2009 May Smile on Disruptive Startups

By now, most agree that this recession is likely be longer, deeper and fiercer than those in the past, rendering smaller, newer companies especially vulnerable. Such vulnerability is already playing out in the public markets: Over the past three months, the Russell 2000 has fallen much further than the Dow.

There is, however, a way for startups to not only stand out in this recession, but thrive in it: By being as disruptive as possible. Read More about 2009 May Smile on Disruptive Startups

Tesla Backpedals on Model S Factory Promise

Not too long ago, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk called a government guarantee for loans to build its mass-market electric sedan factory a “when, not an if.” Supposedly all the luxury electric car startup needed to begin construction on a plant for its elusive Model S was a $200 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. But in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, his confidence turned to hedging on plans to produce the Model S for the duration of the recession. The Chronicle writes:

The factory project wasn’t abandoned, but Musk says it’s no longer a done deal. . . . Rather than ramping up, the company is hunkering down. “I hate it,” said Musk. “I really didn’t want to do it. But I also didn’t want to be a casualty of the recession and see all that time and effort go to waste.”

Musk isn’t too worried, though. Again, from the Chronicle:

Musk says the company is now in good shape to reach profitability, despite the recession. Still, he’s hoping the recession will be brief, perhaps ending in a year. “It’s funny: in the good times, no one thinks there can be bad times,” he said. “And in the bad times, no one thinks there can be good times.”

Musk’s predicted timeline matches the one generally agreed on by forecasters. But while the recession is expected to officially last until mid-2009, recovery could be slow enough to make a turnaround next year little more than economic semantics. As the banking system rebuilds, credit markets could remain tight and keep Tesla’s long-promised Model S entirely out of reach.

Weekly App Store Roundup: Dec. 13th, 2008

The world slows down for another couple of days as we hit the weekend and take a few moments to catch our breath. It’s been another hectic week here at TAB, we considered the potential arrival of a Nintendo Wii-style iPhone, rejoiced at the release of a multi-touch Firefox Beta, extolled the virtues of Mac-augmented exercise regimes and explained how you can make your Mac even cooler (it’s a poor pun and yet I’m not apologizing for it).

Now it’s that special moment that happens ever Saturday at TAB where, after a week of trawling through the latest App Store releases, I hand-pick a few interesting specimens especially for your perusal.

This week I’m looking at Songbird Remote, Slydial, TED and DTESS Aphid Attack.
Read More about Weekly App Store Roundup: Dec. 13th, 2008

BlogTV Wins YouTube Stars to Make a Web TV Network

BlogTV is the closest thing to broadcast television on the web. Each day, the site has prime-time viewing hours — evenings, East Coast time — when its traffic balloons from 2,000 concurrent users to tens of thousands. And its live shows are produced by a network of stars who have established audiences that follow them where we go.

But here’s where it gets webby. BlogTV’s content creators are YouTube stars (read: not actually that big), which helps to keep costs associated with bandwidth spikes and international streaming — common assets of other live streamers that emphasize event streaming (e.g. Ustream) and sports (e.g. Justin.tv) — down. The site has a network of vigilant moderators it uses to keep the content advertiser-friendly and clean of copyright and other concerns. And of course, BlogTV is unlike any traditional broadcaster in that it doesn’t have anything to do with producing its content; everything is made by users.

BlogTV is based in Israel, though it’s focused on the U.S. market and fully 80 percent of its viewers are North American. The site originally went live in July 2007 and for a time was yet another video + social network + live broadcasting + mobile + kitchen sink provider. But since May, BlogTV has defined itself as the live-streaming provider of choice for YouTube stars; it has nearly every YouTube top 100 most-subscribed user who’s not a company. How? By paying them.

Read More about BlogTV Wins YouTube Stars to Make a Web TV Network

What If the Recession Does Turn Into a Depression?

It’s far from certain — it’s even a fairly remote possibility — but the possibility of an economic depression is being discussed more and more these days. As is to be expected, the discussion tends to be centered around how much of what we’re used to having could be destroyed. As worthwhile as it is to brace for the damage an economic depression could wreak, this is Thanksgiving weekend — a time to reflect on what we do have, and what opportunities we see ahead. Not “opportunities” as in exploiting those in need during hard times, but as in adapting to and serving changing needs. Read More about What If the Recession Does Turn Into a Depression?

WWD Roundup: Surviving the Coming Shakeout

As a web worker who cares about your career, it’s just plain good sense to do what you can to make sure that your income survives increased competition. Fortunately, WWD has offered plenty of advice on that score over the years. Here are an even dozen of our best articles and tips for supercharging your career.

Coping With the Downturn: Peer-2-Peer Rental

With the world sliding into a real or imagined recession (sometimes, it’s difficult to tell!) Web Worker Daily has been on the look out for products, services and practices that might help remote workers weather the storm and perhaps feel confident in their own ability to not only save, but even make money in a downturn.
Something that caught my attention recently was Zilok‘s peer-to-peer rental services. Zilok is at its heart a marketplace for users to either lend their items to others, or borrow items from other users.
Read More about Coping With the Downturn: Peer-2-Peer Rental

Coworking Roundup…

Coworking is a workplace trend that Web Worker Daily has been following closely of late and one which seems to be experiencing an emerging global acceptance – indeed, myself and Aliza Sherman here at WWD have directly (though separately) been involved in developing coworking spaces and communities.
A confluence of technology, culture, a faltering global economy and fuel costs are helping this fringe working pattern move closer to the mainstream. So here’s a roundup of recent developments in coworking… Read More about Coworking Roundup…

4 Ways to Wring Opportunity from the Chaos

The economy is changing in dramatic and unexpected ways, and many of us are having a difficult time deciding how to react. Should we adopt a bunker mentality, or keep plugging ahead as if little has changed?

The fact is that entrepreneurs are well-suited to respond to the chaos, perhaps even to use it to our advantage, because we recognize that every challenge really presents a new opportunity. To anyone heading a startup, steeling yourself for the ups and downs of circumstances that are often largely out of your control is a daily ritual — even in good times. Sure, the credit markets are throwing us some new tricks now, but dealing with uncertainty is old hat for founders.

Call me an inveterate optimist. But with so much doom and gloom in the media, I’m offering four tips for maintaining a positive perspective through the current events. If prognosticators are right, we will live with these painful economic conditions for a while. Positivism is a discipline we all need to hone. Read More about 4 Ways to Wring Opportunity from the Chaos