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The Case for Boardroom Bullies

Is anti-bullying legislation bad for business? Plus, Google geeks out with a new data mag, Walgreens picks up Drugstore.com, and the rest of the day's news.
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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.

Should workplace bullying be legal? Business Insider's Suzanne Lucas thinks so. It's not that Lucas thinks bullying is right, it's just that she believes the anti-bullying legislation currently being considered in New York and Maryland would be bad for business. For starters, she writes, it would make hiring a nightmare. "Since almost every person who has been fired for poor performance feels like their boss is being mean, i.e. bullying, that means companies will be less likely to hire if they can avoid doing so," Lucas writes. "Restrictions on firing=restriction on hiring." Lucas also takes issue with the fact that bullying, itself, is tough to define, and just because it's illegal doesn't mean it won't happen. As Lucas puts it, "A law won't make a bully stop and say, 'Gee, I was going to torment my coworker, but since the new law is in place, I shan't!' Bullying in the workplace should not be tolerated, but the companies should have the freedom to decide what that means."

Google gets geeky with new data mag. Watch out, Wired, you may have some new competition. Google has just launched its first online magazine, Think Quarterly, whose first issue is devoted entirely to the subject of data. Although the publication is aimed at Google's partners and advertisers, Mashable notes "that it's a visually stunning piece of work" and contains "thought pieces about major business and technology topics." It's not exactly clear how many magazine editions Google will release, but it does mention upcoming issues in May, July, and October. The reason behind the new venture? "We know that the faster we deliver results, the more useful people find our service," Think Quarterly notes in its introduction. "But in a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It's a place to take time out and consider what's happening and why it matters." Check it out here and let us know what you think.

Walgreens snaps up Drugstore.com. The drugstore giant is plunking down roughly $409 million for the perfect URL...about 13 years too late. Founded in 1998, Drugstore.com did more than $456 million in sales last year. Walgreens says it will maintain Drugstore.com's office in Bellevue, Washington, and also acquire the company's other sites, Beauty.com and SkinStore.com, TechCrunch reports.

They're in the money! Venture capitalists are pouring millions of dollars into social networking start-ups, and the one of the biggest moneymakers is a phone-based social network called Color Labs.  The Wall Street Journal reports Color Labs received an astounding $41 million from venture-capital firms excited by the start-up's idea to use "a phone's location-sensing abilities [to] build a user's social network for them, allowing users to share photos, video and messages based simply on the people they're physically near." The moral of the story? If you're looking to start a new business that will get funding, mobile social networking is probably the way to go.

SCORE scores funding. SCORE, a non-profit organization based in Herndon, Virginia, dedicated to mentoring and training entrepreneurs and small businesses, received a $285,000 grant from Deluxe Corporation Foundation to help grow its mentoring base, according to The Wall Street Journal. In a statement, SCORE chief executive Ken Yancey said the grant "will enable us to attract new, highly qualified mentors and improve our ability to match them with small businesses, [and] help us achieve our goal of helping to grow one million successful small businesses by 2017."

The tax man cometh. To Connecticut. Yoga studios in Connecticut were in for some bad news this week when state Gov. Dannel Malloy announced  that they'll soon be required to pay the mandatory 6.25 percent business tax, which, until now, has been waived for commercial yoga studios. The Wall Street Journal notes that "Mr. Malloy calls the new taxes part of his plan for "shared sacrifice." But consumers and business owners say the levies on everyday items come at a time when they're already stretched for cash."

The importance of start-up teamwork. The team is the only thing that matters, says Mark Suster, a VC at GRP Partners in a blog for Techcrunch. Before you go out and recruit a team, heed the advice of this two-time entrepreneur. Suster says he'll only hire the "A" players, and he'll never stop recruiting fresh talent, even it means you can't pay them initially. Read more on Suster's tidbits of wisdom for assembling a start-up team.

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Last updated: Mar 24, 2011




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