A roundup of entrepreneurs making headlines this month, including Zappos's Tony Hsieh, Aretha Franklin, and Josh Freese of Devo
Twitter is looking for ways to make money. But one idea from Jason Calacanis didn't fly. The Web entrepreneur offered to pay $500,000 to reserve coveted real estate on the microblogging platform. "They turned me down," Calacanis says.'¦On March 6, a group of successful young entrepreneurs, including Zappos's Tony Hsieh,Threadless's Jake Nickell, and Mint.com's Aaron Patzer, flew to Washington, D.C., to discuss the economy with Obama administration officials. The White House gathering was "the first step in an ongoing relationship," says Elliott Bisnow, the 23-year-old co-founder of Washington, D.C.—based Bisnow Media, who organized the meeting.'¦Laugh Factory founder and owner Jamie Masada is petitioning Congress for $700,000 to fund a nationwide comedy tour he is calling an Economic Cheer-up. "Laughter gives people hope," Masada says, "and that's all we're trying to do."'¦Detroit's Mr. Song Millinery has been inundated with orders since Aretha Franklin performed at the Obama inauguration wearing one of the store's custom hats. But the company has had trouble securing the financing it needs to meet the huge surge in demand. "We're fortunate that we're growing triple our projections, but we can't get our bank to help," says Lillian Song, who runs the business with her brother Luke.'¦Josh Freese, the drummer for Devo, is marketing his new solo album with some novel premium perks. For $20,000, Freese will write two songs about you, give you a drum lesson or a foot massage, and take you mini golfing. He has had one taker.