Category Archives: Current Affairs

Now Lets Hold Both Parties Accountable for What They Do to Small Business

Those of you who were reading my blog posts four years ago might agree with me that I wrote too much about politics for a blog about small business. I hope you noticed I was quiet on politics for the 2012 election. That was on purpose. 

Now, however, with the election over, and congress divided into a Democrat-led Senate and a Republican-led House, I say let’s all — you me, our friends, families, and people we influence — join together in holding both parties responsible for what they do about taxes, brinkmanship and the fiscal cliff. 

The best thing I’ve seen about policy and small business since the election is Sarah Needleman’s WSJ.com post today, Obama Victory Brings Clarity for Small Firms. She clarifies with a simple, practical list. Taxes, fiscal cliff, government spending, access to capital, jobs, energy, and net neutrality. Nobody is saying election campaigns clarify anything all that much, but still, a lot was said. 

On taxes, for example, we know what President Obama said: raise taxes on taxable income over $250,000. I like her summary:

Whether the president succeeds will depend on whether he wins congressional approval

Amen to that. On taxes we need leadership, not talking points. Do you agree? We need people in power caring more about what’s best for the country than what’s best for their party. And I don’t know about you, but for my part, I’m not sure what’s best in this area. It’s no place for knee-jerk reactions. 

Regarding the fiscal cliff, here’s her summary: 

The so-called fiscal cliff was created last year in negotiations between Congress and Mr. Obama to lift the federal debt ceiling. It means that tax increases and deep spending cuts are set to take effect at year-end—that is, unless lawmakers and the White House can agree on a new deficit-reduction plan.

Both Democrats and Republicans have said they want to avoid much of the spending cuts, but they haven’t succeeded yet in determining how to replace them.

Wow, that’s putting it mildly. No mention of brinkmanship, posturing, and partisan politics. No mention of the very real danger that the people in charge of this put party politics ahead of what’s best for the country. Can they actually believe that crashing the economy justifies some political end. 

I say today that all of us — that’s business owners, small business, large business, and in fact all citizens — should hold the politicians accountable for their priorities. Let’s watch who does what, in detail, and call out any of them that doesn’t put the country first. That’s what they were elected to do. 

Rebelmouse: New Social Media Curation Site

Please join me in congratulating Paul Berry (@teamreboot on Twitter) on today’s launch of RebelMouse. Jay Yarow just called it “a combination of the biggest social publishing platforms on the web” in his post about it on Business Insider this morning, and I guess that’s a pretty good description. A picture is even better, so here’s the front page of my Rebelmouse site as it appears this morning:

The idea is that Rebelmouse is my curated content, meaning links, tweets, and updates I’ve made or liked or retweeted, so it’s automatically my site that reflects who I am in social media and what I like. I love it. 

Disclosure: Paul Berry is my son. 

New Game: Social Media Snooping vs. Social Media Cleansing

The other shoe dropping: Business Insider posted This Company Will Expose All Your Most Embarrassing Online Moments a few days ago. It’s about a service company that helps employers by doing a social-media online background check on a potential employee.

It was more than two years ago that I first saw a business plan for a social media cleaning service, meaning a company that would clean up all those dumb and embarrassing things college kids posted on Facebook, when they wake up to the job market and the implications. (Aside: that one was done by Kai Davis, who is now doing marketing for Palo Alto Software).

My favorite comment in this context:

What part of the word publishing don’t you understand?

I’m traveling as I write this, waiting for my car to get new brakes while on a driving trip to California. While I was driving this morning I heard a major radio station commercial for a social media cleaning service. Sorry, I forget its name, I’d like to mention it.

So the contest is on: the social media scraping service, telling your next employer every dumb comment and picture you posted online; vs. the social media cleaning service, helping you get all of that off of the web.

Shall we take bets? Who wins?

(Image: heal the bay/Flickr CC)