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AOL's Next Web Conquest

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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:

AOL eyes Yahoo for acquisition. Today's Wall Street Journal is fueling rumors that AOL and a few private-equity firms, including Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group are considering buying Yahoo. It's an interesting twist, considering Yahoo's $20.56 billion market value dwarfs AOL's $2.68 billion. This isn't the first time the two Internet companies have discussed a merger, though. Similar talks took place back in 2008, before Microsoft pulled its $45 billion bid to acquire Yahoo. Sources also tell the Journal that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong wouldn't be opposed to the idea of Yahoo acquiring AOL. The story reports, "A combined Yahoo-AOL would have greater scale to compete in online advertising against industry juggernaut Google."

If Washington ran like Silicon Valley ... It might be a lot more efficient. So says a new report by several tech chief executives, who believe the federal government can save $1 trillion. How? They just need to take more cues from CEOs. Acting more like the private sector by streamlining the supply chain could save half-a-billion dollars over a decade, and using different technology could reduce fraud, The Washington Post reports.

When it pays to underpay. This week the Glass Lewis research group came out with its annual "Pay Dirt Report" rating the 25 most underpaid and overpaid CEOs on the S&P 500. The results, as reported by CNN, surprisingly show that companies on the Underpaid 25 list outperformed their Overpaid 25 counterparts. The average company on the Underpaid 25 posted $1.16 billion in net income and showed 60% earnings per share growth, while the average Overpaid 25 company lost 373 million and posted "an arithmetic-defying 101% decline in per-share earnings." Glass Lewis also looked at smaller companies on the Russell 3000, which seemed to fall right in line. Companies led by underpaid CEOs on the Russell 3000 posted an average stock gain of $143% --more than triple the gain of some infamous overpaying companies like NCR.

From baseball star to small business owner. In the New York Mets 1980s heyday, slugger Darryl Strawberry was the toast of the Big Apple. With a reputation for big hits and bigger partying, Strawberry attracted the spotlight wherever he went. But as The New York Times reports, today, at age 48, a sober and subdued Strawberry spends many of his days as the owner of a new bar and grill in a nondescript section of Queens, New York--intentionally a good distance from the limelight and temptations of Manhattan. "I don't have to be here," Strawberry says. "But my name is a different name today, and I don't want to use my name for something just to put my face on it."

Choose the path less taken. That's the advice Tim Westergren, founder of online music service Pandora, gives to aspiring entrepreneurs. Writing for Huffington Post, Westergren explains that while society programs us to follow a certain charted path--finish school, get a job, climb the corporate ladder--the key to entrepreneurship is to follow your interests even if that means breaking with the standard routine. As he says, "I think virtually every great entrepreneur has had at least one moment in their lives where they have had to go left when everyone else is going right; when they had a notion of an alternative path, and had the confidence to believe in it."

An app that saves lives? Apps can certainly make the minutia of our lives easier--managing budgets, converting currencies, keeping schedules. Now, they make the minutia of our deaths easier, too. Seriously. A new app, DonateLives, lets people register to donate organs, reports The New York Times. As the story makes quite clear, it's basically the laziest app there is. "Don't have the energy to type 'organ donation registration' into Google and sift through the 200,000 results for the right link?" the Times asks. "Pick up the iPhone, download the app and it quickly leads the way."

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Last updated: Oct 14, 2010




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