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Unmasking Mark Zuckerberg

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The Early Word on the Facebook Book? "Solid Gold." On TechCrunch, Michael Arrington has two excerpts from The Facebook Effect, David Kirkpatrick's upcoming book about the early years of the social network. It's clear from the level of detail about Mark Zuckerberg's constant need to shut down venture capitals that Kirkpatrick got deep access to the press-shy CEO and his executives. Says Arrington: "I would summarize the best parts for you but, really, the whole thing is the best part." True enough, but here are some highlights. 1. The purpose of Facemash (a proto-Facebook) was to compare the hottest students on campus. By the time it launched, Zuckerberg (who started the site after a few drinks and a broken heart) dispensed with the idea of comparing students to farm animals. 2. Zuckerberg was quite a taskmaster, pre-launch, denying requests for fast food breaks and swinging his fencing gear uncomfortably close to workers' faces. 3. The team's reputation preceded them. One executive said, "It's Lord of the Flies over there." 4. Napster's Sean Parker had a vendetta against VC firm Sequoia Capital based on his experience with one of the partners. When the Sequoia wanted to invest, Facebook offered a side project called Wirehog. Then Parker and Zuckerberg showed up late for the presentation in their PJs and delivered a Letterman style Top 10 List about why Sequoia shouldn't invest.

Late nights make for an early grave. Think there's time enough to sleep when you're dead? Entrepreneurs who do so may be hastening that inevitability. A new study that analyzed a quarter century of data collected from 1.3 million people on multiple continents found that people who consistently sleep less than 6 hours a night were 12 percent more likely to experience premature death, writes The Guardian. Here are some strategies for coping with this widespread problem in the American workforce.  

Why net neutrality is good for business. Net neutrality, an effort to prevent cable and telephone companies from charging websites extra fees to carry content, has been pilloried by many as anti-business and a potential deterrent to future innovation. (The Wall Street Journal's opinion page has frequently taken this position.) But Fred Wilson says the Obama Administration's new plan to regulate the Internet is actually good for start-ups. "I am in business too," he writes. "And I very much support these rules. And without these rules, investors like me who invest in the 'open internet' will not be able to invest anymore."

Time for a post-recession vacation? For many entrepreneurs who have been struggling to just keep their business going over the past two years, the idea of taking a vacation was laughable. But now that the economy has slowly started to show signs of recovery, perhaps it's time to take some much-needed R&R. The Washington Post has the stories of a number of entrepreneurs who had to shelve their vacation plans during the recession, but who are now finally ready to enjoy some time away from their businesses. As one owner of a Dallas-based PR firm explained, "With the economy in bad shape the last two years, we felt that if our clients are struggling, then we need to be on the phone working every day." With a upcoming vacation to San Diego booked for mid-May, that owner now talks about the importance of vacations. "They give you a breather. They let you rejuvenate."

Tips for a more collaborative workspace. Sure, collaboration starts with people. But physical space can inspire it as well. Here, our sister publication Fast Company provides you with 11 tips, courtesy of Stanford's d.school, to "transform your digs into a little hive of bubbling creativity."

Bad credit score? Small business borrowing based on a cash flow. Back in 2009 we profiled On Deck Capital, an alternative lending firm that offers loans to small businesses based on a bigger financial picture than credit score alone, particularly cash flow. The catch is you have to repay the loan with a daily deduction from your account, and the interest rates can creep upwards of 30 percent. Fast forward one year, and On Deck has now made 2,000 short term loans to small businesses worth a total of $60 million since its founding in 2007. In a Q&A with the New York Times, founder and CEO Mitch Jacobs gives us a closer look into how On Deck operates and how it hopes to change small business lending.

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Last updated: May 6, 2010




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