Archive | happenings

This week’s Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That department . . .

In our belief that the only thing separating you from a rocketing start-up is the simply the right idea at the right time, we here at Shoestring Venture will once a week highlight a few of the wackiest and wonderfullest boy-I-wish-I-thought-of-that business ideas. There’s no more excuses, folks. If these guys can think this stuff [...]

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Fat Decisions Part Two: You’re Screwed

If there is a science to business, it is the science of making the right decisions. Not good or bad decisions, in the sense of well-made or poorly-made decisions. But the right decisions. Make the right decision poorly (Mars was retrograde and Linus was in the house of Leo, so I shorted Toyota to the [...]

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A Round of Appaws for Dazzle Dog Delight!

Entrepreneur Joy Randel has always had a passion for animals. While her “day job” for many years was to manage large-scale web development projects for many different companies, when she returned home each evening it was the family dog that was the star of the show … and the star of their lives. When the [...]

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Margins count!

Margins count!

The only thing better than losing money is . . . losing other people’s money! During the dot com days, I misspent my middle age at a marketing communications firm that kept the lights on servicing a passel of dot com dreamers, drudges, and outright phonies. They were, I admit, all well-funded startup phonies, but [...]

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Financial strategy — the most important, and most overlooked, business strategy

Financial strategy — the most important, and most overlooked, business strategy

“It may look like a movie, but I see dollars, dollars, dollars.” Let’s start with a bit of word association. When I say the word “Miramax,” what immediately comes to mind? You might say, “great movies,” or “Cinema Paradiso,” “Shakespeare in Love,” or “Harvey Weinstein.” All of these are fine, but for someone on the [...]

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Malcom Gladwell lays down the laws of entrepreneurship . . .

Malcom Gladwell lays down the laws of entrepreneurship . . .

Malcom Gladwell explains the puzzling failure of Bill Gates and his promising startup company. Malcom Gladwell has in the last few years become one of the favorite “elevator” intellectuals in the world of business and entrepreneurship. If you’ve ever been involved in a start-up, you’re intimately familiar with the “elevator speech,” the 30 second “kernel [...]

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Seven business tips for upgrading your computer

Seven business tips for upgrading your computer

New, new new! No, no, no! Probably the most convenient aspect of blogging is that topics come knocking at your door, instead of the often-agonizing search for relevant topics when you’re on the hook for magazine or newspaper articles. And this week’s topic came a rapping at my door a week ago when my brand [...]

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Number 10: The first rule of Fight Club is . . .

Number 10: The first rule of Fight Club is . . .

At the Church of Scientology, every disciplinary write-up is proceeded by a knock-down. . . . you do not talk about fight club. The Shoestring Venture first anniversary retrospective of Top Ten Bizarre Business Stories of 2009 begins, appropriately enough, with a manager that makes your boss look wonderful. Really. Tell me about the worst [...]

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If running a business is a marathon . . .

. . . have you ever wondered what a marathon is like? Come on, you know you’ve heard the expression a thousand times. “Running a business” or “starting a business” “is a marathon, not a sprint.” And you nod your head in agreement as if somebody has actually said something sensible. But outside of the [...]

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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 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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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 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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Small biz loans: Is it really Wells Fargo or nothing?

Small biz loans: Is it really Wells Fargo or nothing?

In the SBA’s new 0-2(b) loan program, eligible small business owners are given a Big Gulp cup, a sheet of cardboard, and a magic marker. Now that CIT has filed for bankruptcy, who’s filling the void that they leave in small business and supply chain financing, since they were the top dogs in both until [...]

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In genuinely bad news for self-published authors . . .

Amazon, WalMart, and Target are in a book price war, further commodifying and cheapening the value of published books. WalMart started the war by offering ten upcoming bestsellers — including highly-anticipated tomes by Sarah Palin and Michael Crichton — at the incredibly low price of $10 each for pre-orders. Amazon responded by dropping the price [...]

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MySpace gives up

MySpace, which has been steadily losing ground to Facebook over the last year like a cartoon character that’s run off a cliff, has just announced today that it’s strategy against its fierce and formidable competitor is . . . to give up. As reported in today’s Financial Times, CEO Owen Van Natta has decided that [...]

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So how will balloon boy’s parents be punished?

The Heene’s have aptly lived up to their name as one of the heinous parents in the TV amusement park 15-minute celebrity ride. But as prosecutors begin to mull over possible criminal charges, what can the Heenes expect by looking at others who have also taken a whirligig spin on the same 15-minute celebrity ride? [...]

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Statistically, 5% of all survey respondents are stupid . . .

It is a well-established fact among statisticians, pollers, and market researchers that somewhere around 5% of all survey responders are, in fact, stupid. I kid you not. I learned that statistic in my first marketing research class, my second marketing research class, four more statistics classes, and a consumer behavior class. That’s seven different professors [...]

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