The Perils of Cloud Computing; Take Your Gun to Work Day

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Judge OKs bringing weapons to work. In Oklahoma, everyday is bring-your-gun-to-work-day now, as long as you leave it locked in your car. A judge has overturned a law that allowed employers to prohibit their workers from keeping concealed weapons in their cars while at work. According to a Fox News, article, people on both sides of the issue say it raises the question: How well do you really know your co-workers?

Entrepreneurs the new Joe Six Pack? The The New York Times has a handy graphic comparing the number of times the word economy or economic was used in a presidential address. Obama's address to Congress clocks in at 30, compared to 23 times from Clinton in 1993. But we also counted 3 uses last night of both entrepreneur and small business . Mostly in the context of opening up credit and getting stimulus dollars to the sectors that keep the economy running. But he also gave nod to the government's role in fostering entrepreneurship, trying to put his administration's interventionist policy in the historical context of building the railroads during the Civil War, building public high schools during the Industrial Revolution, and GI Bill in the wake of the depression. What policy changes would you like to see happen to catalyze entrepreneurship?

A cautionary tale about cloud computing. Bizbox generally advocates cloud computing for small businesses, but this morning they're reporting on a recent four-hour Gmail crash that wiped out half Western European users' day. Even so, they think the benefits outweigh the downsides—it's not like you can avoid crashes by staying with internal systems. Inc. took a look at cloud computing in our January issue.

Sales had Glengarry Glen Ross, Advertising has Mad Men . . . Now R&D is getting it's own prime time treatment with ABC's upcoming Better Off Ted. At the center of the slapstick satire is single dad Ted Crisp who heads up the R&D department for the morally bankrupt Veridian Dynamics. Will we see Ted get sick of the compromises of corporate life and launch his own R&D start-up? Doubtful. But we like Hollywood's fixation on work life outside the lawyer, doctor, fake psychic cop procedural. Which sector is going to find it's way to small screen next? We predict a scrappy Silicon Alley tech start-up that's stumbled onto the secret to social networking.

The learning company. Venture Hacks posts a talk given at UC Berkley on how to build a lean startup. Eric Reis, the founder of IMVU, a $10 million online chat company, urged students to build startups that are flexible enough to adapt to their customers' needs. "Many founders believe that early stage startups are endeavors of execution. The customer is known, the product is known, and all we have to do is act," writes Venture Hacks's Babak Nivi. "Eric takes a different approach. He believes that many early stage startups are labors of learning. The customer is unknown, the product is unknown, and startups must be built to learn." Reis posts his own thoughts here.

Make your business trips more productive. Use online meetings to screen potential clients before you ever get on a plane. That's what Fortune Small Business recommends. They profile Cornerstone Information Systems, a software firm that, after instituting online meetings, has slashed its travel budget in half and seen revenues grow 30 percent for three years straight.

This year's model. TechCrunch saw some familiar names in the World Economic Forum's recently released annual list of Young Global Leaders: "200 to 300 outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society, and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world." Inc. magazine cover boy Kevin RoseBebo founder Michael Birch, and Premal Shah of Kiva all made the list. Active YGLs from previous include Jack Ma Yun from AliBaba, Philipp Justus from PayPal, and Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff.

Inexpensive advice from MBAs. Believe it or not there are top-flight MBA students out there who will give you consulting advice for a relative pittance. The WSJ tells the story of the owners of Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, who used free student consultants from Wharton. Which isn't to say every program is free: "Fees for programs offered directly by schools vary widely, from about $300 to $10,000 for 500 to 800 hours of consulting, for the most part, though charges can go as high as about $20,000," writes the the WSJ.

No fear for the repo man. As the recession deepens, business is good for the Repo Man. The Boston Business Journal reports that "the business-to-business collections industry has never been stronger." The figures: for the year ended Sept. 30, accounts placed for collection reached $13.5 billion, surpassing the previous record for collection volume in 2002. "We aren't bluffing like a lot of collectors," said Dan Potts, vice president of receivables management at Westbury, New York-based Nassau Asset Management. "That creates a very important piece of leverage." More writing on the wall: 30 brand-new Infinitis were seized from a Chicago dealership.

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Last updated: Feb 25, 2009




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