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Business Lessons from the Elections
 

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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:

What the midterms can teach you. While the pundits debate what last night's election results mean for the two parties, today's Business Insider has a post explaining what the election should mean for entrepreneurs. The election and the campaigns leading up to them were full of teachable moments that apply not just to politics, but to the business world as well. Business Insider has a list of five lessons entrepreneurs can learn from the midterm elections. For example, as demonstrated by Meg Whitman's and Linda McMahon's costly but losing campaigns, money doesn't guarantee success. As the writer Mark Hall points out, "The money is only as strong as your message. If your value proposition doesn't align with your customers, or voters, you may be just wasting your money."

An ugly, ugly breakup. For three years, Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis worked together to make TechCrunch50 one of the most talked-about tech start-up conferences around. Then it all fell apart. In September, amidst rumors of the eventual AOL-TechCrunch marriage, Calacanis ripped Arrington on Twitter, calling him a "trainwreck" and "sociopath." Now, the public drama has taken a new twist: in a long post on TechCrunch, Arrington writes that Calacanis is now threatening to sue TechCrunch for part of the proceeds from the sale to AOL. Arrington also claims in the post that Calacanis spread rumors that Arrington abused prescription drugs. Messy much? Somehow we feel this is only going to get worse (better).

Facebook as political forecaster. Forget about who led the polls before Election Day. How about who had the most Facebook fans? Popularity on Facebook painted a surprisingly accurate portrait of yesterday's midterm election results, Fast Company reports. Facebook's political team says candidates who had more fans than their opponents won 74 percent of House races and 81 percent of Senate races. Upsets included Christine O'Donnell, Meg Whitman and Sharron Angle--all of whom beat out their opponents on Facebook, but still lost their elections. But Facebook is clearly the social voting platform to watch, with more than 12 million people clicking its "I Voted" button this year, up from 5.4 million in 2008.

Hiring young...very young. It's not all that unusual these days to meet 8-year-olds who are more adept at technology than we are, and today's New York Times explains how businesses are using that to their advantage.  Writer David H. Freedman tells the story of a Pennsylvania-based auto body shop that enlisted the help of 9-year-old twin boys to build its website, and to his surprise, the store owner says, "They did a beautiful job." What's more, they only charge $700. That's why, Freeman, says, for small businesses like the auto shop, who aren't completely dependent on their websites and who don't need overly sophisticated features, getting tech-savvy kids to do the work can be a smart business move. "[Kids] are way ahead of the rest of us on much of this stuff, having cut their teeth on it at home and at school," Freeman writes. "And they're thrilled to work for wages that a pro would sneer at at — music to the ear of the cash-flow-conscious business owner." What ever happened to lemonade stands?

Moving out of the garage. More than creativity, ingenuity, and persistence, start-ups will eventually need one thing: money. Today's Mashable offers advice from eight investors for the first-time entrepreneur looking to secure funding from venture capitalists. It won't be easy, though. "For the first-time entrepreneur or founder looking for seed stage funding, this circle can be especially difficult to penetrate," the article notes. One of the investors, Gary Vaynerchuk, who recently had a conversation with Inc., admitted that for him, it's all about his schedule, state of mind, and the luck of finding him when he's willing to listen. "I'm always open. I'm always closed...I don't mind Twitter; I don't mind Facebook; I don't mind email; it's a complete roll of the dice," he says.

The $650 million question. What will Marc Andreessen do with his firm's new $650 million fund? AllThingsD has a video interview with Andreessen himself about where he'd like to see Andreessen Horowitz's investments go next.

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Last updated: Nov 3, 2010




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