Founding your startup with your closest buddy might seem like a dream scenario. Here’s how to keep it from turning into a nightmare of dashed hopes and broken friendships.
“We should start a business doing (fill in the blank)!”
Who hasn’t brainstormed with their friends trying to come up with the next great million-dollar idea? It’s easy to find inspiration when you’re hanging with a close friend (maybe downing some beers) and since you both see eye-to-eye on almost everything, you can change the world together… right?
Not so fast.
In reality, as you’ll quickly learn if you actually do start a business with a buddy, the personality flaws that are so easy to overlook in a friendship may take on a whole new level of importance when it’s your livelihood on the line.
But when it’s good, of course, it can be really good. “You’re around each other all the time so it’s easy to bounce ideas around and quickly act on them,” says Go Overseas founder Andrew Dunkle, 27. Dunkle and friend Mitch Gordon, 33, started their online travel community business in 2009 after they met teaching English in Taiwan, and realized there was a clear gap in quality online information about various overseas programs (teach, study, volunteer, etc.).
“Mitch saw this as an opportunity to build a successful business, and I came on to offer technical support,” Dunkle explains. “We started work on the project in Taiwan before relocating to Berkeley, Calif., so Mitch could pursue an MBA.”
Of course, on the downside, acknowledges Dunkle, “You’re around each other all the time.”
Building a buddy business
That’s why it’s especially important to keep the lines of communication open. According to psychologist Sharon Lewis-Bultsma, Psy.D., the trick is to be able to maintain relationships, because when business is done, your business partner is still your friend. “People often anticipate how others will react to situations, making assumptions that may or may not be true, and respond accordingly,” Lewis-Bultsma says. This is especially common in a buddy business where there is a previous relationship.
No matter how close you are, draw up a partnership agreement. “Put everything down on paper right away,” Gordon urges. “You’ll both be happier in the long run, and you won’t have to worry about the legal stuff. Don’t assume it will be OK because you’re friends, and you trust each other. I’ve seen things go wrong for those who don’t [create an agreement].” If one partner wants to leave, retire or sell his share of the company, what happens? Put it in writing from the start to avoid dealing with sticky issues.
Steven Grant and Richard Cook (both 36) have been best friends since they met at Canterbury Nursery School in Wakefield, Mass., when they were 3 years old. They both studied philosophy in college and their relationship included all kinds of talks, from philosophical to silly. One day, they were arguing over how far the average person would go for a $20 bill. Steve claimed that if he announced he put $20 somewhere, people would search for it. Rich was skeptical, so Steve put it to the test. He hid a $20 bill in a book in the local library, took a picture of it, and posted its location on Facebook. Within 90 minutes, a friend stopped by to see if it was for real. She found the $20, posted her own picture, and a new business idea was born.
Since Plenty of Twenties launched in September 2011, the site has gone viral and given more than $6,000 to perfect strangers by hiding $20 bills all over the country. Businesses take advantage of the hype by sponsoring the hidden $20s – and get an insanely low-cost marketing boost in return.
As far their lifelong friendship goes, “This has been a completely positive experience for me, with little or no negatives,” Grant says. “It hasn’t hurt our friendship. If anything, it’s strengthened it. We’re candid with each other in our friendship and with Plenty of Twenties.”
Of course there are always disagreements: “We disagree all the time! But we listen to each other, and we’re each willing to relent if we sense we’re wrong, or if the other person feels very strongly about a particular point. Trust and money are nonissues, we’re too good of friends,” Grant says.
Grant’s advice for other buddies starting a business together: “Be honest with each other to a fault. Be prepared to endure bad news, frustration, even failure. Don’t point fingers. Things may be great and promising now, but what about when the going gets tough?”
And don’t forget to have fun. Says Grant, “Make sure you always remain friends who run a business together, not business partners who also happen to be friends.”
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Microsoft gave a sneak peak atÂ Windows 8 – its upcoming next-generation operating system for desktop computers and tablets during its BUILD conference in Los Angeles yesterday.Â Windows 8 includes a number of features such as “Metro styleâ€ user interface inspired by Windows Phone 7, Internet Explorer 10 that will offer support for touch browsing, Xbox Live and lots more.
With Windows 8, Microsoft and its hardware partners hope to compete with hugely successful Apple’s iPad running iOS.
Windows 8 includes a number of new features such as:
Touch-First User Interface
- Metro style. Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style interface built for touch, which shows information important to you, embodies simplicity and gives you control. The Metro style UI is equally at home with a mouse and keyboard as well.
- Touch-first browsing, not just browsing on a touch device. Providing a fast and fluid touch-browsing experience, Internet Explorer 10 puts sites at the center on new Windows 8 devices.
More Ways to Engage With Powerful, Connected Apps
- Powered by apps. Metro style apps built for Windows 8 are the focal point of your experience, filling your entire screen so there are no distractions.
- Apps can work together. Apps communicate with each other in Windows 8. For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr or on your hard drive.
- Your experience syncs across your devices. Live roams all the content from the cloud services you use most â€” photos, email, calendar and contacts â€” keeping them up-to-date on your devices. With SkyDrive, you can access your files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere with any browser or with Metro style apps in Windows 8.
- The best of Windows 7, only better. Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, delivering improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability. Windows 8 reduces the memory footprint needed â€” even on the lowest-end hardware â€” leaving more room for your apps.
- Preserving power-user favorites and making them better. For those who push the limits of their PC, Windows 8 features an enhanced Task Manager and Windows Explorer and new, flexible options for multimonitor setups.
New Developer Opportunities
- Windows Store. The Windows Store will allow developers to sell their apps anywhere Windows is sold worldwide, whether theyâ€™re creating new games or familiar productivity tools.
- Build using more languages. Windows 8 lets you leverage your existing skills and code assets to create great experiences using the programming language you prefer.
- Rich hardware integration leads to richer experiences â€” particularly for games. DirectX 11 gaming power underlies Windows 8, allowing the easy creation of full-screen games with smooth, flicker-free action.
New Generation of Hardware
- One Windows â€” many shapes and sizes. Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors means Windows 8 works beautifully across a spectrum of devices, from 10-inch tablets and laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens.
- Always connected. With Windows 8, new ultrathin PCs and tablets turn on instantly, run all day on a single charge and stay connected to the Internet so your PC is ready when you are. Next-generation system on a chip (SoC) support will also enable greatly extended standby and low-power states.
- Tap the full power of your PC. Windows 8 runs on PCs and is compatible with the devices and programs you use today on Windows 7, without compromise, to deliver the performance you expect of a PC.
You can checkout the hands-on video by This is my Next to get a glimpse of Microsoft’s next generation operating system:
Microsoft hasn’t provided any details on when it will be released, but the developer preview of Windows 8 is already available for download and some reports it could be release in early fall next year. Microsoft gave away a free Samsung tablet loaded with Windows 8 to all those who attended the conference. Though it is still early days, the feedback has been generally positive.
Even though Microsoft and its hardware partners will be late to join the tablet wars, it’s great to see Microsoft coming out with what looks like a worthy competitor to Apple’s iOS for tablets.
Let us know what you think about Windows 8 in the comments section below.
biteSMS is one of the popular alternatives for Messages app as it includes number of features like smileys, Quick Reply, Quick Compose, scheduled SMS, delivery reports, signatures etc. that are not available in the native iOS app.
Users complained that their jailbroken iPhone would go into an infinite boot loop when they used the Quick Reply feature.
Folks at biteSMS have released a new version of biteSMS â€“ v5.5, which is now compatible with JailbreakMe 3.0.
BiteSMS 5.5 public release works with JailbreakMe 3.0
You can install biteSMS 5.5 from the Changes tab in Cydia.
Folks at biteSMS have also announced that they are working hard on iOS 5 compatibility, plus new look and iMessage support as well.
As always, let us know if biteSMS 5.5 has fixed the crashing issue in the comments section below.
Stipple, which thinks it’s a bit original in allowing people to tag images with Twitter names, has some new competition on the block. ThingLink which also lets you tag any image, is now launching Rich Media Tags, allowing anyone to interact with an image tag which might be embedded music, video, words, pictures and tags for people. Publishers simply connect their site, blog or Flickr account with the ThingLink platform and get an embeddable code to make all or individual images taggable.
These tags have now been created for Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Spotify, Vimeo, Wikipedia, SoundCloud and Twitter. The application is obvious: you can add promotional flyers to a branded product, or anything, thus enabling some kind of engagement of transaction to take place without someone needed to leave a page or site.
Ulla Engestrom, founder and CEO of ThingLink is of the opinion that Rich Media Tags increase the amount of time people spend interacting with an image, and thus on site and can lead to transactions. This makes sense. Canadian pop punk band, Simple Plan, is using it to reveal details of their new album via the album cover artwork for instance. And Berlin’s Morning Post used it to explain the Bin-Laden raid Situation Room in May.
It’s also being used by Savalanche, a Finnish social shopping startup to create ecommerce tags inside images. Last month ThingLink partnered with SoundCloud to add audio tags to images used by musicians on the site. ThingLink claims to be currently serving thirty million image views monthly.
Online ad spending keeps ramping up thanks to an upswing in display advertising. A new forecast from eMarketer puts online ad spending at $31.3 billion this year, up 20 percent. That is double the 10.5 percent growth rate it put out last December for 2011. The new forecast shows online ad spending reaching nearly $50 billion in 2015.
What is driving this growth is display advertising. Brand-friendly ad formats such as banner ads, sponsorships, and video ads are all growing even faster than search. This year, video ad spending is estimated to grow 52 percent, sponsorships are growing 26 percent, and banner ad dollars will increase an estimated 22 percent, while search will grow 20 percent. When you add it all together, eMarketer predicts that display ad spending will surpass search by 2015.
Here’s how that $31.3 billion is estimated to break down in 2011:
- Search: $14.4 billion
- Banner ads: $7.6 billion
- Classifieds: $3 billion
- Video ads: $2.2 billion
- Rich media: $1.7 billion
- Lead gen: $1.4 billion
- Sponsorships: $900 million
- Email: $160 million
The WWDC 2011 keynote has just wrapped up, and Steve Jobs and company have announced some very interesting features for the iOS family of devices, including improvements to browsing, rich reminders, and a slightly Android-esque Notification Center.
Apple has its own page with many of these features, but here are the big ones as we see them, and links to further coverage on the network.
Notification Center – iOS has always been deficient in the notifications department, something Android hit hard on from its first release. Apple has finally updated with a rich, powerful notifications screen that, like Android, you swipe down from the top of the screen. Paging Google Legal! The new notifications won’t pop up and interrupt you, either, but slide down from the top. SMS, Mail, and any app that’s qualified to alert you will show up here.
Improved lockscreen – the stark but iconic iOS lock screen has also received a major update. It now shows any missed notifications, and you can swipe directly to the related app without having to unlock first.
Newsstand – a unified sub-category in the app store where all subscription magazines are placed. Download any of them, and they’re placed in the newsstand app. Each subscription app will do background downloads and update the cover of the magazine to show the latest. (read more)
Safari update: Tabbed browsing, finally! Tabs are always visible and switch instantly. The new reading list functionality is interesting, as well:
Reader/Reading List – This is a desktop/mobile thing. In Desktop Safari, it’ll gather all the pages of a story and reformat to make it “pretty.” You can also add items to be read later to your “reading list,” which is like a tightly-integrated version of Instapaper. It’ll sync those items with all your iOS devices, and any computer with Safari on it.
Reminders – Lists of items, times, and locations that can be set to remind you or brought up at any time. You can associate contacts and such, very helpful, though if I’m not mistaken another thing Google has done pretty well for a while. Not to be hard on iOS or anything, but it’s a direct competition thing now, not a big jump over what’s out there.
Camera – The iOS native camera app has been improved with a great number of features. It’s “way faster” now, which is reassuring, and you can also now take pictures directly from the lock screen, whether there is a password or not. While this may lead to increased pranking, it’s excellent for snapshots and amateur journalism, where every second matters. There are UI enhancements within the app now; you can lock focus and exposure, pinch and zoom the live view, and enhance the photos with the iPhoto optimization techniques. A hard trigger (volume up elsewhere) rounds out the features. (read more)
Mail updates – Some small but meaningful tweaks to Mail. S/MIME and better secure enterprise support, for one thing, which should help with business uptake of iPads. Better UI gestures for navigating between messages and inbox. Rich text formatting, control over indentation, and better search indexing – all content is now searchable. You can now drag addresses around, which may or may not be useful.
Thumb keyboard – A new keyboard option, with the keys split and placed on either side of the screen for easy thumbing. Some people love this, some hate it, but it’s good to have it as an option. Windows 8 demonstrated this recently, though I seriously doubt this was a last-minute activation on Apple’s part; there are plenty of similar usability improvements.
“PC Free” – Apple is emphasizing the independence of the mobile and tablet platforms. They’ve been tied to a PC for the most part, but iOS 5 will enable better OTA updates and no device will require a Mac or PC to activate or set up. Updates have been shrunk to “delta” updates (i.e. just the difference between files and binaries, etc) so they’re quicker. New emphasis on on-device editing of content and things like contacts or calendar events.
Twitter better integrated – Simple, in-OS sign-in, then context-sensitive pop-up tweeting with attachments and location data. (read more)
Game Center update – After an update on the popularity of the platform (100,000 games, 50 million users), some new social features were announced: game and friend recommendations, achievement points, photo sharing, and (my favorite) turn-based gaming support built right into the OS. Hopefully this means games like Worms 2 will get play-by-mail and enhanced multiplayer options.
iMessages – an all-inclusive (text, photos, videos, meta-info like contacts) messaging platform by which any two iOS 5 users can chat and trade files securely, over WiFi or 3G. Advanced features like read receipts, live typing indicators, etc. Tight integration with notifications, and non-invasive pop-in of incoming messages. Multi-tasking friendly.
Wireless sync to iTunes – Does what it says on the tin.
AirPlay mirroring – Mirror your entire iPad 2 (not iPad, not enough processing power I assume) on your TV wirelessly. Assuming you have a new Apple TV with an A4 inside, that is. Great for “big” games, though lag could be an issue.
Improved multitouch multitasking – better gestures for getting around between apps, returning home, etc.
Improved iPad iPod – mostly glossed over, but the iPad’s music app should be better now.
There were also a number of small things: alternate routes in maps, new emoji, hourly updates to weather, etc. iCloud integration as well, though there’s still much to learn about how all that will work.
The developer seed is available now, and consumers will have it in the Fall. Consumers, that is, with any of the following devices: iPhone 3GS & 4, iPad 1 or 2, 3rd generation iPod touch.
Want to watch the whole keynote where these things were announced? Head on over to Apple.
The Internet Advertising Bureau released its numbers for 2010. Last year, online advertising in the U.S. grew 15 percent to $26 billion. Search still made up 46 percent of that total, followed by display ads at 38 percent.
But display advertising grew twice as fast as search (24 percent growth versus 12 percent). Search advertising in the U.S. totalled $12 billion, with display closing the gap at $9.9 billion.
Video advertising (which is counted as part of display) now makes up 5 percent of the total. It jumped 40 percent to $1.4 billion.
Here is the breakdown below
|Revenue (Ad Formats)|
|Classifieds and Directories||10%
|Lead Generation||6% (1,451)||5% (1,339)|
|1% (292)||1% (195)|
|Digital Video Commercials||4% (1,017)||5% (1,420)|
|Ad banners / display ads||22%
|Sponsorships||2% (383)||3% (718)|
|Rich media||7% (1,505)||6% (1,538)|