Attention Armchair App Developers
Hey, armchair app schemers. There's plenty of help for bringing your idea to iPhone screens everywhere, the Los Angeles Times reports. App development firms, such as A-1 Technology of New York and Appsnminded, a three-mom shop in Calabasas, California, are armed to help aspiring micro-entrepreneurs build their app ideas into reality. The small shops generally charge a few thousand dollars to do the programming (which they mostly outsource to workers overseas) and hand you back your app. Others take a chance on ideas, and then take cuts of future proceeds.
Who's standing in line for an iPhone 4? Apple's been taking pre-orders for the iPhone since June 15th, but it's finally in stores today. So who's braving the heat? According to AllThingsD's Peter Kafka, the line at Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City is "sweaty, irrational, [and] male." Business Insider is all over the release with a photo gallery of lines from Paris, Tokyo, and London, as well as a story about the owners of an iPhone repair shop who already broke theirs (as an ad for their business). Business Insider also claims the phone's latest iteration loses reception when held in the left hand and reports that Mashable's weekend editor Sam Axon was mugged while waiting in line at 3.40am in Chicago. In response to Axon's misfortune, Frank Sennett quipped, "Couldn't Jobs wait til he was in the store?"
Be careful when naming your business. Your business's name is the first thing the public sees, so it is important to make it catchy, relevant, and easy to remember. Business owners need to take care, however, that their new moniker doesn't bear too close a resemblance to an established company names. As the Wall Street Journal reports, a number of small businesses have run into legal trouble when choosing a company name that plays off a trademark owned by larger corporations. For example, a Kentucky adult-novelty store named Victor's Secret received a cease-and-desist letter from Limited Brands, Victoria's Secret parent company, less than two weeks after it opened. The Journal offers some tips to avoid an expensive lawsuit such as registering your company's name with the Patent and Trademark Office and researching existing business names to keep from encroaching on a trademark.
Training the entrepreneurs who will revive Detroit. The New York Times profiles Bizdom U, a boot camp to aid aspiring entrepreneurs in establishing high-growth businesses in Detroit--an attempt to revitalize one of America's most beleaguered cities. "Detroit is completely missing an entrepreneurial ecosystem," Bo Fishback, vice president for entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, tells the Times. "Bizdom isn't catalyzing an existing system; it's trying to create something almost from scratch." Boot camps are nothing new, but the program is unique in its focus on Detroit, and its founding principle that entrepreneurs are born, not made. "We dig deep by reviewing their past activities and behaviors to see if they were often drawn toward entrepreneurial pursuits," says Bizdom's founder. Candidates who make the cut spend four months immersed in Apprentice-like real world tasks and attend lectures by speakers like former basketball stars (and now successful businessmen) Magic Johnson and Dave Bing. "We wanted people to be living and breathing their businesses," says Bizdom U's executive director. "They learn by doing."
A World Cup promotion spun out of control. Many businesses are hoping to use the World Cup to boost their brand but one Arizona restauranteur took that idea too far (via CNNMoney). Cameron Selogie advertised in an email blast to customers that his restaurant would be carrying lion burgers in honor of the festivities. One animal rights activist and outraged patron passed the news along to the local media and it soon sparked an international firestorm. Perhaps Selogie could use a lesson in PR damage control from the company that tried to revive AstroTurf.
YouTube wins lawsuit. YouTube prevailed in a lawsuit that had been filed against it by the media giant Viacom. The suit, which had been hanging over YouTube and its parent company Google since 2007, came to a head earlier this year when emails from co-founder Steve Chen surfaced that seemed to endorse piracy and when Google responded by claiming that Viacom itself was uploading videos to YouTube. (USA Today has a nice summary of the case.) Fred Wilson cheers the decision, calling it "a huge victory for entrepreneurs and the web." He says that the threat of a lawsuit forced YouTube to sell itself to Google. As a result of this decision, "other user generated content services will not have to make the choice that YouTube had to make,' he writes.
The case against hiring cheap. Just because job hunters are a bit desperate these days doesn't mean you should change the way you pay. According to today's Wall Street Journal, paying employees less than what they're worth in a down economy will only make it easier for them to jump ship when a better-paid opportunity comes along. But in the interest of being competitive, it's not wise to overpay employees just to keep them on board, either. The story recommends staying within industry norms, and if you can't afford a pay consultant, use free resources like college career centers or the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlook Handbook to find out what industry standards are.
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