Does it Pay to Be Late?
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
The case for being late to market. It's counterintuitive, yes, but maybe being the first to market with a new product doesn't actually pay off. The Wall Street Journal reports that pioneering firms often die young when consumers aren't ready to embrace their product or business modes, a new research paper out of the University of Utah concludes. So, if a competitor beats you, sweat not, says Stanislav Dobrev, an author of the study. Early introducers that succeed are very rare, and the ones who fail fade fast. "You rarely hear about first movers who failed," he says. "They don't exist very long. They don't leave a lot of records."
Short-circuiting your cell phone. Everyone knows that using cell phones while driving is unsafe. But even as states continue to adopt harsher penalties for using phones while driving, motorists just can't seem capable to switching their phone off when they get behind the wheel. Now, wireless carriers are beginning to explore technology that block cell access to drivers in moving cars. The New York Times reports that T-Mobile has announced a service that "automatically disables rings and alerts and sends calls to voice mail when the phone is in a moving car." Other networks, like AT&T and Verizon, are working to develop similar technologies that would essentially "short-circuit" the driver's mobile device while the car is in motion. Still, obvious challenges exist, like how the cell phone will know if the user is driving or merely a passenger.
From Facebook to Qwiki. With all of the controversy stirred up by the movie "The Social Network" about who founded Facebook, it's surprising that one of the company's co-founders, Eduardo Saverin, has managed to stay out of the spotlight (though that's probably because he lives in Singapore). That may soon change. The New York Times reports that Saverin, whose 5 percent ownership stake makes him one of Facebook's primary shareholders, is now the lead investor in the Silicon Valley start-up Qwiki, a Web service that will provide interactive multimedia options to search queries, and Saverin seems confident the company will be a hit. "They are on the path to be a game changer," Saverin says.
Fertile market: Conscientious clothing. It's hard to disagree with the argument that writer Michael Pollan changed the way we eat. His argument toward eating more plants, more locally, has changed the market for artisinal and small-farm-grown food. This month, a piece in The Believer argues that there's a ripe market for sustainable wearables, and that what consumers first need is a "Michael Pollan of Clothing." Andy Selsberg argues: "Fashion has parallels to food: most clothing is too cheap, that cheapness has tragic costs, clothing is an agricultural product, and we consumer too much of it." Can a vibrant industry emerge in this space? You can read more of Selsberg's meditation on his consumer desire for sustainably-sourced fashion here.
A fountain of youth for computers. Getting ready to toss your seven-year-old Dell that can barely handle the latest viral video? Not so fast! Neverware, a NYC-based start-up founded by Jonathan Heftner, has developed the JuiceBox 100, a server that can power up to 100 desktops with Windows 7. What implications does this have for you? The JuiceBox will allow you to save your precious Dell, empowering it with enough energy and speed to run Windows 7. In addition, a mission of the company is to take old computers that have been discarded by corporations and, powering them via a JuiceBox, supply the latest technology to kids in developing countries. Who says you can't teach an old computer new tricks?
Sounding off on the Google shake-up. Here's a roundup of what tech pundits think about Eric Schmidt's surprise departure: Michael Arrington of TechCrunch says he was ready to break the news months ago, but killed the story after Google swore it wasn't true. His sources say Schmidt was "tired" and no longer liked the idea of "competing, and probably losing battles, against Apple and Facebook for the next decade." On the other end, we have Business Insider's Henry Blodget, who insists Schmidt got the boot. "Let's be serious: Eric got fired," he wrote. "As long as Larry and Sergey remain at Google, no one else will ever be CEO."
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