Did the VCs Steamroll Zappos? In a word, no. $900 million dollars is not chump change, even for a company as successful as Zappos. But that's not stopping a number of blogs, including Fast Company and .NET, from putting forth a theory that Sequoia Capital forced a low-ball sale against the wishes of CEO Tony Hsieh and other Zappos managers. FC's Kit Easton says "the shotgun of blame points to the VCs," and .NET's Brandon Watson crows, "Zappos Deal Shows VCs Hate Entrepreneurs." These suggestions that Hsieh and the Zappos management team was somehow steamrolled by a bunch of evil VCs seems a bit strange considering that Tony Hsieh was himself a VC prior to joining Zappos. His firm, Venture Frogs, led the initial investment in Zappos and he only became CEO later. Through his company's PR firm, Hsieh responded: "The articles and rumors of Sequoia forcing us to sell are simply not accurate. Nobody was forced to sell to Amazon. The Zappos board was united in believing that joining forces with Amazon would be in the best long term interests of our employees, customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders."
Bill Gates waxes nostalgic. Closing out Gizmodo's week-long homage to 1979, Bill Gates penned this blog post reminiscing about the state of Microsoft 30 years ago. As he recalls, Microsoft in 1979 had only 13 employees and had just completed a relocation from Albuquerque to Bellevue, Washington. What stands out most for Gates about 1979 was the excitement surrounding the emergence of BASIC as the standard programming language for microcomputers. He cites that development as the catalyst for the possibility of creating software applications that could have a mass appeal to the public. Proof of that came with the launch of Microsoft's Consumer Products Division, which released Microsoft Adventure, an early adventure game that was one of the company's first consumer products. Perhaps the best part of the post is the accompanying photo, which shows Microsoft's 1979 staff, including a fresh-faced Gates, in classic period garb. As Gates points out, "That famous picture provides indisputable proof that your average computer geek from the late 1970's was not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion."
How to spot a fake check. Kathy Kristof over at MoneyWatch has a useful piece for any business owner who accepts checks. She interviews Thomas Silvia, the owner of a company whose name has turned up recently on countless forged checks. The only difference between his checks and the fake ones are the company phone number and the signature names, Silvia explains, so if you want to be safe, you're going to have to do some research.
Twitter offers a business primer. If the 140-character phenomenon is still uncharted territory for your company, Twitter is there to help. Yesterday the site launched it's guide, "twitter 101," to provide business-owners with tips to leverage tweets, reports TechCrunch. In addition to case studies, the Twitter appendage site lists links to books and blogs on the subject and a handy glossary of ever-expanding "tw" lingo. But beware, this is not for the seasoned pro.
Regional banks on the brink. It may be pushed out of the headlines, but in recent weeks, big regional banks have seen their stock prices plummet. That brings back concerns over whether these banks can roll over their debt, bring in customers, and pay for their operations, reports Jon Markman in MSN Money. Investors are pressuring these banks to raise capital, which will prove difficult. As mounting losses from commercial real estate take their toll, banks must build their reserves, which detracts from earnings and further drives down their stock prices. Small businesses that rely on regional banks should be ready for a credit crunch. (via via peHUB)
Stop right there. Super-motivated, rapid thinking entrepreneurs can often mistake what Entrepreneur magazine calls "strategic non-action" with laziness. Instead of continually mass-pitching your brand, says columnist David Seaman, whittle and hone your pitch into something that will cause others to do your work for you. "So stop groveling, stop blind pitching, and start crafting," he says. By asking friends and close contacts for advice, you could improve your marketing position to soething that people will want to forward around to their friends and coworkers without your constant prodding. In a zen-like bit of advice, Seaman says that "silence is as important as noise."