CEOs Favorite Tax Write-offs and Underlings Seek Revenge
BY Nitasha Tiku
Facebook and Twitter rot your brain? From the annals of everything fun is bad for you, a new study conducted by a neuroscience group from the University of Southern California says there's an emotional cost for relying heavily on a rapid stream of news snippets like those from social networks. When information is processed too quickly, it inhibits you from feeling social emotions like compassion and admiration. MediaMemo has the scoop. But that's only your morality. Naked Capitalism found another study, this one from Ohio State, that has evidence that Facebook can affect your performance. A survey of college students who, ironically, said the social networking site did not interfere with their studies found that Facebook users spent significantly fewer hours a week on their school work and got lower GPAs than their Facebook-abstaining counterparts.
Last minute write-offs. Today's the deadline for filing federal and state income taxes. Some are marking the day with old timey protests. We decided to ask entrepreneurs to tell us about their favorite write offs.
In case you still haven't filed'¦ Amex OPEN has a list of some of the new and little-noticed deductions for small businesses. A few highlights: a new wrinkle in writing off small business stock, and some upcoming changes to deductions for purchases of equipment and other depreciable property.
Bad boss' get-back-to-work email sparks online revenge. When times are tough, says Valleywag, bosses lash out. After John Soden III, a managing director at Thomas Weisel Partners, an investment bank in San Francisco, sent out an email questioning why anyone who wasn't "orthodox" would take Good Friday off, his underlings struck back--circulating his email and starting a fake Twitter on his behalf. "Always amusing to have someone with a 'III' after their name lecture employees about the importance of hard work," quips Valleywag reporter Owen Thomas. Soden's original email reads like a satire of an out-of-touch executive who fails to inspire: "Join Wells Fargo and become a teller if you want to take bank holidays." A sample tweet from his employee-run fake Twitter? "analyst slacking again. headed to mosque to get him back to work. Traffic sucks."
Teens resorting to entrepreneurship this summer. Faced with an abysmal summer-job market this summer, the Wall Street Journal reports that more teens will be spending this summer creating their own businesses in an effort to earn money and feel productive. And not a moment too soon--with teen unemployment rates expected to reach new lows at 31% or 32% this summer, the government's $1.2 billion youth jobs program isn't expected to go far. For most teens who want a job, creating one might be their only option.
The latest grand plan to save journalism. Comes from an entrepreneur. Steve Brill, the founder of American Lawyer, CourtTV, and the security company Clear, announced that he has cofounded a new company to help beleaguered media companies make money online. Appropriately, if inelegantly, named Journalism Online, the venture aims to be an iTunes for news. Henry Blodget is skeptical. (Via Romenesko.)
Founders' bid to buy back Skype thwarted. The Wall Street Journal follows up on reports earlier this week that the founders of long distance calling service Skype, which Ebay bought for $2.6 billion in 2005, might be for sale. Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have been trying to buy the company, but Ebay announced that it would take Skype public in 2010. The Journal says that the the founders' offer was "well below the price at which eBay was willing to sell the business." But the plan to take Skype public seems far from assured. There were few IPOs in 2008, and the market has shown little sign of picking up since.
Student entrepreneurs duke it out at the Rice business plan competition Forty-two hopeful student-led ventures will go head-to-head on April 16th at the annual Rice business plan competition in Houston. The teams will pitch their business plans to investors during the three-day event in the hopes of winning more than $160,000 in cash and investment prizes totaling $425,000, says CNN. For more, check out our list of 9 cool college startups.
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staffâ€™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