Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Bad at retirement, good at starting businesses. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune comes the inspiring and entertaining story of Rob Sheeley, a 55-year-old entrepreneur whose short-lived retirement gave birth to a $28 million business. As the story goes, Sheeley initially retired in 2002 following a big windfall he received after selling a teleconferencing business he started in 1987. Six months into that retirement, however, Sheeley began getting on his wife's nerves and she banished him from the house with instructions to find something to keep himself busy. As Sheeley admits, "I had a tendency to try and tell her what to do." To restore marital bliss, Sheeley began tinkering with robotic video cameras and eventually started a business that has grown from $13.7 million in sales in 2007 to a projected $28 million this year.
Who wants to be a Homemade Millionaire? On tonight's premiere of TLC's new show Homemade Millionaire three entrepreneurs will compete to have their inventions sold on the Home Shopping Network. So far, the reviews are looking good. According to the New York Daily News, the show offers both the contestants and viewers valuable tips about what makes a stellar product pitch. Hosted by Kelly Ripa, the show will feature products skewed toward beauty, fashion and home goods, like the Styling Station Hair Care Center, invented by Newport Beach native Marcy McKenna. Of her appearance on the show, McKenna tellsThe Orange County Register, "It inspired me in ways that this process only could. I'm waking up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning so I can work on my company and my inventions before I have to get breakfast for my kids. And I really like that they're seeing me follow my dream--that's such an important thing for kids."
Google tries, and fails, to buy Twitter. That's right. An offer of $2.5 billion wasn't enough for executives at the microblogging start-up. In fact, they thought it was downright "insulting," writes Nicholas Carlson in Business Insider. Carlson's source, a Twitter shareholder, leaked news of another failed overture of $4 billion from an undisclosed buyer. And that Microsoft may have thrown its name into the bidder's hat, too. "This makes sense to us," adds Carlson. "One reason Google would buy Twitter is to keep it out of Microsoft's hands. The logic goes the other way, too. If and when Twitter truly goes 'in-play,' we fully expect those two companies to bid against each other aggressively." But the rejection of the offers, however informal, is a sign that Twitter is serious about its future, especially as it seeks more funding at a $3 billion valuation.
Expanding abroad, with a little help. Fifteen years ago, there was no playbook for web start-ups. Operating a company online, much less going international, was virtually unchartered territory. But now a new generation of start-ups have begun to take a look back at how their predecessors made the move abroad, reports The Wall Street Journal. And though these startups have the benefit of analyzing the successes and failures of others, some challenges will always remain. "You can never underestimate culture and how that's going to pose challenges," says one consultant, John Yunker, who was interviewed for the article. "If Google and Yahoo are struggling in these markets, it should drive home that these are very difficult markets."
Having trouble hiring talent? Blame Google.The Web conquering search giant plans to add more than 2,000 jobs from around the globe, Reuters reports. Amid the Internet industry's so-called "war for talent," Google listed 2,076 positions on its Website Thursday, hoping to expand into new markets and do battle with fast-growing rivals like Facebook and Apple. Already the company has made more than 20 acquisitions this year that have helped swell its employment figures up nearly 18 percent since the start of 2010. This new set of jobs places specific focus on foreign markets, with positions as varied as a University Program Specialist in Senegal to Events Manager in China. A year after moving its headquarters from Beijing to Hong Kong, Google will add 50 positions grow its presence and repair the damage from its public spat with the government over censorship requirements last year.
Staff editor KASEY WEHRUM has written for Inc. magazine on subjects ranging from the businesses behind professional bull riding to gadget inventor and father of the infomercial, Ron Popeil. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Worth, Budget Travel, and on MSNBC.com. He lives in Brooklyn.