The future of online news? Google, seen as the evil empire of online news to many traditional media publishers, is making a move that could appease some of those very execs. The company has launched Fast Flip, what The New York Times describes as "an experimental news hub...that allows users to view news articles from dozens of major publishers and flip through them as quickly as they would the pages of a magazine." News organizations have to opt into the service, which arranges articles by popularity, section (politics, sports, business, etc.), and topic. Readers can view a large thumbnail image of the article's first page, but have to click through to participating news companies' sites for the full piece. Google splits ad revenue from the ads that flank the thumbnail images with the news organizations. "One interesting aspect of this is that it's likely to reward sites and authors that use good visuals...in their stories," writes MG Siegler at TechCrunch.
How to deal with a customer service crisis. Just use Twitter! That's the advice of a Wall Street Journal article that catalogs how the micro-blogging service helps entrepreneurs deal with customer service woes. When Gary Vaynerchuck, the social media guru and wine entrepreneur, noticed that his site had been hacked so that visitors to his homepage were greeted with pornography, he shot an apology video and posted a link to his 900,000 Twitter followers. He also sent individual tweets to anyone who posted a complaint. The result: Traffic to his site didn't drop at all.
Tips on streamlining costs from a guy who owns 20 exotic cars. The American Express OPEN Forum has an interesting video interview with Noah Lehmann-Haupt, founder of the luxury-car rental service Gotham Dream Cars. A former Inc. 30 Under 30 honoree, Lehmann-Haupt shares his thoughts on how to manage cash flow and keep costs down in a high-overhead business like his own. After all, Lamborghinis and Bentleys don't come cheap. Even if you're not interested in his advice, the video of his Ferrari F-430 in action is worth the viewing.
Can they match Mint? The TechCrunch50 conference got a nice boost yesterday with news that Mint.com, the personal finance website that snagged the $50,000 prize at the 2007 conference, had agreed to be purchased by Intuit for $170 million. This year may prove to be just as fruitful for tech start-ups, as Wired reports that a handful of the 50 chosen to launch publicly at the conference this week have some pretty innovative ideas. They range from iTwin, which sells a pair of USB drives that allow computers to wirelessly sync information, to Clicker.com, which -- backed by $8 million in venture capital -- plans to usurp Hulu.com as the one-stop shop for online television and movies.
Tesla lands more cash. This summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the electric carmaker had reached profitability and secured a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy. But that hasn't stopped Tesla from taking an additional investment from a Canadian investment fund. Fjord Capital Management has led an $82.5 million investment in Tesla, Bloomberg reports. Musk told the news service that the investment was "opportunistic" and added, "We were not looking for money." (Via Green Sheet)