Entrepreneurial

Why do customers shop at local small businesses?

– Stephanie Rabiner is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Despite hard times and shrinking profits, Americans still shop at locally owned, independent retailers.

A new small business survey from American Express polled 1,000 consumers aged 18 and older. Ninety-three percent of respondents believe that it’s important to support local small businesses. And on average, they spend about one third of their monthly discretionary income at these stores.

How can you capitalize on this information?

Survey respondents primarily shop at small businesses because of friendly employees and product knowledge.

Additionally, 87 percent of respondents share favorable opinions about a business, while only 69 percent share negative feedback. The majority use word of mouth and social media. Only 13 percent use sites like Yelp! and Citysearch.

from MediaFile:

What’s cooler than a Facebook conference? A Sean Parker after-party.

When somebody who was played by Justin Timberlake in a Hollywood movie decides to throw a party, the expectations are pretty high.

And Sean Parker, the man behind free music-sharing service Napster and an early Facebook advisor, clearly likes to give people what they want.

Parker, who is an investor in the music service Spotify, pulled out all the stops in a post-Facebook developers conference party on Thursday that was a cross between a backstage concert pass and Trimalchio’s feast.

Stanford entrepreneur: If you’re 20 and you haven’t started a $1 million company, “you’re kind of a failure”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Recently, New York magazine featured Feross Aboukhadijeh in a piece titled “Bubble Boys”. Aboukhadijeh is a Sacramento-born, 20-year-old computer science student at Stanford who has been characterized as among the school’s most heavily recruited students by a course adviser. The piece suggested he may ultimately be among those geeks to succeed the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

While perhaps a stretch, it’s easy to see Aboukhadijeh’s appeal. A year ago, Aboukhadijeh created a small media sensation with YouTube Instant, a site that invites visitors to scan YouTube videos in real time, and which Google was at one point interested in acquiring – along with Aboukhadijeh.

Flickr founder looks to strike lightning again

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Stewart Butterfield has it made. He’s famous for co-founding the popular photo-sharing service Flickr in 2004. He lives comfortably in Vancouver, having sold Flickr to Yahoo for a reported $35 million in 2005. And investors including Accel Partners and Andreessen Horowitz have thrown $17.2 million behind his two-year-old game company, Tiny Speck, even though the Flash-based multiplayer game it’s been developing, Glitch, hasn’t launched publicly yet.

So why does Butterfield confess to living in “perpetual fear” these days? The truth is Butterfield is under enormous pressure. Expectations for Glitch, which Butterfield describes as a “shared, perpetual game with its own ecology,” are exceedingly high, both because of Butterfield’s personal brand and its ephemeral launch date. (Even after two years of alpha and beta testing by roughly 20,000 gamers, Butterfield declines to disclose when he plans to release the game. “We haven’t finalized (the release date) yet, though the end of September is likely,” he says.)

Entrepreneur Peter Yared: Social is “so over”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. –

Entrepreneur Peter Yared doesn’t mince words. In April, after TechCrunch misreported some of the circumstances around a Facebook employee’s termination, Yared wrote a widely read post titled “Why TechCrunch is Over” in which he called its founder, Michael Arrington, “insane,” adding that it “must be hard to live amidst a rapidly declining site.”

In more recent posts, Yared has called Twitter “primarily a broadcasting platform with very few active users” and unusable for “normal people.” He has also suggested that if he were to start a company today with either entrepreneurs Mark Pincus, Evan Williams, or Mark Zuckerberg, he’d go with Pincus “given what we now know” about Williams and Zuckerberg. (Both have been accused of elbowing their early co-founders out of the picture.)

Banjo mobile app keeps travelers in touch

A missed opportunity to connect with friends at an airport was the impetus behind a new social discovery service targeted at smartphone users.

The free service, Banjo, is the brainchild of 38-year-old tech entrepreneur Damien Patton. It launched this week and is available for iPhone and Android owners.

“It was started because I missed out on a personal connection,” Patton said. “It brings all the social information together into one convenient place on the mobile device.”

Note to entrepreneurs: Your idea is not special

– Brad Feld is a managing director at the Boulder, Colorado-based venture capital firm Foundry Group. He also co-founded TechStars and writes the popular blog, Feld Thoughts. The views expressed are his own. –

Every day I get numerous emails from software and Internet entrepreneurs describing their newest ideas.

Often these entrepreneurs think their idea is brand new – that no one has ever thought of it before. Other times they ask me to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect their idea. Occasionally the emails mysteriously allude to the idea without really saying what it is.

Bebo founder working on a “little social network”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

“I don’t think Facebook has peaked,” said Michael Birch, absently piling his trademark curtain of brown hair atop his head. “The point of saturation is often a lot further out” than many people assume, he added. “But what goes up must come down.”

We are sitting in his San Francisco offices and Birch, best known for selling his three-year-old social networking startup Bebo to America Online for a stunning $850 million in cash, is sharing some thoughts about the current crop of social networking darlings — and whether we’re in a bubble.

An entrepreneur takes on LinkedIn – and Facebook

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Entrepreneur Rick Marini has a lot to be thankful for, including smart, connected friends who’ve supported him in the launch of two of his businesses. The most recent of these is BranchOut, which leverages Facebook to help people find business connections and that has an enviable list of backers and advisers.

from Tales from the Trail:

Former “start-up” Obama wouldn’t mind being as popular as…SpongeBob

obama_sanfranHe's been president of the United States for about two-and-a-half  years, but Barack Obama still remembers being a "start-up" -- and he wouldn't mind being as popular as SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Democratic president, who is in the middle of a road show to sell his ideas for cutting the deficit, spent the evening in San Francisco on Wednesday raising money for his campaign, and he targeted tech-savvy donors who had started successful companies of their own.

"Some of you are involved in start-ups, well I was a start-up just not so long ago," Obama told a dinner fundraiser at the home of Marc Benioff, the chief executive of salesforce.com.

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