Goodbye to Fake Steve Jobs, and Why You Need a Business Plan
BY Ryan McCarthy
Hang up my Pajamas, says Fake Steve Jobs. Dan Lyons, the blogger who impersonated Steve Jobs with much hilarious success for two years, breaks down the economics of his blog and advises readers to give up their dreams of pajama-clad riches. During his busiest month he made just $1,040, and he gained 20 pounds over two years. Writes Lyons, "I also came away with a sneaking suspicion that while blogs can do many wonderful things, generating huge amounts of money isn't one of them." Valleywag suggests that Lyons isn't being entirely honest. After all, he did score a book deal and a new job at Newsweek, as a result of his blog. Meanwhile, Inc. isn't convinced by either explanation. We just think Lyons may have picked the wrong industry. Check out our list of companies you can start in your pajamas.
Unsurprising news of the day. The WSJ reports on a recent study from the The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy on the merits of having a formal business plan. From the sample of budding entrepreneurs they followed, those who formulated actual business plans prior to launching their companies had an easier time getting the early stages of their businesses rolling. Certainly not a revelation, but good advice nonetheless.
Bezos doing his best Jobs imitation. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is launching the new version of his digital book reader, the Kindle, right now. The first version of the device was criticized by some reviews, but went on to sell out this holiday season and developed a loyal following. For all the details, check out the live blogs:16 shades of gray!Stephen King is in the house!
The money is out there, just not where you think. Of course, Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York City are the traditional hotbeds of venture capital activity. But, the Washington Post has some heartening news from in Virginia. McClean-based Amplifier Ventures has started a mini-incubator called The Business Accelerator Program. Amplifier will select six start-ups, which will each receive $50,000, along with some valuable advice from investors and proven entrepreneurs. Nice to see that Y Combinator's model, which we first covered here, is catching on.
Eat your vegetables. Read your reports. That's advice from Zane Safrit, small business owner and blogger. Regular Reports, in this analogy, are basically your company's vitamins. Safrit's also got a list of the reports that have helped him along the way. For more on how numbers are your friend, see Norm Brodsky's latest Street Smarts column.
What's your H20 footprint? In November, we told the story of 11 entrepreneurs who are betting that water will soon become a trillion-dollar industry. At Fast Company, Anya Kamenetz mulls over a report from GreenBiz.com, and points out that that it's not just water scarcity that is driving large companies like Coca-cola, GE, IBM, and Frito-Lay to consider H20. Instead, large corportations are looking to closely monitor their water usage and ultimately become "water neutral."
A future for micropayments? Entrepreneurs have long tried to make the micropayment business model work. In Time magazine, Walter Issacson rather optimistically hopes that micropayments could help save the ailing newspaper industry. Issacson's long list of failures in the space include forgettable ventures like Flooz, Beenz, CyberCash, Bitpass, Peppercoin, and DigiCash. Salon's Tech Insider reports on Noca, a new micropayment service that skips credit cards altogether. They're testing out their idea now through two Facebook apps, OneClickPayand HelpYourWorld.
Corporate crooks still abound. A recent Business Week article indicates that corporate theft is on the rise. (The average cost to combat corporate malfeasance is seven percent of annual revenue, according to the article). In tough economic times, employees may feel more compelled to engage in activities like charging you for non-work related travel or meals.