How much does it cost to hire real life Mad Men. As much as $964 an hour, according to Advertising Age, which reports on a survey of billing practices at American advertising agencies. The rates seem almost outrageously high, but AdAge notes that these are "rate card" prices, which means the prices companies actually pay can be significantly lower. Plus, the survey shows that small ad agencies are much cheaper than big ones. A creative director at a large agency bills on average $964 an hour while the creative director of a small agency bills just $271. No word on how much you have to pay to avoid an agency that keeps lawn tractors in the office. (Via Business Insider).
Will it be Chicago or Rio? The US Olympic committee is about to decide who will get to host the 2016 Summer Games, and the front runners are Rio de Janeiro and Chicago, which got some last minute sales pitch from President Obama. While the world waits for the decision, Jason Fried of 37Signals weighs in on how the Chicago organizers should have sold the Games to their city. We don't know if this site is real or fake, but it's clear someone didn't want Chicago to get it.
Fantasy Football: real digital opportunities. More than 27 million Americans over the age of 12 participate in some kind of fantasy sport, reports NewTeeVee, spending $800 million a year. And fantasy football addicts are probably the most zealous segment of the bunch--driving up traffic to sites like CBSSports.com, ESPN, and NFL for their free fantasy football tools. And where there's passion, there's a market. Those sites make money by charging $180 and up per league per season for more robust features. The fervor is spreading to other sports, like college football and hockey and even American Idol. NewTeeVee thinks it has the power to change the way we interact with TV, "This fantasization of entertainment has the potential to transform how we watch TV by giving viewers a personal stake in the outcome of their favorite shows and those involved in making the show." We're not sure if it will make consumers any more likely to actually watch shows on their TV sets, but we'll bet there's an entrepreneurial play in the works for that $800 million.
How to improve your reputation online. With so many companies engaging in e-commerce, and such sites as Google enabling customer reviews on everything from restaurants to plumbing services, managing your business' online reputation has become paramount. The Wall Street Journal has a list of things small business owners can do to secure positive online reviews from customers, such as reaching out immediately to dissatisfied customers. "Their negative comments don't need to be the end of the conversation," the author advises, citing how Chicago-based SpaForever was able to improve it's Yelp.colm rating by apologizing to disgruntled posters and offering discounts. Click here for more creative ways to deal with aggrieved Yelpers.
MIT entrepreneurs bring technology to the third world. MIT's Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship is betting that bringing technology and entrepreneurship, not aid money, to third-world countries is a more effective and empowering approach to improving the lives of the people who live there. As the Boston Globe reports, the center's founder and director is living proof of that. Prior to founding the center with a personal gift of $50 million, Iqbal Z. Quadir built a cellphone start-up in his native Bangladesh which now serves over 20 million subscribers and is valued at more than $3 billion. A second crop of 16 graduate student-fellows has entered the center this fall, each with an idea to bring technology to struggling countries. As Quadir explains, "We want to be the Silicon Valley for the poor world--here in Cambridge." For a look at another inspiring entrepreneur who is bringing technology to the third world, check out Inc.'s senior writer Max Chafkin's profile of Herman Chinery-Hesse.
Funding female entrepreneurs It's a chilly climate for securing venture capital, but women-run businesses in Texas are warming up to a fund launched specifically for them. The Dallas Morning News reports on how the Texas Women Ventures Fund lent Gail Warrior-Lawrence $1 million for her construction firm. Now, not only has she paid them back, but she's investing in the fund to benefit other female entrepreneurs. One of the largest investors in the fund is the Boone Family Foundation, started by Garrett Boone, the founder of the Container Store. See five trends affecting female-run businesses.
Need tech support? Ask those 2,500 guys over there. Best Buy now has a Twitter account that is staffed by more than 2,500 salespeople, which will provide customers with real time tech support, according to The New York Times. The account name is called Twelpforce, and Best Buy is also building its holiday television campaign around this social media venture.
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