links for 2011-02-13

  • Today as part of President Obama’s national strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs, the White House announced the launch of the Startup America Partnership. Lead by chairman Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, CEO of Revolution LLC and chairman of the Case Foundation, the partnership will receive launch funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, and act as an independent private-sector alliance intended to dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms.
  • We all remember the kid who sold sweets to his friends on the school playground. Although it’s difficult to generalize, entrepreneurs do seem to share some traits. But is that enough to say that entrepreneurship is more about your DNA than MBA? Harvard Business School Professor W.A. Sahlman defines entrepreneurship as “the relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to tangible resources currently controlled.” Translated into everyday speech, Sahlman’s terminology means that entrepreneurs are those who will say, “I haven’t got the money, the people or the materials you might expect of someone looking to put together a new business — but I’m determined to do it anyway.”
  • SCENARIO: You’ve just learned that your prospect is seriously considering a competitor’s offering — and it’s a competitor with whom you’re not familiar.  In an hour, you’re scheduled to give a presentation to a team of decision-makers, and you know you’ll need to torpedo the competitor, if you’re going to win the business.  You’ve got your laptop, and your slides, and an Internet connection, so you can access the competitor’s website.  What now? Here’s what:
  • An experiment being conducted by an alliance of journalists and computer scientists aims to combine the distributed human brainpower of Amazon's small-task outsourcing engine, Mechanical Turk, with a software boss pre-programmed with all the logic required to stitch myriad discrete human-accomplished tasks into something resembling the work of a single person. The project is called My Boss is a Robot, and the boffins involved include the team of Niki Kittur, a Carnegie Mellon assistant professor of Human Computer Interaction, as well as freelance science and technology writers Jim Giles and MacGregor Campbell.
  • Few historical figures are as divisive and polarizing as Niccolo Machiavelli. The fact that this Renaissance philosophers works date back 500 years hasn’t blunted its impact or controversy one bit. Some view him as the father of modern materialism, inspiring people to do or say anything to achieve personal gain, i.e. the ends justify the means. Indeed, the word Machiavellian – derived from his most famous work, The Prince – has come to mean cunning, deceit, and manipulation. Others, however, see him as the world’s first great realist and a positive influence on modern politics and capitalism. Some even think Machiavelli was the first to apply empirical scientific methods to human behavior by making innovative generalizations based on experience, observation, and history.

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