What will Apple look like without its visionary CEO? Plus, Ashton Kutcher's latest venture, the most influential women in tech and the rest of the day's news.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Investors pressure Apple for CEO succession plan. What would Apple, the world's second-most-valuable company, look like without its indispensable, innovative CEO? The Los Angeles Timesponders the question on the day of a meeting of Apple shareholders at the company's Cupertino, California, headquarters. Although the company has been reluctant to disclose much personal information about Jobs's battle with pancreatic cancer or his liver transplant, it's clear that the CEO's latest leave of absence "has unsettled investors and rankled corporate governance experts," the Times reports. Today, investors are set to vote today on a resolution that would force Apple's board of directors to disclose its succession plans. The BBC questions whether the resolution to name possible successors, called Proposal No. 5, might invite competitors to recruit high-value executives away from Apple. The New York Postspeculates that only 30 percent of shareholders want the disclosure, short of the 50 percent it needs to pass.
The women of the tech world. Our friends at Fast Company have released their annual "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Making the cut this year are Inc. "30 Under 30" finalists Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, co-founders of Rent the Runway, along with Heather Harde of TechCrunch and Rachel Sterne of GroundReport.com. The list is broken down into six categories: entrepreneurs, advocates, media types, execs, brainiacs, and gamers. To view the full list, click here.
Facebook poaches a top Google executive. Google employees have been defecting to Facebook for a while, but none of the departures have been as high-profile as that of Alexandre Hohagen. Google's top executive in Latin America has left to become Facebook's vice president of sales in the region. Hohagen worked at Google for more than six years, serving in roles including general manager of Google Brazil and vice president of Google Latin America. Brazil is significant in the battle between Google and Facebook, The New York Times reports: "It is one of the few large markets where Google's social network, Orkut, is still larger than Facebook's as the social-networkint giant aggressively expands overseas."
Obama takes start-up effort to the heartland. President Obama yesterday met with more than 100 entrepreneurs in Ohio—part of his ongoing effort to bolster start-up activity and small-business job growth. Chief among the issues discussed, according to The Wall Street Journal: Access to credit. Obama circulated the event and listened to stories of failed attempts to get capital. His response? A statement about creating a new tax credit for angel investors: "Right now there have been some discussions in Congress about setting up some additional legislation that could help small business, and we're going to see if we can implement it."
Turning employees into entrepreneurs. How do you encourage small businesses to innovate? Steve Strauss, in a column for OPEN Forum, says it all comes down to intrapreneurship. That is, turning your employees into entrepreneurs. Strauss describes the success of the 3M Post-It note, which was created by a research scientist at the firm. "One of the things that makes 3M unique is its policy of allowing technical employees to spend 15 percent of their time on products and projects of their own choosing," he says. "In 1990, 10 years after their introduction, Post-its were named one of the top consumer products of the decade... And all because 3M fostered intrapreneurship (internal entrepreneurship) within its ranks." The most memorable among Strauss's "5 Ways to Get Employees to be More Entrepreneurial," is this: Don't punish failure. Ever. "Entrepreneurship requires some risk-taking," he says. "But you will thwart that spark of creativity if you make examples of those who tried, but failed."
Ashton Kutcher invests in online ticket startup. Ashton Kutcher's venture capital fund A Grade Investments has staked an undisclosed amount of money in SeatGeek, an online ticket search start-up based in New York City, according to VentureBeat. SeatGeek uses algorithms to allow users to compare price and seating options for concerts and sporting events on the secondary market. It plans to use the funds to hire employees, add more venues and expand into the European market. Known for finding and funding the "cool kids" of Silicon Valley, Kutcher has also invested in Quora, Optimizely, and Flipboard.
SCVNGR surpasses 1 million users.Seth Priebatsch, founder of the virtual game SCVNGR, is hitting it big in real life. Just a month after the firm secured $15 million in Series C funding, Mashable reports that it now hosts more than 1 million users. Next month, Priebatsch hopes to make a big splash with his keynote speech at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas. How's all of that for a 22-year-old college dropout?
Nigel Marsh on work-life balance. Nigel Marsh, author of Fat, Forty and Fired, has a TED talk on how to achieve harmony between your work life and personal life.