Outbox "undelivers" physical mail, converts to digital files | Volunteering could be good for your leadership skills | Big companies seek to stay on cutting edge with venture funds
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February 27, 2013
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Bold Ventures
Outbox "undelivers" physical mail, converts to digital files
A startup called Outbox is helping its customers cut down on clutter by converting the letters, bills and other messages they receive through the U.S. Postal Service into digital files. The company charges a monthly fee for its services, and it could eventually pursue other revenue streams, such as advertising. So far Outbox is operating in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. CNN (2/26)
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Leading the Pack
Volunteering could be good for your leadership skills
Volunteering can make you a better leader, writes Karin Hurt. Donating your time gives you a chance to try out new skills, face new challenges, meet new people and explore new fields. "Volunteering is an investment in the community -- and in your growth as leader," Hurt writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/21)
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Finance & Growth
Big companies seek to stay on cutting edge with venture funds
The number of corporate venture funds has grown to about 900, and they are playing an increasingly important role in startup investment. Getting involved with startups can help large companies to stay innovative and prepare for changes in their industries. Forbes (2/26)
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When should you call the media?
It generally makes sense to tie public relations initiatives to specific events, such as product launches, but startups may want to wait until they have refined their products and are ready for the spotlight before seeking publicity, writes Mark Evans. "The bottom line is there's no hard and fast rule that PR needs to happen at a certain juncture," he writes. "Instead, startups should pull the trigger on PR when the time is right ... for them." Forbes (2/26)
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The Whole Entrepreneur
8 ways to sabotage your negotiations
Negotiations can be lost before you even meet your opponent, writes Jim Camp. Begging for someone's time or leaving rambling and overly detailed voicemail messages reveal your desperation, he writes, making it hard to negotiate as equals once the meeting actually begins. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/22)
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Why eye contact is key for effective communication
Business communication increasingly happens through electronic media, but there is value in having in-person conversations with other people and looking them in the eye, writes Rene Shimada Siegel, founder and president of High Tech Connect. Pay attention to the signals you might be sending with your eyes, and be aware of what others might be telling you. If someone else is unable to meet your gaze, it may be a sign that "she's afraid to deliver bad news or wants to be somewhere else," Siegel writes. Inc. online (free registration) (2/26)
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Featured Press Releases
 
Ideas for Innovators
Does working from home squash innovation?
Yahoo has ended its work-at-home policy and is requiring employees to work in the office in a bid to encourage collaboration. Many employers are offering increased workplace flexibility, but some experts say working in an office may help spur creativity and innovation. "If you want innovation, then you need interaction," says John Sullivan, San Francisco State University professor. "If you want productivity, then you want people working from home." The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/25)
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Fortune from Failure
How to get your stalled business to the next level
Failure doesn't always get as much attention as success, but most entrepreneurs face a lot of ups and downs as they build their companies. Mike Michalowicz, author of "The Pumpkin Plan," suggests that to make a startup succeed, entrepreneurs should get rid of underpaying clients and interview customers to learn what they could do better. The Huffington Post/The Blog (2/26)
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SmartQuote
The winner in negotiations lets the other party talk more and answers questions with questions -- who, what, when, where, why or how."
-- Jim Camp, founder and CEO of the Camp Negotiation Institute, writing at the SmartBlog on Leadership.
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