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This Small Idea Became a Huge Cultural Phenomenon—and All It Took Was a Little Courage

Frito-Lay’s beloved cheesy snack, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, is everywhere and has been for quite some time. The crunchier, spicier sister to the OG puffs have grown from being just a pass-around, finger-licking food item in first period to an undefeated pop-culture phenomenon. The brain behind the explosive invention is Richard Montañez, a Cucamonga-born janitor who spent his downtime learning the business in the mid-1980s, a Twitter user wrote about Montañez’s story. Eventually, his initiative landed him a meeting with Frito-Lay’s CEO, where he pitched a product inspired by Mexican elote that caters to Latinos. If you’ve ever tasted Flamin’ Hot Cheetos then you know how the story ends, but most importantly, Montañez became a VP and amassed a $20 million fortune. 5) Richard made it his mission to be the best janitor Frito-Lay had ever seen. He spent his off-time learning about the company's products, manufacturing, marketing and more. He even asked salesmen to tag along and watch them...

Dec 29, 2020