executive director Julie Samuels. “That no agreement could be reached, especially in light of the efforts being made across the committee to find common ground, is also bad news for the economy where annual losses from patent troll litigation are billions of dollars.”

Patent troll lawsuits have tripled in the last two years, rising from 29% of all infringement suits to 62% of all infringement suits, according to a recent study by the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers.

Researchers at Boston University estimate that patent troll lawsuits accounted for $29 billion of direct costs to defendants in 2011, and are “associated with half a trillion dollars of lost wealth to defendants from 1990 through 2010, mostly from technology companies.”

TIME Saving & Spending

What to Buy This Memorial Day (and What to Skip)

Flags flutter during re-opening ceremony for Washington Monument in Washington
May 12, 2014. Flags flutter during the re-opening ceremony for the Washington Monument in Washington. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer, and it’s also become one of the bigger shopping tentpoles for retailers to promote sales and specials. But before you leave the beach or the barbecue to hit the mall, check out what these savings sites and experts have to say about where you can expect to find the best deals and when you should hold off.

What to score

Appliances: “Items such as cookware, refrigerators and vacuums are major products to save on,” says PromotionalCodes.com. “Due to newer refrigerator models being released at the beginning of summer, older models decrease in value.” According to DealNews.com, shoppers also can clean up on small appliances like vacuums. During Sears’ Memorial Day sale last year, “We saw a Dyson vacuum price low that wasn’t beaten for another five months,” DealNews says.

Car-related items: “Car owners can save a fortune on oil, batteries, parts and washing materials during Memorial Day weekend,” PromotionalCodes says. Expect service stores to lower costs on a ton of products. AutoZone offers discounts and deals constantly, but anticipate greater savings during the three-day weekend.

Clothes: NPD Group chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen says a slow first quarter will have clothing and shoe retailers slashing prices. If retailers follow the same playbook as they have for the past couple of years, DealNews predicts, “You can expect to see clearance apparel discounts of up to 80% off on average.” Specifically, DealNews says shoppers should be on the lookout for multiple-coupon deals for anywhere between an additional 15% to 40% off online and in Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney, and American Eagle stores.

Restaurant meals: Along with lots of clothes and home goods, CouponSherpa.com‘s Memorial Day round-up also includes several deals for savings, freebies and gift cards from a handful of big restaurant chains.

Tools: “Last year, we saw select tool brands marked up to 50% off at Lowe’s and Home Depot, knocking some hand tools down to just $5 each,” DealNews says, so if your plans for summer include doing some fix-ups around the house, this would be a good weekend to hit the hardware store.

What to skip

Grills and outdoor furniture: The experts are unanimous on this. If you want to barbecue, invite yourself over to a friend’s this weekend. “The worst buys are BBQ grills, patio sets and other summer outdoor items” says Kendal Perez, Coupon Sherpa’s deals expert. “We’re still at the beginning of the warm-weather season and these items are better priced near the end of the season, when retailers are eager to make room for fall seasonal merchandise.

Most electronics: “Memorial Day tends to be a relatively low key marketing event for electronics,” says Stephen Baker, consumer technology analyst at the NPD Group. Graduation and Father’s Day are more typical targets for retailers to push electronics, he says, so if you’re in the market for a PC, phone or tablet, it might be best to hold out a little longer. For Apple products, DealNews points out that Apple’s big developer conference comes up next month, so waiting until after that is usually a smarter move.

TIME marketing

Why McDonald’s Is Loving the Creepy New Mascot Everybody’s Bashing

McDonald’s doesn’t seem to mind that the masses have taken to Twitter to bash the new mascot, Happy, as creepy, even terrifying. The social media reaction probably makes McDonald’s, well, pretty happy.

The introduction of Happy as McDonald’s new “Happy Meal brand ambassador” was widely mocked in a dizzying number of one-liners on Twitter. “It’s the meal that eats you,” one much-re-Tweeted message read. The character, basically a Happy Meal come to life, with bug eyes, wiry arms and legs, and human-like teeth and tongue, was deemed to be the stuff of nightmares. By extension, so was the whole Happy campaign, the consensus seemed to declare.

From the get-go, though, McDonald’s didn’t seem to mind the criticism. In fact, the company relished the attention, responding with Happy Tweets of its own. One featured a handful of Happys at “Happy Headquarters” in front of a laptop, reading the social media comments. “Terrifying. Nightmarish. Cute?” the caption reads. “Someone things we’re CUTE!”

McDonald’s knows how this game is played, releasing a statement in response to the haters explaining, “Social media is a great place to have a conversation and express an opinion, but not all comments reflect the broader view.”

Some marketing pros agree. To many consumers out there, McDonald’s is not merely a brand, but “a piñata,” Steve Connelly, of the Boston ad agency Connelly Partners said via e-mail. There are plenty of people who will “keep bashing the hell out of them every chance you get because they stand for evil and making the nation fat. Sometimes I think if McDonald’s came up with a cure for cancer they would get bashed for it.”

As for the new character Happy, well, first of all, he (she? it?) isn’t really new. The mascot was introduced in France in 2009, has been featured in tons of TV commercials abroad, where, presumably, children aren’t awake all night out of fear of being eaten by a Happy Meal.

“It’s a box with a smiley face on it…geez,” said Connelly. As for the legions taking shots at McDonald’s and Happy? “People have too much time on their hands.”

Most importantly, as the BurgerBusiness blog first pointed out, McDonald’s appears to be having the last laugh, because “Happy” has been a huge hit in terms of drawing attention in the U.S. According to the research firm Kontera, the introduction of Happy hiked McDonald’s overall online/social media impressions by 67% from May 17-18 to May 19-20, and an impressive 25% of the content over May19-20 was related to Happy. Another 11% had to do with Happy Meals.

McDonald’s would probably prefer glowing praise to mockery, but it’ll take the latter over apathy and being ignored in the chaotic, noisy news marketplace any day. “Every time someone trolls the new mascot,” USA Today explained, referring to Kontera’s data, “they’re basically giving McDonald’s free advertising.”

TIME Companies

Tabasco Company Introduces Its Own Sriracha

The problem with creating an incredibly popular product is that your success will eventually attract competitors. And sometimes those competitors will pounce precisely when you’re at your weakest.

Such is the case with Sriracha hot sauce maker Huy Fong Foods, which is locked in a battle with local officials in Irwindale, California over noxious chili odors allegedly emanating from its new factory there. There’s a lawsuit in the courts and even the possibility the factory could be declared a public nuisance, which could force it to shut down or relocate. It’s been a dark few months for a company that started as a humble small business in 1980 before growing into a food manufacturing powerhouse which, according to owner David Tran, generated $80 million in revenue in 2013.

Amidst the turmoil in Irwindale and the specter of Sriracha sauce disappearing from supermarket shelves, the company behind the ubiquitous Tabasco sauce has unveiled its own Sriracha Thai chili sauce that’s now for sale on the company’s website. Businessweek hinted this might happen in a story last year; New York magazine confirms the news today.

The move by the Louisiana-based McIlhenny Co. should come as no surprise given the explosive popularity of Huy Fong Foods’ Sriracha, which has spawned a cottage industry of “Rooster Sauce”-related offshoots ranging from a cookbook to a food festival to iPhone cases. While Tran legally protected the Rooster Sauce look — with its clear bottle, white print and distinctive green top — he couldn’t trademark the Sriracha name because it’s derived from a city in Thailand, according to the L.A. Times, making it possible for competitors like McIlhenny to pounce.

What’s doubly troubling for Tran is that he opened his new Irwindale factory precisely because demand for his Sriracha sauce had increased so dramatically. But that decision has only invited more business complications and an opening for others to capture market share.

“They know there’s going to be a sustainable demand and they’re gearing up for it, so they become the known brand,” says Darren Tristano, a food industry consultant with the firm Technomic.

This is not the first time a competitor has treated to compete with Huy Fong Foods. Trader Joe’s also sells a Sriracha sauce, and several other food brands have introduced Sriracha-flavored products, including Subway.

But the threat from McIlhenny seems most potent: Tabasco, which is found on restaurant tables across the country, is the number-one selling hot sauce on the American market.

What may determine the final winner in the court of consumer opinion is price. A 17-ounce bottle of Sriracha costs around $3-$4 in most supermarket, about half the cost of McIlhenny’s product. But the competition is just beginning, and there’s no guarantee Huy Fong Foods will win out in the end.

“They have a following and know it’s based on the logo and the shape of the bottle,” says Tristano. “They have strength and the opportunity to grow, but it doesn’t mean a competitor won’t come in and try to do a lower price point.”

TIME Companies

HP’s Massive Layoffs Are Doing Wonders for Its Stock Price

Thursday Hewlett-Packard announced that it plans to cut an additional 11,000 to 16,000 jobs as part of its restructuring, and Wall Street reacted with glee. The company’s stock is up more than 6 percent on Friday, trading at nearly $34 per share as of 12:30 p.m Eastern. If the stock can stay at its current price all day, it will be the highest close for HP stock since 2011.

A layoff announcement is said to be an easy way to goose a company’s stock price since it’s a sign that a firm will be lowering expenses (read: employees) in the future. That logic seems to have held true for HP, but it’s not always the case. When Cisco announced it was laying off 4,000 employees back in August, the company’s stock tumbled 10 percent in after-hours trading. On the other hand, when Citigroup said it was eliminating 11,000 jobs back in the fall of 2012, the company’s stock leapt 5 percent.

It’s not clear exactly why investors have responded to well to HP’s announcement. The company posted earnings that met but did not exceed analysts’ expectations, while it still faces significant headwinds due to declining PC sales and a shift by businesses toward cloud computing, where the company is not yet a significant player. But HP still generates significant profits, making $1.3 billion in the most recent quarter. Those earnings may rise with a leaner workforce.

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