BRINGING INNOVATION TO MARKET

The Future According to CEOs

What do U.S. business leaders see in the crystal ball? Plus, does innovation run in families, 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.

Our nation, according to our business leaders. CNNMoney surveyed two-dozen CEOs around the country to get their take on the economy, jobs, taxes, and the amount of government involvement. Most were very confident enough in the country's economy to start aggressively hiring. "Like many of our customers, we are investing in the future and actively recruiting around the world," says Sal Iannuzzi, CEO of Monster Worldwide. Inflation was one of the key concerned shared by the business leaders, who thought that higher gas and commodity prices will still continue to hurt the middle class. When it came to the role the government should play, views varied from "get the hell out of the way," to "lower corporate tax rates and increase taxes on the wealthy," to wanting the government to do a better job at helping small and medium business owners. The good news: all but one of the two dozen CEOs surveyed said they were more confident about the economy, and only one said his firm wasn't planning on hiring soon.

Does innovation cross generations? If you follow the grandchildren of mechanical engineer and inventor H.W. Smith Jr., that theory certainly looks promising. The New York Times tells the story of how grandchildren Nick and Billy Smith a few years ago uncovered a parachutelike sail invention their grandfather had stored in his attic. By 2010, they had prototyped and patented an updated sail for braking on skis or a skateboard, called the Sporting Sail. As Nick puts it, there are 18.5 million skateboarders worldwide, "and not a single efficient braking system on the market—ka-ching!"

Are three founders better than one? New research from MIT's Sloan School of Management suggests this is the case. The MIT study revealed that each additional co-founder—up to four—increase's a company's odds of success. Panelists at the Google I/O Conference concurred with the research, citing how venture capitalists prefer investing in companies with multiple founders. GigaOM reports the three main reasons companies with several co-founders find more success than single-founder companies, and how multiple founders makes a company more resilient.

How to stand out in the digital world. It's sometimes overwhelming to think about the breadth of the Internet. In a presentation at Mashable Connect 2011 and recapped on the site this weekend, Steve Rubel, EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman, discussed the changing nature of authority on the Internet, saying "the reality is, there's too much content and not enough time. More content will be created today than existed entirely before 2003." In his presentation, Rubin introduced four forms of media content on the Web: traditional media, "tradigital" media (think Mashable), owned media, and social media. He also offered five basic tips, such as elevating the experts and dazzling with data, for gaining authority in the age of digital overload.

Mining your junk mail for sales leads. Next time you get an out-of-office reply, don't just click 'delete.' The Wall Street Journal reasons that these auto-responses will almost always contain the contact information for the recipient's superior; in other words, the right person to send your sales pitch. "Closing a deal is all about finding the right person and the decision maker," Len Feltoon, chief executive of Countrywide Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., tells The Journal. "The automatic notes provide 'real-time information and are 99 percent accurate.'"

Quote of the day. Courtesy of the New York Times's Sunday Q&A with Linda Lausell Bryant, executive director of Inwood House in New York. When asked how her background helps her manage and lead, she said: "You have to respect not only people's needs, but also their pain, their vulnerability. A lot of battles are about very personal things. I'm very attuned to the unspoken needs that people play out in the workplace. People are people in whatever setting — they bring their luggage of stuff, we all do — and the dynamics in the workplace are a function of the interaction of what we all have in our suitcases. You can't change that. You can acknowledge it. You can give it space. You can give it air and light."

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Last updated: May 16, 2011

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.




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