Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
What to expect for an entrepreneur who's expecting. Writing in today's New York Times "You're the Boss" blog, CEO and expectant mother Jennifer Walzer discusses some of the challenges she expects to face caring for a newborn while also running her business. As she explains, "When you are a pregnant business owner, people want to know how exactly you're going to handle everything. Truthfully? I have no idea." While video conferencing will help keep her connected while she works from home, Walzer says her biggest fear is that her physical absence will lead to diminished morale amongst her employees. Another challenge she faces is simply letting go of her business concerns and preparing for her September 21 due date. "It seems that the drive that helped me start and build my company just doesn't want to quit."
Four reasons to be hopeful. Today's Fortune lists four good reasons to have faith in the economy--namely, farming, corporate buying, manufacturing and "Detroit. Yes, that Detroit." According to the story, the country's farmers are set to export $107.5 billion in products by the end of this fiscal year. That's the second highest rate of exports ever, and, Fortune reports, "the surge will likely continue to last for a while as foreign markets, especially China, continue to demand products." And it's no secret that mergers and acquisitions have been all the rage lately, as a whopping $286 billion worth of deals went down in August alone. While manufacturing growth may be less obvious, Fortune points out that The Institute for Supply Management's factory index was at a three-month high in August. Then there's Detroit, the city that Fortune contends is experiencing a "re-birth," and is better for it.
Who is Marc Andreessen? The man who developed the browser that launched Netscape and speeded the dot-com gold rush has been dubbed "The King of Silicon Valley." The San Jose Mercury News attempts to dig deeper into Andreessen's wide-ranging career and factors motivating his growing $650 million investment fund, Andreessen Horowitz. But without an interview with Andreessen himself, it is mostly a collection of gushing quotes from Valley figures. "He's phenomenal," said serial entrepreneur Mike McCue. "He's operating at a different level." And Jim Chark, a well known technologist who teamed up with Andreessen on Netscape, said, "I take no credit for where Marc is. He is a natural leader with penetrating insight. My main contribution was to recognize his brilliance and get in front of the parade with him."
Tech sector slowdown. For the past few years, tech start-ups have been hailed as one of the few bright spots in our sluggish economy. Yet this week the New York Times reports that job growth in once-booming fields like computer system design and Internet publishing has slowed in the last year, while it has fallen in areas like data processing and software publishing. Likely a result of widespread joblessness throughout the country, the gloomy numbers have still left hordes of highly skilled engineers and college graduates without work. It also leaves many wondering how our economy will recover when the tech sector, once a vanguard of innovation and job creation, is failing to keep up. One of the biggest reason for the lull includes companies that are able to outsource cutting-edge skills once delegated only to the most skilled on our home turf. Now it seems companies can export those skills abroad or use computers to produce the same result.
iPad to face some fierce competition. Think again if you thought Apple was going to retain its stranglehold on the touchscreen "tablet" market. While Apple's iPad has opened eyes as the forerunner in the industry, CNET reports it will be seeing some formidable competition in the coming months from companies like Microsoft, Samsung, and Toshiba. Rumors are also circulating about a device from Research in Motion (your trusted Blackberry manufacturer) called the "Blackpad." Tech blog Gizmodo has reviewed five of the best tablets that have been revealed so far, ranking Samsung's Galaxy Tab (officially unveiled this week) even higher than the already familiar iPad.