Monthly Archives: July 2013

Million-Dollar Startup Secrets |

Most small businesses never reach $1 million in annual sales. Instead, they struggle just to survive. Of businesses started in 2004, barely more than half — 56 percent — were still around in 2009, a study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found.

In fact, cracking the $1 million barrier at any point in a company’s lifetime is a major achievement. U.S. Census data from 2007 shows that more than three-quarters of the country’s 6 million firms with employees made less than $1 million in revenue. And most solopreneur businesses don’t earn anywhere near that much: According to IRS data for 2008, the average solo business brought in less than $60,000.

Given these sobering numbers, reaching seven figures in a business’s very first year — and with a startup’s often-scarce resources — is nothing short of extraordinary.

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Your Nail Polish Could be Toxic |

nail polishDid you know your favorite nail polish contains toxic chemicals? Going by recent research, the nail polishes you commonly use contain at least three harmful chemicals.

Investigators at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control sampled as many as 25 brands of nail polishes commonly used in California salons and found that 10 of 12 samples that claim to be free of toluene actually contained the substance in a serious level.

They also discovered that five of the seven samples that claim to be free of the “toxic trio” actually contained those in dangerous levels. The three toxins – dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde – may cause serious health problems, including asthma, birth defects, cancer, and other chronic health conditions.

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My Samsung Phone Made Me Cool — Daily Intelligencer

But what reviewers tend to miss is that a feature doesn’t have to be particularly useful or functional to inspire curiosity and intrigue. If they brighten up the humdrum experience of using a phone, even superficially and occasionally, that might be enough.

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Entrepreneur’s Guide to Effective Time Management |

Innovators like Henry Ford have attributed their success to good time management. Nevertheless, a recent study found that 72 percent of small business owners are working longer days and on more weekends, while half of those surveyed find there’s not enough time to get things done. With time being the most valuable commodity for small business owners, a time-management plan is essential to running a business and achieving a work-life balance.

Here’s how other entrepreneurs, from freelancers to small businessowners, effectively manage their time and how you can create your own time-management plan for life and business.

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Workstation Couch |

Since we’re on a subject of working from home – here is another interesting “workstation”, this time in a form of a couch. Famed Philippe Stark created the piece for the Italian brand Cassina. The couch, called My World, ergonomically designed to support the ideal posture for working and concentrating, while still being relaxed. The piece also features storage, work surfaces and ports for your various gizmos. It is so well-thought-out – you might never lift your bum…

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Soldiers Turn Entrepreneurs as One Million Exit Military | Bloomberg

Robert Rummells, a U.S. Army Ranger for 22 years, says it was a natural transition when he opened a Mosquito Joe pest-control franchise in Richmond, Virginia, earlier this month.“I’m an outdoor type of guy, and I didn’t want to be chained to my computer in an office, talking on the phone,” said the 49-year-old, who tried jobs such as installing equipment at a community college and simulated firearms training after retiring from the military in 2009. “I learned I needed to work for myself.”

As more former service personnel turn to entrepreneurship, they’re generating jobs that are helping to cut the unemployment rate for veterans to a four-year low of 6.2 percent in April, lower than the 6.9 percent rate for adult non-veterans. The boost to the labor market matters: More than a million Americans are projected by the White House to transition out of the military through 2015.

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With Gratitude for the Boys | Peter Mehit

IA 1

Yesterday, l spent the day with some old friends. Marty Austin and Dan Williford are the guitarists from lxt Adux, a band we took through the early eighties club scene in the search of the elusive record contract.

IA 3If you Google the band, you’ll find we have, even still, a following in Italy where we were named one of the premier bands of the eighties on several internet lists. Even though these lists are maintained by someone in their back bedroom, I personally find it a hell of an honor anyone cares that much. And copies of the original vinyl “Brainstorm” album are worth $150/ea if you have them.

We didn’t get the elusive contract because our music was ahead of its time: a kind of a mash up of King Crimson (both phases), Primus and Zappa complete with multiple time signatures and key changes in a time when three power chord hair bands were raking in millions. 

Maybe it would have never been the right time, we were so busy perfecting the ideas and the performance we never really stopped to see if people could tap their foot to what we were doing. After all, one reviewer, giving our album four stars (out of five) starts a glowing 2009 review led with: “Los Angeles based Ixt Adux were yet another late 70s / early 80s US band that had absolutely no chance of commercial success.” 

IA 2

Still, it was the most amazing, creative period I’ve ever lived through. For us, it actually was about the craft. We worked at it for seven years and the end everyone moved on to another chapter in their lives two albums and dozens of shows later.

For the most part we stayed in touch through out the years, although we lost touch with Marty. After while, it really started to bother me and eventually I fired a Jungian bottle rocket (subject of another post) and we found him.

The really great thing is we’ve started playing again. Free form jams at first, but eventually we started going back to the material we were working on when we split up. The unfinished business. We’ve been tapping around at it, wire brushing off the rust, digging down into muscle memory to cross the gulf of time.

Yesterday, we worked through some arrangements. The rehearsal discipline from thirty years ago was there, like only a day had gone by. We made some big strides in getting a difficult piece of music back on its feet. It was an awesome day with two of the coolest people I’ll ever know.  I just want the world to know how grateful I am, that we’re alive and together and making music.

It’s like the world has been restored.

For an idea of what the band was like in its native element, check out a 1982 performance at Lincoln Park in Santa Monica of Dan Williford’s previously unreleased Ms. Conception here. – Ed.


NSA v. USA | Sporck

Your Hidden Censor: What Your Mind Will Not Let You See|Scientific American

It was a summer evening when Tony Cornell tried to make the residents of Cambridge, England see a ghost. He got dressed up in a sheet and walked through a public park waving his arms about. Meanwhile his assistants observed the bystanders for any hint that they noticed something strange. No, this wasn’t Candid Camera. Cornell was a researcher interested in the paranormal. The idea was first to get people to notice the spectacle, and then see how they understood what their eyes were telling them. Would they see the apparition as a genuine ghost or as something more mundane, like a bloke in a bed sheet?

The plan was foiled when not a single bystander so much as raised an eye brow. Several cows did notice, however, and they followed Cornell on his ghostly rambles. Was it just a fluke, or did people “not want to see” the besheeted man, as Cornell concluded in his 1959 report?

Okay, that stunt was not a very good experiment, but twenty years later the eminent psychologist Ulric Neisser did a better job. He filmed a video of two teams of students passing a basketball back and forth, and superimposed another video of a girl with an umbrella walking right through the center of the screen. When he asked subjects in his study to count the number of times the ball was passed, an astonishing 79 percent failed to notice the girl with the umbrella. In the years since, hundreds of studies have backed up the idea that when attention is occupied with one thing, people often fail to notice other things right before their eyes.

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Email Marketing: A Small Business Guide |

Newly Minted MoneyWith more than 1 billion email users worldwide, businesses are realizing email marketing is no longer something they can go without. Instead of spending their time filling a consumer’s physical mailbox, businesses now target inboxes instead.  Recent research shows that businesses are dedicating more money to email marketing than any other marketing strategy. From company newsletters to loyalty coupons, businesses are using email marketing in a variety of new ways to connect with their customers. For those just getting started with email marketing, there are a number of services that can provide the necessary software and tools to create and manage campaigns directly from your computer.

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