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Undo Button for Email and the Wisdom of Norm Brodsky

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An undo button for email. You heard right. Those geniuses at Google have just released a feauture that allows you to take back an email after you've clicked send. (Techcrunch has the news.) You have to click undo within the first few seconds or so, but it's a vast improvement over the awkward apology email.

Twitter can make you money. Brazil's best-known TV host, Marcelo Tas, has leveraged his 18,000 followers on Twitter into a gig to help pitch a Spanish Telecom company's new fiber-optic Internet and TV service in Brazil. As part of the deal, reports the Wall Street Journal, Tas has to mention the service in his tweets. Twitter's popularity has surged in the past year, with 7 million unique visitors in February, compared to 500,000 in March, 2008. And big name companies like Disney have already brokered deals with widely followed Twitterati. Where sites like Facebook have had a hard time attracting significant ad dollars because advertisers are reluctant to put ads on pages whose content they don't control and remain wary of "banner blindness," Twitter's "rapid-fire, real-time and mostly public messages" could change that, says the article. So far, about 3,300 Twitter users have signed up with Twittad, a firm that connects users with marketers who want to place ads. But don't expect an answer to online advertising, one expert cautions, "Not everyone is on it yet."

Norm Brodsky, Jack Stack drop wisdom at GrowCo. Inc.'s inaugural GrowCo conference continues today in Orlando. To follow the festivities use the #growco tag on Twitter, where Inc. editors and attendees are broadcasting what they've learned, 140 characters at a time.

Rhode Island strip club to host a job fair. The Foxy Lady strip club in Providence, Rhode Island is taking advantage of the state's floundering economy by hosting a job fair to fill around 30 positions, from strippers to DJs to barteners, reports BusinessWeek. Rhode Island's economy is among the country's worst, with an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent in January. But the Foxy Lady is somewhat insulated. "It's taken a hit," says manager Bob Travisono, "It's not as bad as restaurants and stuff like that. In times like this, they seem to drink their sorrows away."

Camera maker cashes out. Pure Digital's Flip video camera has gotten lots of love from technology reviewers over the past year or so for creating perhaps the first camcorder that doesn't make it's users feel like dorks. The company has sold some 2 million of the easy-to-use cameras since they were released in 2007. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Cisco is buying Pure Digital for $590 million. Fred Wilson uses the deal as an opportunity to address the question of what constitutes a good return for venture capitalists. The answer: it depends on when the investors put in their money. (He concludes that this deal was in fact a good return.) His blog post is pretty technical but its worth reading for any entrepreneur who hopes to understand how VCs think.

Auto suppliers get a bailout. The administration has created a $5 billion fund to support auto suppliers specifically. They've been hit hard by the credit crunch—without assistances, as many as 500 could go belly-up within 60 days. The majority are small businesses already operating under tight margins, but if they go under, it won't be pretty for bigger car manufacturers, even the relatively healthy ones like Toyota. Plus, the nation's roughly 1,500 auto parts manufacturers employee half a million workers.

When Wal-Mart moves in. The saying goes, "If you can't beat 'em join 'em" but when it comes to small businesses competing with Wal-Mart, one Dartmouth professor is advising the opposite. His study, discussed at Independent Street, examined the impact on small businesses when a Wal-Mart moves in. It's not a pretty picture. Instead of competing directly with the big-box giant with bargain prices, he suggests diversifying and offering products--like high-end goods--to appeal to a different group of customers. Take a look at this feature from the Inc. archives about what happens to one New England community when Wal-Mart comes to town—including advice from Ken Stone, one of the first researchers to study the long-term impact of Wal-Mart's presence on small businesses.

What's Portuguese for "JetBlue"? JetBlue founder David Neeleman--who was dismissed by the airline's board in 2007--is taking to the skies once more with a Brazilian upstart called Azul. In the Fortune Small Business article, Neeleman says that he plans to triple the Brazilian air travel market, to 150 million flights a year, by using tricks he picked up while at JetBlue. Brazil's up-and-coming affluent citizens still take lots of long-distance bus journeys as opposed to domestic flights which can cost up to 50% more per mile than in the U.S. Check out Jason Del Rey's Q&A with Neeleman from our June issue.

Thinking of starting your own business? Now is, oddly enough, a good time: low real estate and labor costs, plus the motivation to buck the trends and succeed. But it's not going to be easy. Here's a primer from US News on getting started. Financial adviser Ylisa Sanford Seymour says stay away from discretionary service businesses like spas and salons, make sure your family is on board, and try to use traditional sources of funding, rather than loans from friends.

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Last updated: Mar 20, 2009




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