links for 2011-06-03

  • When you’re self employed filing a Schedule C with your tax return, your chances of being audited are greater than if you were a wage earner. Why? Because the IRS suspects that you will attempt to either hide income or write off personal expenses as business deductions. Let’s face it, if all you are reporting on your tax return is income from a W2, what’s there to audit? Even if you input the numbers wrong, the IRS will match it up with the copy it got from your employer and send you a correction letter along with an adjustment to your refund or tax liability. According to various reports, audits of the self-employed are on the rise, here’s what you can do to keep the taxman off your back:
  • When CA Technologies (CA) ‘partnered’ with Indian outsourcing firm HCL Technologies to try to offload its security business in November 2007, we termed the move a ‘kind-of, sort-of’ divestiture that was unlikely to fit well with either party. Three and a half years later, the full divestiture is finally done: CA sold it to Updata Partners last week. Although terms weren’t disclosed, we understand that Updata is paying only about $10m for the business, a price that reflects just how much the division had suffered under the joint venture. The roughly $50m in sales at the unit is less than half the level it was at the time of the CA-HCL accord.
  • When CA Technologies (CA) ‘partnered' with Indian outsourcing firm HCL Technologies to try to offload its security business in November 2007, we termed the move a ‘kind-of, sort-of' divestiture that was unlikely to fit well with either party. Three and a half years later, the full divestiture is finally done: CA sold it to Updata Partners last week. Although terms weren't disclosed, we understand that Updata is paying only about $10m for the business, a price that reflects just how much the division had suffered under the joint venture. The roughly $50m in sales at the unit is less than half the level it was at the time of the CA-HCL accord.
  • Commuting to work can be advantageous in terms of income and career opportunities, and it presents a good alternative to moving. But long commuting times also entail less time for family and friends and can lead to stress and health problems. Pair relationships are also jeopardized, and according to a new dissertation from Umeå University, the risk of separation is 40 percent higher among long-distance commuters than among other people.
  • How to Deal with your Elephants in the Room during your VC meetings.  Elephants being big issues that the VC will be thinking whether you bring it to his/her attention or not. My advice with Elephants was that you need to take them head on in your first VC meeting because the VC is already thinking about the issue whether you bring it up or not. But what about issues that might have a slightly negative connotation that the VC couldn’t know in advance?  Skeletons in the Closet are these types of issues.  They are issues, though, that your VC would certainly find out during due diligence or at a minimum you’d be ethically obliged to tell them.
  • There’s an old saying that if I’m talking with you and I start the conversation by saying, “whatever you do, DO NOT think about Elephants” then you can’t help but thinking about elephants while we’re speaking.  There’s a lot of truth in this adage. It’s sometimes called “The Elephant in the Room” because even when you don’t mention not to think about an Elephant there are certain issues that you just can’t stop thinking about whether they are brought up or not.
  • There is one classic mistake across both types of meetings – “the tell & sell”  presentation.  This involves a person who leads a PowerPoint presentation in which the presenter feels more comfortable racing through pre-practiced slides and rattling off charts & bullet points than having a discussion. The presenter comes out of the meeting proud at having gotten through all 30 slides (and maybe even a demo) with a bunch of smiling faces and nodding heads and no discussion.  After the sales meetings I would ask the exec afterward, “how do you think it went?” and always be surprised when they’d say, “great, I think they really liked it.  They seemed to agree with everything I said.”
  • Congratulations.  You’ve found a VC partner or principal who has invited you to the Monday partners’ meeting.  Or on a sales campaign you’ve finally gotten your project sponsor to take you to the “executive committee” where decisions are made and budgets are agreed. So you arrive at the meeting in the comfort that somebody has championed you to this point.  Every 1:1 meeting you’ve had to date has been collegiate and productive.  What could go wrong?  A lot, actually.  Here are some tips to keep in mind for the big day.
  • Credibility: This is who you are. It gets at who leaders are to their followers, the quality of the relationship, and earning the right to lead. It’s really a matter of character and understanding that leadership is an earned, versus granted, position. You are being called to a higher ground of credibility to be authentic, trustworthy, and compelling. A leader can behave in ways that can either increase these areas or unknowingly break them down. Competence. This is what you do. You have to get the job right. This one is built on the premise that every leadership problem can be categorized into three key areas: People, Strategy and Execution. You’d be shocked at how enormously liberating it is when leaders are provided with this framework. It often gets them “unstuck” because it helps them categorize their problems, which is the first step to solving them. Consequence. This is how you do things. The legacy you leave. This one is about decision-making, communication, and impact.
    (tags: leadership)
  • Leadership is all about focusing energy on achieving an important goal. In achieving focus, leadership is implicitly saying “no” to all the other less-important things that might be attempted at this time. In this sense, “saying no” to trivia and distractions is the essence of leadership. For instance, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs says no many times A big part of Steve Jobs’ success has been to shed all the good ideas that don’t make the final cut. Carmine Gallo in an interesting article, “Steve Jobs: Get Rid Of the Crappy Stuff” writes: “Editing also leads to great product designs and effective communications. According to Steve Jobs, ‘People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.’”
    (tags: leadership)
  • No one will say that starting your own company is easy. But it’s a lot easier than it used to be. One of the major reasons: it’s cheaper and more simple to build scalable infrastructure than ever before. The last two years have brought a wave of low-cost, efficient applications that allow small businesses to build fast, secure and smart internal systems — and they’re getting plenty of use. As a startup founder, your plate is constantly full of new tasks and concerns: personnel, payroll, fluid communication, continuous innovation. The last thing you need to worry about are the bare-bones tools that help you tackle these never ending to-dos. Here are three applications aiming to take that load off your shoulders.

2 thoughts on “links for 2011-06-03

  1. Among all, I was able to relate more about the divorce. I think it depends on both people how they want their relationship to work.

  2. Among all, I was able to relate more about the divorce. I think it depends on both people how they want their relationship to work.

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