Google and Twitter help companies manage their online presence. Sick of bending over backwards to respond to criticism on Yelp? Google and Twitter are rolling out new ways for you to maintain a positive web presence (via GigaOM). Twitter is partnering with Citysearch, which hopes to help the 200,000 local merchants it has relationships with get acclimated to the Twittersphere, while Google is kicking off a "Favorite Places on Google" program. The company is tracking how often businesses are searched for and sending out decals that local joints can put in their windows to announce their favored status and allow customers to scan a bar code which brings up the establishment's Google page. GigaOM is predicting a similar offering from Facebook in the near future.
Want to tell AT&T where their service sucks? There's an app for that. Tired of getting almost of his calls near his home in Bay Ridge dropped, Crunchgear's John Biggs points iPhone users to a free app called Mark the Spot that lets you identify where and how AT&T's network failed--whether it was a dropped call, bad data, or poor voice quality. Then it sends that info to AT&T.
The case against NDAs. What happens if your idea gets stolen? If you play your cards right, not much, according to Steve Blank. Last week he urged entrepreneurs not to put valuable IP on their PowerPoint slides. Today, he blogs about giving a customer a copy of his presentation, and then discovering that another startup had used his presentation to secure VC funding. Blank says that he initially regretted not requiring customers to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but on further reflection he realized that it's better to be open about your idea and get feedback, even if you risk getting it stolen and copied. "Our competitor was executing on hypotheses we had developed 9 months ago, and their strategy remained static," he writes. "We on the other hand, had moved on. We had discovered detailed information about what customers really needed and wanted and turned our original hypotheses into facts...Over the next two years we left them in the dust." (Via Hacker News)
A VC with a sense of humor? Onset Ventures' annual holiday card is out and peHUB has the link. For the past 14 years partner Shomit Ghose has been crafting the satiric send-ups. This year it's a spoof on a gift catalog, advertising items like Bernie Madoff fleece wear, humble pie, and a cat-herding kit. Find all of Onset's holiday cards going back to 1995 here. Not to be one-upped, Twin Bridge Capital Partners sent one lucky editor a custom-embroidered Snuggie.
Businesses oppose calling carbon dioxide a pollutant. The world's eyes may be on Copenhagen for the start of the U.N.'s conference on climate change. But business leaders are focused on the Obama administration back home, reports the Wall Street Journal. That's because as early as today, the EPA is expected to declare carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant. If that "endangerment" finding passed, it would pave the way for federal regulations requiring businesses that emit carbon dioxide (and five other greenhouse gases) to reduce their emissions--with or without Congress passing the pending Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation. Big business is on message. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue says the ruling "could result in a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth" and the National Association of Manufacturers says it's "certain to come at a huge cost to the economy." For Obama, EPA action would be a show of commitment to combatting climate change (the U.S. is the world's second-largest polluter) going into Copenhagen.
Return of the dinosaurs: vinyl and turntable sales rise. It flies in the face of reason that consumers would opt for the clunkier, costlier technology on the market but it seems the embrace of vinyl is more than a short-lived fad, says the New York Times. Through late November of this year more than 2.1 million vinyl records have been sold, a 35 percent bump from last year according to Nielsen Soundscan. This is coupled with a 20 percent downtick in CD sales over the same period of time, despite the fact that they cost half as much. "It is absolutely easy to say vinyl doesn't make sense when you look at convenience, portability, all those things," says Mike Jbara, president and chief executive of sales and distribution at Warner Music Group. "But all the really great stuff in our lives comes from a root of passion or love."
Resources for minority- and women-owned companies Together women and minority business owners account for more than 10 million businesses in the U.S. They also may have access to more resources than they think in the economic slump. BusinessWeek runs down the basics on where to get help with financing, peer advising, networking, government contracting, and more.
What is the essence of an entrepreneur? Sure, having a great idea is a good start, but Huffington Post columnist Jim Randel opines that there is something much more vital behind the success or failure of an entrepreneur. Namely, an "absolute total unwillingness of the entrepreneur to say 'uncle." Randel goes on to demonstrate that it is this unwillingness to accept failure, and not just a great idea, that makes up the "soul of the entrepreneur." One example he uses is that of New York City Mayor and self-made-billionaire, Michael Bloomberg. In an interview with former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, Bloomberg was described as having "an ability to simply deny defeat."
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