iPad apps hit the store. The release of the iPad is still one day away, but iPad app developers, anticipating huge demand, are already hawking their wares. The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 2,300 apps are live in Apple's iTunes store. And, Gizmodo picks some of the best. (Via Techmeme.) Meanwhile, if you're thinking about developing an app of your own, read our guide to how to make money on the iPad.
Management lessons from Spongebob Squarepants. Sometimes it's hard to live up to examples set by great managers like Tony Hsieh and Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard. The New York Time's small business blog has a few management lessons from some fictional business owners that might be a little easier to emulate; Eugene Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants, Cosmo Spacely from The Jetsons, and the beloved Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street. Cash is king for Mr. Krabs, proprietor of the underwater burger joint The Krusty Krab, home to the famous Krabby Patty. His infatuation with money is at times overwhelming, but as the Times points out, "He is a tireless promoter and often solicits ideas from his employees--willing or not--to increase sales." Much like Zappos' Tony Hsieh, Sesame Street's Mr. Hooper is the definition of an entrepreneur who puts his customers first. As the story points out, Mr. Hooper "had a winning combination of location and customer service that acted as a magnet for local meet-ups. Like so many independent businesses, Hooper's Store helped define Sesame Street and facilitated some of the best moments, large and small, of the collective life of the community." George Jetson's short-tempered boss, Cosmo Spacely, is a better example of how not to manage employees. He is best known for creating a hostile work environment and as the Times explains, "The most frequent words out of his mouth were, 'Jetson, you're fired!'"
Silicon Valley start-ups to watch. Recently we looked at start-up trends in Y Combinator's most recent class of entrepreneurs, now Business Insider has a rundown on 20 more promising start-ups based out of Silicon Valley. Some names will be familiar, such as Bump, a company that lets people exchange data by tapping their smart phones together, but many are not. Whether it's Heyzap, which is gunning to be the YouTube of casual games, or the app developer behind I Am T-Pain, these companies have big name investors and bright prospects.
Obama promotes health insurance premium tax credit for small businesses. We've already provided you a round-up of what health care reform will mean for your small business. And yesterday, President Obama took time out to highlight one of the items he feels will help small businesses the most: a tax credit. The credit will take effect this year, and provide small businesses with up to a 35 percent break on health insurance premiums they pay for their employees coverage, abcnews.com reports. "For small business owners who don't currently provide health insurance, they'll be able to factor in this new benefit in deciding whether to do so," Obama said. "And with that savings, employers may be able to cover an additional worker or hire that extra employee they've needed."
Big Apple start-up attracts some A-List investors. New York-based start-up Postling decided to change the focus of their business just three weeks ago, but the company has already raised $350,000 in seed funding from some big-name angel investors like Gary Vaynerchuk and Dave McClure, according to GigaOm. The company, whose web-based dashboard lets small- and medium-sized businesses manage everything from Twitter to Yelp reviews to Groupon deals, was started by three Etsy alums. "We want them to turn to Postling and, instead of shoving metrics and numbers in their face, recommend them tangible things to do in 5 minutes, like respond to blog comments or post a photo on Flickr," says CEO David Lifson. My Web Page
Staff editor KASEY WEHRUM has written for Inc. magazine on subjects ranging from the businesses behind professional bull riding to gadget inventor and father of the infomercial, Ron Popeil. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Worth, Budget Travel, and on MSNBC.com. He lives in Brooklyn.