Firing Up American Innovation
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
How to become an innovation powerhouse. Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist and the man who brought us the World Wide Web, explores the the keys to innovation in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. His verdict? More tech education for kids, and continue the search for overseas talent. "One cannot escape the observation, however, that the incidence of intelligence is uniform in all populations around the world," he writes. "There are absolutely more smart people outside the U.S. than there are living here. It is in our best interest to attract talent from anywhere in the world to participate in our innovation engine. Even if visitors return to their homelands after attending an American university, we will benefit from their contributions while they were here and, in all likelihood, even after they have returned home."
Emails add validity to new battle over Facebook. We thought it would be over with the Winklevii, but lawsuits fighting for ownership of Facebook just won't die. After the Winklevoss twins' continued lawsuit was squashed in federal court yesterday, a dark horse came back into the race. Paul Ceglia sued Mark Zuckerberg last July, claiming he had been promised 50 percent ownership of Facebook back in 2003. Of course, because no one had ever heard of Ceglia and because he waited a solid seven years to file suit, no one took him seriously. Now, it's time to take him seriously. Business Insider revealed today that Ceglia has refiled his lawsuit, showing dozens of emails between himself and Zuckerberg during the year Facebook was created, revealing Ceglia's investment and Zuckerberg's lies that the site was failing when it was actually a growing phenomenon. Now Ceglia's coming for back what he believes he deserves: half of Zuckerberg's stake in Facebook. Facebook calls these emails fraudulent, but if Ceglia is telling the truth, Facebook will be looking at another massive settlement. On the bright side, David Fincher might have found the plot for The Social Network: The Sequel.
The curious case of the female billionaire. Few people had heard of Lynn Tilton, one of Wall Street's wealthiest financiers who made her fortune by reforming distressed companies, until she stepped into public with a screed against TARP in 2008, and started a blog. Today, the 51-year-old founder and CEO of Patriarch partners who claims to own the most companies of anyone in America, is the leather-mini-skirt-wearing subject of Diva of Distressed, a new reality show slated for fall. She's also the subject of an enthralling profile in New York Magazine, in which she discusses pushing men around in the boardroom and in the political arena.
Hulu: Too popular for its own good? Thanks to Hulu, the free video streaming site, consumers are dropping their cable and TV services en masse. That's great news for Hulu, not so great news for the very companies that own it: ABC, Fox and NBC. According to today's LA Times Hulu's widespread consumer adoption is actually threatening it's revenue, which is still largely based on television advertising dollars. The problem is causing friction between the site's corporate parents and its entrepreneurial management. The Times reports that Hulu CEO Jason Kilar "has been resisting efforts by Hulu's owners to institute fundamental changes, such as squeezing in additional commercials." And, with Hulu's exclusive distribution rights to ABC, Fox and NBC's programming expiring this summer, things could get interesting. As one executive close to the arrangement tells The Times "The rights given to Hulu were intended to be a head start, to get them on their feet…Now, the content owners feel that it's time to take the training wheels off and start to compete on another level."
It's not them, it's you. As an entrepreneur, it's natural to jump in and handle problems when employees can't. But The New York Times suggests the real problem may be you. Writer and serial entrepreneur Jay Goltz points out that it's common for entrepreneurs to be bad managers within their own companies. His solution: "It starts with realizing that if you can't get out of the business, you are doing something wrong" and that "Maybe you have unrealistic expectations" about your employees.
Business by The Beatles. The Beatles will always be remembered as one the best rock bands of all time, but the lives of the Fab Four also offer many valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and budding businesspeople. That's exactly the premise behind the latest book from authors Richard Courtney and George Cassidy titled Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles. According to USA Today, the two authors chronicle the evolution of The Beatles, and tie in relevant business lessons, particularly in the areas of strategy, branding, and revenue. "We look at their career as the business model it is: the most successful of all time and one that is easily adaptable," Courtney said. "They did not know they were creating a business model but they were strategic about what they did."
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