Entrepreneurial

Startup develops astrological algorithm to predict romance

moonsharon

If astrology can be used to predict such things as stock market crashes, surely it can help people make love connections. That was the thinking behind New York-based startup Moonit.com

After careers in financial services, Dana Kanze and Mason Sexton Junior decided to create Moonit.com as a way of using astrology to help people like them and their friends with their relationships. Sexton Junior’s interest in astrology came naturally as a result of his father, Mason Sexton Senior, an astrologer and investment manager. Sexton Senior, also a co-founder of Moonit.com, used astrology to predict market events (such as the stock market crash of 1987) and market timing.

The website uses astrology to determine relationship compatibility between two people (romantic, professional or friendships) by using an astrological algorithm. After entering the birth dates, users get a compatibility score and a relationship assessment.

“We found that when people are grappling with uncertainties in their relationships, they’re willing to consult different methodologies and sources out there,” said CEO Kanze. “Who we should be associating with and in which ways? We found there really weren’t a lot of social optimization tools to give you recommendations on those types of things.”

The website earns revenue from its virtual currency, referred to as “moon coins,” and from its $9.99 subscription program to provide text alerts.

What small business can learn from Jerry Seinfeld

John Spence is the author of “Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action”. He is an award-wining professional speaker and corporate trainer. The views expressed are his own. –

I have some very strong beliefs about what I feel it takes to run a highly successful business. For example, I am completely convinced that whoever “owns the voice of the customer” and uses that information to build an organizational culture of “Extreme Customer Focus” will own the marketplace.

Unfortunately far too few businesses really understand their customers at a deep level, which severely inhibits their ability to deliver consistently superior service and win an unfair advantage in customer loyalty. And who doesn’t want an unfair advantage?

from Reuters Money:

Kill the mortgage deduction and give it to entrepreneurs

Prospective home buyer Jessica Doctoroff (C) visits a condominium for sale with her real estate agent Brenda Bremis in Medford, Massachusetts April 2, 2009.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder  Somehow I don't think President Obama had the home-mortgage interest deduction in mind when he mentioned the U.S. tax code before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week.

Yet winding down and eliminating this write-off for homes would be good for business. It's unfair, doing nothing to revive the housing market and can be put to better use shifting it to entrepreneurs to create jobs.

Most of the job creation in the U.S. economy comes from small businesses, which typically have no public shareholders to sate and are not primarily interested in fattening pay packages of overpaid executives.

Business tips from “The Demon” Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons – rocker, reality TV star and self-styled marketing genius – may be the shrewdest businessman to have donned face makeup and six-inch heels.

In the business world, as in music, Simmons boasts an impressive record. A classic immigrant rags-to-riches tale, he’s worked tirelessly over the last 36 years to turn the KISS brand into an empire. His former blood-spitting “Demon” alter ego now graces more than 2,500 different products such as ketchup, condoms, coffins and credit cards.

In addition to KISS album sales (over 100 million units sold), Simmons earns $100,000 per speaking engagement, and has more than half a dozen booked for 2011 already. Among his other non-musical ventures are estate planning (he is a co-founder of Cool Springs Life Equity Strategy), books, magazines and a handful of television projects.

Stockton small business rankled by Forbes list

Misery loves company but not when it comes to the Forbes magazine list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities.”

The report ranked Stockton, California dead last among U.S. places to do business for reasons that include a ravaged housing market, violent crime and the high rate of unemployment.

A recent Huffington Post article referred to the city as “Foreclosureville, U.S.A.” based on its 9.5-percent foreclosure rate – one of the nation’s highest.

Selling pickaxes during a gold rush

– Chris Dixon is co-founder of Hunch and founder of Founder Collective, and an investor in many early-stage companies like Skype and Foursquare. Previously he co-founded Siteadvisor, which was acquired by McAfee. This blog originally appeared on cdixon.org. The views expressed are his own. –

There is a saying in the startup world that “you can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes.”

This is of course an allusion to the California Gold Rush where some of the most successful business people such as Levi Strauss and Samuel Brannan didn’t mine for gold themselves, but instead sold supplies to miners – wheelbarrows, tents, jeans, pickaxes etc. Mining for gold was the more glamorous path but actually turned out, in aggregate, to be a worse return on capital and labor than selling supplies.

Online sports gaming startup eyes Super Bowl boost

Nic Sulsky hopes this weekend’s anticipated record Super Bowl television audience helps boost traffic to his online sports gaming startup.

InGamer Sports, the Toronto, Canada-based company he co-founded in 2008, lets users choose a team of players from live games and awards points based on how they actually perform on the field.

Sulsky said it fuses the three dominant screens in our lives: television, computer and mobile.

Venture capitalists are not your friends

– Steve Blank is a teacher, writer, and serial entrepreneur. He teaches at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Business School and at Columbia. He is the author of “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” and “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”. This article originally appeared on www.steveblank.com. The views expressed are his own. –

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not understanding the relationship they have with their investors. At times they confuse venture capitalist’s with their friends.

At Rocket Science our video game company was struggling. Hubris, bad CEO decisions (mine) and a fundamental lack of understanding that we were in a “hits-based” entertainment business not in a Silicon Valley technology company were slowly killing us.

Egyptian-owned small businesses send aid

The way immigrant-owned small businesses sustain relatives back home is a testament to entrepreneurial ingenuity underscored as the political unrest unfolds in Egypt.

Take Sharif Alexandre, the 38-year-old Egyptian-born founder of an electronic payment service in Philadelphia called Xipwire. He’s betting technology like his – which lets people send secure payments within the U.S. using mobile phones – will help centralize money for delivery to Egypt.

“This can be an organic effort,” said Alexandre, a Coptic Christian who is launching a Twitter campaign to rally like-mind Egyptian Americans. Earlier this year he ran a texting effort to send aid to a Christian church in Egypt following a bomb attack.

Startups – so easy a 12-year-old can do it

– Steve Blank is a teacher, writer, and serial entrepreneur. He teaches at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Business School and at Columbia. He is the author of “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” and “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”. This article originally appeared on www.steveblank.com. The views expressed are his own. –

Maybe because it’s a company town and everyone in Silicon Valley has a family connection to entrepreneurship. Or maybe I just encountered the most entrepreneurial 12-year-olds ever assembled under one roof. Or maybe we’re now teaching entrepreneurial thinking in middle schools. Either way, I had an astounding evening as one of the judges at the Girls Middle School 7th grade Entrepreneurial night.

In this school every seventh-grade girl becomes part of a team of four or five who create and run their own business. The students write business plans, request startup capital from investors, receive funding for their companies, make product samples, manufacture inventory, and sell their products to real-world customers. This class is experiential learning at its best.

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