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STARTUP

Pinpointing the Next Bubble
 

It's not in start-ups, says Peter Thiel. Plus, the art of being a part-time entrepreneur, and the rest of the day's news for small business owners.
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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.

Start-up bubble? Nope, says Thiel. College bubble? Perhaps. "Fair warning: This article will piss off a lot of you," Sarah Lacy writes in TechCrunch today. Lacy sits down with the PayPal founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel at his home in San Francisco to discuss what Thiel believe is the next big bubble. And, no, it has nothing to do with tech or start-ups. In fact, it's perhaps the most sacrosanct of all American institutions: a college education. "A true bubble is when something is over-valued and intensely believed," he says. "Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It's like telling the world there's no Santa Claus." This is perhaps a justication-or a reason-for Thiel's "20 under 20" where he pays 20 kids under the age of 20 $100,000 to pursue a business idea. But the program has drawn criticism from academic-types that argue that a 19-year-old can't successfully run a well-rounded business. So, what do you think? Is education valued too highly, or is this just hot air from Thiel?

The art of being a part-time entrepreneur. As the hiring market heats up, The Wall Street Journal poses an interesting question for people who started their own companies after being laid off: "Should you continue growing your start-up or go back to earning a steady paycheck?" For some, like Kevin Dinino, founder of KCD Public Relations, going back to work for "the man" would be impossible. "I'm the decision maker," he tells The Journal. "I don't have to take orders anymore." For others, though, it's a necessity. When Stephanie Burns' start-up, Chic CEO, ran out of funding, she took on a marketing job at a healthcare company. Now, Burns wears two hats as an entrepreneur and marketing exec. But before you consider that option, consider the cautionary tale of Kendra Kroll, who got fired for talking about her company Undercover Solutions while on the clock at her day job. "Going forward," Kroll says, "I would be more cautious about the way I accept a position given my propensity for talking about my business."

Gathering signatures gets simpler. Is your business wasting a lot of time and money sending documents around town—or around the world—when they need a signature for a transaction? Now there's an app for that, the New York Post reports. It's called Sign Docs, and it's exclusively for the iPad now, for $6.99.

Nurturing creativity. In today's ultra-competitive marketplace, one may argue that the only truly sustainable competitive advantage is creativity. But creativity doesn't just happen to an organization; it requires building a culture that fosters curiosity, exploration, and innovation. Forbes compiled a list of the seven most important rules to establishing and maintaining a creative startup culture. It emphasizes concepts such as diversity, independence, celebrating and sharing ideas freely, and how to act in the face of failure.

Is a social media consultant right for you? It's an existential crisis. You want to promote your small business on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but you have no time to post or tweet because you're too busy actually running your small business. Never fear, there's a consultant for that. Today, Mashable posted a guide to to help small business owners decide if outsourcing your social media efforts to a consultant is the right step for your business. The guide follows a recent MerchantCircle survey revealing that that of 8,500 small businesses, two-thirds use social media as a marketing tool, but one-third of these admit they lack the time and resources to be sufficiently social. Mashable's guide offers four questions to consider, including whether social media will drive your business growth, how well your social media is working now, if outsourcing could free up more of your time, and how to determine ROI of using a consultant.

How they did it. Women who made it big talk to the Wall Street Journal about how they fought challenges in the workplace to get where they are today. Here's Mellody Hobson, Julie Louise Gerberding, and Marissa Mayer, and it's all part of the Journal's well done and extensive report on women in the economy that came out this month.

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Last updated: Apr 11, 2011




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