The president will brainstorm tonight with Silicon Valley's superstar executives. Plus, reports say Steve Jobs has cancer 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:
Obama's tech powwow. President Obama is scheduled to meet with Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt, among other powerhouse technology executives. They will gather at a private dinner today in San Francisco to discuss how the government and business community can work together to strengthen the economy and boost entrepreneurship, according to The Wall Street Journal. It will be a rare appearance for Jobs, who left Apple last month on medical leave.
Building a risk-free business. Two entrepreneurial engineers who founded a technology company in San Francisco technology are taking bootstrapping to the extreme: they're shunning venture capital funding, the New York Times reports. Instead of taking funding, the firm, Irrational Design, has been releasing experimental products with the hope that at least one will catch on. "Without VC funding, we've been forced to launch products before they're ready as we can't afford to push a product too far without getting customer validation," said co-founder Jared Coulich.
Steve Jobs being treated for cancer. RadarOnline has confirmed that Jobs, who recently announced he was taking a medical leave of absence, "has been attending the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California." It's the same treatment facility where Patrick Swayze underwent chemotherapy, before losing his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009. Though there are no reports yet as to what exactly Jobs is seeking treatment for, some are speculating that the pancreatic cancer Jobs suffered through in 2004 has returned. The National Enquirer released controversial photos of the Apple CEO looking the rail-thin outside the clinic, but Business Insider, for one, has some doubts as to whether it's really Jobs in the photos, at all. As for us, we just wish him well.
The search bar for your life. What do Google, Facebook and Twitter all have in common? As of yesterday, they have Greplin, a start-up founded by a 19-year-old Israeli college dropout who thought of the idea "on his way to a party" in 2009. Greplin's premise is simple: by linking your Google, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to your Greplin account, you can search for names, addresses, or phone numbers in one search bar. The start-up, which is eerily intuitive and streamlined, has already received a $5 million investment from several VCs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Greplin is free, but charges users a small fee for premium services, like connecting to a Yammer account. Check it out at Greplin.com and let us know what you think.
A rogue Red Cross tweet. The American Red Cross, a bastion for do-gooders, sent out a suspicious tweet last night saying "Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head's Midas Touch beer... when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd." We can only assume it was an accidental, since the tweet has been been taken down. Thankfully, Sam Calagione and his team at Dogfish Head have turned the Red Cross snafu into a positive cause by asking people to donate blood. "It resulted in a veritable flood of blood donations," The Daily What reports. "Dogfish Head Brewery made a meme out of the hashtag #gettngslizzerd, asking people to donate."
IBM supercomputer wins Jeopardy. In the eternal struggle of man versus machine, the machines have claimed another victory. According to the International Business Times, IBM's super-intelligent computer Watson romped former Jeopardy champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings—the man who once dominated 74 consecutive Jeopardy games. Nearly tripling the totals of his human competitors with a final score of $77,147, IBM and Watson won Jeopardy's $1 million grand prize. IBM will reportedly donate $500,000 each to World Vision and World Community Grid, charities that benefit children and improve global health, respectively. Watson's sophisticated technology could be used commercially, particularly in the healthcare industry. "Physicians might be able to use a Watson MD when there are questions about strange symptoms with unusual conditions," said Eric Nyberg, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University. "You can have Watson sift through textual information about what treatments there are and what kinds of patients have had it."
Video pirates are cheap. What are most film and TV pirates willing to pay for content? Nothing, according to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers study. Nearly 70 percent of 202 media pirates polled said they stole content because it was available online for free. Nearly half claimed that they would not pay more than a dollar to legally stream a movie. The good news for media companies? The study also found that ads don't deter views of free online content.