Entrepreneurial

LinkedIn expands promotional features for businesses

The online networking site, which more than a year began ago letting companies create their own profiles, last week expanded features within Company Pages that allow businesses to build and sustain their own followings in the professional community.

“It’s some pretty good intelligence,” said Ryan Roslansky, who heads LinkedIn’s Content Products. “It really helps members to have deeper insight and richer business intelligence on these companies.”

Not unlike the microblogging site Twitter, LinkedIn’s Company Pages update individuals about specific businesses of interest. But the depth of content is richer, said Roslansky, noting that posts include company news, employee moves, videos and white papers, among other information. These status updates appear in a follower’s news feed.

“When people are on LinkedIn they’re really in the mode of… how do they become more professional, productive and successful in what they’re doing?” he said. “And in that context we want to give the companies the ability to disseminate information to members.”

Individuals can also get alerts when a company posts job listings, an enhancement that aids in individuals’ career advancement, Roslansky said, noting there are nearly 5 million LinkedIn members employed by small businesses. Businesses pay for that feature but other features in Company Pages are free.

Startup adds Hollywood flare to small business videos

Small businesses have been fast to tap social media platforms like Facebook, but their efforts to provide compelling video about their products and services have fallen short.

That’s the view of L.A.-based entrepreneur and media attorney Sam Rogoway, who is launching Near Networks, a national video service to improve those efforts, while keeping production within the budgets of many local companies.

“We saw this growth in local content and video had not caught up,” said Rogoway, 32. “Given how production costs have dropped, we thought there would be an opportunity to develop not commercials for local business, but real programming.”

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.)

Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement assists startup

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

When the manager of basketball star Shaquille O’Neal called Michael Downing one month ago out of the blue, the San Francisco entrepreneur was overcome with elation – and dread.

O’Neal is a savvy social media adopter with nearly 4 million Twitter followers and more than 2 million Facebook fans. He also reads tech press, and he’d noticed a short piece about Downing’s 10-month-old company, Tout. The maker of an iPhone application that will be available on Android phones next month, Tout allows users to film 15-second-long videos, then blast them over Facebook or Twitter accounts, email or SMS with the click of a button.

As startups ponder the secondary market, more seem to make private info public

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

The secondary markets for private company stock may seem like the Wild West, with unstructured valuations and less than ideal information disclosure.

Yet several securities laws apply to transactions now taking place, and the onus falls on companies to follow rules meant to level the playing field, including making some confidential information about their businesses public.

Tax incentives for moving into blighted areas

Police officers stand near the scene of an underground explosion in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco, California June 5, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

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

One of the bigger stories out of San Francisco of late is Twitter’s planned move into the Tenderloin — a blighted area riddled with shuttered restaurants, graffiti, and crumbling facades.

PeopleDeals offers its spin on group buying

It appears there’s no end to the number of startups the group-buying space can contain. The latest entrant offering a better mousetrap is PeopleDeals, which allows small and medium-sized businesses to create deals that increase in value the more they’re shared across social networks.

Whereas Groupon-type deals are basically a two-for-one model that doesn’t change, PeopleDeals makes the price cheaper after a certain number of participants share the virtual coupon across social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. To illustrate, a pizza joint could offer an online deal for 50 cents off a slice, then as soon as it’s shared with another person it increases to 60 cents and then to 70 cents after it’s shared five more times, up to a maximum of $1 when 20 or more people share it.

“The key is the business owner decides. At any given time they can make it go from 50 cents to $5, or from 50 cents to 70 cents,” said Darin Myman, the CEO of Red Bank, New Jersey-based social network PeopleString Corporation (PLPE.OB), which launched PeopleDeals last week. “When they (customers) share it with their friends and their friends share it they’re becoming your new social media.”

Dave McClure: SEO still relevant

A T-Mobile G1 Google is shown photographed in Encinitas, California January 20, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Dave McClure, venture capitalist and founding partner of the Silicon Valley tech incubator 500 Startups, remains a staunch advocate of search engine optimization and its benefits. He shares some of his thoughts about SEO with Reuters.

Q: Do you think it’s harder for startups to gain traction with SEO now that Google and other browsers seem to be more quality focused?
A: People can build a history in three to nine months. It’s not forever. There’s quite a bit of traffic being driven by search and quite a bit of monetization.

Managing elephant-sized social media blunders

Global brand strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin can’t help but scratch his head over the rationale behind the controversial social media dispatch from GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons. The flamboyant CEO sparked a backlash recently when he posted a video link to his elephant shoot in Kenya Zimbabwe.

Baskin offers the following advice on how small businesses can prevent or manage social media blunders.

Q: Are social media posts pertaining to a business owner’s non-business doings relevant to consumers?

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.

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