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CNBC has released their 2010, “Top States for Business” report. The report awards the top spot to Texas with Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Massachusetts rounding out the Top 5. From my perspective, the report is a must read if you are considering relocating yourself and/or your startup. Other notable states include California ranked 32nd, New York ranked 24th and Alaska grabbing the 50th spot on the list.
Some interesting notes from the full scorecard:
- New York ranked worst for cost of doing business but the category was weighted the lightest which helped New York grab the 24th slot overall
- California ranked 48th for cost of doing business and 49th for business friendliness. California ranked first for technology/innovation and access to capital
- Texas grabbed the top slot in the transportation and economy categories while ranking 4th for technology and innovation
- The top 5 for technology and innovation were: California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington
CNBC created an overview page for each state so view the full list and make your selections.
This past weekend CNBC aired a special about television infomercials. I found the program very interesting and suggest that you watch it as well. From what I can tell the show isn’t available online but here’s a list of times for CNBC outlets around the world. I am half ashamed to admit this, but I actually watch some infomercials and pop into QVC once in a while. I use the shows as research for how direct-response companies market their products to the mainstream.
The show looks at current hot products like the ShamWow and the Snuggie. Can you believe that the PedEgg (the thing that scrapes dead skin off your feet) was the #1 SKU at Walgreens – even passing Snickers candy bars! The show also provides the story of Ginsu knives and how they picked the name and why it was so important for the product’s chance for success.
The host also interviews Ron Popeil and Billy Mays. Popeil has sold over $1 billion in products and Inc. magazine has a worth-reading interview with him from back in January. Popeil is the king of “set it and forget it” and “but wait there’s more”. Mays is the new pitch man for nearly every product out there – I even saw him pitching health insurance last week.
So you might be wondering why I am sharing a recap of a show about television infomercials. Simple – because many of the lessons they spend millions of dollars to figure out, we can use for our startups.
My favorite line from the show came from Mays who said, “you can’t make things look hard“. Think about that for a minute. Now think about it with regards to your startup. Does your startup “look hard”? In my travels and conversations with entrepreneurs, I find that many times their startups do look hard.
Here’s your assignment for tomorrow – make your startup look “less hard”. Twitter gets a ton of signups (even though it appears many leave) because it doesn’t look hard. You signup, and you write simple messages. Compare that to say Friendfeed where you signup and then have to setup loads of accounts, etc. I’d love to see Friendfeed look less hard. Frankly FriendFeed’s ability to grow past the early adopters is based 100% on looking less hard. At a minimum FriendFeed could add a simple wizard to make account setup easy – and instead of their default list, ask their new users for 2-3 interests and match to users based on the interests. Why would I want to follow say a techie if I am really only interested in food or health topics?
Whether it’s your pitch, your content, signup process, functionality, sharing capabilities, etc., there are definitely places that all of us can make our startups less hard. So get to it – it could mean big gains!
Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) and CNBC have announced a new strategic partnership today that will allow Microsoft to become the exclusive third-party provider of display and contextual advertising for CNBC.com. The deal seems like a mirror of the Facebook ad deal from last month.
The companies expect to begin execution of the agreement immediately, with contextual advertising appearing later this month. Execution on display advertising will begin in March 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed.
I like this bit from the release, "Advanced technology from Microsoft will help connect advertisers with CNBC.com users in more relevant, innovative ways through a combination of graphical ad placements and automated text-based advertisements targeted to content. Over time, the technology will enable the anonymous aggregation of user behavior." Microsoft has "advanced technology"!
Sounds like potentially some anonymous Beacon-ness going on!
Tonight on CNBC, Donny "I like to hold my glasses to look smart" Deutsch had "Internet Nobodies to Instant Celebs" on. He tries to come across as someone who really understands the Internet. No idea if it's for real or just a show.
I am guessing this will be on CNBC International or on YouTube at some point. (actually if you are on the west coast it's on at 10pm I understand and 12am on the east coast)
The guests on the show included:
- The two mentos guys – $35k in revenue from the videos so far
- Lisa Donovan – "used YouTube to become a star" (she had the longest segment by far)
- Liam Sullivan – "created comedy shows on YouTube and now gets paid by iTunes
- Gary Broslsma – "created Numa Numa on YouTube" – 15 million plays
- Brooke Parkhurst – turned blog into a book deal and a Conde Nast Deal
- Amanda Congdon – her segment was literally 90 seconds max – considering she hyped the heck out of this, it must be a shock to her about what they actually showed.
- John Vesely - was able to turn a MySpace album into a best-selling album with over 18 million plays on MySpace
- Brent Weinstein – his firm UTA is looking for online talent to help make people into celebs (they represent Ask A Ninja)
Overall, I thought the show was well done but could have used another 30-60 minutes as it felt very rushed. Give these people a chance to explain how they did what they did, but more importantly what they are doing now and where they are going.
Also, I think we all need to remember our audience. I just can't speak about this enough. When you get the chance to sit on TV in the real world, make sure you remember that most people watching are not Internet geeks. I can only guess that the name Nick Denton means nothing to most CNBC viewers.