CAN-SPAM Act Basics

"The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.

The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. A 'transactional or relationship message' - email that facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship - may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, is authorized to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act. CAN-SPAM also gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) the authority to enforce its criminal sanctions. Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators, as well."

Read more in this CAN-SPAM Act summary from the FTC.


Planning a Startup M&A Exit Strategy

"There are lots of things that a company can do over its life that will make a successful M&A exit easier to achieve. With careful planning and an attention to detail, start-ups can avoid at lot of the pitfalls that usually come back to haunt them only when they are on the cusp of closing what they thought would be a relatively painless deal."

Read this post from Burnham's Beat for a list of ten commandments for startups planning or considering an merger or acquisition as an exit strategy. See also this post from Software Only that comments on and amplifies Burnham's list.

Rolling Stones Rock PNC Park

Mick Jagger at PNC Park
Originally uploaded by TigerTigerTiger.
On a starry night, with the sparkling Pittsburgh skyline as backdrop, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones rocked PNC Park last night. I know, it’s only rock n’ roll, but I liked it.

Many in the throng paid top dollar for their tickets, but for the adventurous, plenty of good seats were available from scalpers and concert goers with extra ducats. I bought a floor ticket for half price and spent the night near the catwalk linking the main stage in center field and the auxiliary stage near home plate, front and center, maybe thirty rows back.

From my vantage point, I could feel the heat of the show, both figuratively and literally. Flames shot out of the floor on the opening “Start Me Up” and more burst from the top of the 80-foot stainless steel main stage at the beginning of "Sympathy for the Devil.” Brief bursts of blast furnace heat punctuated other sensory treats.

Cool visuals included a spacey video introduction, giant over inflated flower-power lips, fireworks, a multi-level stage with ramps that stretched from foul line to foul line, flanked by four story towers that resembled curvy silver parking garage ramps.

The super-sized video screen featured multiple camera shots showing the performers from all angles. Many scenes were in sepia or black and white, giving the impression simultaneously of the old and the new. The Stones rocked, in the now, on stage, up front, yet, with a little imagination, there they were, also, performing in black and white on the big screen on the Ed Sullivan show.

"It's good to see you. It's good to be back. It's good to be anywhere," joked guitarist Keith Richards, cigarette in hand. I agree, it is good to be anywhere, but last night it was especially good to be in PNC Park.

Enjoying classic cuts like, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction" and "Get Off My Cloud" and “Paint it Black” and “Honky Tonk Woman” and "Sympathy for the Devil" and "It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)" and "Jumpin Jack Flash."

And joining the crowd raucously singing along with, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

I sure got what I needed.


100 Tips to Improve Your Business

This excellent and comprehensive list of tips from Entrepreneur.com serves as a checklist with explanation for achieving your business (and life) goals. For example, consider the following excerpts:

"96. Revisiting Your Goals
The value of a goal lies in the way it provides you with a relatively steady, unwinking light toward which to steer in the fog of everyday business life. But that doesn't mean a goal should be as immovable as a lighthouse. You should periodically take a fresh look at your goals to see if they need to be changed or, perhaps, dumped. Changes in your personal situation, such as a desire to spend more time with your family, may cause some goals to become irrelevant to your true desires. Of course, the best reason to scrap a goal is because it's been accomplished....

97. Loosen Up!
If setting and achieving your goals isn't fun, then why bother?... And if you fail? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and create a new goal...

99. Creating Targets Worth Reaching
When looking at new goals, make sure they have the following qualities:

Specificity. You stand a better chance of achieving a goal if it's specific. "Raising capital" isn't a specific goal; "raising $10,000 by July 1" is.

Optimism. Goals should be positive and uplifting...

Realism....Begin with small steps, such as increasing your monthly income by 25 percent. Once your first goal is met, you can reach for larger ones.

Thinking short- and long-term. Short-term goals are attainable in a period of weeks to a year. Long-term goals can be achieved five, 10 or even 20 years from now; they should be substantially greater than short-term goals but should still be realistic..."


57 Varieties of Optical Illusions

This site is just too cool for words, although words explanatory words abound along with 57 interactive optical illusions.


The Art of the Elevator Pitch

"Your first and most important objective as an entrepreneur is to learn how to make a powerful and captivating first impression. This requires honing a business idea into a clear pitch that can be given in 30 seconds or less, which is not easy. In that brief amount of time, you need to communicate the value you bring to the table including: who you are, how your technology or business idea will solve a given problem, the market potential and your business idea will solve a given problem, the market potential and your plan to make it all happen. Whew!"

Check out this article from Techcomm Journal for a few points to consider when developing and delivering your pitch.

Theater to be Auctioned on October 15

Originally uploaded by TigerTigerTiger.

Originally uploaded by TigerTigerTiger.
Historic Uptown Theatre in downtown Washington, Pennsylvania is scheduled for auction on October 15, 2005 at 10 a.m. at the premises.

The recently-renovated theater can hold up to 500, has a stage, dance floor, and new sound and lighting systems. To be sold as an operating business with all amenities included. Pennsylvania liquor license to be auctioned separately.

The history and specifications of the theater are available here. Current bookings and other information can be found here.

The listing is featured at this auctionzip site. Further details and brochure are available from the auctioneer, Steve Yilit Jr. at 724-229-4548.

Please note that the theater is owned by a firm client and I have a small ownership interest in it.


Small Business Articles from American Express

The American Express Small Business Site contains a useful and comprehensive collection of articles on starting and operating a small business, including:

- Day to Day Management
- Doing Business Online
- Financial Management
- Finding Money
- Hiring and Managing Staff
- Law and Insurance
- Marketing and Sales
- Starting a Business
- Tax Center
- Cash Flow Center
- Export/Import Center


Tutorial for Inventors on How To Write A Marketing Plan

"Even if you are not able to market your own invention, writing a marketing plan will help you to sell or license your invention to manufacturers, retailers, and other interested parties. You will be able to intelligently discuss the market for your invention with potential buyers.

This tutorial on how to write a marketing plan [from About.com] will provide you with the following marketing know-how:

Understand The Purpose Of A Marketing Plan
Identify strategies for conducting market research
Identify advantages of market research
Understand What The Marketing Plan Contains
Target market
Marketing budget
Pricing strategy
Promotional strategy

Advantages of developing a marketing plan
Disadvantages of developing a marketing plan

Prepare A Marketing Plan Outline

Develop An Effective Marketing Strategy
Advertising strategy
Promotional strategy"

Top Ten Reasons Businesses Fail

From this post from The Entrepreneurial Mind reporting on the perspective given to business failure by a bankruptcy attorney, comes this top ten list:

"10. Over-expansion. The need to get there first or to demonstrate revenue growth to anxious investors leads businesses to grow too fast.
9. Poor Capital Structure. Companies take on too much debt....Enough said!
8. Failure to Control the Controllable Costs. Businesses spend down the initial cash before it is flowing in at a positive rate.
7. Failure to Prepare for Volatility of Uncontrollable Costs. For example, energy, materials, labor, or insurance.
6. Add New Products or Divisions that Drag Down the Profitable Ones
5. Poor Internal Controls and Execution -- customer service, accounting controls, theft, fraud
4. Poorly Designed Business Model
3. Reliance on Critical Financing that Dries Up
2. Failure to Adapt to a Changing Market

Management in Complete Denial......

When to Conduct an IP Audit

Reprinting this I/P Updates post:

"Todd Mayover at the IP Counsel Blog writes that 'In general, it is wise to conduct an IP audit at least once a year and sometimes more frequently depending on the size of the organization and the amount of intellectual property assets involved. Besides a regularly scheduled IP audit, there are significant events that may also trigger the need for an IP audit,' including

New Intellectual Property Management
Transfer or Assignment of Interest in Intellectual Property
Licensing Program
Significant Change in Law, and
Financial Transactions Involving Intellectual Property"


Why Religion Matters in a World Seduced by Secularism, Science and Greed

The SF Gate recently interviewed Huston Smith, one of the world's leading religion scholars, who has made a career of studying and celebrating other people's faiths.

At the article notes, "His book 'The World Religions,' first published in 1958 under the title 'The Religions of Man,' guides readers on a spiritual odyssey through Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Judaism and other traditions. It's has been translated into 12 languages and remains a must-read for anyone studying religions around the globe.

Smith gained national prominence in 1997 after being featured on Bill Moyers' five-part PBS special 'The Wisdom of Faith With Huston Smith.' He returns to his religious roots as a lifelong Methodist with the publication of his latest work, 'The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition.' The book presents the basic beliefs and essential teachings of Christianity while making a passionate argument for why religious belief matters in today's world, a world that he believes has been seduced by secularism, science and greed.

Read the informative and thought-provoking interview here.

Software Startup Advice from MIT Professor

"If you are starting out in the software business, Michael Cusumano has some advice for you: think hard about whether to specialize in products or services, and take a serious look at trends in the industry. For the past 20 years, Cusumano has been consulting with and researching some of the top high technology companies worldwide.

He has seen software companies enter the market with a “killer application,” make some good profits, only to find their product “commoditized.” In one case he describes, the price of a software license fell from $1.5 million in 2000 to $250k today. And, he cautions, 'in bad economic times, product sales can fall off a cliff.' So what works? 'The only guaranteed revenues for software companies may be services and maintenance revenues,' Cusumano says. In fact, his research shows one company after another (PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, for instance) transitioning from products to services in order to survive.

Cusumano has graphed so many of these corporate “criss crosses” that he considers them “life-cycle models.” Only one company, he says, has managed to stay exclusively true to product sales: Microsoft.

To succeed, 'most software products companies become services or hybrid companies…where you’ve got the basic product and build some custom features or a special interface, so the solution you’re selling becomes much stickier.'”

Watch Professor Cusamano of the MIT Sloan School of Management deliver a lecture in which he elaborates on the foregoing.


How to Tie a Tie

Regarding the reported trend toward the demise of casual days and casual office attire:

"I would like to welcome you to my webpage on how to tie a tie!

You know, I created this site for people just like you:

-the working professional who switched jobs recently and needs to wear a tie now but doesn't know how to tie it,
-the college graduate figuring how to tie a tie before that first job interview,
-the high school senior needing immediate advice on tying ties before leaving for the prom,
-and, basically, anyone else who's interested in learning how to tie a tie simply for the fun of it. Yes, for the fun of it!"

Open Source Legal Issues Checklist

This checklist [from PLI] provides an overview of procedures and issues that in-house counsel might want to consider with respect to use of open source code. The list serves as well as general summary of the legal issues faced by any enterprise regarding the use of open source software, either internally or as part of a commercial product. The list is not meant to be exhaustive and, in the event your company is considering use of open source code, independent consultation with counsel, particularly those who are specialists in this area, is highly recommended.


Sample Term Sheet for Series A Round Financing

"This sample Term Sheet for Series A Round Financing from Inc.com, for a fictitious corporation, details the major points of a hypothetical investment deal for a first-round 'Series A Convertible Preferred Stock' financing by a venture capital investment firm. The term sheet should be used as a reference and example only. Each page outlines principal points that may arise when negotiating with investors, but the document does not constitute the only possible arrangement between entrepreneurs and investors."

Intellectual Property Information Center

This website from the Law Office of Jerry R. Potts is intended to be a single source intellectual property information center for businesses, individuals, lawyers, and students on patents, trademarks and copyrights. Information is available regarding intellectual property laws around the world. The site also provides access to various government sponsored intellectual property offices in order to allow users to acquire forms, filing fee schedules,and application and registration information.

Template Gallery from SCORE.org

The Service Corp of Retired Executives provides this Template Gallery of the following templates for startups and entepreneurial enterprises:

A Business Plan for a Start-up Business
A Business Plan for an Established Business
Bank Loan Request for Small Business
Break-Even Analysis
Competitive Analysis
Financial History & Ratios
Loan Amortization Schedule
Nondisclosure Agreement
Opening Day Balance Sheet
Personal Financial Statement
Projected Balance Sheet
Start-up Expenses
4-Year Profit Projection
12-Month Cash Flow Statement
12-Month Profit and Loss Projection
12-Month Sales Forecast

Smarter To-Do Lists

The first of this two-part article from 43 Folders explains how to improve the quality of your to-do list, covering the basics and whys, the concept of the “next action,” and the importance of physicality. The series continues by stressing that "to have any use beyond a handy brain dump, your to-do list has to stay current and reflect your realistic commitments in the world. Otherwise you’re studying documentation for a product that may not exist any more."


LawForKids.org - New York

For you New Yorkers with kids:

"Welcome to LawForKids New York!. This web site is for kids in New York State who are interested in the law and how it affects them. It is an interactive site in that you can submit questions you have about the law and real attorneys will answer them in our 'Speak Up' section. You can even get help with your homework by visiting our 'Links' page and our 'Laws' page. If you like what you see, you can tell us by going to the 'comments' section you will see on most pages. Take a few minutes and browse our new site and tell us what you think. If you have suggestions for making the site better, we are ready to listen. If you really like what you see, tell your friends."

Questions to Answer Before Starting a Business

"1. How will the business affect your family?...
2. How will you support your family while building up your business?...
3. How well do you get along with different personalities?...
4. How good are you at making decisions?...
5. Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business?...
6. How well do you plan and organize?...
7. Do you have the drive to maintain your motivation?...
8. Do you have the discipline to do what has to be done?..."

Read more in this National Business Association article.


Choosing an Open Source License

"Choosing a license is a complex decision because of all the different issues you need to consider. Licenses can address both the rights and responsibilities of the original owner of source code, as well as those of contributing developers. Issues such as intellectual property rights, copyrights, allowances for creating derivative works, and internal use and redistribution requirements can be covered under the license, in addition to standard warranty, liability, and termination legalese. As an original owner of the source, it is helpful to have a clear idea of your own business model and long-term goals for your project, and understand the benefits and drawbacks of these licenses before you make your final decision. While the license is only part of a total product's equation, you'll need to understand how it fits into your strategy. If you are at all unsure of your choices and their implications, you should consult your lawyer. "

Read more, including a summary of available licences and useful background information in this article from java.net.

Hurricane Katrina Employer FAQs

Included in this two-part article from Fisher & Phillips LLP from Mondaq (free registration required) are FAQs and answers addressing a range of employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina such as:

Military Leave And Emergency Workers
Family And Medical Leave
Unemployment Compensation
Employee Benefits
National Labor Relations Act
Workers' Compensation

Found via this post from Robert Ambrogi's LawSites.


Company Valuation Model for Determining VC Ownership Percentage

This valuation model explains a simple way to value a start-up company when working with investors. It is provided courtesy of Joe Ollivier of First Capital Advisors, L.C., a private investment and hard money lending firm based in Provo, Utah.

Tech Licensing Ins and Outs: Exclusivity

"Licensing in, is when you, the licensee acquire certain rights from the licensor. And there is licensing out, when you, the licensor, grant certain rights to one or more parties in your intellectual property, technology, product or service.

Here are ways to delimit exclusivity that may be helpful.

product and version...

Read more in this post from The Digitalyst.

Dennis Thatcher Leaves Me Big Bucks

I received an email yesterday notifying me that I had been named a beneficiary under the will of Sir Dennis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher. Apparently, this an an exotic variation on the spam scam theme. I suppose I should stop spending the money in my mind.

As noted in this article from the Inquirer:

"The spam purports to come from a Catholic church in Wimborne, Dorset, London - yes, really - and if you've been unlucky enough to receive the spam, you might be surprised to find you're a beneficiary to his will. As no doubt will Margaret 'The Iron Lady' Thatcher."


Information Security Policies and Programs Essentials

"There are four risks that every organization must manage around information use, and the most effective organizations manage all of these risks in a holistic manner. These risks are:

1. Legal Compliance...
2. Reputation...
3. Investment...
4. Reticence...

Balancing these four risks requires tradeoffs to be made...

Both risk management and good corporate citizenship require that organizations develop policies for the appropriate collection and use of personalinformation. Depending on the organization’s business, these polices may include such things as maintaining opt out lists for direct marketing, developing appropriate security for customer financial or medical records, executing proper contracts to authorize international data flows, or publishing an online privacy notice if data is collected over the Internet. Corporate privacy leaders must assist their organizations in thinking about privacy policy development in a formal, objective way, meeting policy
goals as well as preserving business flexibility. Privacy executives must also understand and anticipate future changes both in the regulatory environment and in their companies’ business needs. To achieve these objectives, companies should consider four distinct tasks.

Phase 1. Discover...
Phase 2. Build...
Phase 3. Communicate...
Phase 4. Evolve.."

Read more in this excellent and comprehensive article by Margaret P. Eisenhauer of Hunton & Williams LLP.

Notetaking Systems

For those of you attempting to blog from a convention or seminar, check out this post from CalPoly that explains five different note taking methods, namely:

The Cornell Method - notes on the right, cues on the left side of the page;
The Outline Method - just like it sounds;
The Mapping Method - sort of a graphical outline;
The Charting Method - columns and rows;
The Sentence Method - selective stenography with words.

The New Tech Entrepreneur

"If you examine the DNA of the New Entrepreneur, you will see many traits that characterize the earlier versions: the desire to do something different, the boldness to follow a different path, and the persistence to follow through in spite of extraordinary obstacles. And you will also see some new traits: The New Entrepreneurs are more battle scarred, less innocent, more realistic, less delusional, more bootstrap-oriented, less dependent on traditional venture capital, more operational, and less IPO-focused. They are less naive and have more business discipline and savvy. This business savvy comes not from getting an M.B.A., but rather from living through the last 10 years and trying to launch new businesses during the dramatic rollercoaster we experienced. The entrepreneurs we see today are, frankly, more capable than they were in the 80s and 90s-and they have to be..."

Read more in this article by Bill Reichert.

Intro to Project Management

"One of the greatest benefits of projects in an organisational context is their ability and effectiveness in the achievement of goals. The success or failure of projects is largely related to the way that managers develop tactics or plans for the projects and how these plans can be effectively monitored and controlled through the various stages of the project lifecycle. It is a basic premise that the successful implementation of a project requires the development of a set of action plans together with subsequent tactics by the project manager.

The planning stage of the project will define issues such as the project goal, targets and other milestones, as well as the establishment of a relationship with the clients or stakeholders of the project. The tactical aspects of the projects will include activities such as verifying the projects technical abilities, resources needed such as personnel and equipment and putting systems in place for the monitoring and control of the project. Although these planning and tactical activities are carried out through the duration of the project careful attention should also be given to the human issues and its influence on the project. "

Read more in this article by Ben Botes.


Setting Up a Home Office

"There are lots of reasons for today's boom in people working from home. Telecommunications and computer technology are cheap and user-friendly enough to make off-site workers productive. Workers want to spend more time with their families (and favorite soap operas) and away from office politics, corporate cubicles, and rush hour traffic.

And if that doesn't convince you to create your own home office, perhaps the following articles and resources [from Inc.com] will..."

For more on this topic, see this article from CNET.com found via this Home Office Lawyer post.

Identifying and Coping with Stress

'We all have a different idea of what stress means for us and what causes it - but most of us associate it with unpleasant feelings caused by excessive pressures or demands that can't easily be met...

But there's plenty that you can do to bring work-related stress down to manageable levels, although you may need help and support to put changes into place...

It can help to divide managing your stress into three key areas:

Change your thinking
Change your behaviour
Change your lifestyle..."

Read more in these articles from BBC-Health-Healthy Living:

Coping with stress
Recognising stress

Draper Fisher Jurvetsen Investment Criteria

"So what does DFJ [Draper Fisher Jurvetsen] look for in investment ideas?...

*Founders with passion, energy. Almost heroic but certainly leaders that are capable of accomplishing great things through others.
*Companies that are early and different.
*Business ideas or concepts that are unique...
*Unlimited upside - easy to say, difficult to grasp and even more difficult to predict.
*Ideas or concepts that will change the world - Google, Hotmail, etc.
*Industries that are in transition or where large, lazy bureaucratic incumbents dominate.
*Technology - as tech is one of the few operational elements of business that can propel a firm's growth exponentially."

Read more in this Drakeview post:

Blog Anniversary Releases

In celebration of this blog's anniversary, I have been posting collections of my posts on various topics for your use and enjoyment. I have also added a section on the sidebar for easy access to the categorized posts.

Today's releases focus on law and legal issues:

Business Legal and Tax Issues

Intellectual Property

Patents, Inventors and Inventions

Copyrights and Copyrighting

Names, Naming and Trademarks

Trade Secret Protection

With today's releases the lineup looks like this:

Business Legal and Tax Issues
Working with Lawyers and Lawyering

Technology Startups
Internet and eCommerce
Software Development and Licensing
Open Source Software
Inventors and Inventions
University Technology Transfer
Technology Trends
Privacy and Information Security

So, You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship Fundamentals
Entrepreneurship Tips, Tricks and Traps
Business Research, Analysis and Planning
Business Plans
Pitching to Investors
Venture Capital Finance
Securities and Private Offerings
Directors and Advisory Boards

Operating a Small Business
Management, Organizations and Productivity
Leadership, Innovation and Creativity
Corporate Governance, SOX and Compliance
Employers, Employees and Benefits
Family Business
Franchises and Franchising

Intellectual Property
Patents, Inventors and Inventions
Copyrights and Copyrighting
Names, Naming and Trademarks
Trade Secret Protection


Neighbor Flying Supplies to Hurricane Victims

My neighbor, Ted Ruscitti, is one of those people who, inspired by scenes of devastation, decided to actually do something about it. Here is a story about him, his cohorts and others unselfishly giving of themselves to help those in need:

"From the air, Gulfport, Miss., resembled a battleground: splintered buildings, uprooted trees, overturned automobiles, and debris piled five and six feet high along roadways heaved heavenward by hurricane-driven waters.

Drs. James Hennessey of Sewickley [Pennsylvania] and Thomas Doyle of Edgeworth could observe it all Monday from the windows of the airplane carrying them into the heart of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

"We didn't know where we were going," said Hennessey, a pediatrician... "I didn't know where I would be sleeping. It was just widespread destruction."

What they found, however, was a well-oiled disaster-relief effort headed by the Southern Baptist Conference, an agency practiced in delivering aid to hurricane victims. The organization was on the ground and running days before government agencies arrived, bringing succor to the needy in rural neighborhoods that bureaucracy had bypassed for larger numbers in New Orleans.

Hennessey and Doyle, an emergency department physician..., returned home late Wednesday. In separate telephone interviews Thursday, they offered a glimpse of what is happening in Biloxi and Pascagoula, Miss.

Both were recruited on Sunday by Ted Ruscitti, a Sewickley resident and private pilot, motivated by televised scenes of destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Ruscitti had contacted aid groups on the ground. He knew what was needed and had a plan.

Both doctors knew Ruscitti. Hennessey said he learned of the relief effort in church when the pastor of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Sewickley, which Ruscitti also attends, briefed the congregation at Ruscitti's request. Doyle said Ruscitti called him directly at the hospital.

"This is what I want to do," he told Doyle. "I've got a plane and medical supplies. I want to get in there."

Monday, the three loaded a plane owned by Ruscitti's television and radio consulting business and took off from the Beaver County Airport. Hours later, they were on the ground.

They checked in with a hospital in Gulfport, but it had enough doctors, so they spent their time at mobile medical clinics in Biloxi and Pascagoula organized by the Southern Baptist Conference. They slept on cots provided by the Red Cross in Baptist churches where the clinics were located.

Everything was organized by church leaders with the help of the Red Cross. The two organizations set up trailers equipped with showers, portable toilets and shelters to dispense food...."

Read more in this Beaver County Times article.

For more, see these related articles from the same newspaper:

Sewickley pilot puts out SOS for medical supplies

It's personal - Local doctor on his way to help


The Illustrated Story of Copyright

Here is the online version of The Illustrated Story of Copyright by Edward Samuels. It is a reproduction of the hardcover book, which is now out of print. The only changes are the omission of some of the images that that the author did not have permission to reproduce online. Quoting the author:

"In this book, I trace the story of copyright from its adoption in this country over 210 years ago through the headline issues posed by the Internet and the digitizing of creative works. Using sidebars and photographs to illustrate the major turning points, I try to explain copyright straightforwardly enough so that teenagers can understand it, and in enough detail to help inform even those who are already familiar with the basics.

In Part One, "Copyright and Technology," sidebars and photographs and illustrations place the law into historical context and bring to life the relevant copyright technologies—records and radio, movies and television, printing and photocopying, computers and the Internet.

In Part Two, "Copyright Basics," I explain the general principles of copyright. The photographs and sidebars allow readers to jump right into the cases..."

Ten Ways to Aid the Katrina Relief Effort

""What can I do?'

That's the question that is on the lips of millions of Americans as they contemplate the intense need that Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. Relief organizations and government agencies alike are stressing that the best way people can help the hurricane relief effort is by donating money...But if you can't donate money, or just want to do more, here are some concrete actions you can take to make a difference in the lives of so many:

1. Get Creative with Your Congregation...
2. Send Needed Items--Like Garbage Bags, Batteries & Toilet Paper...
3. Add Your Prayers...
4. Offer Someone a Job...
5. Open Your Doors...
6. Help Save an Animal...
7. Help a Child Learn...
8. Get Your Company Involved..
9. Send Medical Supplies..."

For more details, links, addressses and phone numbers please see this Beliefnet.com article.


e-Business Plan Tutorial

"How is an e-business plan different from any other business plan?...

-The Internet is unlike any other sales channel. The Internet allows companies to distribute information at the speed of light and at almost zero cost, to reach customers with both reach and range, to introduce new and innovative business models, to reduce costs and generate savings, and many, many more differences, as discussed in your textbook. However, the Internet also creates more bargaining power for the customer, creates a more perfect information market to the customer's benefit, and makes it easier for competitors to invade a company's marketplace, also as discussed in your textbook. So the first, and biggest, difference in e-business planning is the need for the entrepreneur to recognize the different and unique capabilities of the Internet and begin to think differently, and creatively, about the opportunities and problems the Internet presents.

-The Internet is global...Web storefronts never close...

-The Web allows greater opportunities for personalization of content, one-to-one marketing, and customer self-service. Because the Web allows these and other customer service features, your competitors can make them part of their e-commerce strategy, so you must too.

-E-commerce is conducted at Internet speed. This means Web site deployment must be planned in months, or even weeks, not years. First-mover advantage will be lost if companies are unable to move at Internet speed, and business plan readers will know that.

-Customer focused: Business has always been about "getting close to the customer" but that was in a world without the potential of personalization, one-on-one marketing, data mining, concurrent reach and range, and customer relationship management. The Internet, and the customer-oriented applications that the Internet makes possible, means that the every e-business must be totally focused on the customer..."

Read more in Fundamentals of e-Business Planning, one of a series of articles and exercises that make up this e-Business Plan Tutorial.

SBA Offers Disaster Loans

"The Small Business Administration's disaster loan program is often the only salvation for companies without insurance, or whose insurance didn't cover all the damage.

The SBA offers two kinds of loans for business owners in regions that have been declared federal disaster areas. "

Read more in article from MSNBC.com found via this post from Small Business Brief.

How Entrepreneurs Can Prepare for Disasters

"1. I would suggest for any business that the cliche' "Cash is King" has never been more true...Thirty days cash reserves (enough cash to cover essential and fixed expenses) would be my minimum recommendation...
2. Good advice any time is to manage overhead carefully...
3. Whenever possible, avoid fixed, long-term commitments that are part of a static business model...
4. Build in flexibility in all decisions...
5. Watch and manage your inventories carefully...
6. Think through the 'what ifs' and create contingency plans...
7. Look ahead... "

Read more in this post from The Entrepreneurial Mind.

The E-Discovery Trap

"Until a few years ago, businesses had to make a conscious decision to keep documents. Once you determined that various records might be useful or needed in the future, they were saved, labeled and stored. With the advent and expansion of email and other computer functions, the opposite has occurred. E-documents are forever, unless you make a conscious decision to destroy them completely. ( As most of us now know, simply hitting Delete usually leaves emails, etc. on your hard-drive, where a good forensic IT professional can find and restore them)...

In the event of litigation on any subject, all the items in your computer system that may have anything to do with that subject become relevant and discoverable. Costs associated with producing them can be huge...

Fortunately, courts are starting to recognize that companies do not have to, and cannot afford to, keep all their e-data forever, and both judges' opinions and proposed new rules are starting to provide "safe harbors" for companies who destroy old e-data pursuant to a properly constructed e-document retention policy. Taking steps now to put such a policy in place, with the help of competent legal counsel and IT professionals, and then making sure you implement it, can save you much expense and grief in the future..."

Read more in this article from FindLaw's Modern Practice.


Free Online Graph Paper PDFs

From Marcus P. Zillman:

"Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs

Downloadable and very printable, you will find these PDFs extremely useful. So, you can make a 24x30 inch sheet with a green one-inch 10 point grid. Obviously they cannot anticipate all your needs, but the grids featured should cover most common ones. "

Disaster Recovery Presentation (pdf) Download Available

Dennis Kennedy reports:

"My handout materials from the session on disaster recovery John Simek and I presented at ABA TECHSHOW 2005 are now available for free download in the PDF format at http://www.denniskennedy.com/kennedydisasterrecovery.pdf."


Negotiation Tips from the Trenches

"1. Always remember that everything is negotiable!...
2. Form and crystallize your vision of the outcome....
3. Set a goal for each deal point....
4. Prepare in advance. Information is power...
5. Ask questions and address your concerns...
6. Listen-listen-listen...
7. Aim your aspirations high...
8. Be flexible and develop options and strategies...
9. Think like a dolphin...Dolphins are able to adapt their strategies and behaviors to their counterparts. Remember, even when negotiating with a shark, you always have an option - you can walk away!...
10. Be honest and fair...
11. Never ever accept the first offer...
12. Deal from strength or act the part...
13. Find out what the other party wants...
14. Be willing to walk away...
15. Be cooperative and friendly...
16. Use the power of competition...
17. If no competition is there, create it, if you can."

Read more in this Views From The Trenches post.


HP Small Business templates & images

"Create dynamic business materials such as brochures, letterhead, presentations, job applications, calendars, and more with our easy to use, customizable templates and images" from HP Small & Medium Business.

Watch this Nanotechnology Movie Now

"'Productive Nanosystems: From Molecules to Superproducts,' an animated video, is now available in streaming media format on KurzweilAI.net. The large 80 MB file previously took a long time to download, so access was limited.

Responsible Nanotechnology says about the movie:

"A new 'must-see' short film has been produced using computer animation to assist in visualizing nanosystems and molecular manufacturing. Productive Nanosystems: from Molecules to Superproducts is a collaborative effort of animator and engineer John Burch and pioneer nanotechnologist Dr. K. Eric Drexler, made possible through a challenge grant from Mark Sims and NanoRex.

The four-minute film depicts an animated view of a nanofactory and demonstrates key steps in a process that converts simple molecules into a billion-CPU laptop computer."


How to Tell if Someone is Lying

"The following techniques to telling if someone is lying are often used by police, and security experts. This knowledge is also useful for managers, employers, and for anyone to use in everyday situations where telling the truth from a lie can help prevent you from being a victim of fraud/scams and other deceptions...

Signs of Deception:

Body Language...
Emotional Gestures & Contradiction...
Interactions and Reactions
• A guilty person gets defensive. An innocent person will often go on the offensive....
Verbal Context and Content
• A liar will use your words to make answer a question. When asked, “Did you eat the last cookie?” The liar answers, “No, I did not eat the last cookie.”...

Other signs of a lie:
• If you believe someone is lying, then change subject of a conversation quickly, a liar follows along willingly and becomes more relaxed. The guilty wants the subject changed; an innocent person may be confused by the sudden change in topics and will want to back to the previous subject..."

Read more in this post from blifaloo.

What is your Management Style?

"Hands-Off Management isn't as advantageous as it may sound. I've experienced the hands-off style of certain managers who thought they were doing me a favor by giving me lots of elbow room. Great, but with that leeway came a corresponding lack of direction. When a major decision had to be made, they went into stealth mode...only to come out of it when I made a "bad" decision. Laizzez faire might be good for market economics, but sucks when it comes to management.

If Hands-Off Management is bad, Hands-In Management is a couple of steps closer to workplace hell. Popularly thought of as micromanagement, it resides at the other end of the spectrum. The hands-in style erodes trust and kills creativity. It gets particularly rotten when you make a decision only to have a hands-in manager (or Board Member) come along and reverse the decision.

Hands-On Management lives in the middle of these two styles. A hands-on manager knows when to be involved in decisions and the work of their staff and when to give them space. It takes confidence in yourself and faith in your people. But then, it's kind of hard to be a leader without these two things. From an employee perspective (or at least from one who wants to free to learn, be creative, and mess up on occasions), we want managers and Boards who consistently apply this style."

Read more in this post from The Alchemy of Soulful Work found via this post from Random Thoughts from a CTO.

Five Ways to Impress Your Prospective Lender

"Anticipate Questions...
Prime The Pump...
Put Your Own Hide On The Line...
Act Like The Big Boys
...Hew to standards that apply (theoretically, anyway) to bigger, publicly traded companies...
Be Honest..."

Read more in this Forbes.com article.


Taxonomy of Web-Based Business Models

From an interesting article by Professor Michael Rappa, the Alan T. Dickson Distinguished University Professor of Technology Management at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, referring to a table in the article that is worthwhile reviewing:

"Business models have been defined and categorized in many different ways. This is one attempt to present a comprehensive and cogent taxonomy of business models observable on the web. The proposed taxonomy is not meant to be exhaustive or definitive. Internet business models continue to evolve. New and interesting variations can be expected in the future.

The basic categories of business models discussed in the table below include:

Manufacturer (Direct)

The models are implemented in a variety of ways, as described below with examples. Moreover, a firm may combine several different models as part of its overall Internet business strategy. For example, it is not uncommon for content driven businesses to blend advertising with a subscription model..."

How To Conduct a Background Check

"Lawyers and clients use the phrase, background check, as a catchall for many types of investigative research involving people or companies. To some, it encompasses a criminal background check. To others, it means finding general information about a business' products and services, reputation, legal status and competitors. For this reason, it helps to understand the context of the request or the specific problem that needs to be solved. More importantly, if the research involves a person, there are legal and ethical reasons for knowing why someone wants a background check.

Several federal laws govern access to public records and personal information. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) regulates the disclosure of personal information in records maintained by financial institutions. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs access to consumer reports. The Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) regulates access to personal information in driving records. Additional federal laws contain privacy provisions that restrict access to public school and medical records, as well as other records maintained by government agencies.

States also regulate access to government records and personal information. Consequently, records that are public in one state might be restricted in another. Voter registration records are public in Maine, for example, but it would violate Pennsylvania law to use state voter registration information for non-political purposes, such as locating a missing heir.

Even when government records are generally available to the public, there might be restrictions on how you use the information. Some states, for example, do not allow employers to consider arrests unless the arrest resulted in a conviction. In fact, if a client wants background research on a current or prospective employee, the privacy provisions of the FCRA kick in, requiring consent and disclosure.

Researchers who investigate people, therefore, should be familiar with these various laws and their exceptions or permissible uses. "

Read more in this article from the Virtual Chase.