The appetizer approach to raising funds. Mark Suster proposes the rule of hors d'oeuvres to decide how much money your company should raise. The idea is that it's bad form to take the entire hors d'oeuvres tray, but it's probably a good idea to take two servings (in case the tray doesn't come around for awhile). In other words, if an investor offers you more money than you think you need, but still at reasonable terms, take the extra money. "I know you think you're going to do a bigger round later at a higher price but the problem is that if someone offers you [extra money] now it's guaranteed," he writes. "That same extra [money] might prove very difficult to get one year from now if something fundamentally changes in the market, your company isn't getting traction as quickly as expected or your competition makes a lot of noise in the market."
A handy social media cheat sheet. Our friends over at Fast Company have a quick and dirty cheat sheet that breaks down the value of different social networking sites for communicating with customers, getting brand exposure, boosting site traffic, and helping your SEO. For a more detailed guide, see how you can use social netowrking sites to drive your business.
Ex-assistant to Yahoo's CEO disses her old company when she moves onto Twitter. Kristen Cordle, who tweets at GGateGirl, has shrewdly ascended the corporate ladder, moving from program manager at Logitech to assistant to Yahoo's Carol Bartz to assistant to Twitter CEO Evan Williams, according to Valleywag. But as soon as Cordle fully transitioned to Twitter, the veiled insults started. First with a tweet about Twitter having the most outstanding company culture she'd experienced ("#goodpeople") and then maligning Twitter rival Facebook. We're keeping it in mind for next year's list of the op 10 Most Awkward Social Media Moments.
Competition for group buying heats up. GroupOn, the Chicago start-up that helps local businesses find new customers by offering discounts to groups, is very hot right now. The company raised $30 million from venture capital firms in December and, according to TechCrunch, is projecting $100 million in gross sales for this year. GroupOn is so hot, in fact, that it's spawning lots of well-funded competition. VentureBeat reports that LivingSocial, a a Washington, DC group buying start-up, just raised $25 million. VentureBeat notes that part of the attraction of group buying for investors is that it's easy to turn a profit--most group buying companies simply take a cut of sales--and because there's "room for niche-focused competitors. (Think Groupon for moms or LivingSocial for athletes.)"
Have you been neglecting your company's Twitter account? You're not alone. According to Mashable, a recent study found that only 21 percent of Twitter accounts are active. Thirty-four percent of Twitter users haven't even made one tweet, and 73 percent have tweeted fewer than 10 times. The rapid growth of the micro-blogging site has also slowed: in April of 2009 the site grew 20 percent, but in December of the same year it only grew .34 percent.
The Future of Mobile? Superphones. By 2013, the installed base of smartphones and superphones will exceed the installed base of PCs and web-browsing will become fully mobile. So predicts ex-RealNetworks chairman Rob Glaser, in his first speech since stepping down. GigaOm lists the five big opportunities that Glaser says will emerge from this new tech landscape, including "digital persistence" (the idea that all content will be available everywhere at any point in time), access to content across devices, and improving the discovery process.
New apps from the Google Apps Marketplace you should try. Google has caused quite a stir among cloud-computing enthusiasts with the announcement of their new app store, which allows software developers to sell their Google Apps-integrated web tools to other businesses. To help users get the most of the search giant's new offering, Mashable has suggested a few of the best apps available so far, such as Intuit Online Payroll, which allows employees to retrieve their paychecks from Google Calender and help with e-filing taxes, and Aviary, a nifty graphics editor that helps create business cards and slide presentations. "We're only scratching the surface in terms of what the Google Apps Marketplace can potentially offer users, as well as developers and other providers," the post says. "But just looking at some of the apps and integrations that already exist, we have to say, this is exciting."
Is it possible to teach entrepreneurship? In the past we've written about whether entrepreneurship is in a person's genes but a new article on CNN Money attacks the question from another angle: can entrepreneurship be taught? More specifically how good of a job are we doing of teaching it in schools. While the number of colleges and universities with entrepreneurship programs has increased tenfold in the last three decades, a study published by the Kauffman Foundation earlier this year found that that explosion has resulted in "no appreciable impact on entrepreneurial activity in the United States." Still, the next generation of entrepreneurs is honing their skills one way or another.
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staff’s daily links blog. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, The Villager, Chelsea Now, and on nymag.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @nitashatiku