Chasing an entrepreneurial dream can be an all-consuming effort. Particularly in those crucial early days of a startup, founders seem to eat, sleep and breathe their businesses. This naturally occurring tunnel vision has a purpose, of course, allowing entrepreneurs to give their business babies the time and attention they need to mature. But this heads-down mode is not without its drawbacks, one of which is neglecting to stay up on current events—particularly the happenings that can impact the entrepreneurs who are inadvertently paying no attention to them.
I've always encouraged those with whom I work to pick a favorite news source and read it dutifully. But being an entrepreneur myself, I know that sometimes, you simply don’t have the time to scour through all the worldly happenings or even read the articles and reports that might impact the way you think about your startup.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a few features that caught my eye last week. It's my intent to pass these findings off on a weekly basis (think of it as a sort of an entrepreneurial public service) and when a piece really hits home, begin a conversation about the topic and its impact on entrepreneurship. And my list below is by no means inclusive of every interesting topic that made news last week, so if you've come across other articles you think would be of interest to the blog readers, please share.
Number of young U.S. technology companies falls: report | February 11, 2014
According to a report from the Kauffman Foundation, the number of technology firms (5 years and younger) has fallen to below 80,000 down from 113,000 in 2001. The numbers today are roughly equal to the mid-90s. Part of this could be due to older companies acquiring newer ones.
Measuring innovation misses the larger point | February 10, 2014
It has been almost a year since the last annual report on innovation across Europe. A new one should be out in the next month. This Innovation Union Scoreboard measures the application of innovation by member states based on 24 performance indicators. The top flight includes Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and Finland. The US is 10th overall out of 27. This article discusses some of the problems with the system including the following: innovation is not a fixed quality and should not be measured by the ability to commercialize or have a good research system, but rather the ability to sell your idea.
How immigration reform -- or lack thereof -- is hurting our economic competitiveness | February 11, 2014
America should be the number one destination for highly skilled workers. The H-1 B Visa program was created to connect foreign individuals with US employers who cannot find domestic workers with the same skills. Without this Visa program, employers would have difficulty finding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) employees. The federal government only makes 65,000 of these visas available each year during the month of April starting on the 1st. In the last filing period, 124,000 applications came in. The U.S. senate and House both recognize that the cap needs to be raised. In the summer of 2013, the House Judiciary Committee passed the "Skills Job Act," which would increase the number of H-1 B Visas while making the selection process fairer.
My response to Charles Schwab plan to leave california | February 11, 2014
Many companies are picking up and moving out of California. Because of California's highest-in-the-nation taxes and extreme regulations, businesses such as Charles Schwab, Chevron, and Campbell Soup are moving hundreds of jobs or even there plant to a new state. The Tax Foundation ranked California as the 48th worst on business taxes. The Kauffman Foundation graded California as an F in a survey of 6,000 small businesses in the country.
Illumina launches the Illumina Accelerator Program, world's first genomics incubator | February 12, 2014
San Diego launched the Illumina Accelerator Program. This accelerator is the world’s first business accelerator focused strictly on the genomics industry. It is a six month program that provides $100,000 in support and it is dedicated to speeding up the time to market and lower the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, startups, and early stage companies that are working on scientifically and commercially promising next-generation sequencing applications.
Humans account for less than 40% of global web traffic | February 13, 2014
Most entrepreneurs launch and manage their own website, referring to analytics to track its performance and lead strategic decisions about marketing, social media and advertising. But surprisingly, 61.5% of all web traffic around the world comes from bots — deemed both good and bad in this article.
Disney Launches Business Incubator | February 12, 2014
Disney Accelerator has launched. It is a mentorship and seed-stage investment program. In order to qualify, the company must meet what Disney is calling "innovative consumer media and entertainment product ideas." Each company that is selected receives $120,000 in capital along with stories, technology, and other resources. This program starts June 30.p>