Google gunning for Twitter, Facebook. In a not-so-subtle attempt to put some pressure on social networking behemoths Facebook and Twitter, Google is set to announce today that its adding new status-driven functionality to Gmail, The New York Times reports. The Times describes the new features as "add-ons to Gmail that let users post and view messages about their day-to-day activities." But over at TechCrunch, Michael Arrington expects more, writing, "our understanding is that the product goes well beyond a Gmail integration."
How to avoid getting duped. We've all been guilty of falling for a deal that seems too good to be true or an idea that seems so perfect that only a fool would pass it up. Thankfully, Guy Kawasaki at the American Express OPEN Forum has a few tips on how to avoid being so gullible. Tip #1, and perhaps most important, is to avoid being rushed into big decisions. As Kawasaki points out, "If someone is rushing you to make a decision, you should be even more skeptical." The post goes on to explain how you can avoid "high-gullibility situations" before they arise and how to disengage from a high-pressure situation. Very important tips for anyone who's ever given his bank account number to a wealthy Nigerian prince looking to transfer a vast fortune to the United States for safekeeping.
Matchmaking for start-ups and angels. Venture Hacks, one of the best blogs about raising money from angels and VCs, has launched a new service to help start-ups find angel investors. Every week, the blog asks for start-up pitches and sends the best ones to a small list of angel investors who have agreed to get pitches. Here's the list, and here's how to apply.
Will the iPad be a good product or a great product? Paul Buchheit, the founder of FriendFeed and the creator of Gmail, quotes an early iPod review--"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame"--and guesses that the new Apple iPad will prove the skeptics wrong and be a hit based on the fact that it will offer a better Web browsing experience. Buchheit then distills his philosophy for how to design a great product: "Pick three key attributes or features, get those things very, very right, and then forget about everything else," he writes. "If your product needs 'everything' in order to be good, then it's probably not very innovative (though it might be a nice upgrade to an existing product). Put another way, if your product is great, it doesn't need to be good."
Entrepreneurship thriving in...France? Despite tough labor laws, high taxes, and a socialist ethos, France is undergoing something of a start-up renaissance, according to the BBC. In 2009, the country had a higher number of new businesses than any of its European peers. Some attribute the growth of France's entrepreneurial sector to its new "auto-entrepreneuer program," in which new businesses can register in minutes on the Internet, file invoices online, and pay charges to the state only when they start making profits. Others attribute the growth to high unemployment in the country.
Silicon Valley's baby problem. Recently, TechCrunch posted an article about the lack of women among U.S. venture capitalists and tech entrepreneurs, which included a list of possible reasons for the gap. Those reasons, however -- which all pretty much boiled down to gender biases in business -- skipped over one important factor, according to a blog over at GigaOm: the expectation for women to be the primary caregivers of children. "Society at large explicitly perpetuates motherhood and not parenthood, and implicitly enforces the status quo through its policies around access to childcare for babies, school calendars and thousands of other complicating factors," says writer Stacey Higginbotham, arguing that women shouldn't have to choose between raising a family and building a startup any more than men should. Check out our slideshow on a few moms who found the balance and built great companies of their own.
When profits are secondary. CNN Money writes about a new class of for-profit company, called an L3C, where the primary goal is not making money. Since April 2008, five states and two Indian tribes have signed legislation that enables a business to incorporate as an L3C, and at least five additional states are considering similar laws. In Vermont alone, which was the first U.S. state to pass the legislation, more than 80 companies have incorporated as L3Cs in the past 21 months. According to Robert Lang, one of the creators of the L3C concept, the main goal is "to create an LLC whose very DNA insists that it has to put its beneficial activities in front of making money."
9 tips HubSpot's CEO learned while raising $33 Million.Dharmesh Shah and his co-founder have raised $33 million in three rounds of venture financing for their lead generating software company, HubSpot. Shah shares the lessons he's learned on what to do and what to avoid on his blog, OnStartups.com. Do's: get the first round right, raise more than you need, figure out orchestration, familiarize yourself with VC-speak, and pick VCs with partners you get along with. Don'ts: use your Uncle Larry as your lawyer, switch partners without doing your homework, or get obsessed with valuations. (Via peHUB.)