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Fred Wilson and Friends

Starting a company is hard, so you're going to need a lot of advice along the way.

There are many entrepreneurs, investors and bloggers who churn out business advice daily, but it's a pain figuring out which sites are worth reading.

We've compiled a list of our favorite sources of small business and tech news for entrepreneurs.

Running the gamut from hilarious, to informational, to controversial, to thought-provoking, these blogs are all must-reads for anyone who's running a business.

Quora

Blog: Quora

Blogger: Any entrepreneur you want to follow, from Fred Wilson to Marc Cuban

Why it's so great: Quora is a Q&A site where experts actually take the time to seriously answer your questions. You can follow topics like "startups" and "entrepreneurship" and people like Fred Wilson or Mark Zuckerberg.  Answers get voted up by by the community so that only the best ones shine. You can find answers to questions like "What is the best way to prepare yourself for entrepreneurship?" or "What are some tips on connecting with high-profile people that can help your startup?"

Sample: "What are some tips on connecting with high-profile people that can help your startup?"

Top answer by Robert Scoble:

I hang around high-profile people often. Here's some things that can help you connect:

  1. Listen. If they say your idea sucks, listen to the feedback, take notes, and ask for contact info. Then go fix the problems, or come up with another idea and demonstrate you listened.
  2. Get to the point. People like Ron Conway are busy. They are wildly rich, so the only thing that is limited in their life is time. You are taking away some of their most precious resource, so get to the freaking point. Don't try to chit chat or ask about their kids or make small talk. Go right for the big ask. They are used to it.

PandoDaily

Blog: PandoDaily

Blogger: Sarah Lacy

Why it's so great: Sarah Lacy and her band of bloggers at Pando are making an effort to become the "site of record for Silicon Valley." Much of the staff came from TechCrunch, so they're well sourced. Lacy conducts exclusive interviews with high profile people in tech and curates the top tech/entrepreneurship stories from other startups in the site's right rail.

Sample: AngelList has Transformed Seed Investing -- Are Recruiters and Job Boards Next?

Last week Naval Ravikant went to an industry dinner. He asked a friend in the venture business how things were going. The friend slumped over in his chair, shrugged sadly and said, “The business is becoming commoditized.”

It’s an extreme interpretation, and not everyone shares it. Times have never been better for a handful of firms who are rolling in the returns, raising as much from LPs as they want and still doing business the way they always have.

But matters have also never been more polarized for the VC-haves and have-nots, and this sad-sack VC has a few people to blame. Chief among them is his friend Ravikant, whose site AngelList has dragged the stealthy, back-room world of venture capital kicking and screaming into the light — something many industry watchers never thought could be done.

And now, AngelList is doing the same thing it did to VCs to recruiters.

LinkedIn Today

Blog: LinkedIn Today

Blogger: LinkedIn curates articles based on your professional profile and your social connections.

Why it's so great: LinkedIn Today curates articles that are fitting for your industry and that people in that industry are sharing. As such, it's a good source of entrepreneurship and business news all in one place.

Sample: Articles on LinkedIn Today:

Hiring Your First Set Of Employees - Greylock Capital

Facebook Testing a New 'Want' Button - Inside Facebook

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Enter Winamp, the skin-able, customizable MP3 player that "really whips the llama's ass." In the late 1990s, every music geek had a copy; llama-whipping had gone global, and the big-money acquisition offers quickly followed. AOL famously acquired the company in June 1999 for $80-$100 million—and Winamp almost immediately lost its innovative edge.

“There's no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition,” Rob Lord, the first general manager of Winamp, and its first-ever hire, told Ars.

The problems began early, since Nullsoft wasn't interested in being a traditional corporate unit. For instance, in 2000, just a year after the acquisition, Frankel released (and open sourced) Gnutella, a new “headless” peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that understandably steamed the bigwigs at AOL corporate headquarters in Dulles, Virginia.

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AT&T's Toggle lets users switch between the work and personal parts of their smartphones.

AT&T

AT&T says it has the answer for corporations that want to let employees access work applications from personal phones without becoming a security threat. A new virtualization-style technology that works on both Android and iPhones creates a work container that is isolated from an employee's personal applications and data, letting IT shops manage just the portion of the phone related to work.

This isn't a new idea. ARM is talking about adding virtualization into the smartphone chip layer. VMware has been promising to virtualize smartphones for some time. What is notable about AT&T's technology is its flexibility. VMware's technology hasn't hit end users yet, largely because it must be pre-installed by phone manufacturers, limiting it to carriers and device makers that want to install it on their hardware.

AT&T's "Toggle" technology, meanwhile, works with any Android device from versions 2.2 to 3.x, as well as iPhones, and can be installed after a user buys it. Moreover, the technology is somewhat separate from AT&T's cellular division and can be used with any carrier.

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"So forward now, with spirit and ideals" reads a line in a poem by Hristo Botev, a Bulgarian poet and national hero. Nestled on the Black Sea between Greece and Romania, Bulgaria is a predominantly Christian country independent of the Soviet Union since the fall of the Iron Curtain over 20 years ago. Despite joining the European Union in 2007, the eastern Balkan nation suffers the same economic problems found elsewhere since the global downturn in 2008. Further complicating the country's economic outlook is endemic corruption and organized crime, which has led the EU to exclude Bulgaria from the Schengen passport-free zone. But the 'spirit and ideals' are still alive in these images from the past several months of Bulgaria, a country of over seven million, as it moves forward. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)
A worshipper lights a candle as she attends Sunday Mass led by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim in Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia on April 29, 2012. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

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palm reading

The editors over at Edge.org asked some of the most influential thinkers in the world — including neuroscientists, physicists and mathematicians — what they believe are the most important scientific concepts of the modern era.

The result is "This Will make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts To Improve Your Thinking," a compilation of nearly 200 essays exploring concepts such as the "shifting baseline syndrome" and a scientific view of "randomness."

We've highlighted 39 of the concepts here, crediting the author whose essay highlights the theory.

Cognitive humility

Decades of cognitive research shows that "our minds are finite and far from noble. Knowing their limits can help us become better reasoners. ... Perhaps the most dire consequence is that human beings tend to be better at remembering evidence consistent with their beliefs." 

Gary Marcus, director, New York University, Center for Child Language. Author, Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

Cognitive load

Our brains can only hold so much information at once. When there's too much "information overload," we tend to get distracted easily and not retain what we're learning.

"Working memory is what brain scientists call the short-term store of information where we hold the contents of our consciousness at any given moment — all the impressions and thoughts that flow into our mind as we go through the day."

Nicholas Carr, author, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains, from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking.

Constraint satisfaction

When presented with too many choices — no matter how beautiful or beneficial — it can be overwhelming, and we are paralyzed by indecision.

That's why having constraints, or any sort of limits, is beneficial and leads to solutions. 

In fact, "much creativity emerges from constraint satisfaction. ... Einstein had one of his major breakthroughs when he realized that time need not pass at a constant rate."

Stephen M. Kosslyn, director, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University,
from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Update Required

To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.

It’s finally here, a music player from us that you can listen to on your mobile device.

The design has been updated as well with a larger play button, larger font, and links to iTunes & Amazon if available.

**Try it out and give us some feedback.

Special thanks to Karl Peterson for making this happen.

Update: You might need to have the latest Java update installed. Also you may need to clear your browser cache after the update.

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For well over a hundred years, people have hopped on bicycles for transportation, recreation, competition, and more. In many parts of the world, spinning pedals moves goods and generates electricity. While usually attached to two wheels, pedal power takes many forms, adapting to a wide range of needs. Globally, over 100 million bicycles are produced every year - over 60% of them in China - easily doubling world production of automobiles. Efficient, clean, and cheap, pedal power in all its forms can solve modern problems with basic technology, and offers a health benefit to those cranking away. And it's hard to beat the simple joy of riding a bike. Gathered here are images of people around the world as we pedal for a reason, or just because. -- Lane Turner (49 photos total)
A boy rides his bicycle near rice fields in Bago, Myanmar on February 20, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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darren dodge

Meet Darren Dodge, founder of About Last Night.

He and his brother Derek Dodge, both sons of tech legend Don Dodge, have built an app that's designed to be the "operating system of your night life."

It's an application designed to help you share your night life experiences and figure out what you're doing tonight.

In short, it's a young person's best friend. You can post photos and connect to others that are already looking for things to do in the evening, and figure out the most fun thing to do at the time.

We caught up with founder Darren Dodge to find out just what he's creating. Here's what we found out:

  • The founding team are sons of Don Dodge, but don't let that fool you. Derek is a proficient coder and Darren has a lot of experience doing marketing, after working with Ashton Kutcher.
  • This isn't the only company the Dodge boys are working on. About Last Night came up as an off-shoot of the Dodges' existing company.
  • About Last Night is based in Boston, and it's quite a different pace from San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerberg said himself that he would keep Facebook in Boston if he had a second chance, Darren Dodge said.

Here's a lightly-edited transcript of the interview:

about last nightBUSINESS INSIDER: What is About Last Night and what do you guys do?

Darren Dodge: About Last Night is your social network for your night life. We allow you to share your nightlife experiences. We allow you to share your nightlife experiences, vote up experiences, follow your friends, follow celebrities. You can see what other people are doing with their night last night but also what they might be doing tonight. Very quickly you can get the relevant information from your friends, but also suggestions of where you want to go tonight and where the good bars are.

BI: Where did you guys get the idea?

DD: It was actually born out of another company we had that's still in stealth mode. It just didn't quite fit in with that company so we decided to shoot it out on its own. But we realized people are already in the rhythm of checking in on Foursquare and other apps, so we decided, why not do something that's completely centered around nightlife. That's really teh good information for people my age. We wanted to share that stuff.

BI: You guys are based in Boston, right? How does that feel compared to starting a company in San Francisco?

DD: Yes, that's right. I love Boston. I'm born and raised there, the tech scene is thriving and there are great startups. You have the best colleges in the world, some of the smartest people int he world. The venture capitalists in Boston, if you tell them you're from Boston and you want to stay in Boston, they'll immediately do what they can for you. Mark Zuckerberg said it himself, if he could go back in time and had the ability to keep his company in Boston, he would have.

It's definitely a unified startup scene. In Boston, we try to build the strongest business we can.

darren dodge pullquoteBI: What's your background?

DD: My Brother comes from a much more technical background, he worked with IT and did coding pretty much his entire life. I'm a more artistic background. I graduated Friday and on Monday I was interning with Ashton Kutcher. I was interning with him for about four months, after that I went to the largest local news studio in Los Angeles. After that I went to Funny or Die... after that I went to tech with Jason Calacanis. I've had a whirlwind tour, but growing up with the family I did, the Dodge family, tech and business has always been drilled into me from day one. I have a long-term 21-year bachelor in business.

BI: Where did the inspiration for the design come from?

DD: We took a look at a bunch of different things that had small features that were working. We wanted to build an app using smartphones the way they were meant ot use. No drop-down menus, just swiping. We wanted to see scroll down feeds, menu feeds, we think that's really the way the touchscreen was meant to be used. 

BI: What kind of challenges do you face now?

DD: Right now we're just acquiring users, taking to big brands. We want to go into the local night spots and help them out as well. The Android version is coming next in two to three months, and from there we're talking to club promoters. We're just trying to go nationwide and worldwide. We are completely centered around nightlife, so we believe this is the best place we can share what you were doing last night or what you're doing tonight. We're the operating system for your nightlife.

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