STARTUP

New Boom in Silicon Valley

The office space market soars. Plus, a plan to make more female angel investors, and the rest of the day's news for entrepreneurs.
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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.

Office-space shortage in the South Bay. If you're planning on setting up shop in Palo Alto with all of the other tech companies, you better get a move on. Office spaces are filling up, fast. The Wall Street Journal reports that what just months ago looked like a lukewarm housing and office-rental market in the Valley is once again hot. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, there's been a 25 percent jump in office-space rent in the area from last year, the biggest one-year jump since 1999. Giants such as Google, Facebook, and others are responsible for taking most of the space that was once available. By the end of the year Google plans to increase its staff by 25 percent and we're all familiar with Facebook's big expansion plans in the Valley. Office space that was once available for the overflow, in Mountain View, is almost completely taken, leaving companies such as Polycom, LinkedIn, and the Nook e-reader division for Barnes & Noble (to name a few) still searching for places to call home.

Push to balance start-up gender ratios. In a continued effort to increase the number of female entrepreneurs, Pipeline Fund Fellowship is launching a program to to train women how to be angel investors, Mashable reports. A new organization itself, Pipeline Fund Fellowship has selected 10 participants for it first session in New York City and has plans to expand to San Francisco and Los Angeles next year. All 10 participants have agreed to invest $5,000 into the company the group selects at the conclusion of five workshops based in New York. Now, the organization is accepting applications for "women-led, for-profit social venture" companies to attend the program's pitch summit in June.

Sound practices. Just days after we at Inc.com explored the topic of sonic branding—all those bells and chimes and familiar tunes you hear in ads, for example—Aflac's gone and gotten a new voice for its signature duck. Why do you care? Because that hapless little duck mascot helps bring in more than $13 billion a year in premiums. And since firing comedian Gilbert Gottfried from the role and hiring 37-year-old radio ad salesman Daniel McKeague, investors have applauded, sending Aflac shares up 1.3 percent—or $324 million in shareholder value, the New York Post reports.

Friendster's facelift. Before Facebook and Twitter, there was Friendster. At its peak, the site had over 100 million users, but in recent years the site has seen a steady decline in new registrants, especially as a flurry of younger and more nimble social start-ups entered the market. But the "ghost town," over at Friendster's offices, as the New York Times puts it, is poised for change. The Times reports that Friendster's management plans to strip older material from the site's archives, including photos, early messages and posts, in an effort to freshen up the interface. Deleting a user's history, especially when that content contains personal—and emotional—material, can be a sore subject for some. "The mass deletion of so much evidence of embarrassing wardrobe choices and unrequited crushes might come as a relief to some, especially in an era when it seems that everything uploaded to Facebook can haunt people forever," the article notes. "But some say Friendster has unexpectedly turned into a time capsule with snapshots of who they once were." Aww.

Hello, my name is... What's in a name? Apparently a lot when it comes to executive status. TechCrunch reports that LinkedIn recently analyzed its vast network of professionals and identified names over-represented by CEOs. Surprisingly, Tom, Dick, and Harry did not make the cut, but other common monikers like Bob and Sally ranked at the top. LinkedIn also broke down the most popular names by country with unsurprising results. Charles was king for the U.K., Wolfgang was Germany's wunderkind, and Guido was big cheese in Italy. Succeeding in business without really trying just got easier in the United States as well. Just change your name to Howard.

Party like it's 1999. Back before it was a multibillion-dollar company with thousands of employees, Google was a start-up website with just enough people to fill a San Francisco cable car. If you need a mental health break, hop in the way-back machine and check out TechCrunch's video of a meeting from the end of 1999 that ends in silly string and cake.

Charlie Sheen's guide to better entrepreneurship. Despite losing his job and exposing his insanity to the world over countless interviews, performances, and stunts, Charlie Sheen somehow manages to continue winning. Many will dismiss Sheen's antics, but if you listen closely, there are little golden nuggets of wisdom buried within his drug-induced raves. VentureBeat compiled Charlie's six most memorable quotes and examined them under an entrepreneurial lens. The result? Advice that's as hilarious as it is helpful. Now that's bi-winning.

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Last updated: Apr 27, 2011

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.




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