Forget Outsourcing, Try Rural Sourcing
Google makes a deal China, but at what cost? After months of tension, Google announced today that Beijing will renew its license to operate in mainland China. Google had previously refused orders to censor its search results and pulled some of its Chinese operations. Under the agreement, Google can keep offering limited services in China and send users to Google's uncensored Hong Kong-based portal. The New York Times calls the license renewal a sign that Google "is determined to keep a foot in China," which now has more Internet users that the U.S. Business Insider says Google blew it for censoring its entire list of web pages, rather than just the ones that China objected to. The Washington Post compares Google's compromise unfavorably to against Yahoo and Bing, neither of which limited their operations to submit to Beijing's rules. Adds the Post, "Google remains a for-profit company, and by pruning its domestic site to a stub of its former self--remember too that China can still block google.hk from its citizens--the company risks ceding a large chunk of the market to U.S. competitors and Baidu, a Beijing-based firm that dominates search in China."
Rural sourcing is the new outsourcing. In some parts of the country the rising unemployment rates aren't showing any sign of slackening. Enter rural sourcing, which some companies are turning to as a way to get less expensive labor and invigorate the domestic economy (via CNNMoney). "They're moving people from fast-food to IT jobs and letting them use their brains," enthused Mary Lacity, an information systems professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Curious about outsourcing but haven't tried it yet? Here's our guide to outsourcing your R&D.
Henry Blodget's second act. Bloomberg Businessweek has a profile of the disgraced-stock-analyst-turned-media-mogul, Henry Blodget. He's the founder of Business Insider, a serious business publication with a tabloid sensibility. (Think: Economic analysis and pictures of scantily-clad women.) The format has attracted controversy--Blodget has been derided as "The Hooters of the Internet"--and it has yet to turn a profit, but Businessweek says that Business Insider is on track to book $30 million in revenue this year.
Win a date with Intuit. Entrepreneurs and start-ups eager to get their products noticed by a major corporation may want to check out Intuit's Entrepreneur Day contest. The company is offering a few dozen start-ups the opportunity to meet with Scott Cook and Inuit's chief technology officer, Tayloe Stansbury, to hear what they are looking for from their partner companies. Winners also get the chance to go on a "speed date" with members of Intuit's development team to pitch your company's ideas in a private one-on-one session. The deadline for applications is July 16, complete details can be found here. For some more ideas on how to get your products noticed by the big guys, check out these sales tips from the world's toughest customers.
What Foursquare wants you to remember. It's a game. And that's the company's strategy going forward, Foursquare engineer Anoop Ranganath told The Big Money's Disrupters podcast. Now that it has plenty of money to grow, Foursquare is talking strategy. Ranganath said: "we need to build a compelling product on top of check-ins," and that a goal is "making the game more fun for users - drawing more people in." What to look for in the future of Foursquare? More game mechanics, goals, and paths for users to choose to earn more achievements, like points and badges. It's no stretch: Creator Dennis Crowley teaches at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, known for churning out super-sized urban games.
Threadless takes on laptops (and flip flops). Threadless, the crowdsourcing T-shirt maker, has signed deals to put their designs on some Dell laptops and Havaianas flip flops, the Chicago Tribune reports. And this could be just the beginning of an expansion into new products for the Chicago-based company. "Company executives also have had discussions about putting designs on water towers, beverage containers and integrating them into video games," the paper says.
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