30 Days to a Better Blog; How to Handle Screw Ups
BY Kasey Wehrum
Steve Jobs returns to the stage. We were hoping he would, and he did. "I'm vertical, I'm back at Apple, loving every day of it," Apple founder Steve Jobs proclaimed yesterday after making a surprise appearance on stage at an Apple event in San Francisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. Jobs received a liver transplant earlier this year and some had speculated that he'd be too sick to return to the company. By most counts, the products announced--most significantly, an iPod Nano with a video camera--weren't earth-shattering, but the return of the founder and CEO was news enough. Mac fanatics, predictably, went nuts. And Twitter, predictably, went down.
Europe gets serious about start-ups. The end of summer typically means the end of camp for most, but in Europe, Seedcamp is just getting started. Seedcamp is a network of mentors, investors, and start-ups designed to boost business and innovation across the continent. The meeting of the entrepreneurial minds will take place in London in two weeks and Tech Crunch has the list of start-ups who made the cut and will be packing their sleeping bags. Also check out stories on other camps for whipping your business acumen into shape including one especially for owners of franchises.
What to do when you screw up. Jason Fried of 37Signals is rarely afraid to call out others' mistakes, and yesterday he blogged about one of his own: A failure to take users' concerns about security seriously enough. "Problem was, we did a terrible job communicating from start to finish. We didn't communicate well with the person who initially reported the vulnerability, we didn't communicate well internally, and we didn't communicate well publicly," he writes. Fried explains in the post how the company has revamped its procedures for talking about security. "Phrases like 'You'll never lose important data' and 'Your data won't be compromised'...are easy things to say, but there's no such thing as never, won't and always in the world of security. Even government computers and banks with billion-dollar security systems can be compromised. Hyperbole may sell, but we don't want to sell it." In other words, if you are honest with your customers about what they can expect from you, they'll be more likely to forgive you when your company screws up. For more on how to make your customers love you again, check out this article on how to apologize.
How to build a better blog. Thanks to tools like WordPress and Blogger, even the most ardent technophobes can have a blog up and running with very little trouble. Of course, the ability to launch a blog is a far cry from establishing a blog that people will actually want to read. In a blog post titled Your First 30 Days of Blogging, tech entrepreneur Neil Patel has a list of 30 tips for novice bloggers on how they can get their blogs started on the right foot. Give him a month, and he'll give you a better blog.
The art of severance negotiations. Taking a look at this recent Washington Post feature is probably a smart move for all you part-time entrepreneurs whose passion for your fledgling business may very well lead to your dismissal from your full-time gig. Not a bad idea either for business owners contemplating layoffs. What's the key? It's all about leverage.
The Oprah Stimulus Plan. Chicago businesses got a boost yesterday when an estimated 21,000 fans flooded the Windy City's shopping district for an outdoor taping of Oprah Winfrey's 24th anniversary show. The Chicago Tribune reports that although traffic among the 52 stores in the North Michigan Avenue-Loop area actually fell about 6.5 percent as compared to last year's numbers, the forecast without Oprah's taping was for a decline of 16.6 percent. So essentially, the Oprah Effect gave the area's businesses a ten percent boost. Of course, Oprah's influence reaches far beyond the Chicago area. Here is a look at some Inc. 500|5000 companies that have seen their businesses skyrocket with a little help from Oprah.
Inc. magazine has a new tumblr! Look for us at incmagazine.tumblr.com . We'll be posting images and links. Head over there now and you'll find advance shots of College Prowler CEO Luke Skurman in a crowd of 1,300 students during Freshman orientation for Carnegie Mellon from our upcoming October "Case Study" by Upstarts! author and Inc. contributing editor Donna Fenn. You'll also see Inc.'s own senior editor Rod Kurtz mugging for the camera with George Foreman, whose new book Knockout Entrepreneur chronicles his success with the George Foreman Grill, now the best-selling electrical appliance of all time. If you're on Tumblr, follow us. And if you have something you'd like to see posted, let us know in the comments below.
Staff editor KASEY WEHRUM has written for Inc. magazine on subjects ranging from the businesses behind professional bull riding to gadget inventor and father of the infomercial, Ron Popeil. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Worth, Budget Travel, and on MSNBC.com. He lives in Brooklyn.