Murdoch's Google gambit shakes up the blogosphere. The Financial Times reports that Rupert Murdoch is in talks with Microsoft to remove his news empire, which includes the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, from Google's search listings. The move, which has been mulled by some commentators for years, and had recently been floated by Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis, could reshape both the search and media landscape. New media wonks are predictably going nuts. Jeff Jarvis calls it "madness" and adds, "This silliness is emblematic of the end of the Gutenberg age, the industrial age, the age of control, the age of centralization." On the other side of the debate, blogger and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, is pumped. "It makes so much sense," he writes.
The 'most stressful' job list. You think being a business owner and entrepreneur is stressful? We won't argue with you there. But those occupations didn't make the cut on Careercast.com's list of the most stressful jobs. Which ones did? Surgeon, for one. For the rest, click here. (Hat tip, MSNBC.)
Outsmarting shady shoppers. Since the busiest time of year for retailers has arrived, the Wall Street Journal is offering up some tools and suggestions to help small business owners counter unethical shopping tactics. According to the piece, "friendly fraud" schemes, which include dishonestly disputing a credit-card charge or returning used merchandise, have risen during the recession, but that doesn't mean your business has to be vulnerable during the holiday season. Jamon Robinson, president of Bountiful, Utah-based auto accessories store Sun Tints Inc., says he's potentially saved thousands through BadCustomer.com, which allows users to enter a customer's credit card number and search the site's database for contested charges at surrounding stores -- then choose to refuse the card. The article also suggests beefing up return policies, citing the efforts of Sandra Petrie, owner of Indigo, a boutique in Estes Park, Colo. After losing money by allowing customers to return items months after purchase, Petrie is cracking down during the holidays by only offering store credit for returned items within two weeks of purchase -- tags still attached. "I hope the new policy won't negatively affect business," she says, "but I'm not naive and I anticipate that people will rethink before purchasing." Click here for Inc.'s advice on how to developing a solid return policy.
Entrepreneurship lessons from the gridiron. Sure, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our blessings and spend time together with family and friends. However, it is also a great day to watch football. With the big day approaching, it is only fitting that the Washington Post has a story on Greg Jones, former captain of the 1980 Penn State football team, and the business lessons he learned from his time spent on the football field. Jones owns a pair of burger franchises in Florida and recently acquired the Virginia-based Bookkeeping Express, a company that sells bookkeeping franchises across the country. Jones said as captain of the team he had to learn public speaking so he could address his teammates. He also had to work on his presentation skills when acting as the team representative to iconic Penn State coach, Joe Paterno. The biggest lesson he learned? "You get smacked in the mouth and you are knocked down, in football or in business, and you have to get back up and have the guts to do it and continue to believe that you are right." For some additional insights gleaned from the football sidelines, check out legendary USC coach Pete Carroll's thoughts on leadership and managing.
The future of e-books. E-books might be a booming business with new readers emerging all the time, but do they have the long term stability to become a mainstay of the publishing industry? Well they're not there yet. The numbers are in and e-book sales reached $46.5 million as of September. Compared to the larger book business which netted $1.26 billion for the same period of time, that's chump change. But the popularity of the format has been growing without publishers having to do much marketing, and now some are starting digital-only imprints, according to Fast Company. Lydia Dishman writes, "September ebook sales at Random House (much of which are presumably The Lost Symbol) pulled in $22.6 million, which is a 700% increase over Kindle sales last year. While every month can't be a Dan Brown blow-out, a good marketing strategy to find and retain loyal readers will help shore up the revenue model." Other authors are going retro, however, such as David Sedaris, whose latest audiobook will be released on vinyl.