Dr. Philip Kotler defines marketing as "the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential."

For over 70 years the marketing of one fruit made it increasingly ever-present, to the point of it feeling rammed down our throats. The Red Delicious, in American consciousness represents the quintessential apple. It's the one you see one the teachers desk, the one in every students lunchbox. It is also know as the official compost food. Because as aesthetically pleasing as it is to the eye, one bite reminds you that what you really want is one of those crispy golden apples instead.

So how is it that they keep selling, and we keep buying this good awful thing? Well actually we're getting hip to the game and production of the gorgeous monstrosity is finally on the decline but still, how did we ever let it get this far?


Our story starts rather innocently, with few traces of capitalism involved. Jesse Hiatt, an Iowa farmer came across a mutant seedling that refused to die. Year by year he chopped it down and year by year it grew back, so finally he let nature bear its course. It did and what resulted was a thing of beauty - read with yellow stripping - it had a strong beautiful skin and sweet delicious meat inside. Hiatt named it "Hawkeye" in Iowa tradition and boasted of the mutated beauty he'd cultivated. He entered into a contest in Louisiana, Missouri, hosted by Stark Nurseries. The Stark brothers ran the nursery and were looking to a replacement apple for the "Ben Davis" which was the apple of the day at that time. The "Hawkeye" won, the Stark brothers purchased it and initially named it simply "Delicious". Yes apparently at that time, the fruit still tasted good, but we'll get to how its not even good enough to be made into a candy apple now later.


The "Ben Davis"


In 1923 a farmer reported back to Stark Nurseries that a strange and beautiful mutation had occurred on one of his seedlings, producing a magnificent and ll crimson apple tree. Instantly wildly popular people flocked from all over to gawk at and devour this new rare beaut of a fruit.

Stark capitalized off of this combined with another popular seedling the bore - the "Golden Delicious" - and rebranded their new apple as the "Red Delicious". They went on what would equate today to a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, and even went as far as to railroad out seedlings cross country.



As growers rushed to mimic this brilliant looking mutation they we encountered by mother natures own glorious randomness that produced the red beauty in the first place. This led grower's to adopting new methods to control the process. They would graft branches to to get the desirable traits their were after. A Life of Apples wrote: "This has allowed growers and breeders to choose mutations that may be redder or more 'perfectly' shaped, constantly moving the Red Delicious closer to an ever-changing ideal of a perfect apple, and further from what Jesse Hiatt first bit into on an October day in 1872." They also began manipulating the fruit to make it easier to be mass produced and stored for longer. This led to stronger tougher skin the hid the blemishes and impurities. That's why so often you bite into what looks like a gorgeous apple only to find yourself having been duped by your eyes.

And the thing is, for a long time, we just went with it. They keep making it redder and prettier, and making more and more of them, and we just kept on taking that first bite, and then throwing them away. But as our taste buds have caught on sales for the Red Delicious have declined. While many of us remember the bailouts of the bank and the auto industry, less known is the time President Clinton bailed out the apple industry. And while the Red Delicious is still massively overproduced, we're starting to ship them overseas now, to places where people have no idea what apples are supposed to taste like. Meanwhile in America we've been back out on the market, flirting with Galas and Fujis, and Grannysmith's.

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I thought I had a pretty good handle on my finances out of school. I worked several jobs while attending university and had little to no problem managing my income. However, once I graduated, I realized how much more complicated personal accounting could really be.

There were so many variables I needed to keep track of. Biweekly bills, monthly charges, and general necessities amounted to a heap of confusing numbers that were often impossible to decipher. The funniest part was that I was actually trying to do this by hand (I don't know what I was trying to prove to myself, either).

After messing up for the 17th time, I decided to give Microsoft Excel a shot. I used Excel a bit in school and I knew all the big-wig finance people used it, so what could I possibly have to lose? The answer is about six hours of my precious time. Excel isn't much of an improvement over handwriting and it's still dependent on the user to manually input all of the information. It's like doing everything by hand with the slightest help, meaning that it still required a tremendous amount of time and concentration. Well that was all for nothing, I guess.

It's sort of funny. I was certain that I could manage my personal finances with ease, when it's practically a full-time job. I was already stressed out enough with my first job and I knew I didn't have enough time to give my finances the attention it deserved.

That's why I decided to try out a budgeting app. My best friend told me that he uses an app called Truebill to manage his finances. "What does it even mean to manage your finances?" I asked him. He told me that Truebill was the personal financial assistant I wished I could have. It could aggregate all of my account information into one place and give me specific insights and actions.

I loved the idea of having full control over my finances, especially during a time of financial uncertainty, and I realized that Truebill would be the easiest way to accomplish this. The user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so it doesn't even feel like a finance app! Truebill offers a multitude of features, with their most popular being the ability to cancel subscriptions with the press of a button.

Okay, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was still subscribed to. In fact, I wasn't even using a quarter of the subscription services I was signed up for. Subscription boxes, streaming services, my old gym, and even an old subscription to my favorite magazine--it was all there and I was livid. How could I let myself waste all of this money and how did I never catch this? Thank goodness for Truebill.

Truebill also offers bill negotiations. There is a 40% fee based on how much you save and Truebill even claims that there is an 85% chance that they'll be able to lower your bill once a negotiation is requested. Why wouldn't I take them up on this? There was zero risk and I would only have to pay once my bill was lowered (which means that I would be saving money regardless).

More standard features of Truebill include the ability to generate a credit report on-demand and even request a pay advance. I only used the pay advance feature once when I wanted to buy a gift for my mom, but didn't have enough cash in hand and Truebill automatically reimbursed itself when I got my next paycheck.

The credit report is another fantastic feature and practically taught me what good credit meant. Truebill's credit report basically shows you which financial decisions have the most significant impact on your credit score and ways that you can improve your credit month-over-month. I've never had such control over my credit and it feels good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was extremely naive coming out of school. I figured that as long as I was attentive, I could manage my finances with ease. We manage money to some extent throughout our entire lives, but once you're thrown out on your own, it's a completely different story. With Truebill, I've finally been able to take control over my finances and stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

Update: Our friends at Truebill are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to sign-up for Truebill.