Archive | November, 2009

LinkedIn opens its API

LinkedIn opens its API

The “In” part is now open. LinkedIn has joined the rising tide — or should I call it incipient tsunami — of social networking sites with an API open for developers (an API, if you’re sick and tired of computer industry acronyms, is an “application programming interface” that allows other software to interact with that [...]

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The bad news about notebook computers

The bad news about notebook computers

Asus wins as the most reliable notebook computer. Guess which brand came in dead last — by a mile? Our book has a fairly substantial discussion of the pros and cons of notebooks versus desktop computers. You just can’t beat the portability of a notebook, but you can add “more likely to break down” to [...]

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The good news about Outlook

The good news about Outlook

Considering how buggy and incomplete Microsoft final software releases are (think Vista), I wouldn’t want to find out what Microsoft actually considers a beta version to be. Microsoft today released a public beta of Outlook 2010 that includes heavy integration with social network sites with its new Outlook Social Connector. The feature will allow you [...]

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A Goldman Sachs bonus for small businesses

A Goldman Sachs bonus for small businesses

It’s been a great recession for Wall Street and a truly sucky one for Main Street. It sounds, I swear, like an Onion headline — in fact, when I read it, I scanned upwards to make sure the date didn’t read April 1. Goldman Sachs’ president, Lloyd Blankenfein, announced today that it’s sorry for all [...]

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Chew on this . . .

Amateurs measure potential while professionals measure risk. Steve Cohen, SAC Capital Advisors As someone who’s spent more than a decade with start-up entrepreneurs and almost a decade with that peculiarly deluded brand of entrepreneurs called “filmmakers,” I’ve never quite figured out what the right mix of starry-eyed optimism and hard-headed realism bumps ups the odds [...]

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In today’s super-entrepreneur category . . .

In today’s super-entrepreneur category . . .

Buy this album and they’ll include a song written just for you. Ezra Furman, leader of the band Harpoons, is offering to “personalize” each and every copy they sell of their third album, Moon Face: Bootlegs and Road Recordings 2006-2009. And I don’t mean that Ezra and his folk-rock meistersingers will sign each CD with [...]

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California’s number two export to China is . . .

California’s number two export to China is . . .

We still make trash better than anyone else on the planet. Trash. Clusterstock reports that California is the number one exporter to China with, natch, computers and tech leading the charge at $3.3 billion, but with good old plain American garbage as a close second at a whopping $2.3 billion. California, as we all know, [...]

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Why shouldn’t your barcode be cool?

Why shouldn’t your barcode be cool?

Sheer, complete, unadulterated brilliance. Make the barcode an element of branding and design! I’ve designed dozens of packages from toys to food and, I must admit, it never occurred to me that the barcode could be a cool part of the packaging. You pay for the damn thing, you download the image, and you paste [...]

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The small business recession continues . . .

The small business recession continues . . .

What recovery? Making the rounds below the radar are the November 11 comments from the ever-wise Jan Hatzius, senior economist at Goldman Sachs, about how the current “recovery” statistics don’t include much of the small business picture, particularly small businesses shutting down. Today’s comment attempts to gauge whether the recent official estimates might have overstated [...]

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The spreadsheet formulas every entrepreneur should know, part four: Net Present Value

The spreadsheet formulas every entrepreneur should know, part four: Net Present Value

The Series Introduction 1.) Internal Rate of Return 1a.) Modified Internal Rate of Return 2.) Net present value 3.) Payback 4.) Average 5.) Standard deviation Bonus!) Excel Solver Since we are tightly focusing on the needs of entrepreneurs rather than standard small business owners, of necessity our epic series on spreadsheet formulas has been ushered [...]

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Chew on this — Russell Buckley edition!

While it was just and proper to ferret out the best quote from Omar Harmoui after the phenomenal announcement of the $750 million sale of his three-year old startup, we did slight Russell Buckley, the other genius behind the AdMob phenomena. So I did some digging and, lo and behold, this gem rose to the [...]

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The Small Business Advocate — Encore Performance!

Find interviews with Small Business experts on the Small Business Advocate show Back in August, I had the great honor to be a guest on Jim Blasingame’s Small Business Advocate Show — heard on 40 radio stations nationwide. And, in my humble opinion, one of the most sophisticated Web presences in radio. To my great [...]

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The 3rd-Generation Environmental Consumer, Part One

The 3rd-Generation Environmental Consumer, Part One

The 3-G Environmental Consumer The Series 1) Who are they? 2) What are they like? 3) How do they think? In a recent post, I noted that Summit Spring’s new product, “Raw Water,” was a brilliant new product that really isn’t all that new. Since “Raw Water” is simply untreated spring water, you could say [...]

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Chew on this — Omar Harmoui edition!

In celebration of Omar Harmoui’s day in the sun — Google just acquired his three-year old company, AdMob, for $750 million in Google stock (total venture capital investment: $50 million) — we dedicate this chew-on-this moment to my favorite Omar Harmoui quote: If you are a person with a laptop and an idea, don’t worry [...]

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What does Google’s acquisition of AdMob mean for small business?

What does Google’s acquisition of AdMob mean for small business?

You may not have heard of them yesterday, but your online marketing is about to get a lot easier. Google continues gobbling up the online advertising world, today by taking a huge helping from the mobile advertising buffet table

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In the “I wish I thought of that” department . . .

In the “I wish I thought of that” department . . .

Dry-clean only. Seriously. You’ll probably cause a black-out in your neighborhood if you don’t. A playable electric guitar t-shirt. Now here’s a product so brilliant that I would never have imagined it in a million years. That’s no ordinary guitar silk-screened on to an overstock Fruit-of-the-Loom t-shirt. You plug it into an amp (no joke) [...]

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Prof. Mark Cannice on venture capital prospects

Prof. Mark Cannice on venture capital prospects

He’s the genius behind the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index. Professor Mark Cannice, the director of the University of San Francisco’s Entrepreneurship program, is probably well-known to you as the founder and primary researcher behind the quarterly Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index (if, that is, you read rags like the Wall Street Journal [...]

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When a brilliant product idea marries a bad package design

When a brilliant product idea marries a bad package design

I did not make this picture up. Some designer and ad agency thought it was a good idea to make “raw water” look caca brown like this. In today’s “I wish I thought of that department,” we present for your amusement and bemusement . . . raw water. At a premium price, no less. What, [...]

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Posted in design, seriously dumb1 Comment

In the “I wish I thought of that” department . . .

In the “I wish I thought of that” department . . .

Fifteen years ago, I figured out I could clean my keyboard with Play-Doh. Why, oh, why didn’t I add antiseptic, a huge dose of day-glo jimmy juice, and then patent the damn thing?! Looking a bit like a irradiated version of BOB the blob from Monsters Vs. Aliens, this gob of gook is one of [...]

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Why movie trailers are not like Goldman Sachs

Why movie trailers are not like Goldman Sachs

Don LaFontaine 1940-2008 One of the best business journalists on the scene today is Megan McArdle, in large part because she truly gets business in a way that most of her colleagues don’t. In recently published, intriguing article on how Wall Street always lands on its feet in a pile of money, McArdle compared investment [...]

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