A Lesson in Diversifying
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Vera Wang's business strategy. The name "Vera Wang" may call to mind an image of high-profile celebrities on the red carpet or, more recently, Chelsea Clinton on her wedding day, but today's Wall Street Journal explains how the fashion maven has diversified her line to appeal to all markets. Not only is she working on affordable wedding dress designs for national David's Bridal stores, but her diffusion line for Kohl's has become one of the biggest parts of her business since it launched three years ago. She tells the Journal, "Just because you're from a city 10 miles outside of St. Paul, it doesn't mean you don't read magazines or the incredible Internet and what's going on in the world...I never, ever take a client, or women for granted."
The death of the dead zone? If you've ever wandered around a train station or airport, laptop in hand, searching for that elusive WiFi signal, you're in for some good news. The New York Times reports that, by September 23rd, the F.C.C. will most likely approve plans to allow for extensive WiFi networks--or "WiFi on steroids." This would eliminate the need for wireless hot spots, as the new capabilities utilize bands of frequency once used by television networks before they all went digital early last year. The "supercharged" WiFi will reach rural users more easily and even assist in remote health care. In an interview with the Times, Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the F.C.C., pointed out that this is a great moment for entrepreneurs and innovators to capitalize on the new technology. “There is every chance of this leading to the development of one or more billion-dollar industries,” he said.
Keep it simple, stupid. We've asked the question before: Why is business writing so awful? Today, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington gives us the answer. He says the problem is in the lack of simplicity out there -- people just don't know how to succinctly describe what their businesses do. For a while, Arrington writes, he thought he was the one missing the point, but having spent years covering all things tech, he's found that even the most complicated businesses can be easily described with a few analogies. The founders who can't boil it all down, he says, just "aren't doing their job." According to Arrington, "It’s a problem that pervades Silicon Valley. Sometimes people think that a simple description of a product means there isn’t much there. But really it’s the opposite."
YouTube takes on live TV. YouTube has officially launched the trial version of YouTube Live, which hopes to bring live streaming on the Web mainstream. This type of technology is already available on a small scale, through sites like Qik and Ustream, but now that go-to source of online video content is entering the stage, Fortune's Seth Weintraub wonders if television will soon become a thing of the past. "Sports and News are, in my mind, the last reason to keep a traditional TV in the house," he writes. "With YouTube sucking up that content too, why keep the $100 cable TV plan?"
The work may not be worth it. In a blog post published this morning, entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin explains his three stages of preparation ("For a speech, a product, an interview, a sporting event"): beginner, novice, and expert. And the conclusion he comes to about which level to avoid is an interesting one. "If all you're going to do is go through the novice stage before you ship, don't bother," he writes. "If you're not prepared to put in the grinding work of the expert stage, just do the beginner stuff and stop screwing around. Make it good enough and ship it and move on." The included chart explains why.
For-profit schools bend but don't break. Despite the dramatic success of for-profit learning institutions like University of Phoenix and Kaplan, many of them are now coming under fire for their questionable business practices. The Government Accountability Office has reportedly found evidence of deceptive recruitment tactics, ranging from misleading students about tuition costs and post-graduation salaries to encouraging them to file fraudulent loan applications. Now, The Economist is explaining what these institutions are doing to combat the accusations and keep student tuition coming in. While some may remain wary of for-profit colleges, don't expect them to go anywhere any time soon. They still stand by the fact that they are significantly cheaper for the taxpayer than public and non-profit schools.
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