How to use Twitter profitably. David Spinks of Mashable has compiled a list on how to create a successful Twitter chat, starting with choosing a time, a topic, and using a #hashtag to kick things off. But, really, who cares about using Twitter to chat? We at Inc. know that what you really want to do is use the red-hot social network to make some cold, hard cash. So we wrote a story about that too, printed it on some dead trees, and published it in a can't-miss December/January issue. Check out "5 Ways to Actually Make Money on Twitter."
Mark Cuban gets a WWE smackdown. On his most recent blog post a few days ago, Mark Cuban says there is just one question he asks himself before he makes any big decisions. That question is, "When I hopefully turn 90 and look back at my life, would I regret having done it, or not having done it?" He's still probably trying to figure out the answer to that question after his appearance last night on WWE's "Monday Night Raw." Cuban got into a ringside jawing match with pro wrestler Randy Orton while Cuban was serving as the night's guest host. He managed to get in one verbal jab at his favorite target, NBA refs, when he told Orton that, "The only reason you won is because these WWE refs are worse than NBA refs." After that, however, Cuban's night went downhill fast. The night ended with Cuban taking a knee to the midsection from wrestler Seamus before being body-slammed headfirst through a table. For those of you who aren't regular followers of the WWE, the Huffington Post has all the video highlights.
eBay and Craigslist head to court. In 2004, eBay acquired 28 percent of its weird--but really successful--competitor Craigslist, by buying out an early employee for $32 million. In retrospect, the investment looks to have been a bargain--and the episode serves as a lesson for start-up founders to be wary of giving out too much equity too soon. Craigslist and eBay have been at odds pretty much ever since. Shortly after the purchase, eBay launched a competing site--the unfortunately-named Kijiji.com--and Craigslist responded by diluting the auction giant's shares and stripping it of its board seat. Now the two parties are in court, as eBay seeks to get back its board seat and Craigslist seeks to get rid of eBay altogether. Corporate Counsel is covering the proceedings, calling it "Divorce court, corporate-style." (Via Business Insider.)
When due diligence goes wrong. In the wake of fraud charges filed against Canopy Financial and one of its co-founders, former VC Healy Jones wonders how the venture firm investing $62.5 million into Canopy could have been duped so easily.
Caught off guard by an uptick. After slashing overhead expenses and going into hiding during the recession, many small business owners have found themselves unprepared for increased demand in services and products as the economy recovers. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, withering lines of credit and diminished employee numbers are just some of the issues that have caused businesses such as Accu-Logistics, a San Leandro, Calif.-based order-fulfillment company, to be "caught unawares" by new business opportunities. After an industrial supplies client needed 10.5 million surgical masks for H1N1 prevention, founder Blake White and his business partners were forced to empty their cash reserves and pull lines from their home mortgages. Lori Hoberman, chair of the venture and technology practice at New York City law firm Fish & Richardson, says that planning for an economic recovery is essential -- but don't go overboard. "If things start to thaw ... start ramping up again, but not foolishly," she says.
Twoddler: Twitter for Toddlers. How long did you think devoted parents would be content to just tweet about their adorable tykes every genius move? CNET describes Twoddler, which took first prize at the Innovative and Creative Applications competition, as "a tricked-out Fisher Price Activity Center with pictures of family members and friends attached and a Arduino board inside." The kid plays with different parts of the toy and Twoddler automatically sends out tweets based on their pattern of usage. Mediaite, which has a cross-section of the device and a video of it in action, calls Twoddler "adorable" and "actually kind of useful." We'll call it entrepreneurial and leave it at that. (Hat tip, peHUB).
Extreme bootstrapping. In the tech industry, a paucity of funding is forcing start-ups to work with skimpier budgets, says the Seattle Times. As a result, a series of organizations have sprouted to help cash-strapped start-ups hire employees. These include the Founder Institute, a non-traditional incubator founded by the guy who started the TheFunded; StartupHire.com a job search engine for venture-backed start-ups; and Jobnob a series of networking events that connect start-ups with job seekers. For more advice on making do with a shoestring budget, check out our section on bootstrapping.
Another sample site goes shopping. One Kings Lane, which sells home furnishings using the online sample sale model pioneered successfully by Vente Privee and Gilt Group, has raised a round of venture capital funding from Kleiner Perkins and a handful of other investors. TechCrunch has the news and the New York Times says that sales have been growing really quickly.
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