A Pill for Wannabe Entrepreneurs; LinkedIn Stimulus 2.0
BY Nitasha Tiku
A Prescribed Success. Fortune Small Business interviews Barbara Sahakian, a Cambridge University scientist who believes in the future of an "entrepreneur drug" that will artificially recreate the brain chemistry of successful small business owners. Sahakian says that the drug could potentially increase a person's willingness to take risks in decision-making and his or her cognitive flexibility. A few decades ago, entrepreneur used to be a dirty word. We'll take a willingness to dope up to mimic the daring of your average small business owner as a compliment.
The iPhone App Store gets some competition. Renegade stores selling unauthorized apps for the iPhone are springing up online, reports the Wall Street Journal. The article names three such online stores in the works, Cydia Store, where users would have to download special software that alters their iPhones first, Rock Your Phone, for those that don't want to modify their iPhone first, and a third start-up that specializes in adult games. This competition takes aim at Apple's iPhone App Store, which estimates show will bring in $800 million this year. Developers have to forgo a 30 percent commission from sellers who want to sell through the store. In the past, Apple had said it wants to strike a balance between closed devices like the iPod and open ones like the PC. Two apps that Apple's currently blocked is a free program called Cycorder that turns the iPhone into a camcorder and $29 software called PdaNET that lets you use your iPhone as a laptop modem.
LinkedIn Founder's Stimulus 2.0. At TechCrunch, Reid Hoffman the founder of LinkedIn, wrote a guest post about how to use start-ups to kickstart the economy. Hoffman has some intriguing suggestions including, lifting the cap on H1-B visas, and using government funds to match VC investments. TechCrunch also has a video of Hoffman's appearance on Charlie Rose.
Bleak February job report. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose from 7.6% to 8.1% in February. The report says that total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 651,000 in February and, since December 2007, about 4.4 million jobs have been lost, with more than half of losses occurring in the last four months. CNN says the 4.4 million jobs lost are equal to the total number of jobs in each of the following states--Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina--at the end of 2007.
Entrepreneurs turning their closets into consignment stores. The Wall Street Journal profiles several women who've turned their homes into boutiques. When times were good, they splurged on designer duds. But now that the economy's taken a hit and they need cash, many fashionistas are selling their unwanted clothes out of their own closets, cutting out the consignment-shop middlemen. Proof that a little entrepreneurial acumen goes a long way.
A recession start up story. Being laid-off is an opportunity for self-employment, but entrepreneurship is even tougher in hard times that lead to layoffs. A Marketwatch video profiles a company that was born after its founder was fired in the 2002 downturn. "I think if you knew all the challenges, you probably wouldn't do it," said Fred Ackerman, president of Black Sheep Adventures, a travel company. Still, he did several things right: consulted with the SBA over his business plan, he works from home, and he keeps fixed costs low by renting equipment like bicycles his clients ride. That way, he says, "certain destinations can flourish and others can contract, it's not a problem."
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staff’s daily links blog. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, The Villager, Chelsea Now, and on nymag.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @nitashatiku