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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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The Top Ten Bizarre Business Stories of 2009

The Shoestring Venture blog is celebrating its first birthday! We have gone from zero to thousands of readers and had a walloping good time getting there. In celebration, for the next couple weeks we’re going to get all nostalgic on you and highlight some of the highlights over the last year — the most popular, [...]

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The Roundup September 28

The Roundup September 28

Maybe the Chinese can build an environmentally friendly Hummer, a “bold chihuahua,” maybe . . .” Even the Chinese hate Hummers The Hummer brand, however, could be on the road to extinction if GM cannot soon finish a deal with China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, the only bidder for the controversial brand. . . [...]

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The Roundup September 26 & 27 Madmen really are mad

The Roundup September 26 & 27 Madmen really are mad

Who not to invite to your Windows 7 party. It’s been a pretty sad week in marketing, from the “AIDS is like sleeping with Hitler” commercial in Germany to Carly Fiorina comparing herself to a dog in, well, Carlyfornia. So, in honor of all the hard-working marketers and ad-men who daily struggle against looking like [...]

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The Roundup September 22

Just in time, it seems, for our Shoestring Venture Apps Business Bible Intel, hoping to emulate the success of Apple’s App Store, is leading an initiative that would encourage developers to sell applications for netbooks, PCs and other devices powered by its chips. . . . Mr Otellini said Intel’s goal was for developers to [...]

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The Roundup September 21

The Roundup September 21

Netflix’ recommendation engine says, “People who liked Hostel also really liked The Great Chipmunk Adventure!” Netflix shows the world how crowdsourcing is REALLY done. Netflix, the movie rental company, announced on Monday that a seven-man team was the winner of its closely watched three-year contest to improve its Web site’s movie recommendation system. That was [...]

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The Roundup September 16

Dreamweaver becomes Dreamcounter and Acrobat Reader becomes Acrobat Number Cruncher. It may not be hot, but it’s cool. Adobe will acquire Web analytics software firm Omniture for $1.8 billion later this year, the companies announced on September 15. As a result, Omniture’s analytic software will be embedded in Adobe’s content-creation tools. . . . Omniture [...]

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The Roundup September 15

Shop till you drop comes back in fashion! US retail sales climbed at the fastest rate in more than three years last month as the popular “cash for clunkers” car rebate programme succeeded in spurring a broader revival in consumer demand, official figures showed on Tuesday. Seriously, when you take out all the people taking [...]

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The Roundup September 10

The Roundup September 10

Startup success comes from many things, but NEVER from wasting time watching garbage on TV. I’m not a businessperson in real life, but I play one on TV! Kevin O’Leary stars on ABC’s new business reality show Shark Tank as one of five executives who vet business ideas pitched by would-be entrepreneurs. O’Leary often delivers [...]

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The Roundup September 9

The Roundup September 9

Rest in peace. It was good having you around. It’s better having you gone. Of course, with credit card rates pushing 30% and credit card companies acting more and more like looters than lenders, the contraction of consumer credit not only makes sense, it’s more like an inexorable law of the physical universe. Credit card [...]

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The Roundup September 8

The Roundup September 8

We’re off to see Netflix. This will be either the marketing coup of the year or the server crash of the century. Anyone with a computer and Internet connection can be off to see “The Wizard of Oz” for free next month, courtesy of Netflix’s movie-streaming service. The free showings will be available throughout the [...]

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The Roundup August 27

The Roundup August 27

For Governor Schwarzenegger, it turns out to be bad luck that this was the year Craig’s List started cracking down on prostitution ads. Just when California state government needed the money most! And for a limited time only on eBay and Craig’s List . . . the state of California! In his latest effort to [...]

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The Roundup August 26

The Roundup August 26

Senator Ted Kennedy (1932-2009) “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” William Shakespeare

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The Roundup August 24

The Roundup August 24

I’m thinking we shoulda’ called it The Micro-Startup Bible, since that’s the new VC fashion. Venture capitalists learn a new fashion — micro-startups. Kind of like a shoestring venture, no? Two dozen companies displayed their wares on Wednesday in brief talks that are the graduation ceremony at Y Combinator, which invests up to $20,000 in [...]

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The Roundup August 21

And in genuinely good news for the economy . . . Sales of previously owned single-family homes were up 7.2% compared with June and 5% from July 2008, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Friday. The monthly gain was the largest on record for existing-home sales, which NAR has tracked since 1999. (“http://money.cnn.com/2009/08/21/real_estate/home_sales_rise_in_July/index.htm?postversion=2009082114,” CNN [...]

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The Roundup August 17

It may not be “business,” but it’s not like there’s any news on Fox News, either. The News Corporation needs television viewers to find the Fox Business Network, and it thinks the cowboy-hat-wearing radio host Don Imus could help. . . . So far the upstart’s audience is measly. Nielsen Media Research estimates that in [...]

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The Roundup August 12

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The Roundup August 11

You don’t become a billionaire by thinking “free” is a great way to make money. “Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting,” Murdoch said during a call with analysts and reporters. The Wall Street Journal, which he owns, is one [...]

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The Roundup August 10

The Roundup August 10

Buy it now! (Don’t see it, don’t drive it, don’t kick the tires, just click and it’s yours!) This isn’t the GM your father knew. About 225 of California’s 250 GM dealers are set to take part in the program. They will be selling Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac vehicles on cobranded Web sites through [...]

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The Roundup August 7

Further proof that the jobs economy is slowly being replaced by a post-employment economy. For the first time since the Depression, the American economy has added virtually no jobs in the private sector over a 10-year period. . . .For the decade, there was a net gain of 121,000 private sector jobs, according to the [...]

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