A dozen cleantech IPOs That's what we'll see over the next year, according to the fervently bullish Steve Westly, former eBay marketing director and California comptroller, now head of the Silicon Valley VC, the Westly Group. It's an incredibly optimistic outlook considering that there have been only 13 U.S. IPOs (and only 12 new filings) this year in any industry, says peHUB. VCs want to see a Netscape-esque IPO to kickstart an era of cleantech riches. Westly pegs Silver Spring Network's smartgrid technology and Solyndra's photovoltaic systems for commercial rooftops as possible contenders. Westly's comments come just as the House is slated today to vote on Waxman-Markey, a bill to tackle climate change. Its goal is to limit pollution by capping greenhouse gas emissions and putting a price on carbon. The Washington Post calls it better than nothing, but far from effective in turning back the tides on eight years of inaction on global warming.
Life after the Great Recession. As the United States and its businesses look to recover from the biggest blow to their bottom lines since the 1930s, hopefully knowing the road ahead will make the voyage a little easier. CBS Money Watch expects the new America will be marked by milder extravagence, increased taxes, higher unemployment, and costlier gas. Before you start packing your bags, though, be sure to take a look at the advice that follows each prediction. Veteran financial journalist Cait Murphy says globalizing your portfolio and paying to go green now will save you money later. Of course, practicing moderation and general diligence couldn't hurt either.
The struggles of India's entrepreneurs. Today's Wall Street Journal takes an interesting look at the difference between entrepreneurs in China and those in India, both of which are attracting an increasing amount of venture capital. A recent study by the National Venture Capital Association showed that half of the VC's surveyed plan to increase their investments in China and other Asian countries, while 43% of those surveyed plan to increase their investments in India. As opposed to China, where the government tends to assist enterprises, the article contends that India's entrepreneurs have to compete against both an unhelpful government and other businesses. Surprisingly, that might not be a bad thing. According to the article, "Some of India's self-created barriers to entrepreneurship have made Indian entrepreneurs that much more hardy and competitive."
Michael Jackson news creates web-traffic logjam. When one of the biggest pop icons passes away, the news is bound to attract attention. So much attention, in fact, that several of the web sites that helped to break the story of Michael Jackson's death -- TMZ, the Los Angeles Times, and Twitter -- crashed at various points yesterday, writes MG Siegler of TechCrunch. At one point, nine out of 10 of Twitter's trending topics were Michael Jackson-related. During that time, the search function on Twitter users' homepages went down for a few hours. "We saw more than double the normal tweets per second the moment the news broke--the biggest increase since the US presidential election (and Twitter has grown tremendously since then)," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote to The New York Times.
The 'Bucks is good for business.Throw out your long-held belief that Starbucks crushes competition. A new book, "Everything But the Coffee," theorizes that, instead, the mega-chain "created a desire and a taste for specialty coffee," which in turn sparked a quality contest between mom-and-pop shops. The author, Bryant Simon, points out a glaring irony: now Starbucks is closing stores while smaller chains and independent coffee shops are faring better. Columnist Jonathan Weber, however, asserts that lost jobs from Starbucks' closures will ultimately hurt local businesses.
Will Google's thirst for power bury San Francisco in rubble? Google's servers devour electricity and with search queries growing by 50 percent, the need for power is only growing. In addition to hydroelectric projects around the country to produce the electricity it needs, says Valleywag, Google has tapped AltaRock to drill a 2-mile deep hole in the Earth to extract geothermal energy. And possibly destroy San Francisco by triggering an earthquake. Swiss government seismologists told the New York Times that a similar geothermal project in Basel, Switzerland, "set off an earthquake, shaking and damaging buildings and terrifying many." According to Valleywag, politicians who've convinced themselves that's what's good for Google is good for their communities may have to reconsider.
Black and white and read all over. Finally, as we enter the weekend, we might pause to wish a happy 35th birthday to the bar code; an invention both revolutionary and yet remarkably simple, that has transformed the way we do business and the way we live our lives. 35 years ago today, the first bar-coded product (a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit gum) was scanned at the checkout of a Ohio supermarket. The New York Times has an interesting article all about the history of those famous black and white stripes, including the public's initial concern that it might be an Orwellian tool for government oversight. "The vision of the bar code as some sort of surveillance device with ominous social implications was quite resonant," said one Rutgers University historian. For a closer look at some other products that keep your local grocery store humming, check out this Behind the Scenes of a Hannaford supermarket. Have a good weekend.
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