No such thing as a free lunch, especially these days. The New York Times discusses the changing dynamics of corporate lunches. The recession has forced many employees to reign in their expense accounts as companies cut back on discretionary spending. Thus, a rise in the awkward moments after the check lands on the table—when neither party wants to pay, but someone has to. Some strategies: leaving at an opportune moment to go to the restroom, playing "credit card lottery," or just skipping the pricey places for some more affordable grub.
Lawsuit cost Facebook $65 million. Last year's settlement over who created Facebook--which pitted the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg against the founder of ConnectU--was worth $65 million, according to a California legal newspaper. The Record discovered the sum on the website of the law firm that had previously represented ConnectU. Although $65 million is a lot of money, ConnectU had unsuccessfully argued it was insufficient, citing Facebook's $15 billion valuation.
States planning their own small business stimulus. Independent Street, lists of several states preparing their own stimulus packages, many aimed at small business. Arizona will focus on tax incentives, while Florida and Colorado are focusing on loans. See more Inc. coverage of the stimulus and your business.
Is the Kindle sequel business-class? The Kindle controversy has begun. Fast Company was at the Morgan Library for the unveiling, and Chuck Salter posted his first impressions, plus photos and video of the surrounding media storm. Salter's take is that the Kindle's controller is "not as intuitive and responsive as I'd like," and "doesn't delight" like the iPod's tracking wheel did. Meanwhile, Yahoo blogger David Coursey has waged an a all-out assault on the Kindle, 2, judging it unfit for business. His reasons: it won't replace a laptop, the display is still gray and the talking voice? Kind of creepy: "Does it also see me when I'm sleeping and knows if I'm awake?"
Entrepreneurial boot camp. Business Week has some advice for veterans-turned-entrepreneurs. There are plenty of resources for vets who want to start up their own ventures. Groups such as the Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center offer counseling, access to venture capitalists, as well as assistance in scoring government contracts.
Twitter to start charging companies? In an interview with a British trade magazine, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone says after noticing that more companies are using Twitter and more individuals are following them, the company has contemplated charging for the service. Making business customers pay is an obvious strategy for the almost 3-year-old company to start generating revenue. But Stone clarified his statement for Techcrunch, "What we're thinking about is adding value in places where we are already seeing traction, not imposing fees on existing services." Dell reportedly made $1 million in sales via Twitter during the holidays and started giving discounts exclusively to its followers.
The grand old days of Web 1.0. In more Twitter-gazing news, Will Leitch at New York magazine takes a sharp look at the company's Silicon Alley business model compared to other west coast dotcomers in the heyday of the first internet gold rush, including this flashback to his own days in Silicon Valley: "Mostly, I remember the meetings. We'd have about four meetings a day, in which a group of overpaid twentysomethings would ramble on for an hour about "content integration" and "vertical scalability," just long enough to make it look like we were doing something. The nine months I worked at a dot-com back then were epic slack, all done in the name of The Future. We were changing the world. We believed. In something, anyway. The rest of the world didn't matter."
First the banks, now the geeks. More fans than ever turned out for this year's New York Comic Con, but they weren't shelling out cash like they usually do, says Reuters. "I'll be happy if I do 60 percent as much as last year," reported Albert Stoltz, whose booth sold comic books. But the downturn didn't completely zap business. Chris Stuppi, who sells replica weaponry, wasn't worried, because ardent fans save up so they can shop at the Con. Replica weaponry: not an impulse purchase.
Salon sends up BBC's new show on the economy with a cartoon satire. Last month, BBC debuted, "The Oracle," a TV show co-produced by the Huffington Post, with the goal of predicting the path of the world economy. The show is hosted by Max Keiser, a columnist for HuffPo and Intrade. "If Max had been on our screens a year ago the current global financial crisis . . . might not even have happened," boasted BBC News head Paul Gibbs. Check out Salon's clever animated satire, where the meltdown is compared to "a nude figure in a shocking lewd way."
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