Popular computer programmer and activist Richard Stallman once said, “The paradigm of competition is a race: by rewarding the winner, we encourage everyone to run faster. When capitalism really works this way, it does a good job; but its defenders are wrong in assuming it always works this way.” While capitalism and democracy do go hand in hand, the outcomes don’t always benefit the masses. Does money equal power in politics? Many small businesses seem to think so.
“I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” That line has been used jokingly in many circumstances ranging from overly dramatic spy movies to restauranteurs on the Food Network protecting a recipe. Not that we’re promoting violence, but a similar sentiment is felt by many entrepreneurs and business owners guarding their trade secrets.
Change is in the air, can you feel it? It’s been a little over a week since Election Day and it will be interesting to see how long this “quiet after the storm” lasts. Some things will change, some will be stalled, but small businesses need to be prepared for whatever legislation will trickle down the pipes and into their daily lives. In this day and age no one is safe from taxes, immigration law, affordable health care policies, and minimum wage increases. Are you ready?
Earlier this week, President Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement stricter rules in the effort to protect Net Neutrality. The President is pushing for a plan that will have the FCC classify the Internet as a public utility (like water or electricity) in order to avoid such concepts as throttling or paid prioritization.
There has been a lot of debate on whether a startup should hire a General Counsel (GC) and if so, when the appropriate time is to do so. Startups fear that since attorneys are always looking to minimize risk, a General Counsel will be a constant “no-person,” shutting down every idea that the company has because the risk is too high. On the other hand, there are many issues startups deal with that could be taken care of by an attorney – like governmental regulations, stocks and securities obstacles, and intellectual property protection.
Democracy is a cornerstone to what makes this country strong and the recent election has proven that we still believe in the power of the ballot. However, with politics comes controversy and certain topics cause even the most un-opinionated person to take sides. One such poignant topic continues to be the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As an individual and as an employer, this issue and it’s continuing complications can greatly affect you.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Raiten, General Counsel at 500 Startups, to discuss some of the challenges he faces when it comes to being part of a startup accelerator and venture capital fund. As you can imagine, his work spans across many levels from being a general business advisor to small startups to dealing with 500’s legal work internationally. It takes a great deal of dedication to wear multiple hats, but Greg has no problem juggling them all.
Most entrepreneurs need some type of financial assistance when getting their business off the ground. Small business loans and grants provide great opportunities, but where do you start and how do you know which grants you qualify for?
Lyft, the San Francisco based ride sharing company, has sued its former COO Travis VanderZanden for allegedly stealing confidential information before leaving the company to take on a new position as Uber’s VP of International Growth. Lyft alleges in its complaint that VanderZanden downloaded private company product and financial information to his Dropbox account before he left. They have also included in the complaint that VanderZanden tried to recruit other Lyft employees to join him at Uber.
As the song goes, “Breaking up is hard to do.” You know you have to do it, you lose sleep over it, yet you can come up with a million ways to procrastinate and not end it. When the time finally comes, you take a deep breath and pray that you’re doing the right thing. No, this isn’t a high school break up. This breakup involves your lawyer.