What CEOs can learn about talent management. Plus, who rules venture-backed clean 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.
What you can learn from Charlie Sheen. Steven Berglas, an executive coach and management consultant who spent 25 years on the faculty of Harvard Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, believes the Charlie Sheen fiasco actually provides some pretty helpful tips for entrepreneurs and CEOs. Namely: "True Talent," as he calls Sheen (Inc.com obviously doesn't endorse all of the opinions expressed in this analysis), are "insecure overachievers" and need a special type of treatment. Unlike a typical employee, your top stars crave attention and can be extra sensitive about rejection. "What L'affaire Sheen is about is how CEOs need to study talent-management and know that standard rules do not apply," he writes in Forbes today. "If you run a business and have a True Talent like Charlie Sheen on your payroll, be assured that he will be high maintenance at some point in time. Handled correctly, his acting-out will be no big deal. Handled in a ham-handed manner, you have yourself a Cool Hand Luke failure to communicate."
How to make your business seem bigger. You can make your company appear as if it has teams of employees and unlimited resources—even if it's just you making cold calls from your basement office. The New York Timesreports on the tools and strategies "solopreneurs" use to emulate—and compete against—much bigger companies.
What's missing in the iPad 2? The debut of Apple's new iPad 2 came with everything we expected ... including a surprise visit from Steve Jobs, which certainly wasn't unexpected. Jobs was praised for mesmerizing the audience on Wednesday, but he should also be commended for being able to strategically satisfy the crowd and avoid mentioning the limitations of the new iPad 2. CNN reports that there weren't too many upgrades in the new tablet and, with all of Apple's innovation capabilities, questioned why the company continues to hold back. Here's what hasn't changed: The white cable needed to connect your iPad to your computer, the amount of memory (256 megabytes) and the screen resolution—all features that could have easily been upgraded.
Who leads clean tech? Solar power firms, renewable-crude oil, and hydroelectric power companies are attracting a lot of attention from investors and consumers. Who's the biggest? According to this year's ranking by The Wall Street Journal of venture-backed clean-tech companies, Recyclebank leads the pack. It's a fast-growing company that offers consumers rewards—often in coupon form—for recycling and doing other environmentally friendly tasks. Check out this interview with Ron Gonen, Recyclebank's founder, about building a green business.
Electric car start-ups aim to compete with big automakers. With a low supply and a high demand for electric cars, small electric car start-ups are looking to challenge the traditional automakers like Ford, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Toyota. VentureBeat reports start-ups Coda, Fisker, Wheego, and Think plan to roll out their first lines of electric and electric-hybrid cars later this year. While these ambitious newcomers hope to leave an impression on the market, many of these start-ups will sell their cars at a premium: Coda's 100-mile range electric sedan will cost about $45,000—$12,000 more than the Nissan Leaf—and the Wheego two-seater electric will cost about $33,000. Want luxury? The Fisker plug-in hybrid will cost a reported $95,000. Many are skeptical that consumers will spend a premium on an unproven, unestablished brand of car. "While there is greater demand than the small supply today, we don't expect that to continue very far into the future when more models are introduced, and the major brands are producing (electric vehicles) in greater numbers," said John Gartner, an analyst for Pike Research. "There may be a brief window in 2011 to 2012 when some customers tire of waiting for Leafs and Volts [and] may consider paying more for Fisker or Coda, but those will be few in number."
Are you hiring yet? According to reports by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, February layoffs amounted to a 20 percent increase over last year, clocking in at a whopping 50,702 reports The Huffington Post. "Even if the job market was humming right now like it was in 2007 you're still going to see layoffs every month," says Jay Bryson, a Wells Fargo economist. "The issue is, at least up to this point, many businesses have not started to hire folks," says Bryson.
Attorney vs. editor. Inc.com's own Mike Hofman challenges Jennifer Hill, attorney and chair of the New York City Advisory Board for Astia on MSNBC's Your Business Biz Quiz.