Whenever I open up my inbox at work, I'm never surprised to find several new messages waiting to be read. The same thing can't always be said about my personal Gmail account. Sometimes I end up checking my mail only to find nothing new there.
No big deal, really. But now imagine that you access Gmail on a super slow connection from a remote place in Ethopia where it might take minutes to completely load your inbox. The disappointment is larger when you find out that there is nothing new to read and you could have saved all that time.
To ease this pain a bit, we created a new feature in Gmail Labs called Inbox Preview. While Gmail is loading, a simple, static preview of your inbox with your ten most recent messages is displayed. Turn it on from the Labs tab under Settings, and if you're on a slow connection you'll know from the start if it's worth the wait.
Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Inbox preview
Looking for a job? Consider creating your own. There are a number of social resources to help you connect with other entrepreneurs and get your business ideas off the ground.
Here are the top 10 social networks for entrepreneurs. Each helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to setup their company and gain exposure.Have another social site to add to this list? Tell us about it in the comments
1. Entrepreneur Connect
Entrepreneur Media, the company that produces Entrepreneur Magazine, started a social network over a year ago specifically for entrepreneurs and small business owners called Entrepreneur Connect. Like all social networks, you have the opportunity to create your own profile, explore the community, share ideas with other entrepreneurs and network. Unlike most social networks, this one frowns upon too much self-promotion and applauds idea sharing.
You can use this network to connect to service providers, suppliers, advisers and colleagues. Just like LinkedIn and FacebookFacebook reviews, there are professional groups that you can join or create. Another cool feature is that you’re able to start your own blog and possibly have it appear on the main page. This is similar to what Fast Company has done with their website.
PartnerUp is a social network for entrepreneurs who are searching for people and resources for business opportunities. Anyone can join, but business partners, co-founders, executives and board members will get the most out of this one. In this network, you can ask or offer advice, find commercial real estate and find service providers like accountants and marketers for your business.
The big differentiator with this social network is the commercial real estate “MoveUpSM” program that serves entrepreneurs who have experienced a hard time trying to find office space for their business. They also have a Resource Directory that allows small and mid-sized businesses to advertise their services.
Most social networks neglect the content aspect that makes StartupNation so useful. With articles, forums, blogs, on-demand seminars, and podcasts, entrepreneurs will be better prepared for their ventures and have the resources required to make better business decisions.
There are a wide range of topics being discussed on StartupNation right now, including business planning, marketing and web-based business. The site also offers a series of competitions, such as a dorm-based 20 contest and an elevator pitch competition. If you’re an entrepreneur or hope to become one, this site is definitely one you can’t miss out on.
It’s difficult to leave LinkedIn off of any social networking list because it’s so useful for anyone who’s either searching for a job, is trying to network with like-minded individuals, or building a company. LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs, such as groups, including the very popular “On Startups” group that has over 54,000 members.
Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn should brand themselves properly so they can attract the right kind of business opportunities, and perform searches to find service providers or partners. As an entrepreneur, you should also be looking to participate in LinkedIn Answers, events and applications to spruce up your profile and become a valuable member to your community.
This isn’t another LinkedIn clone. Instead, Biznik brands itself as a social network that “doesn’t suck.” The Biznik community is composed of freelancers, CEOs, and the self-employed. Like the other networks, this is a place for you to share ideas, instead of posting your resume. It is mandatory for all members to use their real names and provide real data, and Biznik editors actually review all profiles to ensure compliance with that policy. There are three levels of membership, including basic, active ($10 a month for an enhanced profile) and supporting ($24 a month for increased visibility).
6. Perfect Business
If you want to meet thousands of serious entrepreneurs, experts and investors from a variety of industries, then Perfect Business might be the perfect social network for you. The type of people you’ll find are potential business partners, potential clients and advisers. Additionally, the site has leading business partners like Entrepreneur and Virgin Money.
From business networking to a video center where you can learn from successful entrepreneurs, a business plan builder and even an investor center, you’ll have most of the resources you need to create or regenerate your business. There is a free basic membership and a gold membership that costs $29.99 per month.
7. Go BIG Network
The Go BIG Network embraces job seekers, in addition to funding sources, service providers and entrepreneurs. In this social network, you post requests for help, which are then routed to other people in the network that can answer your questions or support you. Members of this social network can search through profiles of other members, contact them or post a request (a classified ad) to talk about what they are looking for (such as a business partner). The profiles on this network are targeted and specific so it’s easy to find an investor in a particular region.
The Cofoundr network is made up of idea makers, entrepreneurs, programmers, web designers, investors, freelancers and executives. The primary purpose of joining this network is to start a new web venture. Unlike most of the social networks already listed here, Cofoundr is a strictly private network, which means that you can’t view member profiles before you register for an account.
Membership requires having a valid university or work email address, which means high schools students and younger aren’t allowed. The first thing you have to do is sign up, then specify your abilities and the people you are trying to network with and finally, post your idea on the bulletin board or in the forum.
9. The Funded
The Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who research, rate and review funding sources. Entrepreneurs can view and share terms sheets to assist each other in finding good investors, as well as discuss the inner workings of operating a business. General benefits of this site include viewing facts, reviews and commentary on funding resources, and accessing RSS feeds of the most recent public comments by members.
By joining the site, you have access to detailed fund profiles with specialty, reference investments, and investment criteria, in addition to accessing partner vCards that have full contact information of all partners at venture funds. In order to get any value out of this social network, you pretty much have to become a member.
10. Young Entrepreneur
If you’re young, entrepreneurial and socially active or just curious, then Young Entrepreneur is a great starting point for you. This community appears as a discussion forum, with topics such as e-commerce, search engine optimization, marketing, IT & Internet, and franchising. Aside from their main forum and threads, there is a popular blog and some great videos.
These days, everyone knows that one of the hottest stories any newspaper can cover is that of its own demise. The collapse of print advertising and the downturn in sales, at the news stand and through subscriptions, has led to a frantic search for new ways to monetize content that’s often available online for free.
Social media gives any business an interactive channel to communicate with its current and future customers. For newspapers, that channel can increase the chances of survival in a market where commoditized information has diminished the value of individual brands. Here are ten ways newspapers are using social media to save the industry.
1. Twitter headline feedsWith more than 280,000 followers, the New York Times’ main Twitter feed dwarfs the Wall Street Journal (19,000+), the Washington Post (4,800+), and the Chicago Tribune (5,200+). Many metropolitan and small-town dailies have followed suit, creating a TwitterTwitter reviews handle as an extension of their brand, but the Times, like other large dailies, has gone one step further, establishing channels for Books, Arts and Entertainment, and other sections. These are sub-channels that support personalized interaction, a point of interest for advertisers.
2. Acquiring providers of social media services
In November, 2008, Gannett Co., publisher of 85 daily newspapers, acquired Ripple6, Inc., maker of a social networking platform that links marketers to end users. By investing in a company that has already helped Procter & Gamble with its social media initiatives, Gannett will be better able to collaborate with its advertisers. Look for more acquisitions, or partnerships, as legacy publishers broaden their online portfolios.
4. Promoting and monetizing user-generated content
In 2007, the Cincinnati Enquirer created CaptureCincinnati.com, a photo-sharing site where over a thousand local photographers uploaded nearly 12,000 images. The best shots were featured in Capture Cincinnati, a coffee table photo book that included a DVD, selling at a retail price of $39.95. Last year, the numbers continued to improve, and the Enquirer expects strong sales of the 2008 edition as well. Marketers might call this bundling products, but whatever you call it, the Enquirer probably won’t argue.
5. Story-based communitiesThe Toronto Globe and Mail uses Cover It Live, a live-blogging/discussion tool that provides interactive coverage of breaking news and live events such as conferences and hearings. Real-time comments, audio and video postings, and polls are among the types of content that can be recorded and then embedded in the story, like this piece on a subway shooting in January.
6. Collaborative outsourced news servicesWhile British startup Yoosk bills itself as an “interactive news magazine,” it represents the type of outsourced service many newspapers may wind up using as their own resources dwindle. Yoosk allows its users to put a question to politicians and celebrities, to comment on the publicly viewable answers, and to submit their own ideas for interview features. Its founders hope to collaborate with established news sites, including newspapers willing to outsource parts of their magazine sections.
7. Customized deliveryDenver-based MediaNews Group, publisher of such major dailies as the Denver Post and Oakland Tribune, has announced plans to test a “customized news delivery service called ‘I-News’ or ‘Individuated News” this summer with the LA Daily News. This service would allow subscribers to choose from different categories, including news from other parts of the country. Blending the offerings of regional newspapers into a separate platform may help more of them survive.
8. Branded communitiesThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch has launched MySTLtoday, a branded community featuring areas such as user-created groups, user-posted content, and special interest sections like St. Louis’ BestBridal. Excerpts from shared stories are printed each week in the legacy paper. This might seem old-school, but it strengthens a traditional middle American brand, and it promotes more interaction, which helps advertisers pinpoint their targets.
9. Publishing APIs for third-party developersThe New York Times has taken the lead in an area sure to attract other organizations. By publishing application programming interfaces, or APIs, for third-party software developers, the Times Developer Network has encouraged the creation of a new class of social media applications. Developers have already produced mashups that combine Times content with other resources. Advertisers should see new opportunities to embed messages tailored to the end user, and the Times may partner with those developers it deems worthy, avoiding the incremental cost of creating new applications internally.
10. Burning the boat that brought youUnfortunately, this isn’t the most agreeable method for many, but social media applied to a smaller, virtual organization might be the way of the future. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer may move to an online-only version of its daily newspaper. This is the ultimate way to save a paper through social media: make the Web its only channel of distribution, and leverage the history of the brand. Loyalty won’t be hard to track, and the test of that loyalty will be the price point established by subscriptions, for individual sections or the entire publication. The argument “would you save this paper for the price of a latte?” becomes very cogent, especially in Seattle.
Slidesix is multimedia enabled presentation sharing. Simply upload, add multimedia, enhance and share!
Slidesix allows users to upload their public or private presentations and share them across all Web browsers. The genius feature, though, has to be that Slidesix supports multimedia creation so that users can record video narration to accompany their presentations and walk viewers through each slide.
Anyone can upload a presentation to the site, but to use Slidesix’s advance feature set, users will need to create an account. Once they do they can start uploading presentations (Keynote file types not supported) to their management console.
In the management console, members can get a global view of all their presentations, tweak them, record video narration using their webcam, attach files or external clips from sites like YouTubeYouTube reviews and VimeoVimeo reviews, add notes, watch the playback, and save presentations for sharing. Public Slidesix presentations can be viewed by all visitors, include video stats, and support viewer comments, so if you want to keep your presentation private and share it with just a few individuals, make sure to indicate that during the upload process.
For a look at how the video narration adds to (or subtracts from) presentations, check out this Slidesix demo:
TAMPA, Fla. – Alex Rodriguez's spring training saga took another unexpected turn: He's headed for hip surgery Monday that will sideline him for six to nine weeks — and that's not all.
The New York Yankees slugger will need a second operation after the season, assuming he can play all the way through. Dr. Marc Philippon, who will perform the initial procedure in Colorado, said he's confident Rodriguez will be able to do that once he recovers.
"Well, it's better than him missing the whole year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It could have been a lot worse."
The decision Sunday came after Rodriguez and the Yankees spent the week mulling treatment options for his torn labrum, and it was yet another jolt to the three-time MVP during a tumultuous month in which he admitted using steroids from 2001-03 with Texas.
The arthroscopic procedure that was chosen gives Rodriguez a chance to return early this season — general manager Brian Cashman said he expects A-Rod back "sometime in May." But it also means he'll need another, more extensive operation in the fall.
Philippon said Rodriguez ultimately decided (with the team's support) to put off that surgery, which likely would have kept him out until at least July because it could require three to four months of rehabilitation.
Still, his injury not only leaves the Yankees with a huge hole at third base and in the middle of their lineup, it causes major concerns about the health of a player in the second year of a record $275 million, 10-year contract.
A noted hip specialist with the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, Philippon spoke to reporters from Vail, Colo., on a conference call Sunday with Cashman. Also on the call was team physician Chris Ahmad.
Philippon said he is confident in the "85-90 percent range" that Rodriguez will be able to play through the rest of the regular season after he recuperates from surgery.
"I firmly believe this approach will be successful and allow Alex to return," Philippon said. "We've had very good success with this approach. Short term, we feel the risk is very limited that he will re-tear his labrum during that six-, seven-month period."
The decision eliminates the option of Rodriguez treating the injury with rest and rehab and playing through the season without surgery. But this operation will not completely correct the hip.
"The surgery that will just repair the labrum tear right now would shorten his rehab," Cashman said. "Then, following the conclusion of the season, going in and repair the remaining aspects that need to be repaired."
Now that a treatment plan has been chosen, Cashman said Rodriguez is feeling better.
"When it first happened, he said he was `bummed.' That was the exact word," Cashman said. "Alex texted me and he was really positive. He is excited. This is what he wanted to do."
Rodriguez also has a cyst in his right hip that was drained Wednesday. He had additional tests Friday to test the hip's strength and flexibility.
Once he returns to the lineup, Rodriguez will likely get more days off than usual.
Cashman could not guarantee that A-Rod will be ready for the start of spring training next year following the second surgery this fall.
The Yankees have an insurance policy that will reimburse some of Rodriguez's $32 million salary this year, a baseball official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team doesn't discuss insurance publicly. Typically, insurance on baseball contracts pays back a team a specified percentage of the salary of a player on the disabled list, after a period of days for a deductible.
Rodriguez's hip had been fine until he experienced stiffness during spring training this year. The injury forced the 12-time All-Star to skip the World Baseball Classic, where he was to play for the Dominican Republic.
Philippon attributed the labrum tear to the rotational stress that Rodriguez — "a very strong hitter, strong batter" — places on his hip.
"Because of all the test findings, analysis, the function of Alex, I feel it's in his best interest to have his labrum repaired, remove part of his impingement and therefore stabilize his labrum," he said. "The goal here is to allow Alex to rehab rapidly in a safe manner."
Rodriguez will stay in Colorado for the foreseeable future.
"We'll keep Alex with us certainly for the first few weeks," said Philippon, who has treated several sports stars including golfer Greg Norman and figure skater Tara Lipinski. "The main reason being we're going to put him on the fast track so we will be very aggressive on his rehab. We'll check on Alex twice a day."
Rodriguez could swing a bat as a range-of-motion drill as soon as seven days after surgery.
"It's better news than some of the reports. It's good for him. He can get that out of the way and hopefully get back to us soon," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said at the WBC in Toronto. "We can't sit around and wait for him to come back. You've got to go out there and play. That's what good teams are about. It's more than one person."
On Thursday, Rodriguez's brother, Joe Dunand, told ESPNdeportes.com that the slugger was going to have surgery, with a projected 10-week recovery. But later that day Cashman said A-Rod would be treated conservatively in the hope of avoiding surgery.
Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon, speaking from Lakeland, where New York played the Detroit Tigers, said Rodriguez was doing the "right thing" in addressing the injury now.
"I think it's better to get it out of the way, especially since he's going to be in New York for eight more years after this year. So you might as well take care of it," Damon said.
The leading candidate within the organization to take over at third is Cody Ransom, a 33-year-old who has a .251 average and 24 RBIs in 183 at-bats over six major league seasons.
Since joining the Yankees before the 2004 season, Rodriguez has averaged 42 homers and 123 RBIs, with a .303 average.
Girardi said if the season started today, Ransom would replace Rodriguez at third.
"It's going to create something different for us, so we're going to have to take a look at some of these other guys," Girardi said. "There's still four weeks left in camp, and it opens up an opportunity for someone."
Last year, Rodriguez was sidelined from April 28 to May 20 because of a strained right quadriceps — his fifth career trip to the disabled list. An MRI exam at that time showed what Cashman called an "irregularity" in the right hip.
The labrum is cartilage that lines the hip joint. It can be torn through injury or repetitive wear and tear. When arthroscopic surgery is recommended, the doctor makes small incisions to insert specialized instruments into the joint space and either removes the torn piece of labrum or repairs the cartilage with a suture.
Dr. Kevin Plancher, a top orthopedic and sports medicine specialist in New York who trained and worked at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, said hip conditions such as A-Rod's are common in sports but are probably most prevalent among hockey players.