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Yikes, There's a Yelp for People

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The Case for the Virtual Office. If you've been following our blog for the past few months you'll know that in February, we closed our offices and worked from home as part of an experiment in running a virtual company. We've just published the results: A definitive guide on how to run a virtual company. You can read about them online or in our April issue. And be sure to take our quiz to find out if you're ready to go officeless.

The dirty deets on cash flow. Union Square Ventures principal Fred Wilson today outlines the basics of cash flow and explains why it is so important to the overall health of your start-up. Yes, you can calculate your cash flow just by just comparing cash at the beginning and end of the year, he says. But, "doing a full-blow cash flow statement tells you a lot about where you are consuming or producing cash," he writes. "And you can use that information to do something about it." Recently, Inc.'s Norm Brodsky explained just how to go about fixing cash-flow problems.

The skeletons are coming out. We've told you how to respond to criticism about your company on Yelp. But TechCrunch introduces a new threat to managing your online reputation: a startup launching next week that will function like a Yelp for people, letting users post anonymously about anyone. In the wake of Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter--a centralized source for defamation is inevitable, reasons TechCrunch. The legal infrastructure to deal with this newest iteration of the internet as about as effective as copyright law stopping music piracy. We're not sure how it will play out, but it sounds like a lucrative new revenue stream for companies like Reputation Defender.

How to read statistics -- the right way. From analyzing Web traffic to observing customer behavior, data collection is an essential aspect of running a business. But there are some common mistakes made when interpreting these statistics, says Jason Cohen, founder of Smart Bear Software, who has a helpful post that tackles a few of the basic errors. The first thing to remember, says Cohen, is that statistics never tell the whole story. "Single numbers feel powerful -- you feel able to wrap your mind around a lot of data," the article notes. "Sometime that is indeed useful, but it can also obscure the truth." A few other missteps include depending too much on "averages," applying observations without context, and substituting formulas for thinking.

Beefing up your Facebook fan page. Mashable and TechCrunch have some great tips for businesses looking to improve the quality of their Facebook fan pages. Among other things, Mashable suggests special contests or giveaways, which studies show can be highly effective; embedding more video; and inserting polls so you can get more feedback and make the page more interactive. The TechCrunch article has more of a focus on how to conceptualize the Web design aspect of things. 

Building a tech start-up in a recession. "During the late 90s, all you had to do was get a few thousand hits on a website and you didn't have to raise any money ... [Those] days are gone," says veteran venture capitalist Pitch Johnson in a video posted on the GigaOm blog. Access to capital has been drying up for hopeful start-ups, but given the bevy of apps, sites and services springing up on the Web, it's obvious that plenty are managing to thrive. So how do they do it? Digg CEO Jay and investors from VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson are just a couple of experts that weigh in. The DFJ even opens its doors to give viewers an inside look at an actual pitch meeting.

The scuttlebutt on Twitter's revenue plans. Paid Content has it, and says that Twitter will likely reveal the answer next month at its Chrip conference. The article rounds up all the major options--advertising, e-commerce, premium accounts, and search deals--and suggests that an announcement about an advertising platform is most likely.

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Last updated: Mar 29, 2010




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