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4 Business Tools That Make Life Easier

These apps are worthy of your attention because they will free up more time in your day.One awesome advantage about running a tech company in the San Francisco Bay Area is that I hear about--and get to try out--many of the apps and software that are just entering the market. If the tool makes me more efficient or has real potential to help a small or midsize business, I'm all ears.But a lot of the buzz around technology these days is just hype, especially now that everyone wants to be the next Instagram or Pinterest. As a business owner, how do you know which company, app, or platform is worth your attention and will help your business grow? Most entrepreneurs I know just don't have the time to try every new tool du jour.So, I thought it would be helpful for Inc.
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Stressed? Don’t Take a Vacation

Getting away may seem like the perfect solution to chronic stress, but the author of a new book says the counterintuitive truth is you're better off staying home.It's summer and the sun is shining outside your office window.Starting and running a business is hard work, so it's no surprise that you may register your stress, check out the weather, and conclude this is a great time to take a vacation.As sensible as this train of thought sounds, science suggests that the chronically stressed may be wrong in thinking that the best medicine is to get on a plane and see someplace new.That's according to John Coates, author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust. He took to Fast Company recently to explain that our hard-wired instincts when it comes to stress may actually often cause us to take actions that make the situation worse.Distinguishing between short-term fatigue brought on less than inspirational tasks and chronic stress, Coates goes on to suggest that when faced with the latter, our natural impulses often betray us. He writes:When we are mired in stress, what we desperately need to do is minimize the novelty in our lives.
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Burning Man Founder: ‘You Have to Be Very Realistic’

At the end of every summer, Burning Man brings 50,000 celebrants to the desert. It has become an institution and a valuable business.Founded in 1986, Burning Man is an annual weeklong event in Nevada's Black Rock Desert at which some 50,000 people build a temporary city and celebrate with art, music, and a burning of a 40-foot effigy known as "the Man." Created by Larry Harvey, it has become an institution and, as it happens, a valuable business. As told to Issie Lapowsky.I suffer from an excess of idealism.
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Apple will reportedly overhaul iTunes, says report

According to Bloomberg, Apple is reportedly planning to overhaul iTunes, citing an overhauling that would mark as one of the biggest ever to the store since it’s debut in 2003. Sources with direct knowledge of Apple’s plans allegedly told the publication that the changes will be announced before this year ends. Sources added that Apple will integrate its iCloud service with iTunes so that users can seamlessly access and manage their music, videos, and apps across different iOS devices.
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Social Media-Connected Teens Seek Time Offline [STUDY]

Today's American teenagers are digital natives -- connected to the Internet since youth. About 75% of 13 to 17-year-olds have personal social networking accounts. Since 2008, there has been a huge spike in teenage connectivity; only 59% of teens were on social media four years ago. Despite seeing "racist, sexist and homophonic content" online, teenagers view social media networks positively
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3 Great Things I Learned at Starbucks

I used to hate dropping cash at the coffee giant. Now I love it. Here's what the retail star has taught my company.A few weeks ago, I was stranded in the airport in Atlanta, and found myself in search of one thing: a Starbucks.It was a little surprising: I used to hate Starbucks, or at least what I thought it stood for. I grew up on Dunkin Donuts (I'm still a fan), and the thought the idea of saying 'venti' instead of 'large' was annoying on many levels
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Report: Best States for Small Business

A new survey of more than 6,000 small businesses determines which areas are most inviting for entrepreneurs.How business-friendly is your state? A new study offers some answers.In partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, conducted a survey of over 6,000 owners of small businesses (most with 5 or fewer employees) throughout the U.S..The survey focused on how small business owners viewed the economic climate and overall environment facing them in their specific regions. Business owners were asked to rate their cities and states across a number of different categories that affect the success of small businesses. Their responses were then converted into numerical scores and ultimately each region was assigned a grade--A+ through F--for each category in the survey.Best & Worst StatesWhen the results were in, it turned out that business owners ranked Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma and Utah as the friendliest states for small companies
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Microsoft announces new Surface tablet

At a special event this afternoon in Los Angeles, Microsoft fulfilled the rumors and unveiled their new tablet, called the Microsoft Surface.The Microsoft Surface tablet weighs 1.5 lbs and sports a 10.6-inch Gorilla Glass display, edges beveled at 22 degrees, a 9.33mm magnesium case, USB 2.0 and DisplayPort for high resolution displays.The Microsoft Surface tablet will come in a number of flavors, including those that run Windows RT and a version with an Intel chip that will run the full desktop Windows 8 OS.That version, which has a higher-res display called "ClearType," is a "full PC," said Microsoft Corporate VP Michael Anguilo.
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Launching a Business With Dad

What happens when your co-founder is your father? Entrepreneurs explain the best and worst parts of running a family business--and how mom always gets called in to settle disputes.In 1997, Steve Heinz decided to sell the business that he had founded 17 years earlier, EnergyCAP, which makes software for managing utility bills.The buyer? Enron.Five years later, after Enron had gone belly-up, Steve rescued the business from bankruptcy court."I picked up the pieces of my business, so to speak,” he says.
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