All Eyes on Apple Today

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Did Calacanis spill the beans on the Apple tablet? On Tuesday evening, serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis seemingly upstaged today's Apple tablet announcement with a series of tweets that started with this: "Yes, it's true... I've been beta testing the Apple tablet for the past two weeks and it's amazing." Since then, Calacanis has gone on to describe some of the tablet's supposed features and specs including: "wireless charging via optional base station," "facial recognition...[that] recognizes you + pulls your desktop/apps," and a price of "599, 699 and 799 depending on size and memory." In summary, he calls it the "best gadget ever made and NOT overhyped." It seems shocking that Steve Jobs, a lover of theatrical build-up, would sign off on Calacanis stealing his (virtual) thunder less than 24 hours before the big announcment. At the same time, this would be one elaborate hoax, even for Calacanis who's known to be comfortable ruffling a feather or two. Either way, on a publicity level Calacanis wins.

More tablet madness. Calacanis wasn't the only tablet leaker. Yesterday evening, Terry McGraw, CEO of the McGraw Hill Companies, seemed to inadvertently let some details slip. ("Get thee to media training!" proclaimed Inc.com's Courtney Rubin.) Meanwhile, in advance of the big press conference, we've got the odds on all the rumors (chance of video projections: 80 to 1). And the Wall Street Journal rounds up the long, troubled history of tablet computers. Here's hoping Steve Jobs's latest creation bests the Momenta, a six-pound, $5,000, machine that was created in 1991. Stay tuned to Inc.com for the full story.

Government special offer: tax cuts for new hires? It's an ongoing quandary that seems to have stumped the now one-year-old Obama administration. Despite several major economic initiatives -- including that $787 billion dollar one -- the country's unemployment rate is still hovering above a dismal 10 percent. One idea recently floated by senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is a tax break for any private company that hires a worker who had previously been unemployed for at least 60 days. In the New York Times op-ed, the congressmen make the case that the proposal, which would nix employers' Social Security payroll tax for the remainder of 2010, would be immediately (and widely) adopted by businesses, since the benefit starts on the date of hiring and "no business wants to wait until 2011 to receive a tax credit for someone it hires today." But Times blogger Jay Goltz has one simple objection: businesses don't hire people if they don't need them. "As a small business owner, I see one problem -- it won't work," he says. "If companies don't have work for new hires to do, they aren't going to hire them even if they're on sale for 6.2 percent off, or even 20 percent off." Would you hire new workers -- or create new work -- for a tax break?

The one BIG mistake you need to avoid. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is handling new ideas as they come at you fast and furious. However, tech entrepreneur Neil Patel has a warning for all those business owners out there who are always on the lookout for the next big thing: "If you don't focus on one business, you're bound to fail." Patel explains that, mathematically, there are barely enough hours in the day for an entrepreneur to focus on one business, let alone two. As he demonstrates, between the time spent eating, sleeping, and other life's necessities, the typical entrepreneur can't possibly give proper attention to more than one business. That's a lesson Patel learned firsthand, to the tune of almost $1 million.

A lost generation of entrepreneurs? After Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital told MIT Sloan students that people over 30 aren't innovative Jeff Bussgang, another VC with Flybridge in Boston started fretting about whether there was a lost generation of entrepreneurs. "During the period of 2001-2009, there have been very few substantial start-ups built to allow that generation's 20-somethings to learn and develop company-building skills," he says. However many of the entrepreneurs on our 30 Under 30 list would likely dispute that claim.

A-list investors line up for new credit card device. By plugging a tiny, square-shaped device into the headphones jack of your iPhone, Square makes taking credit card payments mobile. Once the card's been swiped through the device and the payment's authorized (a matter of seconds), the credit card user is automatically sent a receipt that shows the GPS location of the phone at the time the charge was made. It's easy to see how this could revolutionize small businesses. The company also just disclosed its full list of investors and TechCrunch has the list (as well as a video of Digg's Kevin Rose demo-ing the product): Rose, Biz Stone from Twitter, Shawn Fanning from Napster, first-time investors Google's Marisa Mayer, FourSquare's Dennis Crowley, and many more.

The newest source for search: your friends As it stands now, Google gives everyone the same results based on information gathered from the Internet at large. But the latest trend in search gives you the best personalized result based on information gathered from your online social networks. Bing recently announced agreements with Facebook and Twitter, and Google has revealed "Social Search," which allows users to add their social media accounts to one Google profile that allows Google to search their social network data. Advertising Age's Eric Swayne says the new search strategy has several implications for businesses: it's more important than ever to track what people are saying about you online, to assign someone responsibility for social media marketing, and to involve each discipline within your company in social media projects.

Austin entrepreneur tackles environmental planning debacles. For Kristin Carney, what began as a frustrating environmental consulting project turned into a Web-based startup that focuses on ready-to-use environmental data for governmental engineering projects. Reuters reports that the concept for Carney's business, Cubit Planning, was envisioned after she saw the need for a single platform that allows engineers to view the environmental data - for example, relevant endangered species, hazardous materials and demographics - of an area that is being considered for a federal construction project. By setting up a one-stop-shop for the engineers who build these environmental projects, Cubit enables efficient building time, coupled with budget-friendly costs for clients.


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Last updated: Jan 27, 2010




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