Groupon’s CEO gets some financial adult supervision

In a rare move, Groupon is swapping out directors without waiting for terms to end — switching high-profile Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz out for American Express CFO Daniel Henry. Another swap for Deloitte’s Robert Bass gives the board more finance gravitas.

KidZui: No Pornography Here

The launch of KidZui could be viewed as just another social network for kids hitting the market, or it could be seen as a victory of real-live people over the mighty algorithm. Time and the company’s success will eventually tell. Over the last two and a half years, KidZui has paid 200 parents and teachers to manually filter the adult Internet, distilling the world wide web down to 500,000 sites appropriate for kids.

The KidZui Internet is accessed through a browser designed by the company to reflect a child’s point of view and levels of interest. The goal is to get parents of kids ages 3 through 11 to sign up for $99 annual plans or $9.95-a-month plans. Those subscription fees (no ads) will support a staff of editors who will monitor where kids want to go outside of the KidZui sites, reviewing and adding those that are appropriate.

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One Way to Differentiate Your Startup: Customer Support

Update: for another lesson on the imperative of customer support, spend a few minutes studying Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s decision this week to close hundreds of stores nationwide for 3 hours in order to retrain Baristas in good customer service. The Wall Street Journal: Starbucks Closes Stores To Retrain Baristas (Photo credit, from WSJ: Kurt Wilberding)

customer-service1.gifBen Yoskovitz is a very thoughtful founder, and we republish posts from his Instigator Blog here frequently. (See list at bottom). Yesterday, Ben put up an ode to his customers that is (OK) a tad mushy but, as always, material.

Ben points out an all-too-common shortcoming of cash- and time-strapped startups: a lack of attention on customer support. Maybe we’re overly focused on our code or our funding. Whatever the reasons, this is a weakness Ben argues — and therein lies a potential strategic advantage.

Of course it’s just good business to offer quality customer support. The fact that so few startups do so only compounds the value to you if you can:

Luckily for you, very few companies (especially startups!) provide anything remotely resembling quality customer support and so you can immediately use it as a differentiator

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