Great Advisors, Facebook, and the Best Recession Blogs
BY Ryan McCarthy
How to assemble a board of advisors. Ever wanted the advice of a proven business veteran? At the Amex OPEN forum, John Marriotti, the president and CEO of The Enterprise Group (and the former CEO of Huffy Bicycles) has some tips about how to gather a solid group of advisors. For one, Marriotti suggests avoiding volunteer boards. He writes: "A 'volunteer board' may be OK, but 'free advice' may only be worth what you paid for it. It's a better idea to pay, even if it is a modest amount." Inc.'s own in-depth look at how to build a better board can be found here.
Cue the next Facebook app boom. The WSJ has word that Facebook will announce today that it will open up key parts of its site to third-party developers. In the near future, expect to see a host of new companies looking to expand the ways Facebook users share information, photos, and status updates. Facebook, says TechCrunch, is letting outside developers to "play in its stream." Sounds like fun.
A bailout for your local car dealership. Independent Street reports that, as part of the ongoing effort to aid ailing car dealerships, the Obama administration may make them eligible for SBA loans. The change would require altering current SBA rules, which prevent loans from going to companies with more than $29 million in sales per year. (Most car dealerships make between $40 and $45 million.) The car business, however, is rather capital intensive and dealerships often borrow to pay for inventory. The National Automobile Dealers Association suggests the SBA should switch to an employee-size standard. One scary note: if Chrysler and GM went under, an estimated 10,000 dealerships would be in jeopardy.
Gore scolded over cleantech investments. Today's missive from what Techcrunch calls a "parallel universe": On Friday, a Republican lawmaker criticized former vice president Al Gore for attempting to profit from possible climate change legislation through his association with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Gore, sounding very unlike the populist who lost the 2000 election, sighed heavily and then defended his investments. "I've been willing to put my money where my mouth is," he says. "Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country? I am proud of it." It may be worth noting that Gore donates all his profits to a climate change nonprofit.
The best recession blogs. Unemployment haikus, daily bailout news, and a psychologist's tips on dealing with a downturn. Recessionwire's compiled a nice list of some of good blogs for these bad times.
Greening your business on the cheap. As we mentioned last week, a recent Gallup poll indicated that one-third of small business owners are struggling to go green during the recession. Steve Strauss, writing for the Huffington Post, has some simple, inexpensive ways to green your business, including using duplex printers, reusing packaging, and installing motion sensors and timers for office lights. For more on the benefits of going green, read on at Inc.com here.
The easiest way to be more productive? Dump your TV, says Matt Linderman over at Signal vs. Noise. The average American watches 4.5 hours a day, and yet everyone is always complaining that there aren't enough hours in a day. If you can't bear to cut out television completely, Linderman recommends paring your viewing down to Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube.