The secret to great SEO. There is none, says Derek Powazek. "The good advice is obvious," he writes. "The rest doesn't work." The comments are part of rant that suggests that search engine optimization--or SEO--is generally not something that's worth spending time or money on. Powazek argues that Google is constantly changing its algorithm, making the work of SEO consultants irrelevant. "These scammers claim that they can dance the magic dance that will please the Google Gods and make eyeballs rain down upon you," he writes. "Do. Not. Trust. Them." What should you do? Powazek suggests remembering that your website is for your customers, not Google: "Make something you believe in. Make it beautiful, confident, and real. Sweat every detail. If it's not getting traffic, maybe it wasn't good enough." Danny Sullivan tries to talk him down, and offers three examples where SEO makes sense. (Via Techmeme.)
More woes for small business lender. The CEO of CIT Group, the beleaguered small business lender that has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, is resigning. Jeffrey Peek "transformed [CIT] from a sleepy lender to small- and midsize companies around the country to a big financial player with aspirations of greatness-only to be laid low by the financial crisis last year" the New York Times reports. CIT received $2.3 billion in federal bailout money last year, but regulators have refused to put any more money in. The company is likely to enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Times says.
Steve Jobs, teen idol. It's official, Steve Jobs is cooler than Tony Hawk. Well, maybe not cooler, but he is the celebrity entrepreneur that is most admired by teenagers. That's according to a recent survey conducted by the youth organization Junior Achievement, who polled 1,000 U.S. kids aged 12 to 17 and asked them to choose the celebrity entrepreneur they admired most. Jobs received 35 percent of the vote, followed by Oprah Winfrey with 25 percent, and Tony Hawk with 16 percent. Twin fashionistas, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen received only 7 percent of the kid's votes. When asked why they admired Jobs, 61 percent said it was because he "made a difference in/improved people's lives or made the world a better place."
Skype founders hope to go from Kazaa to ka-ching. The New York Times reports that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the creators of Skype and peer-to-peer file-sharing service Kazaa, are trying their hand at another online music startup, Rdio. However, according to the piece, the duo faces two major challenges developing their self-financed company -- coaxing licenses out of music labels (who haven't forgotten the frustration Kazaa caused the industry), and trying to reinvent the monthly subscription concept, which many view as dated. With iTunes dominating the online music market with its pay-by-song method, and both Yahoo and AOL switching to free music streams, is the monthly subscription model still a viable one for startups?
Why Google Wave will never catch on. Slate's Farhad Manjoo says Google Wave will never be as popular as Twitter. Why? In two words: live-typing. Every key stroke you type into Wave is transmitted live, in real time, says Manjoo, who narrates the disastrous effect this can have on trying to communicate ideas. "On Wave, every misspelling, half-formed sentence, and ill-advised stab at sarcasm is transmitted instantly to the other person. This behavior is so corrosive to normal conversation that you'd think it was some kind of bug. In fact, it's a feature' indeed, it's one of the Wave team's proudest accomplishments." Live-typing, he adds, is representative of other problems with the software, namely that it "creates new headaches by attempting to fix aspects of online communication that don't need fixing."
Regional VC's shrivel up. In flusher times, venture capital firms spread from their HQ's in Silicon Valley and Boston to places like New York, Washington, and Texas. Not anymore. Boston and the Valley are quickly becoming the last two strongholds of VC activity, according to the Wall Street Journal. Funds across the country are suffering, as only 83 new funds totaling $8 billion were started through September of this year compared to 205 new funds totaling $30.5 billion in 2006. According to the research firm VentureSource, Silicon Valley and Boston accounted for 63 percent of that total, up from 50 percent in 2006. All of this is more of a reason to ditch VC and fund yourself.
A different kind of 12-step program. Can't seem to get your start-up off the ground? On his blog, A Sack of Seattle, entrepreneur and VC Andy Sack offers his 12 Step Program for Unignited Start-Ups. As he explains, "This is a simple program aimed at start-up addicts who find themselves in their company that is not meeting up to their expectations." Get ready to get motivated; Step #9 on Sack's list is to "Subscribe to Tony Robbins on Twitter."
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