Startup Failure Rates — The REAL Numbers

Small business failure rates over 10 years - United States - by Scott ShaneI’m writing today’s blog in the hopes of getting accurate information on new business failure rates out into cyberspace in a way that the search engines will find it quickly. There is a huge amount of misinformation on the Web about new business failure rates that gets cited and reproduced all over the place and that’s a problem for a host of reasons.

Below is Figure 6.2 (p.99) from my book Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By. The data come from a special tabulation by the Bureau of the Census produced for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

While these data look at the 1992 cohort of new single-establishment businesses, the failure rate percentages are almost identical for all the cohorts that researchers have looked at. So, these are pretty much the one through ten year survival rates of new firms.

Proportion of New Businesses Founded in 1992 Still Alive By Year.

These are the averages. There are considerable differences across industry sectors in business failure rates (see Figure 7.1 on page 113 of Illusions of Entrepreneurship), which is pretty interesting and important. But I’ll have to leave a discussion of what those are and why they exist for another blog post.

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About the Author: Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of eight books, including Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By; Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures; Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs; and From Ice Cream to the Internet: Using Franchising to Drive the Growth and Profits of Your Company.


Samsung Flow Connects Tablet, Computer — Even Your TV

112114 samsung flow

Samsung has unveiled Flow, a new device handoff feature that will eventually let you start an activity on one device and move it to another.

This means you could eventually get an email notification on your smartwatch then switch to your smartphone or tablet to read. Finally, you could switch to your laptop when you’re ready to type a response, all without leaving the application or even the document you’re currently working with.

If this whole concept sounds familiar, it is. Just recently, Apple introduced Continuity, another handoff feature available on devices running the company’s new OS X Yosemite operating system.

The caveat: for Samsung Flow to work, all your devices will have to be from Samsung.

The company gives a brief overview in this demonstration video of just how Samsung Flow will eventually work:

As you can see, Samsung claims the feature will eventually work over a full range of media products — including your TV.

This means, when Flow is implemented, you will be able to receive notifications of phone calls even while you’re watching television — if you wish to, that is.

There are three main features to Flow, according to a report from The Verge. Those features are called Defer, Transfer, and Notify.

Using the Transfer feature, apps and other activities will be able to be switched among enabled devices. You will be able to switch work activities — like reading and editing a document — for example from one device to  another. But the Transfer feature could also be utilized for things like moving a video call from your laptop to your smartphone.

The Defer feature will allow you to put off an activity until later. When you Defer an activity, Samsung claims, it will be stored at the exact place you left off until resumed. That means an email or article you’re reading would resume at the same line where you stopped reading, for example.

As discussed earlier, the Notify feature would allow for some some notifications across all devices.

Incoming calls and low-battery warnings could appear on any device that’s connected to Flow, for example, Slash Gear reports.

To enable the Flow feature on a Samsung device, the Flow icon — a triangle-like design — would be selected opening a menu of options. To transfer an activity to another device, for example, you would choose from a list of available devices where you want your work to go.

Samsung Flow was just recently introduced to Samsung developers so it may be some time until it’s actually available on any of the company’s devices, according to Engadget. But the overview does give a hint at the kind of workflow flexibility Samsung users may be able to look forward to.

Image: Samsung

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Mi Notebook Air May Remind You of Another Computer — But Cheaper

Mi Notebook Air, the New Xiaomi Laptop, May Remind You of Another Computer -- But Cheaper

The founder and CEO of Xiaomi, Lei Jun, doesn’t like to be compared to Steve Jobs, but the latest product from the company, the Mi Notebook Air will do very little to convince people otherwise. You don’t have to have a degree from Stanford in computer science to see the similarities with Apple’s Macbook Air, right down to a portion of the name. That said, the Mi Notebooks are a worthy challenger for the computers coming out of Cupertino.

Who is Xiaomi?

Just in case you haven’t heard of Xiaomi, the Chinese company was founded in 2010 by Jun, and its rise to the smartphone leader board has been remarkable.  In just five short years, the company has become the fifth largest smartphone maker, selling close to 71 million units in 2015.

In addition to the phones, the company has a range of other products, including tablets, personal transports, drones, healthcare monitors, cloud services and more.

First Xiaomi Laptop: The Mi Notebook Air

The first ever laptop line by Xiaomi was a big surprise when it was announced at a recent press event in Beijing. And the company didn’t disappoint when it introduced two notebooks, a 13.3″ and a 12.5″ version. So here is a basic comparison between the Xiaomi and Apple Air notebooks.

The 13.3″ Mi Notebook Air

The 13.3″ Mi notebook is 14.8mm (0.58 inches) thick and weighs in at 1.28kg or 2.82 pounds, which makes it slightly thinner and lighter than the Apple version. The real differentiator is the discrete Nvidia Geforce 940MX graphics card and 256GB SSD storage that come standard on the Xiaomi. Not having to share the memory to process games and graphic intensive applications means the Mi notebook is going to work well for gamers and designers.

Xiaomi Laptop - Mi Notebook Air-970-80

The processor is an Intel 2.3GHz Core i5-6200U (Turbo up to 2.7GHz), with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 9.5 hour battery life, according to the company. These are all great features for a flagship PC, but what is more impressive is the price, which comes in at less than the 11″ Macbook Air at $750.

The 13″ inch MacBook Air has many different configurations, but the one that currently has the $999.00 price tag on the company’s site has the following specs. It comes in a little bigger than the Mi Note at 17mm (0.66 inches) thick and weighing in at 1.35kg (2.9 pounds). The processor is a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo up to 2.7GHz), with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of flash storage.

The 12.5″ Mi Notebook Air

The 12.5″ Mi notebook is slimmer and weighs less, coming in at 12.9mm (0.5 inches) and 1.07kg (2.3 pounds). The specs also come down considerably, which is not surprising since it is more than $200 cheaper.

The processor is an Intel Core M3 CPU and it includes 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, one USB 3.0 port and an HDMI port. The battery life is much better on this version, which lets you enjoy two additional hours compared to the 13″ model. You get all this for $520, not bad when you compare it to the 11″ Macbook air.

Xiaomi Laptop - Mi Notebook Air with a diagonal of 12.5 inches

The 11″ Macbook air is thicker at 17mm or 0.66 inches and weighs almost the same at 1.08kg. However, the Mac has a better processor with the Intel Core i5 and more options as to how you can configure your device. The standard version includes 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD storage, and 9 hours of battery life. The latest available price for these specs from Apple is $899, which is $379 more expensive than the Xiaomi.

The Price Difference for Small Businesses

Small businesses are always on the lookout for affordable technology, and Xiaomi makes a great case to merit a second or even a third look at what it is offering. Price differences of $249 and $379 are considerable and may be enough to sway many owners to make the change. But it is important to remember Apple has carved out a niche market for creative types who will almost always go for the Macbook, and there is nothing Xiaomi or anyone else can do about that.

Both the Mi Notebook and Macbook have great specs, but Apple gives you more configuration options. Since this is the first offering from Xiaomi, it is limited, but if the company takes the same route for its notebooks as it did its smartphones, it won’t be long before it makes more options available for its customers.

Though there’s no knowing when Xiami will offer this notebook for sale outside China, those determined enough can doubtless find a way to get it. The question is, would this device be an asset to your business?

Image: Xiaomi


First National Drone Delivery Service Launched — in Rwanda

Rwandan Drone Delivery Service First of Its Kind

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Friday launched the world’s first national drone delivery service at a ceremony in Kigali. This comes at a time when U.S. regulatory agencies are yet to clear any kind of commercial drone delivery service here in this country.

Rwandan Drone Delivery Service First of Its Kind

The drone delivery service will make up to 150 on-demand, emergency deliveries per day of life-saving blood. The blood will be delivered to 21 transfusing facilities located in the western half of the country, where poor roads and healthcare infrastructure make it difficult to reach patients in need.

But even if the delivery service isn’t here, the drones that helped launch it are built and operated by an American robotics company, Zipline of San Francisco, California. An international partnership between Zipline, UPS, Gavi (the Bill Gates-backed vaccine fund) and the Vaccine Alliance will help Rwanda quickly expand the types of lifesaving vaccines and medicines that can be delivered.

“Drones are very useful, both commercially and for improving services in the health sector. We are happy to be launching this innovative technology and to continue working with partners to develop it further,” said Pres. Kagame, according to the official release from UPS.

According to UPS, which has supported the project with a $1.1 million (USD) grant through The UPS Foundation, the commercial partnership between Rwanda and the companies is expected to save thousands of lives over the next three years. The partnership also hopes to use the knowledge gained in Rwanda to export this delivery service around the world.

“The shared belief in the ability to save lives through applied innovation, combined with Rwanda’s vision, is now not only poised to advance humanitarian logistics — and logistics as we know it — around the world, but also to save lives,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. Martinez’s remarks were also included in the company’s official release.

Image: UPS


$50 Amazon Phone Makes It Easy to Go Mobile — But With Lots of Ads and Clutter

50 Dollar Amazon Blu Smartphone Makes It Easy to Go Mobile -- But With Lots of Ads and Clutter

The number one seller in the unlocked cell phones category on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is the $50 Blu R1 HD, which is sold out as of this posting.

This is an Amazon phone made by Blu, a US based company that offers the phone for $100, but with Amazon Prime you only pay half the price. For this subsidy, Amazon has tweaked the operating system to load the entire suite of Amazon apps. So if you don’t have a notification, you will see ads on your lock screen.

If you are a small business looking for a phone you can give to your entire staff, this may be an option. The ads don’t get in the way when the screen is active, because they only show up as notifications, just like any other message. As far as sending emails, texting and other communications, it has the necessary hardware to make it possible. This includes 3G/4G LTE bands to access the fastest networks and WiFi.

50 Dollar Amazon Blu Smartphone Specs

By now you are probably wondering, what can you possibly get for $50? The answer is enough to let you carry out many of the functions of premium phones, albeit at different levels.

  • Processor – 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex processor,
  • Display – 5.0” HD 1280X720 with 294ppi,
  • Storage/Memory – 16GB with 2GB RAM and 8 with 1GB RAM, optional MicroSD with up to 64GB,
  • Camera – 8MP for the main camera and 5MP Front with LED Flash,
  • Battery – 2500 mAh,
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, Hotspot, Micro USB v2.0 and
  • Unlocked for AT&T and T-Mobile with dual-SIM slots.

As far as the body and design, the device has a curved display with Gorilla Glass 3 and a metal trim.

In short, this $50 smartphone by all accounts it more than delivers when it comes to the communications functions. So the only question about whether this could make a good inexpensive business phone is whether you find Amazon apps and ads too distracting.

Image: Blu


Is This New Snapchat Ad Feature Cool — or Creepy? (Watch)

Is This New Snapchat Behavioral Targeting Ad Feature Cool -- or Creepy? (Watch)Snapchat may soon be able to sell ads based on things it recognizes in users’ photos. The company recently filed a patent for a behavioral targeting system that uses image recognition software to find specific items and then suggest filters based on those items.

So for example, if Snapchat recognizes that a photo includes the Empire State Building, it could suggest a King Kong filter. Or if you’re a New York City tourism company, you could potentially pay to have your own filter available when Snapchat recognizes the Empire State Building or other popular landmarks.

The Double-Edged Sword of Behavioral Targeting

The technology presents an interesting opportunity for advertisers. But it also presents some unique privacy issues for consumers. Some might not appreciate the fact that an app can recognize what’s in their photos and then use that information for ad targeting.

That’s one of the major issues that businesses have to navigate in today’s world of online advertising. This technology from Snapchat isn’t available yet. And it may not even become available. But even the possibility requires businesses to consider what to do when it comes to new ad formats. Becoming an early adopter of this new Snapchat feature and other potential ad formats could lead to unique targeting opportunities for businesses. But it could also lead to privacy issues that could impact consumer opinions.


Share Connections in a Snap — On Snapchat

Snapchat Suggest Feature Enables You to Recommend Snapchat Users to Follow to Your Friends

Amid all the hype surrounding Snapchat’s Memories feature, another useful feature known informally as “suggest” was also introduced recently.

Finding the best accounts to follow on Snapchat has always been a problem. Unlike on Twitter, finding someone to follow or interesting content to read has been a challenge, until now.

It now seems that the image messaging and multimedia mobile application has finally recognized that discoverability is key to user experience, particularly if the company is planning to continue and even surpass its current growth.

New Feature Enables You to Recommend Snapchat Users to Follow

The new suggest feature allows you to recommend important accounts to your friends. All you have to do is to hold down someone’s name (whether in the stories or chat section) and a bio pop-up appears with the new suggest icon (a blue arrow) at the bottom right. Tap on the icon and you will be able to share the account with anyone on your contact list. Recipients receive the notification as a private message and they can add or reject the recommended account.

The journey to a new suggest feature started with the introduction of Snapcodes, which are unique, scannable codes that make it easier to add a friend on Snapchat. Suggest was therefore naturally the next best step.

Up to now, many businesses have been promoting their Snapchat accounts on other social media sites using third-party directory apps such as GhostCodes as a way of finding and following interesting accounts.

While the new suggest feature is still not what many businesses have been hoping for in terms of discoverability, it is a good start for businesses that are seeking to gain new customers or viewers.

With the feature, you can now promote your business’ Snapchat account by reminding your followers to not only watch your videos but also to recommend your account to their friends.

The feature also unlocks the ability to screenshot someone else’s story and share it with your connections. Before this, you could only send stored content to one person at a time. Now you have the ability to broadcast it to all your followers. The new feature will help your followers identify you as an authority in your industry and you can now build your Snapchat army.