Arianna and Om go a bloggin'. Farhad Manjoo at Slate talks to half a dozen of his favorite bloggers and borrows the best tips from HuffPo's new guide to blogging (including advice from Arianna Huffington and Om Malick). Now you're all set to check blogging off your New Year's resolutions. Maybe we should forward this link to Scoble.
Robert Scoble's cry for help. By Michael Arrington's calculation Robert Scoble has spent 2,555 hours this year (that's 555 hours more than your average full-time job) reading and writing messages on Twitter and Friendfeed. He may have boosted those companies' valuations, but his blogging and assorted punditry have sufferd. "It's time for an intervention. "
Joel Spolsky redesigns. Inc.'s columnist and the host of the popular blog Joel on Software has decided to give his eight-year-old site a new look. What will you find there now? Glossy pictures from Fog Creek Software, many lists of related content that Joel has personally curated, and his e-mail address attached to the bottom of every page (a throwback to the early days of the web.) To read Joel's explanation of various design elements, click here.
Strengthening dollar causes small companies to scramble. Earlier this year, the weak U.S. dollar earlier gave even small companies entree into in overseas hot spots like Dubai or Russia. But in recent weeks, with the dollar's rise against major U.S. currencies, those foreign companies are no longer buying. Small businesses that looked to emerging markets to boost slow domestic sales are now floundering in wait-and-see mode, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Hold Steady. Tempted to cut prices? Wharton marketing professor Eric Bradlow has a podcast at Knowledge@Wharton in which he breaks down the top marketing mistakes companies make during a downturn (Via the Amex OPEN Forum).
Credit crunch hastens China's assent to the top. Ernst & Young's ITEM Club says China will be the biggest economy in the world by 2019, instead of 2025-2030 as forecasters had been predictment. Geez, thanks a lot, credit crunch.
A baby bubble bust? The Chicago Tribune speculates that fewer couples will decide to have children if the recession proves to be long and severe, changing consumer buying habits and demand in industries ranging from retail to packaged foods. (Via Politico's Playbook.)
Viral marketing is not free. The folks at Marketing Sherpa tackle the question of the return on investment one gets from a viral marketing campaign. The conclusion: viral campaigns can produce a great ROI but they are never as cheap as you think—and you should approach a viral campaign with realistic expectations in terms of costs. Bonus tip: the same thinking obtains for house e-mail marketing campaigns.
Franchises are flat. Out of the University of New Hampshire, there's word that franchises are out performing the S&P 500 in the third quarter of 2008. Ok, so outperforming may be putting it the wrong way: The S&P dropped 8 percent in the third quarter, whereas UNH's Rosenberg Center's Franchise 50 Index, dropped just .4 percent. The best performing franchise was Buffalo Wild Wings, which had a 62.3 percent increase in value.
Nicholas, Patron Saint of the Self-Employed. Santa Claus-as-entrepreneur by Jeremy Hanks, the founder the Orem, Utah-based drop shipping company Doba. The argument in a nutshell: killer technology, no competition, and an unbeatable workforce.