links for 2009-04-30

  • Google launched a new search tool yesterday designed to help Web users find public data that is often buried in hard-to-navigate government Web sites.
    The tool, called Google Public Data, is the latest in the company’s efforts to make information from federal, state and local governments accessible to citizens. It’s a goal that many Washington public interest groups and government watchdogs share with President Obama, whose technology advisers are pushing to open up federal data to the public.
    (tags: google)
  • Larry Summers fell asleep in a big meeting.
    And the White House press corps snapped a battery of photos to share that news around the world. Like most everyone, I suspect, I giggled at his embarrassing moment and wondered how those in the room felt about the doze.
    We’ve all been in meetings when someone has dozed off. It usually means the person is either deeply disengaged, or more likely exhausted. Summers is clearly the latter, presumably driving himself round the clock, sleeping minimally, to unwind this crisis.
    (tags: Leadership)

  • Not all funding is created equal, even in tough times. Here’s sound advice on angling for your angel.
    Funding hasn’t been harder to come by in decades, and throngs of deserving entrepreneurs are downright starved for it. That’s where angel investors–loosely gathered groups of well-heeled individuals with an eye toward the juicy returns that can come from investing in early stage companies–come in.
  • Citigroup Inc., soon to be one-third owned by the U.S. government, is asking the Treasury for permission to pay special bonuses to many key employees, according to people familiar with the matter.
    The request comes as Citigroup is grappling with broad government pay restrictions that could break apart its legendary energy-trading unit. People at that unit, Phibro, are threatening to leave because of pay caps tied to the U.S. bailout of Citigroup. Phibro has been the source of hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for the bank, and has paid out hefty compensation, including a roughly $100 million windfall last year for the unit’s leader, Andrew Hall.
  • The death of display has been much hyped, including by me.
    Though obviously it’s a tad tongue and cheek. Display needs to change to become more effective, and Don Rainey, a partner with Grotech Ventures, a VC firm, says that display has it’s role and place.
    “When you hear of it’s death, you’re hearing more about the demise of the unrealistic expectations,” he said, “and less about the fact display advertising will continue.”
  • In the age of YouTube (GOOG), texting, and tweeting, your audience’s attention span is shrinking. It’s becoming harder to keep your listeners engaged for more than 90 seconds. We’ve offered tips on crafting an effective elevator pitch, even an escalator pitch, in the past, but the fact is, as a business leader, you’ll often be required to speak for much longer periods of time, anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Here are four ways to keep your listeners paying attention during your next long presentation.
    (tags: career)
  • Can signing a standard workplace document derail your career plans? Yes, says Jerry Luftman, executive director of graduate IS Programs at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. He says a former student almost lost out on a big break because he had signed a noncompete agreement, a contract that prohibits employees from doing certain work for a set period of time following the end of their current job.
    The former student had been an IT manager at a Fortune 500 company but didn’t feel that he was moving up fast enough. So he accepted a higher-up IT management position at another big company. But when he gave his notice, his original employer threatened to enforce in court the noncompete agreement he had signed when he first took the job.
    (tags: HR career)

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