Monday, January 23, 2006

Women entrepreneurs want the same things men want


They want access to capital, training and markets. But women with businesses of $1 million or more are twice as likely as male counterparts to seek advice from a mentor. they also want to be taken seriously.

Read the article here, "What do 'hot mamas' want?" Don't be mislead by the title -- I was when I read 'hot mamas' -- for the article is written by a respected Harvard professor. Still I question what's up with that?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Staging Your Second Act: Entrepreneurship At Its Best

In Iceved

What does it take to become an entrepreneur and get your business off the ground? Here are some tips from those who have done it.

Startup Secrets of the Successful

Friday, January 13, 2006

Be Happy You Are An Entrepreneur

Published in the New York Times January 9, 2006

You have to read this to believe it and since it is only available to subscribers, I am posting the whole darn thing. Let me know what you think. I nearly canceled my subscription to the Wall Street Journal when I had read that Karen House was passed over for the chief executive position of Dow Jones but I didn't only because I find MS. Wendy Bounds's small business column on Tuesdays useful to my work.

To Reach the Heights, First Be Male

THE glass ceiling has been shattered so often in the last decade that you might think that metaphor for the limits many women in business confront would have lost its power. But as some women in the media business found out last week, once you get through the ceiling, you find a secret glass treehouse suspended far above your head. That's where the men sit.

Last week, Martha Nelson was promoted by John Huey, Time Inc.'s editor-in-chief, from editor of People magazine, that large, reliable A.T.M. for Time Inc., to corporate editor in charge of People and its offspring. When Mr. Huey ascended from editorial director earlier this year, some thought Ms. Nelson would get his old job as No. 2 and act as his adviser and confidante, as Mr. Huey had for Norman Pearlstine.

But People and magazines like InStyle - another cash machine that Ms. Nelson had helped create - are responsible for almost half of Time Inc.'s profit, and Mr. Huey was reluctant to kick her upstairs, far from the action. It makes business sense: Mr. Huey just got the job and he does not need to train his successor.

But you have to wonder if Ms. Nelson were a man whether she would have been brought up into the executive clubhouse on the 34th floor. (It's worth mentioning that Ann S. Moore, the chief executive of Time Inc., already resides there.) For the time being, the glass ceiling is a skating rink, an arena in which she can show off her substantial skills, but it could contain unseen trapdoors.

Karen Elliott House, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, just ended up falling through one. When the board members of Dow Jones & Company chose a chief executive, they bypassed Ms. House, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was both professionally and personally wedded to Peter R. Kann, the outgoing chief executive, in favor of Richard F. Zannino, a vice president of the company who came from Liz Claiborne in 2001.

Ms. House, who had been at the company 32 years, found herself out of a job. A hard-charging journalist and executive - some would say a bit too driven, a frequent charge against successful women - her career and personal life became defined by her alliance with Mr. Kann. Once she was at the top, the glass ceiling became a mirror, a reflection of choices made.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the week was the departure of Mary G. Berner, the chief executive of Fairchild Publications, a division of Condé Nast. A former publisher of Glamour, she took over what had been a workmanlike division that published trade magazines like Women's Wear Daily and Footwear News, along with W, a fashion magazine.

IN six years, she doubled the number of publications, took Details, a crippled men's magazine, off the hands of Condé Nast and repositioned it at Fairchild as a somewhat androgynous men's magazine, and elevated Fairchild into a respected player in publishing.

As a chief executive, she had few peers, building a low-cost, collegial workplace with flat architecture that engendered the kind of loyalty that the trade magazine Folio once described as "the cult of Mary."

Ms. Berner sponsored a magazine day at the company in which anyone from publishers down to the people in the mailroom could pitch an idea. (Someone from the mailroom actually did pitch a magazine, and while his idea didn't get picked up, he was promoted to the circulation department.) Last year, an employee pitched an upscale parenting magazine called Cookie that has since blossomed into a going concern.

Fairchild was Ms. Berner's own little meritocracy. It eschewed the hierarchy and the town car prerogatives of Condé Nast in favor of a feisty underdog approach that created significant dynamic competition.

Not all of it worked. Vitals, a men's shopping magazine, fell flat, and the division's fashion titles like W and Details had to fight for the same dollars pursued by Vogue and GQ.

Four months ago, Charles H. Townsend, chief executive and president of Condé Nast, decided that the crossover created by the independent division made no business sense and reorganized Fairchild back into the fold. Ms. Berner, who had an option to leave the company if she no longer reported to S. I. Newhouse Jr., the chairman, did just that last week.

Part of her departure has to do with her disposition. Ms. Berner likes to run her own show. Much as the folding of The New Yorker into Condé Nast in 1999 cost Tina Brown her independence, the move made Ms. Berner just one more executive.

She may manage down very effectively, but has a tendency to speak her mind in a way that was not always appreciated within Condé Nast. And neither is being a woman. Ms. Berner, the mother of four, put in her hours, but she was never one to head out for drinks or golf.

Like a lot of media companies - like a lot of companies period - Condé Nast is a male-inflected place. In 1999, the company paid more than $1 million to a woman on staff who had been injured by Richard D. Beckman, the company's boisterous and effective president in charge of group sales, when some horseplay went awry. (Although he has since moderated his approach, the sobriquet of "Mad Dog" Beckman is still bandied about.)

And when the plum job of publisher of Vanity Fair came up, it went to Alan Katz, who had only recently arrived and served at Cargo, a start-up magazine, bypassing several outstanding women who had served at the company as publishers for years.

"Because there are so few women executives, we tend to notice when something happens to one of them," said Judy B. Rosener, a professor in the business school at the University of California, Irvine. "But women have attributes that men dismiss or see as foreign. They tend to think people at the bottom have as much or more information than the people at the top."

That's one way to do business, but not exactly the Condé Nast way. Most executives, men and women, end up losing out for the top slot just by virtue of the numbers. But in the instance of Ms. Berner, the assets she brought to the job - a willingness to share ideas and credit, an ability to build a civil and productive work culture - are viewed as weaknesses. She might be good, but she wasn't in the club.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happiness Found: Working For A Company?


A lesson for us all in this poignantly written commentary headlined "Why I Quit Entrepreneurship and Got a Real Job."

A big thanks to Rob for sharing.