A Battle Over Pigs Raises A Stink; India's R&D Explosion
BY Kasey Wehrum
Lessons learned from a million-dollar mistake. Entrepreneurs are forever learning from their own mistakes, so once in a while it's nice to learn from someone else's for a change. Tech entrepreneur Neil Patel shares the story of his million-dollar mistake made while pursuing a web-hosting start-up. Patel lists a number of things that went wrong with the businesss, poor money management and a lack of communication between the principals were among the key missteps. But perhaps the biggest mistake Patel made was not knowing when to say when. Patel and his partner kept on throwing good money after bad until the situation finally came to a crashing halt. Patel has since recovered and has gone on to further success with new ventures. As he explains, "What separates the true entrepreneurs from the phony ones is that the true entrepreneurs don't give up."
Battle in Butchertown. There's a small-business feud brewing in the trendy Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood of Butchertown. And the cause comes from the very things that gave the area its name: pigs. The Wall Street Journal has all the dirty details.
How to break bad work habits. For those in the professional world, it's easy to fall prey to bad habits -- procrastination, poor time management, and impatience are all examples of behavior that can affect the productivity of one's work or business. Fortunately, says Web Worker Daily, training the brain to adopt good habits doesn't take as long as most people think. Citing recent scientific research in the field of neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to reorganize itself, the article says new habits (or "neural connections") can be learned within 30 to 60 days, if new information is presented every day. To combat consistent unpreparedness or tardiness for meetings, for example, set a computer or phone alarm 30 minutes before each meeting to look over notes and agendas. "A habit is an involuntary, unconscious action," said Larry Tobin, co-creator of Habitchanger.com, where customers can join a 42-day habit breaking program. "They are something we have taught ourselves to do, so it is possible to unlearn them."
Twitter nixes suggested users list. Once a quick way for a company or individual to gain as many as 370,000 new followers within the first 30 days among its ranks, Twitter's suggested user list is finally being laid to rest. Co-founder Biz Stone told the press that the controversial list will be replaced by "something that is more programmatically chosen, something that actually delivers more relevant suggestions" (via Read Write Web). See how one CEO is making Twitter work for his company.
Silicon Valley watch out: India's transformation into a global R&D hub. In one of the most talked about stories on TechCrunch, entrepreneur-turned-academic Vivek Wadhwa reports that "while the West was sleeping, Indian IT morphed into a giant R&D machine." That outdated picture of a nation of call center workers and low-level computer programmers is now a preferred outsource provider of crucial R&D in sophisticated, higher value-added fields like semiconductor design, aerospace, automotive, network equipment, and medical devices. Both the Palm Pre and the Kindle have key components designed in India and Indian multinational firms like Tata and Reva are now poised to tackle U.S. and European markets. What's missing, however, is early stage venture financing and that pillar of American capitalism: grassroots entrepreneurism. In that department, India's lagging behind China, which boasts savvy start-ups making the most of government incentives and recruiting talented Chinese returnees as its CEOs and CTOs. But that doesn't mean that startups there aren't smart and hungry, cautions Wadhwa, who spoke to a 100 different young companies during a recent trip. "Many of them are solving problems that U.S. companies have thus far failed to solve and doing it with fewer resources," he writes. And U.S. VCs, like DFJ, are following the innovation trail. There isn't yet enough momentum to incite an explosion in venture capital. But Wadhwa says it will happen "sooner than you realize."
An eBay for the non-tech savvy. There's one major demographic that remains untouched by e-commerce: the technologically-challenged. Glyde, a Palo Alto, California-based start-up conceived by Simon Rothman is counting on its ease of use to win over that demographic and help it compete with stalwarts like eBay and Amazon. According to the New York Times, Rothman's target market is people who had never sold items on the Internet because it was too difficult. "We want the middle-aged Midwestern soccer mom to easily be able to buy and sell her stuff," he said. "It's a pretty straightforward ambition."
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.