Buffett Calls Obama's Stimulus Bill, "Half a Viagra"
BY Nitasha Tiku
The oracle from Omaha sees continued struggle in the future. Warren Buffett predicts rising unemployment and a possible second stimulus package in an interview with Good Morning America today. Buffett was an ardent Obama supporter during the 2008 campaign, and expressed concern that the first stimulus package was too diluted. Reuters reports that Buffett said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was like "half a Viagra and then having also a bunch of candy mixed in -- it doesn't have quite the wallop." Despite anticipating an unumployment figure of 11 percent, Buffett says, "We're going to come out of this better than ever, the best days of America lie ahead but not next week or next month."
The Brotherhood of Bisnow. Elliott Bisnow, 23-year-old co-founder of e-newletter company Bisnow, organized a skiing trip for fellow young entrepreneurs, including the co-founders of CollegeHumor.com. Out of that trip grew a 200-member informal society of these prodigies known as Summit Series. The "brotherhood" of sorts helps the business owners to discuss solutions to finding health care plans, balancing salaries vs. commissions and how to gain respect from those who view their mid-20s age status as a fault. Now the group boast such venerable names as Ivanka Trump, Twitter's Evan Williams and Zappo's Tony Hsieh.
Bing: better than Google; bigger than Digg, Twitter, and CNN. Despite only going live at the beginning of June, new numbers from Compete.com show that Microsoft's new search engine has been able to pick up 49.57 million unique visitors in its first month, reports social media blog Mashable. That's more than Digg (38.6 million), Twitter (23 million), and CNN (28.54 million). Compete only measures U.S. visitors, but still, in just a month, Compete shows only 12 other websites ahead in the traffic rankings. Over at the New York Times, David Pogue uncovers Microsoft's master business plan, "Wait until somebody else has a hit. Then copy it." But the rub here is that in many ways, says Pogue, Bing is better. Among its dreamy features is a pop-up balloon that shows you the first few paragraphs of text on any search result and a "big, beautiful, very successful" panel to the left of the search results that tries to make sense of what you were actually searching for.
United gets a lesson in customer service. Rather than pay $1,200 to repair a passenger's guitar that was smashed by careless baggage handlers, United Airlines is now receiving a very public lesson about the importance of good customer service. The guitar in question belonged to Canadian musician Dave Carroll who has voiced his frustration with the airline in the form of a music video titled, plainly enough, United Breaks Guitars. The country-tinged song is now a YouTube sensation, garnering 137,896 views since it was posted on Monday. The public attention has even caused United to change their tune. A United spokeswoman said, "This struck a chord with us. We are in conversation with one another to make what happened right." The airline has even asked Carroll for permission to use the video internally as a way to improve the company's culture.
Signs you might be a Smartphoniac. About 18 percent of the U.S. population has succumbed to the siren call of the smartphone. But it's the top 10 percent of smartphone users who represent the "true addicts of the information age," says the Wall Street Journal. You can spot them in your midst using the Journal's five telltale signs. For example, "Do they come up with excuses in the middle of a conversation to pull out their smart phone -- something like 'let me jot something you said down so I don't forget it, and then sneak a look at all their messages?" Or "Do they take their smart phones with them when they get up from the table to go to the restroom -- and do they take an awful lot of trips there?" If they fit two or three of the signs, not to worry, it's just par for the course of modern times. Four out of five, and you've found yourself a Smartphoniac.
No raises in 2009, but would you accept a field trip instead? 2009 is the second year in a row many small business owners won't be handing out raises, even if well-deserved. The Associated Press reports these entrepreneurs are trying to ameliorate the situation by paying bonuses out of savings accounts and providing flex time, lunches and field trips. Proving again that the work place is no different than high school. The next big hurdle for employers will be breaking the news to their staff. Rick Gibbs, a senior human resources specialist with Administaff, said owners should do this as a group, followed by individual meetings. If pay will be moving to a performance-based status, they should take the opportunity to let workers know what's expected, he said.
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staff’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