Introducing the U.S. Department of Green Investing. As CNET points out, because of the stimulus bill, the government has suddenly become the country's largest green tech VC. But even veteran VCs can't agree on the future giants of the green tech industry. Concerns about the government's investment philosophy have a lot of people worried, according to Business Insider's Green Sheet.
How to empty that inbox. Forget declaring "email bankruptcy," as VC Fred Wilson put it. Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times, has some helpful tips on how to sift through your unanswered messages. "It wasn't easy for me to curb my time in my in-box," writes Manjoo. "E-mail was like a drug, and I needed a constant fix. That's a good sign you need help."
Twitter's ascent continues. Fast Company tracks Twitter's explosion as a cultural force over the past three months. The candy company Skittles has replaced its site with a Twitter feed, and airport administrators want to use the service to announce flight delays. For more on Twitter, check out Max Chafkin's article from last March.
Credit Unions are lending more. According to the WSJ , more small businesses are turning to credit unions for loans they can't get from banks. Most credit unions have dodged the subprime mess, and are in a much better position to lend now. The total dollar amount of business loans from credit unions last year was up 18% from 2007. Interestingly, a federal law limits the amount of business loans credit unions can make at 12.25% of assets.
The Radiohead Business Model. Two years ago, Radiohead tried a bold new selling scheme, offering fans the ability to set their own price for their new album, In Rainbows. We were so enamored of the model -- and, privately, of Radiohead's music -- that we tried it ourselves. Now, from the Guardian, comes word that the first major book publisher is adopting the model for a new book by historian Ben Wilson.
The best and worst of customer service. Independent Street has a list of the small businesses with the best and worst customer service ratings. Among the top ten best are some very niche industries: piano tuning, mailbox repair, and animal and house sitting. (We'd actually like to know how you can give a detailed review of a house sitter). Among the worst: home-warranty companies, cable-TV service, and bridal shops. The rankings are courtesy of Angie's List, a customer-service rating company.
Are employment tests racially biased? Slate discusses the value of employment tests and whether or not they can be racially biased. The author, Ray Fishman, points out that employment tests can lead to lawsuits under the Equal Employment Opportunities Act. But the effect of employment tests on minorities is contentious. (Hiring decisions, Fishman points out, are made by people with their own unique biases). For the Inc. take, check out the guide to finding and hiring good people, which includes tips on behavioral interviewing.
From the Depressing News Dept. The WSJ has an interactive chart tracking layoffs. Unfortunately, the chart's pretty colors don't add much cheer.
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