“Launch Your Startup With Microloans”
This is some very sound advice that not everyone knows about. Most people think a bank is the first place to go for financing for any and all things, and that is simply not the best way. Microlenders are considerably more lenient on their approval and payback policies than banks, especially in this economic crisis. Microlenders are often nonprofits who get a large portion of money from philanthropists and the government. One day, I would like to start up my own business, and this is probably the very first place I will go for financing, assuming I am not independently wealthy by then.
“IMAX, the Box-Office Supercharger”
Although IMAX as a sustainable business model is still yet to be totally proven, there is definitely promise in the concept. I think IMAX is doing the right thing right now, just putting the biggest box office hits on IMAX. The company would go into the hole very quickly if it tried to put the majority of movies in IMAX format. What I think would be an interesting idea, at least on paper, would be to have partnerships with theme parks to have IMAX theaters in them and have tickets to whatever the newest movie is part of admission or as a heavily discounted add-on. Obviously, I have not done the math to see if that is actually a sound idea or not, but I think it is something worth considering.
“U.S. Jewelry Business Under a Microscope”
To be quite blunt, any business that refuses to embrace the Internet these days is doomed to fail. That does not mean that jewelry stores need to flock to Twitter and start Tweeting about their merchandise. What that does mean is that the old days of strict brick and mortar selling are over, and owners need to use the Internet in a way that can meaningfully capture the new market. Like the article said, older customers may still have strong preferences to just going to the jewelry store in the mall or shopping center and shopping around, but younger, more tech savvy customers already know exactly what they want. Jewelers will have to understand that overhead needs to go down quite a lot, and their businesses will have to be creative. If one person’s jewelry store looks very similar another one a few hundred feet away, at least one, if not both, of those stores will fail.
“Jobs report: A gain in November but 85,000 lost in December”
First, I guess we are going to pretend this little thing called “the holiday season” never happened? But even if we ignore such a blatant oversight, it is undeniable that the huge stimulus package has done little to help the average American. That money needs to go into the hands of the privately owned businesses, especially small business. Large corporations will likely create layoffs as a first line of defense if (or when) things go sour again, while small businesses will try to retain their employees, because they are often needed to keep the businesses from totally collapsing.
“Venezuela devalues currency for the 1st time since ’05”
This is a strange concept to me. I had never heard of a country having done a “two-tiered” exchange rate until just now, but Venezuela has apparently done it before, as well as Jordan. I do not know if other countries do this or not. It seems like a tricky little concept that can help a peripheral nation get back on its feet if foreign trade is unfavorable, but it does not sound like a sustainable long-term policy. It sounds like a policy that could easily annoy other nations, and make them not want to do business with said country. Then again, since this is so bizarre to me, there may be intricacies of this that may make this a better option that I just do not understand.
“Review: Google Wave An Experimental Ride”
I dislike Google Wave, and I am not sorry. I have tried it, and it appears to be what happens when developers go too far with consolidating technologies. Then again, it may be that the concept is not bad, but simply the interface is. I had trouble figuring out who could read my conversations, who could see me online, and many other things I took for granted in the various separate technologies I had used in the past, such as instant messengers, message boards, email, and so forth. I prefer these things to be separate, to be honest. I understand what is going on when I am using one of these functions, while everything becomes confusing when they are all mashed together. Then again, the idea may be sound, and the problem is just that the preview release interface is horrible (which I can say was very true for the Google Chrome beta, too). Perhaps things will be a lot more user-friendly when it comes out of preview.
“Study: Batteries — and EVs — Won’t Get Cheaper Anytime Soon”
One thing the article didn’t mention, and only one commenter indirectly alluded to, was the fact that cars sometimes still burn petroleum, even if they do not do it with an engine inside the vehicle. Many power plants still use fossil fuels, including petroleum, to create electricity. So, even if the car does not burn fossil fuels in the engine, something is probably getting burned somewhere to create the energy. I would be more sold on electric cars if we created more power from nuclear, solar, and hydroelectric sources. Until then, electric cars are just another marketing scheme.