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7 Things You Need to Know Today

A roundup of the day's news that can help you and your business succeed.

1. Alternative Loans

Several companies are now offering loans to small businesses with rates that fall between those of bank loans and those of the cash advance-like instruments offered by alternative lenders such as Kabbage. If you're a "midprime" company in need of credit, it may be worth considering Dealstruck, Fundation, or Funding Circle.--New York Times

2. Beware the Bots

Advertising company Solve Media reports that bot traffic on mobile devices has gone way up: It now accounts for almost 61 percent of traffic on Solve's network. Bots may sound like a convenient way to make up for real, human traffic to your site but beware: They'll create a false impression of how your marketing campaigns are really doing.--TechCrunch

3. SXSW Guide

The 21st annual South by Southwest festival starts Friday, and the five-day tech bonanza will feature a smorgasbord of high-profile speakers (including Edward Snowden, Ben Horowitz, and Sophia Amorouso). If you don't have time to comb through the 800 sessions to find out what to watch, here's a handy tip sheet.--Inc

4. Update on the Great Telecommuting Debate

Almost a year after CEO Marissa Mayer ordered all Yahoo employees back into the offices--a decision that spurned much criticism--the company's CFO says Yahoo's morale is higher than it has been in a long, long time. The lesson here isn't one in the virtues of office or remote work, but rather a reminder that major decisions require proper time before judgment can be passed.--Quartz

5. March Madness

During the NCAA basketball tournament, companies that allow employees to celebrate March Madness at work may emerge as the real winners, a new OfficeTeam survey suggests. Thirty-two percent of senior managers interviewed said activities tied to the college basketball playoffs boost morale, and 27 percent felt March Madness has a positive impact on worker productivity.--OfficeTeam

6. Sleeping on the Job

We've rounded up the benefits of napping before, but did you know that Winston Churchill took a short nap everyday? If Churchill can beat Hitler without compromising his sleep, you can take a break, too. Plus: New research shows caffeine doesn't work that well.--Washington Post

7. SpaceX and Taxes

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk testified before the U.S. Senate Wednesday, arguing that United Launch Alliance (ULA), a private company that has a non-compete contract with the U.S. government for 36 space launches, has a monopoly and is inflating costs. Why you should care? Musk claims that if competition was introduced to the EELV Program, SpaceX could save taxpayers $280 million per launch.--SpaceX


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