Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Owner of Segway company dies in Segway accident. Jimi Heselden, the 62-year-old millionaire who purchased the Segway company less than a year ago, died Sunday while apparently riding one of his own company's scooters off a cliff. Heselden crashed into the River Warfe while inspecting his Northern England estate, the BBC reports. Heselden was pronounced dead at the scene, and a rugged-country Segway model was recovered at the scene. The Segway was invented by Dean Kamen, as a two-wheeled scooter containing five gyroscopes and a set of computers monitoring the vehicle's center of gravity. Kamen dreamed of launching a transportation revolution, but the scooter failed to find a widespread market, and even made it onto Inc.com's list of the lamest products of the past decade. Heselden himself was one of the United Kingdom's 400 richest people, and went from working as a miner to building a fortune in the engineering business. He was perhaps best known as a philanthropist: just this month he donated more than $15 million to the Leeds Community Foundation.
Do Promoted Tweets work? Millions of people use Twitter, but the question for its investors and executives has always been how Twitter can be monetized effectively. Four years after the company launched, writes the The Wall Street Journal, the jury is still out. "Twitter Inc.'s foray into advertising is receiving mixed reviews among marketers," write Emily Steel and Amir Efrati, "underscoring the challenges of turning the popular micro-blogging service into a highly profitable enterprise." Considering the fact that companies and individuals can already reach thousands of followers for free, the advertising scheme developed by Twitter, Promoted Tweets, needs to offer targeting options and metrics that make it worth the expense, which is now in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even though Twitter may be having a tough time of figuring out just how to drive revenues for themselves, small businesses and entrepreneurs have figured out how to make money using it. Here are five ways to actually make money using Twitter.
The angel investing drama that won't go away. A few days after legendary angel investor Ron Conway blasted several of his peers for allegedly colluding to fix start-up valuations, investor Chris Sacca has responded with a lengthy e-mail leaked to TechCrunch. The gist? Conway was wrong and Sacca and his peers are really, truly, nice human beings. "They get overweight?," Sacca writes of founders of companies he invests in. "I buy them a mountain bike. They look skinny? I pick up groceries."
The privately-owned public library. It sounds like an oxymoron, but in Santa Clarita, California, the local government has struck a $4 million deal with the Maryland-based company Library Systems & Services to take over the town's three libraries. According to The New York Times, the strategy worked in the past when the company took over libraries in failing cities. The current Santa Clarita controversy, however, stems from the fact that Library Systems & Services is now moving in on a "relatively healthy city." Local residents fear that outsourcing the care of their libraries will result in higher fees and fewer books. While the mayor assures the Times that "the libraries are still going to be public libraries," Frank A. Pezzanite, CEO of Library Systems & Services says there are changes in store for complacent librarians. "A lot of libraries are atrocious...Their policies are all about job security. That's why the profession is nervous about us. You can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement. We're not running our company that way. You come to us, you're going to have to work." What do you think? Is there room for the private sector in public libraries?
The mobile advertising arms race. Mammoths and independents alike all but flooded the mobile advertising market in 2010, a market expected to rise to more than $500 million, according to Business Week. Apple will make the biggest move this year with the introduction of its new iAd network, estimated to jump to 21 percent share of the market from 0 percent last year. Apple's push will come at the expense of search giants Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, all expected to drop shares by year's end. While the premium players decline, (other than Apple, of course) independents such as Jumptap and Millennial Media will jump a few percentage points in market-share this year. Some advertisers prefer independent networks due to flexibility and the lack of conflict between their interests and those of Google and Apple, which constantly try to promote products to users.