Why do Startups fail? 10 Startup Ideas That Stink

by Fred Abramson on October 11, 2010 · 1 comment

DeLorean DMC12

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Why do so many startups fail? You may be really smart, execute well and have the funding.  However, the bigger problem may that the problem is too big to handle. The blog Business Insider lists ten startup ideas that never work.  They are:

  1. Semantic Search/Any search company that’s not Google. When was the last time that you asked Jeeves anything?
  2. Social recommendations as a standalone don’t work.
  3. Local News Sites. Perhaps the Patch network of sites may work, but probably not because of lack of advertising dollars.
  4. Micropayments don’t work. The site with the best content, The New York Times failed charging by the article.
  5. Stop trying to kill email. Look what happened to Google wave.
  6. You can’t try to make a better car company. Tesla has sold only 2,000 cars.  How about the DeLorean? I vividly remember John DeLorean busted on tape selling cocaine in a ludicrous attempt to save his company.
  7. Music startups can’t get enough paying customers. I am a music geek and have  purchased music online occasionally on iTunes and rarely on Amazon. (I still purchase CD’s at J&R Music, so I may be a bit of a dinosaur).
  8. Marrying the web and the TV hasn’t worked out.  Even though all the cool kids in New York love Boxee, do you know of anyone who uses it? It remains to be seen what happens with Apple and Google’s latest offerings, but history is not on  their side.
  9. RSS Readers are not a business. Whatever…. Google does the job reasonably well.
  10. A startup focused on kids or making life easier for parents. I’m not sure I agree with this overboard generalization. Certainly my hometown of Port Washington,NY needs more daycare centers. However, if you are planning a startup to take on the big boys, ie Target, Wal-Mart et. al, you are looking for trouble.

What do you think? What is on your list for startup ideas that never work?

The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson represents startups and small businesses in New York. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 212-233-0666.

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Access to Your Archived Tweets

by Fred Abramson on January 22, 2010 · 0 comments

If you are a heavy user of Twitter, nothing is worse than trying to find an important link that is buried in your feed. Check out Twitter Archives.  If you think the interface to the Google homepage is stark, wait till you take a look at Twitter Archives.

One big problem with the site is that you cannot conduct any type of search. Let’s say that you are really ichin’ to find my post on Legal Problems of Social Networks.  You would be SOL. The site simply lists your Tweets page by page, which is still better than the Twitter website.

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Protecting intellectual property from a cyber attack is something that all companies need to be concerned about. Google recently released information about a targeted attack on their intellectual property and data that occurred in December, 2009. The attack came from China and according to Google, resulted in the “theft of intellectual property from Google.” Apparently they were not the only company that was under a cyber attacks. At least 20 other corporations were hit, including a law firm that was suing China.

Google explained the cyber attack as follows:

The route attackers used was malicious software used to infect personal computers. Any computer connected to the Internet can fall victim to such attacks.

E-mails were targeted at individuals in each company that were made to appear as that they were coming from other people at each company. They attempted to get their target to click on a link or attachment.

Potential Legal Consequences of a Breach

If your company has been subject to a cyber attack and data has been breached, your company may be subject to litigation. There have been an increase in the number of  lawsuits commenced by customers and clients whose data have been compromised. For example, there is currently a lawsuit in Pennsylvania against Heartland Payment Systems, which claims that the company waited to tell consumers about a data breach and failed to protect sensitive information.

Businesses also need to be aware of compliance laws such as Sarbanes Oxley when they lose the personal information of their customers.

Potential Legal Consequences of an Intellectual Property Breach

Cyber Attacks, like the one inflicted against Google, often attempt to steal Intellectual Property.  Trademarks, patents, copyrights and trade secrets, are big targets for cyber criminals.

What companies from selected industries can do to protect their data

  • High-tech: Need to protect source code and engineering design documents.
  • Banks and Financial Companies: Confidential customer information.
  • Pharma and Bio-Tech: Trade secrets such as research and the manufacturing of drugs.

If you have any questions or if you wish to discuss this issue further, please don’t hesitate to contact me at The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson at 212-233-0666.

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Article of the Week:

10% of Twitter users account for 90% of tweets:

The latest Law Reads:

@Turkewitz Did Sotomayor Violate NY Ethics Rules in Private Solo Practice with “& Associates” Name?

@VBalasubramani blogged: “Tony La Russa’s Legal Claims Against Twitter Look Tenuous”

Social networks increasingly leading to questionable firings

Facebook Friend Earns Judge a Reprimand

Small Businesses Take Tentative Steps Toward Online Networking (via NYT)

6 tips for landing big customers

@jowyang In the age of Twitter, blog posts start to matter more and more, see this wraup of #TWTRCON

Google giving small businesses local search data

10 Ways Twitter Will Change Business:

The Twitter Marketing Debate:

Larry Bodine: Twitter Not Effective for Law Firm Marketing

@barrettdavid: Is Twitter “Effective” for Lawyer Marketing? The “Bodine Debate” –

@glambert “Legal Marketing, Statistics and Hard Work” –

@nikiblack “Legal Tweets: Kevin O’Keefe on social media for lawyers at the “Get a Life” conference” ( )

@lancegodard My take on esq & twitter hasn’t changed but ways they use it have: via @jdtwitt

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