links for 2010-12-12

  • Running a business from home is a great option for many small business owners. It saves you money on commuting, parking and dry cleaning and can help you be more productive. But as your business grows, you’re eventually going to be faced with a decision: To stay at home, or not to stay? Ask yourself these questions to see if it’s time to consider looking for outside office space.
    (tags: smb)
  • In this first post I’m going to answer the introductory question “What is venture capital?”, which sets the scene for the rest of the Series. Nicholas Lovell will publish his first post in the series today as well answering a similarly introductory question “What exactly is an ‘investor’?”. After that we will each publish in alternate weeks, with me taking the first post next Wednesday. What is venture capital? Venture capital is money invested in high risk startups by venture capitalists on behalf of institutional investors with the aim of making outsize returns. There are five concepts in that definition (in italics) which merit further explanation – I’m going to do that briefly now and then in more detail throughout the series.
  • We have enjoyed an amazing run in the web startup and investing space over the past five or six years. In this sector of startupland, company creation is up, investment is up, there are plenty of success stories, and not all of them are based on quick flips and takeouts. There is real revenue flowing through web companies and many web startups formed in the last five or six years are operating profitably. It has been good to be a web entrepreneur and a web VC, and I think it will continue to be for quite some time.
    (tags: vc)
  • Three years ago, Timothy Woda's 14 year old son was approached online and asked to send nude pictures of himself. The faceless friend on Facebook turned out to be Jonathon Stewart Dick, a child predator arrested on 24 counts of crimes against children. The close call inspired Woda to come up with a tool called highprofilemall for parents to monitor their teens online activities. "We've developed a product that's designed to be parental intelligence. It's a tool to help parents do the job they're already supposed to be doing,:" Woda said.
  • The venture capital ecosystem is a hall of secrets. The rise of the venture capital blogger, notably Union Square Venture's Fred Wilson, entrepreneur-turned-VC Mark Suster and Foundry Group's Brad Feld, is a welcome first step in providing budding entrepreneurs a view into the venture world. But they are the exception to the rule. For the most part, VCs prefer to keep their entrepreneurs in the dark about how the process really works for one simple reason: it benefits them greatly.
  • This week, Google unveiled a computer like no other: the Cr-48, a notebook that relies on the Web for all its software applications. Yet the Web search giant thinks the notebook can compete with computers that run all kinds of installed software.
    (tags: google chrome os)
  • It happens all the time in the modern workplace: Someone gets left out of the loop. Often, it happens unintentionally. A recipient gets left off an e-mail, or your colleague is on vacation when a development occurs and you simply forget to tell him about it when he gets back. Sometimes, though, we leave people out of the loop on purpose, or strategically. We choose not to share information for political reasons, to consolidate power, for expedience or just to avoid dealing with someone who can be kind of a pain.
  • Salesforce.com has announced a new hosted service called Database.com. A stand-alone service, Database.com is available via its SOAP and REST APIs to any language on any platform or device and will be generally available in 2011 through a freemium pricing model. Database.com is the same relational database system that powers Salesforce.com, allowing developers to take advantage of the company’s infrastructure and scalability. Database scalability is a major issue for today’s Web applications, and Database.com is the latest in a long line of solutions. Given Salesforce.com’s track record, it will probably be an appealing one for cloud developers. The database currently contains more than 20 billion records and delivers more than 25 billion transactions per quarter with a response time averaging less than 300 milliseconds.
  • A day after strengthening its foothold on local commerce with the acquisition of shopping search engine Milo, eBay has released a new report intended to help small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive on the world’s largest online marketplace. The first-ever U.S. Online Business Index (OBI) was compiled from survey results of more than 400 eBay sellers on topics ranging from mobile commerce to Internet sales taxes to 2010 holiday sales and projections for 2011 growth.

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