Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
No pen necessary for Obama. A man named Sylester Cann IV says he scored a digital signature on his iPad from President Obama yesterday at a rally in the state of Washington, TechCrunch reports. As you can see in this photo, Cann calmly pushed forward his tablet showing the digital message "Mr. President, sign my iPad" amidst an absolute crush of Obama groupies. How jealous were those shrieking young women when, as the video below shows, Obama seems to have obliged?
Why you have the power now. Venture capitalists are important, yes, but according to Mike Maples, a managing partner at Floodgate, it's entrepreneurs who have the upper hand these days. Our friends at Fast Company report that at last night's Founder Showcase competition in Mountain View, California, Maples told the crowd that because it generally costs less to start up nowadays, the need for traditional venture capital is changing. He says entrepreneurs are "less beholden to investors because they need less money to prove or disprove a hypothesis." The smaller investments, he adds, mean start-ups can take bigger risks. Maples tells Fast Company, "If a seed fund invests $500,000 in a start-up and the start-up fails, it's not like the entrepreneur never works in this town again."
How to make smart use of testimonials. When used correctly, testimonials are a great way to establish your business's credibility and promote the virtues of your product or service. On his blog, Quick Sprout, tech entrepreneur Neil Patel has some tips and guidelines for getting the most bang out of the testimonials on your website. Of course, the golden rule of testimonials is to never create fake testimonials. As Patel explains, "It's not just because they aren't believable, but if you get caught it will ruin your credibility." Moving past that, Patel explains the best way to use testimonials, where on your site to place them, and how to add value to the testimonials you have. For example, rather than simple text-based ones, Patel suggests asking customers for video or audio testimonials.
In-person or online? The question has raged since the early days of e-commerce and was raised once again by the Chicago Tribune yesterday. This time the paper points to a recent CalTech study finding that shoppers perceive a higher value in a product they can touch. Behavioral scientists agree that consumers feels more connected to products after touching them, but usually try to avoid clothing items or other accessories that have been touched by strangers. Still, the Tribune found that ultimately the issue comes down to the type of product, as it's much easier to compare and do research online for products like electronics, for instance. "If you can touch and feel, it's easier to buy," said Jonathan Johnson, president of Overstock.com. "In general, though, I think people are getting much more comfortable not touching and buying."
No love for Google TV. Perhaps not surprisingly, three major TV networks are preventing Google TV from broadcasting their web content. ABC, CBS, and NBC already broadcast many of their TV shows on their sites for free. However, the networks fear that Google TV will steal business. "The move marks an escalation in ongoing disputes between Google and some media companies, which are skeptical that Google can provide a business model that would compensate them for potentially cannibalizing existing broadcast businesses," reports The Wall Street Journal. More specifically, it comes down to an issue of search optimization--the networks are apprehensive that viewers will be siphoned away from their TV shows, lured by their competitor's content. "Some TV executives said they were worried their shows would be lost in the larger Internet," the article notes.
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey