Are babies naming start-ups? One writer over at GigaOm suspects that toddlers are lending a hand in creating a new naming convention for companies. In light of the recent launches of Gwabbit, a web-based contact syncing service, Kwedit, a virtual goods payment network, and a couple of start-ups dubbed Kadoo and Faroo, the writer acknowledges the difficulty in finding domain names, but feels the cute-levels of start-up monikers have reach an all-time high. "I carefully triple-check spelling as start-ups drop vowels," the post says, and "when it comes to adding letters, I have a special disdain for the double-o."
The argument against the Startup Visa--and a rebuttal. Paris-based technology entrepreneur Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry came out swinging against the idea of the startup visa in Business Insider yesterday. Y Combinator's Paul Graham first floated the idea, which would let foreign entrepreneurs launch in the US if they could raise enough money from investors, about a year ago. Now it's a Senate bill. But Gobry says the Visa would rely too much on investors, who will likely wring what they can from this newfound leverage. And it could increase the risks by adding the possibility of getting kicked out of the country if you fail. But peHUB directed our attention to this even stronger rebuttal from K9 Ventures' Manu Kumar. He argues that Graham's proposal addresses government fears (about foreigners launching a company without the capital to do so) without financially burdening the startup. As for the investors manipulating their power, he argues, "Investors do *not* want to run your company. They simply want *you* to do it well." Regarding risks, Kumar points out that nothing is stopping the recipients from applying for another Startup visa or even a jobs visa, if they fail the first time.
Blog network close to selling for millions? PaidContent is reporting that Gothamist, the network of city blogs, is nearing a deal to sell to Cablevision-owned Rainbow Media for $5 million to $6 million. The New York Times reports that "inside Cablevision, Gothamist and its sibling blogs for cities like Washington and Los Angeles are seen as complementary to Rainbow's AMC, IFC and Sundance cable channels."
How to survive a recall. We've written about how a recall in your industry can provide a small business with a great opportunity, but what if the recall strikes your company? For Cynthia Thomas, the trouble struck during her first year of operation (via CNN Money). The owner of the Beaverton, Oregon-based toy company, Earth Friendly, discovered that due to a manufacturing flaw, pieces on some of the company's all-natural toys (they have no plastic or lead in them) were coming unglued. Thomas immediately called the Consumer Product Safety Commission who confirmed that she would need to recall the toys. "It felt like the worst thing that could ever happen," she recalls, but the company recovered with a relatively healthy 2009 and managed to expand its retail network through the Pacific Northwest.
Google Cuts off China Site. The question of how to balance the enormous business opportunities in China with questions about piracy, human rights violations, and censorship has long been a tough one for entrepreneurs. (We've looked at bothsides of the issue in the past.) Yesterday, Google shut off its Chinese site, Google.cn, and began redirecting users to its Hong Kong site, which is not censored by Beijing. However, as Inc. noted in its report yesterday, searches from mainland China were still being censored, and Google will continue to invest in its cell phone business in the country.
Four ways to improve your financial projections. Trying to make meaningful financial projections for your business is never easy. In this economy, it's next to impossible. Thankfully, Ken Kaufman at the OPEN Forum has some tips to improve your forecasts to help make planning a little bit easier and to give you a leg up on the competition. Among his suggestions, Kaufman recommends scaling your expenses along with your revenue growth and forecasting your balance sheet in addition to the profit and loss statement. Once you've done all that work, don't let it go to waste. As Kaufman explains, "Nothing is worse than seeing a great set of projections completed and then set aside, never to be referenced again." Be sure to compare your actual performance against the projections and analyze them to see which assumptions were off the mark.