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8 Things You Need to Know Today

A roundup of the day's news curated by the Inc. editorial team to help you and your business succeed.
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1. CEO Swaps

Microsoft stock surged 4 percent to $39.54 yesterday, its highest level since the Dotcom bust 14 years ago. Definitely a long lesson on how to endure tech trends, and why making changes at the top can be a good thing.--CNN Money

2. Competitive Research

Too often, sales that your company ostensibly has sealed up get scotched by people who are connected to your would-be customer but whom you don't know. Marketing consultant John Jantsch explains how to use social media to get a wider view of the "buyer's world" and find out who all the stakeholders are that could potentially kill a deal.--Duct Tape Marketing

3. Attention, Small-Cap Stocks

Via a blog post by partner Scott Kupor, venture firm Andreessen Horowitz seems to be supporting the SEC's plans to widen the "tick size" at which small-cap stocks could trade. Small-cap share prices would adjust at every 2.5 cents, not every penny, as they do now. Advocates argue the change would bring more liquidity to the small-cap market (companies with a market cap of less than $750 million); large retail brokers are against it, saying it raises costs for retail investors.--Andreessen Horowitz blog

4. Ethical Quandaries

mSpy, a new mobile software company that tracks and logs every call, message, and location once installed on a smartphone, markets its service for parents and employers who can legally track their kids or employees without their consent. Although the company has a disclaimer about how to use it legally, CNET points out how, say, a jealous lover might use the software illegally to spy without being detected. Ethics question of the day: Are companies responsible when they offer services to customers that can be used to break the law?--CNET

5. RIP, R&D

Google invests heavily in fundamental research but does so without having any sort of unified research lab. Here's what you can learn from Google's process of embedding researchers into core business--and how it encourages creativity from other workers, too.--MIT Technology Review

6. Cheap, but Effective

Take a guerrilla marketing cue from the recent college grads behind Everdream Pictures, a digital content studio that made a demo commercial for Tesla, which has since gone viral. The video, which cost the team just $1,500 to make, has earned Everdream tons of exposure, including a tweet from Tesla's own Elon Musk, who says he hopes to collaborate with Everdream in the future.--Adweek

7. So Much for Stealth Mode

Clinkle was meant to be the mother of all mobile payment startups, but bad press and layoffs got in the way. Now news has emerged about what they've been building: a money-swapping app with a social component, which sounds a whole lot like Square. It goes to show that if your product isn't so novel, then stealth mode might put users off.--Recode 

8. Much More Than Hype

According to a new report from CB Insights, investors dropped $1.1 billion total into connected hardware startups (collectively known as the Internet of Things) in 2013. The report showed there were 153 deals total, with deal activity increasing every quarter last year. Looks like the Internet of Things is here to stay.--Pando

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described mSpy's target market. The company markets its products to parents and businesses.

Last updated: Mar 19, 2014

LINDSAY BLAKELY | Staff Writer | Senior Editor, Inc.

Lindsay Blakely is a senior editor at Inc., based in Los Angeles.




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