Archive | July, 2009

The Roundup July 31

The Roundup July 31

They’re having a great recession on Wall Street! The big bonus was for scamming the Bush Administration. Nine banks that received government aid money paid out bonuses of nearly $33 billion last year — including more than $1 million apiece to nearly 5,000 employees — despite huge losses that plunged the U.S. into economic turmoil. [...]

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A beginners guide to free stock photos: Part One

A beginners guide to free stock photos: Part One

Normally a stock photo like this will cost you $50 (Web) to $200 (print). At Dreamstime it’s selling for the everyday low price of . . . free. Perhaps one of the most significant bummers of running a shoestring venture is that “free” is often the highest price you can swing. And in those rare [...]

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The Roundup July 30

The Roundup July 30

Hackers can get total control of your iPhone by sending you 512 text messages. All you have to do wrong is turn on the phone. Apple, welcome to Microsoft’s nightmare. Miller and his fellow cybersecurity researcher Collin Mulliner plan to publicize Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas. Using a flaw they’ve [...]

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Selling a business in a recession

I have always counseled every client I’ve dealt with that business planning, even from the start, needs to include how the business will close (this is equally true of business planning for individual products or brands). Perhaps because businesspeople are eternal optimists or because no-one wants to face mortality at birth, few have the good [...]

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The Roundup July 29

The Roundup July 29

Not only does it make a great tax, it’s pretty cool as a state flag, no? Nothing says “tax me” like a good joint. Oakland pot activists, fresh off a victory at local polls on the taxing of medical marijuana, took their first official step Tuesday toward asking California voters to legalize pot. A proposed [...]

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The Ten Business Rules of Email

It may be that as an overworked and often exhausted consultant and author, my patience sometimes wears a bit thin. Or it may be that small to godzilla-sized companies pay people like me big bucks for effective branding and marketing strategies. Whatever the reason, I almost always go nuclear when I see somebody screw up [...]

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The Roundup July 28

The Roundup July 28

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Remodelers are taking half what they did a year ago or selling their businesses at a significant loss. Just in case you thought it was a good idea to start a home remodeling business . . . (but it is a good idea to get your home [...]

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The Roundup July 27

The Roundup July 27

Popular Mechanics fancies up an Apple tablet prototype. Sounds like Apple is going to kill the Kindle, too. Apple is racing to offer a portable tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device is expected to be launched alongside new content [...]

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WrapMail Lite: fancy HTML emails at 5 bucks a month

WrapMail Lite: fancy HTML emails at 5 bucks a month

Everyone wants a pair of fancy duds, even on emails. We here at Shoestring Venture try out many services geared to small businesses and startups, and once in a great while, our staff trials result in a find which makes it into our book or our blog. One part of our book that we’re greatly [...]

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The Roundup July 25 & 26: A week of losers

The Roundup July 25 & 26: A week of losers

What this place needs is a good copy of Stephen Robbins . . . or a riot. Chen Guojun General manager of Jianlong Steel, about to acquire state-owned Tonghua Iron & Steel, gets some pretty hard sensitivity training by Tonghua employees for being high-handed, highly paid, and threatening to lay off everyone whose name is [...]

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The Roundup July 22

The Roundup July 22

Kindle (on the left) and B&N’s Plastic Logic ebook reader (right). An ebook reader you can actually READ? Who’d’ve thunk? The Kindle killer cometh. Barnes & Noble said that it will offer more than 700,000 titles, including more than 500,000 public domain books from Google Inc., and that it expects to be able to offer [...]

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Shoestring Venture now on iPhone!

Shoestring Venture now on iPhone!

One more great reason to buy an iPhone . . . Shoestring Venture blog! Woo-hoo! We have now made the Shoestring Venture blog available on iPhone! We’ve just installed, tested (on Steve’s iPhone), and deployed the WordPress plug-in here at the Shoestring Venture blog and we’re happy to say it’s a winner. Now, it’s not [...]

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One more reason “the mike is on” with social networking: Twedeleted

One more reason “the mike is on” with social networking: Twedeleted

Welcome to Twitter hell. In a previous post, I promulgated two rules for your business and personal use of social media networks and marketing. My number one rule: “the mike is always on.” If you don’t want to regret saying it, don’t say it. Just in case you weren’t convinced, along comes Tweleted, which went [...]

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Why CIT matters

Why CIT matters

Where the CIT failure will be felt first . . . In the grand guignol of faltering banks, CIT, which ranks 26th in size, seems little more than a sideshow in the wholesale slaughter of giants like Lehman, Bear Stearns, and WAMU. It’s imminent demise, despite its desperate, last minute loan of $3 billion, however, [...]

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The Roundup July 21

The Roundup July 21

I never really understood paying some two bucks per shot on film that faded in two months. But there are millions who love the concept. Polaroid’s loss is one entrepreneur’s gain. Taking notes? When the Polaroid film factory in the Dutch town of Enschede shut down in June 2008, it seemed to signal the end [...]

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The Roundup July 20

The Roundup July 20

I hear they’re hiring at CIT. The good news first? The bad news isn’t as bad as we thought. More plans to build homes, higher stock prices and fewer people filing first-time claims for jobless aid sent a private-sector forecast of American economic activity higher than expected in June. It was the third consecutive monthly [...]

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Must-learn lessons from the Twitter hack attack

Heading up business news this week was the hacker attack on Twitter, who made off with some 310 sensitive corporate documents. But the biggest news in this attack for the rest of us is how darn easy it was. In a must-read article on TechCrunch, Nik Cubrilovic interviewed the hacker and published a general outline [...]

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ABC Radio July 20 6:00 AM PST

Tune your radio to your local ABC Radio affiliate tomorrow, July 20! I’ll be a guest on It’s A New Day with Lori & Rich from 6:00 to 6:10 AM. My guess is that we’ll be talking about starting a shoestring venture in a downturn and, well, I think I’ve got that pretty wired. The [...]

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The Roundup July 18 & 19: The Week By The Numbers

The Roundup July 18 & 19: The Week By The Numbers

“Why, oh, why did I pick the BLUE pill?” Zero The amount of further bailout money the Obama Administration made available to CIT this week. CEO Jeff Peak first tried washing Presidential motorcade windshields, but has now taken to standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign. Face it, friends, everything’s over at CIT [...]

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The 3 Biggest Start-up Killers, Part Three: Bad Controls

Today we finish our three-part series on the hazards that kill start-ups. As entrepreneurs and consultants, Steve and I have had season tickets to the start-up demolition derby for many years. While we aren’t sages or gurus (no-one is), we’ve learned quite a few things up watching businesses go boom over the years. And the [...]

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