How to build great partnerships. The Washington Post has a fascinating series on leadership, which is being run by columnist Steve Pearlstein and Ben Bradlee. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the always insightful author and professor at Harvard Business School, writes about how to forge an effective partnership or strategic alliance. The recession, Moss Kanter says, makes these relationships increasingly crucial: "Alliances must be part of everyone's thinking as the recession continues. For startups and smaller organizations, alliances can reduce costs of duplicative activities while enabling parties to pursue their own paths. Smaller organizations can ride a network wave into places they could not reach on their own. Non-profit organizations can form strategic alliances to market to prospective donors or share back-office functions." For more of Rosabeth Moss Kanter's thoughts, check out her picks in our piece on the five most interesting entrepreneurs of the last 30 years.
MySpace Founders Out?. Techcrunch is reporting that News Corp. will terminate the "core MySpace executive team," including co-founders Chris DeWolfe, the CEO, and Tom Anderson, who, incidentally, is everybody's friend. News Corp. bought MySpace almost four years ago for $580 million. It was a good deal--social network valuations skyrocketed in the following years, and MySpace inked a $900 million guaranteed revenue deal with Google. DeWolfe and Anderson clearly built something impressive, a point made in this Fast Company cover story. But Facebook has been coming on fast, and some have speculated that Google would not renew the deal.
Reinvention, by Randall Grahm. Last year, we told the story of the insouciant viticulture icon Randall Grahm, the founder of California's Bonny Doon Vineyard. Grahm was instrumental in expanding the possibilities of California wines in the 1980s. But, after years of success and a brush with death, Grahm scaled back Bonny Doon and radically shifted his approach. The New York Times has more on Grahm's second act. He's making fewer wines, embracing biodynamic techniques, and moving away from his characteristic marketing zeal. Grahm says of his recent protracted search for an ideal vineyard: "You could say it's just a real estate deal, but it's really been an existential struggle."
How to have those tough conversations. How do you have those awkward, gut-wrenching layoff talks? The Financial Times gives their best advice for small business owners going through the agonizing layoff process. Here's the advice of Martin Hennessey, a communications consultant: "The biggest mistake entrepreneurs tend to make is spending too much time on the factual content of their message and not enough time on the way they tell it," he explains. "Often it's the tone of the message that people will read the most into." For more on letting employees go, read on at Inc.com
Five websites that will answer your tech questions for free. Web Worker Daily breaks down the five best websites to get quick answers to your tech questions. For those days (or years) when you are your own IT guy, there are free forums, sites that focus on niches like web development and design, and even a people-driven search engine.
Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams' war against Evite. Since launching his party and event planning website, Socializr, in 2007, Jonathan Abrams has been at odds with his competitor, Evite. Months after Socializr launched, Evite threatened to sue for copyright infringement. Abrams' scathing response drew the attention of numerous media outlets. prHUB says now, whether or not Socializr's "far superior" product has gained traction, Abrams has certainly gotten a sense of humor about the dust-up. He's acquired the URLs: evitesucks.com and evitealternatives.com, even listing fellow Evite competitors like MyPunchBowl on the latter. For more, check out Max Chafkin's profile of Jonathan Abrams, which details Friendster's flame out and the birth of Socializr: How to Kill a Great Idea.
Apple wants you to know there's an app for that. Apple's latest commercials are aimed directly at the small business demo, reports Independent Street. The current ads tout iPhone apps that can process credit-card transactions, print shipping labels, and check delivery status. The WSJ speculates the ads are an attempt by Apple to drive iPhone adoption in the small business market, which, in large part, still favors the Blackberry.
Recession affecting plans to go green. According to a poll conducted by Wells Fargo and Gallup, the economy has forced one-third of business owners to scale back their plans to make environmental improvements. Though 90 percent of businesses surveyed recycle, and 77 percent use eco-friendly products, 70 percent reported that further efforts may be hampered by the belief that customers are not willing to pay more for goods and services described as environmentally friendly.