10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Ability to Scale. Wondering how much impact the inability to scale can have on a startup? Just compare the recent sale of Friendster (for a reported $26.4 million) to Facebook's projected 2010 revenue ($10 billion). Former tech executives Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher, who have consulted hundreds of startups, take a page from their recently released book The Art of Scalability and list the top ten ways to kill your internet startup's growth, including thinking that scalability is just about technology and the failure to weed or seed soon enough. Check out Max Chafkin's Inc. cover story on Friendster, "How to Kill a Great Idea.
Smart ways to use your blackberry on vacation without annoying the family. Smartphones, wireless devices, and laptops enable entrepreneurs to get away for the holidays without worrying about missing a call. But taking those calls has a way causing friction with family. The Wall Street Journal's advice for managing the business and your loved ones' expectations? Set aside specific times of the day to check in (and stick to those times), limit the number of gadgets you bring, and lastly, make sure your devices and connections are in working order.
The Northeast's top start-ups and VC firms. Getting an early jump on their year-end "Best Of" lists, the Boston Globe has a list of the top five venture firms that mattered most in 2009 and the top five start-ups that will be worth watching in 2010. You won't find any big names out of Silicon Alley on this list, the Globe focuses primarily on Boston-area companies and VC's. Regardless, it is still quite an impressive lineup. Among the start-ups worth watching are Kayak.com and Heartland Robotics, a new venture from iRobot co-founder Robert Brooks. VC firms such as Third Rock Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners, which recently opened a free incubator for entrepreneurs, rank among the top VC's of 2009.
Decision engine hits a growth spurt. Back in September we wrote about Hunch, the decision engine launched by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake which helps users answer such fundamental questions as "Where should I go to college?," "Should I break up with my boyfriend?," and "What kind of cheese should I buy?" We asked five entrepreneurs how the site could grow beyond its blogosphere buzz and now it appears it has. While the company is still shy of 400,000 monthly unique visitors, that number has tripled in the past three months after some more gradual growth according to TechCrunch.
Twitter is profitable. Thanks to deals with Microsoft and Google, Twitter is going to turn a "small profit" in 2009, reports BusinessWeek. The three year old microblogging phenomenon--which we profiled back when it was a money-losing start-up--had focused on adding subscribers and improving its product rather than trying to make money. The strategy attracted derision, but it appears to have paid off. Microsoft and Google will pay Twitter $25 million a year to incorporate tweets into their search results, according to the article. And it sounds like other revenue streams are in the works: "In addition to the search deals, Twitter plans an advertising program for early next year. The company also will charge for commercial Twitter accounts that would let businesses analyze tweet traffic," BusinessWeek says.
Yelp walks away from a half a billion dollars. It's unclear how serious the talks were, but TechCrunch, which reported on a rumored $500 million acquisition deal with Google, says that Yelp has decided to leave the money on the table. TechCruch suspects that some other company offered a strategic partnership, and the New York Times says that this likely won't be the end of acquisition dance for Yelp. "[T]here is little doubt that the local ratings service, which has precious, hard-to-come-by local content, will continue to be a sought-after prize," according to the Times.
Networking events and workshops to start the new year off right. Let's face it--2009 has been a tough year for small business. But, with 2010 comes a fresh start for entrepreneurs and growing companies to get the word out about their new business ventures. From bootcamps, to holiday parties, to Webinars, Small Business Trends offers up a a list of events to attend, from New York to Arizona and beyond.
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