Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Are you an inventor or an entrepreneur? That's the question John Warrillow, serial entrepreneur and author of "Built to Sell," poses in Canada's Globe and Mail. While they both possess many of the same attributes, Warrillow argues that inventors aren't entrepreneurs until they "define [their] market, sell, collect, figure out how to scale the production, hire, manage people, fire people, and so on." For more with John Warrillow, check out this video chat where he takes questions from Inc. readers and discusses how to build value in your business.
Meet the teen behind the white iPhone 4. His name is Fei "Phil" Lam, a 17-year-old Queens native who's sold $130,000 worth of white iPhone 4 conversion parts through his website WhiteiPhone4Now.com. Our friends at Fast Companycaught up with Lam to learn more about how he's pulling it all off. According to the high school senior, he got a spam email a little while back from a Chinese man offering Apple replacement parts. Lam responded, because, he says, the guy seemed "really nice," and a partnership was born. Despite the fact that a private investigator has contacted Lam, suspecting him of selling stolen Apple products, Lam maintains "nothing illegal was done behind the scenes." Still he says, "For sure I'm stressed about the legal issues--I have contacted a lawyer." In the meantime, Inc. blogger Renee Oricchio brings up a valid point: "If a 17 year old high school student can figure out how to get a white iPhone 4 out on the market, why can't Apple?"
The secret business of baseball. Trading in futures is nothing new to the seasoned investor, but what if that future belongs to a 13-year-old baseball player in the Dominican Republic? The New York Times reports on a small, but growing number of baseball camps in the Dominican that are funded by American investors. The investors are essentially placing a bet on these players: if a player makes it to the big leagues, the investor will receive a percentage - as much as 50 percent - of the player's signing bonus. And if the economics of human investment seems a bit odd (if not downright unscrupulous), the Times notes its concerns too. "Educators and Major League Baseball officials worry because there is no oversight of the investors' academies, and they question why the investors want to be part of a system that takes teenagers out of school and has been involved in scandals over steroid use and players lying about their ages."
The rise of niche incubators. Traditionally designed to support an array of early-stage companies, some business incubators are now focusing on entrepreneurs in specialized fields, The Wall Street Journal finds. A handful of incubators now target niche sectors like fashion, food, and design that require expensive resources to get started. One such program, Hot Bread Kitchen Incubates, will feature seven kitchens complete with industrial-size convection ovens, deep fryers, blenders, kettles, and a host of other devices for New York food start-ups. Participants benefit from working alongside similar entrepreneurs and gaining advice from experts in their industries. And while collaboration is the goal, competition is still sometimes hard to avoid. "It's hard to share space with people," says Kate Coxworth, a women's clothing company owner and resident of the Chicago Fashion Incubator in 2008. "It's fashion, so there was a little bit of ego going on."
What would Frank do? Frank Quattrone, that is. The star Silicon Valley banker, who went underground while he fought and ultimately beat obstruction of justice charges, made a rare appearance at yesterday's Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, The New York Timesreports. The mustachioed financier offered a bit of the dealmaking savvy that fueled multibillion-dollar bidding wars during the dot-com heyday: "… The best, most spectacular sales happen when there's six buyers and one or two sellers," he said, since today's buyers have much broader appetites as they expand into a variety of fields. He likened the M&A process to a game of musical chairs. Companies don't always have to be the first to be sold in their niche, "but you sure don't want to end up without a chair" because potential buyers may instead acquire a rival.