101 motivational quotes to keep spirits high. With much of the country enveloped in messy winter storms, not to mention the ever-present flurry of bleak economic news, who couldn't use the occasional pick-me-up? Courtesy of tech entrepreneur Neil Patel's blog, Quick Sprout, here are 101 motivational business quotes from entrepreneurs as diverse as Henry Ford and Sergey Brin to Martha Stewart and Walt Disney. Lots of gems here, but this quote from Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is one of our favorites: "The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer."
What will Obama do for you? We already told you about his "cash for caulkers" plan. But what else does President Obama have in mind to help out small businesses? He outlined his plan on Tuesday in a speech at the Brookings Institution. One proposal includes "eliminating capital gains taxes on small business investment," The New York Times reports today. Another proposal would eliminate fees for loans from the SBA. "[E]ven though we've reduced the deluge of job losses to a relative trickle," Obama said, "we are not yet creating jobs at a pace to help all those families who've been swept up in the flood."
The 5 traits that VCs love. It might seem hard to predict what type of company an investor is looking for -- after all, many are focused on certain industries, and start-ups at different stages of growth. But there are some general attributes every entrepreneur should have, according to a Business Insider article by Mark Suster, a venture capitalist at GRP Partners -- and not all of them involve things like good financial planning. There are some no-brainers outlined, like tenacity and resiliency, but Suster makes a particularly interesting point about the importance of street smarts. "I often tell people that I'm looking for people who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths ... people who aren't worried about the social consequences of doing something they're not supposed to do," he says. "That's why I personally believe many immigrants or children of immigrants fare well in business -- it never occurs to them to play by the same rules as everybody else."
Exit Imeem, enter Google. Yesterday was a sad day for music start-ups. Imeem, the eminently useful, but very much unprofitable music service, is no more. The company was acquired in an asset sale by MySpace Music and it's website shut down yesterday, redirecting users to MySpace Music, which is a joint venture between the record labels and News Corp. TechCrunch says the final acquisition price was less than $1 million, which seems like a pittance considering that the site had attracted tens of thousands of users. Meanwhile, another joint venture between the record industry and a big company just launched, creating a well-funded threat to any remaining upstarts. Vevo, a collaboration between the record labels and Google, is a slick service for watching music videos.
A New York landmark files for bankruptcy. Tavern on the Green, the venerable Central Park restaurant, is preparing for its bankruptcy sale next month. The New York Times spoke with Kay LeRoy, who met Tavern on the Green owner and Hollywood scion Warner LeRoy when she was an "air hostess" for TWA and joined him on a decades-long adventure--traveling the world for sculptures and stained glass that would fit the restaurant's down-the-rabbit-hole aesthetic and serving the nearly 20 million patrons that frequented the place since Warner, who passed away in 2001, reopened it in 1976. An auction of the restaurant's artifacts could appease a pack of 450 "ravenous" creditors, of which Kay LeRoy is the largest, says the Times. She lent the company, now headed by her daughter, $1.9 million to meet payroll for its 400 employees. The greatest asset up for auction, valued at $19 million, is the restaurant's name itself.
Niche sites nibbling at eBay's customers. Disgruntled customers are looking beyond eBay, which saw 4 and 8 percent dips in the number of unique visitors this November and December according to Compete, a firm that monitors Web traffic. The Wall Street Journal reports on how sites like Etsy, Glyde, and Gazelle are pouncing on that opportunity to woo customers away from one of the first names in e-commerce. "Our biggest competitor is inertia," says Kristina Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Gazelle. "We are instilling a new behavior that didn't exist before around electronics."
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey