Sunday, 21 August 2011

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Sorry, This is Not the End of the PC Era [OPINION]”

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “Sorry, This is Not the End of the PC Era [OPINION]”

Sorry, This is Not the End of the PC Era [OPINION]

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 03:15 PM PDT

This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

After Hewlett-Packard’s announcement on Thursday that it planned to spin off its consumer PC unit, many were quick to pen obituaries for the PC epoch. The iPad, the thinking goes, has dealt the knockout blow to the personal computer, just as it turned 30.

No doubt there’s some truth in this. A portion of the market is heading toward a “post-PC” environment. But the masses still lag behind and probably will for some time. At the moment, the general market isn’t even close to being there. If anything, the end-of-an-era pronouncements say more about the tech blogosphere’s skewed perspective than anything else. But despite what pundits observe at cafes, Apple isn’t the dominant supplier of notebooks and a fairly small amount of the public — roughly 1% — has an iPad. HP’s exit from the market, meanwhile, actually signals that attempting to brand yourself mid-tier in the market is futile.

Post-PC? Not So Fast

First, let’s look at the numbers. Apple has sold about 28.7 million iPads since the device hit the market in March 2010. That’s an impressive figure, to be sure, and Apple is clearly dominant in the tablet PC market. But compare that to the 400 million licenses of Windows 7 that Microsoft has sold since its July 2009 release. Moreover, those iPads don’t seem to be replacements for desktop or laptop devices. Owners of iPads are “not likely to report they’re making tradeoffs on purchases,” says Sarah Rotman Epps, consumer analyst with Forrester Research, who also notes that owners tend to be “relatively wealthy individuals.”

The real problem dogging PC manufacturers such as HP and Dell isn’t the iPad or the burgeoning of the post-PC era, but a confluence of factors, including the economy, the Windows upgrade cycle (Windows 8 isn’t due until late 2012 or so) and commodification. The PC industry has suffered from the latter since the mid-’90s, but things have been stepped up of late, Epps says. HP is making a 2% to 6% margin on its consumer PCs, and getting consumers to spend more seems like folly.

In fact, this is how Apple is killing off rivals such as HP and Dell in a roundabout way: Consumers decide if they’re not going to spend the extra money to buy a Mac, they might as well get the cheapest PC they can find. The race to the bottom is one reason that HP is exiting the business.

However, concluding that just because Apple is growing market share at PC makers’ expense means that no one is buying PCs anymore is a mistake. Even if you lump in iPad sales, as researcher Canalys recently did, Windows PCs still have an 82% market share. Is that majority of the market likely to make the switch to iPads and Macs?

An Economic Argument for the PC’s Survival

If you live in New York or San Francisco, it may seem that way, but the rest of the country may not be on board for the revolution. Consumer spending per household fell by 2.8% in 2009, which was the first time that happened since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking such data in 1984. A recent report by Bernstein Research called “U.S. Telecommunications and Cable & Satellite: The Poverty Problem” points out that consumers on the lower end are often choosing between telecom services and their next meal and opting for “good enough” services like Netflix rather than pay TV. As the report goes on to explain, U.S. households at the lower 40% of income really don’t have any disposable cash. That will frustrate the growth of post-PC items like smartphones and iPads.

The other factor to consider is that, as Canalys notes, businesses are quite happy with their PCs. “We have been encouraged by the popularity of Windows 7 and the willingness of businesses to replace their install base,” said Canalys principal analyst Chris Jones in a release. “High-performance PCs are still clearly seen as a major driver of business productivity around the world.” Moreover, “few businesses had yet to replace notebooks with pads or smartphones,” the release states. Canalys expects that it will be a long time before businesses can overcome security concerns and application compatibility issues and embrace the so-called post-PC world.

The mass of consumers who are not thriving in this economy may feel the same way. When you’re pinched for cash, you start running your household like a business, scrutinizing every expense. At that point, an iPad may seem more like a luxury than a necessity and a Wintel PC may look like a great bargain.

More About: apple, dell, Hewlett-Packard, ipad, microsoft, PCs, smartphones, trending

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Google+ Begins Verification Badge Program [VIDEO]

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 02:31 PM PDT

Google rolled out a new verification badge program Saturday, making it so celebrities, public figures and those who have amassed vast numbers of people in their circles can verify their identities with a check mark and a small banner that rolls out next to their names.

According to a Google+ post from Google+ team member Wen-Ai Yu, “We're working on expanding this to more folks.” As you can see in the video, she doesn’t describe exactly how these verifications work.

The program, along with Google‘s insistence that user accounts be opened under a real name, aims to assure people that “the person you’re adding to a circle is really who they claim to be.”

Google’s Wen-Ai Yu explains:

[via CNET]

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Unconfirmed: Tweets Say Gaddafi Has Left Libya [BREAKING]

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 01:22 PM PDT

As rebels surround Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, widespread tweets are claiming Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi has left the country.

So far, NBC correspondent Richard Engel reports via Twitter that “people are celebrating … still lots of gunfire … but reports from here in Libya still unconfirmed.”

Follow the tweets at #Libya — here’s a sampling:

More About: Arab Spring, Gaddafi, libya, Revolution, twitter

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How Are People Using Twitter? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 12:37 PM PDT

Okay, I admit it. I’m addicted to Twitter. But this infographic made me feel a lot better, because it shows me that I’m not alone.

Take a look at Lab42‘s findings, all dolled up for you in an infographic that asks 500 Twitter users how they use the service, how they determine who to follow and a whole lot more.

Meanwhile, I’ll be looking for an appropriate 12-step program, and you can humor me (or add to my torment, depending on your point of view) by following me on Twitter @charlie_white.

One thing’s for sure: This is one infographic I’m going to tweet about:

Infographic courtesy Lab42, used with permission

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3 New Startup Tools For Shopping, Selling and Running

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 12:07 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Each weekend, Mashable hand-picks startups we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

This week we’ve rounded up startups that are making new tools to help you shop, sell and run more efficiently.

Dibsie is a deal shopping site that learns your preferences, Lockboxer helps with pricing, inventory and sales, and Smashrun motivates runners with rankings and badges.


Quick Pitch: Dibsie is a visually pleasant shopping deals site that learns what you like.

Genius Idea: A new take on marketing discounts.

Mashable’s Take: Dibsie catalogs discounts across industries into one image-based browsing experience. As users hover, click and like items, it learns what they like and adjusts its recommendations accordingly. Users can also follow a particular business.

Many of the deals are non-exclusive sales, but it is nice to be alerted to them all in one place.

“Unlike unwanted ads in the margin of other sites, our visitors actually opt in — and want us to use their interactions on the site to make better recommendations,” explains CEO Garren Givens. “The products — which are essentially ads — become more like content (like a constantly evolving shopping catalog).”

Businesses can easily add their own deals with a self-serve dashboard (deals are reviewed by Dibsie before they are posted). It’s free for them to post up to 100 credits of deals while Dibsie is in beta, but eventually the site will charge companies either on a per-deal basis or for an unlimited membership.


Quick Pitch: Lockboxer tells you how much your stuff is worth and helps you sell or donate it.

Genius Idea: Creating a log of possessions for insurance or moving purposes.

Mashable’s Take: At its core, Lockboxer is a price search engine. Users type in an item and the site returns both the prices it is selling for online. This functionality isn’t particularly handy, however, as the same can be easily accomplished on a site like Google Shopping, Amazon or eBay.

Lockboxer is aiming to take the process further by becoming an inventory management site for your stuff. As you look up prices, you can automatically add items to a master list. From here, you can select what you want to sell and post it directly to eBay or your social media accounts. You can also select items to donate and retain an estimate of their values for tax purposes.

Probably the most useful function of the site is a home inventory tool that encourages users to snap photos of each room in their houses and document their contents. This is something that can be done without Lockboxer’s aide, but the free site provides a template, cloud storage and prices for the items. Listing everything you own might seem low on the to-do list, but can become much more important if you need to use your homeowners insurance.


Quick Pitch: Smashrun is analytics for your running.

Genius Idea: Motivating runners with badges and rankings.

Mashable’s Take: For a relatively simple sport, running can involve a lot of data. Smashrun helps track distance, speed and duration of your runs by either connecting with a Nike+ product or inputting details about each run.

While other businesses like Runkeeper are already safely settled in a similar niche, Smashrun’s free service takes a different tone by rewarding runners with badges for milestone runs and showing them how they stack up against all other users in the database by distance, speed and frequency.

It also ranks individual runs against the user’s own history so that she knows, for instance, when she’s just run farther than ever before. Other fun data points include what day of the week and time of day a user most frequently runs and the longest break between runs.

It’s a fun way for casual runners to keep a log of their progress and share milestones.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Ed Yourdon

More About: bizspark, dibsie, lockboxer, smashrun, Startup Weekend Roundup

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HP Tablet: How to Find a Deeply Discounted HP TouchPad

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 10:55 AM PDT

The discontinued HP TouchPad continues its liquidation at fire sale prices, and the frantic search for the defunct tablet at that elusive $99.99 price is one of the trending topics on Twitter today.

Use this link to search Twitter for the latest info, or use the Twitter hashtag #HPTouchpad to get pricing and locations where the TouchPad might be available.

Another good place to keep tabs on the HP TouchPad is, where a Wiki Community Board shows you where you might be able to find a bargain. It’s a quickly changing situation, so you might want to check back often to see if there are any changes.

Alas, according to, many of the possibilities have already been exploited, with the following stores shown as sold out:

* Office Max [] (Sold Out)
* HP Home & Office – 16 GB [] (Sold Out)
* HP Home & Office – 32 GB (Sold Out)
* PC Richard (Sold Out)
* Target (Sold Out)
* Sam’s Club (Sold Out)
* Office Depot (Sold Out) (apply 942099541 for free $15 giftcard for lunch. Good for subway/panera bread/burger king)
* Walmart (Sold Out for online shipping, choose your local store to see if it’s available for instore pickup)
* MicroCenter – 16 GB(Sold Out) – Orders which were confirmed by email are being followed by cancellation emails, even in cases of ordering only 1.
* MicroCenter – 32 GB(Sold Out)
* Fry’s (Sold Out)
* J&R (Sold Out)

* Best Buy Canada (Sold Out)
* FutureShop (owned by BBY) (Sold Out)

According to the slickdeals wiki, you might have a chance at HP’s site if you call them on the phone and wait. We noticed the company was offering 16GB TouchPads for $99.99 and 32GB models for $149.99. [Update: Oops! It's now listed as out of stock, and we're hearing the HP call center is down.]

You’ll find a lot more info and tips at

Another tip: Have a live chat with other bargain hunters about availabilities and pricing of the TouchPad at

Yet another tip: Best Buy won’t be selling the TouchPad in the U.S., but is offering a full refund for those who bought the TouchPad on a 60-day policy.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve had any luck finding available TouchPads at deep discounts.

Update: Early adopters who bought the HP TouchPad at near-retail prices will be happy to know that according to WebOS Roundup, HP has agreed to refund the difference between what they paid and these ultra-low fire-sale prices.

More About: deals, HP Tablet, hp touchpad, Liquidation, trending

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How Social Media is Changing the NFL

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 09:57 AM PDT

The National Football League was founded on August 20, 1920 — 91 years ago to the day. But the sport has undergone its most radical transformation at the hands of social media in the past two years.

“Now social media is front and center for all 32 teams, and the league,” Joel Price says. “Every single team thinks it’s important.”

Price, manager of Internet services for the San Diego Chargers, wakes up to his iPad each morning and fervently scours Twitter to take the pulse of every fan, player and journalist contributing to the sometimes-cacophonous, never-ceasing chatter of the realtime web.

He’s not alone. Across the country from dawn till dusk, team social media managers, players, coaches, NFL staffers, analyst and sports journalists keep an ever-present eye and finger on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels.

Twitter Me This

What happens on Twitter in relation to the NFL becomes the subject matter on ESPN shows such as Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, NFL Live, Sports Center and others.

Even the “No Fun League” has changed its ways from a league in fear of social media to one that now seeks to use it and understand it — and help teams do so too. Case in point: We hear the NFL recently signed an agreement with brand marketing and management company Buddy Media to give all 32 teams access to better tools for making their Facebook campaigns more successful.

“The NFL is an old-school industry,” former defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans John Thornton says. “Twitter has changed everything.”

Thornton, who retired in 2008 and joined Twitter himself in March of the same year, recalls that NFL players first caught the Twitter wave in early 2009, just as Shaquille O’Neal was becoming the archetype of a Twittering athlete, Ashton Kutcher was racing for 1 million followers and the microblogging phenomenon was becoming more mainstream.

This season, says Thornton, a majority of players will have Twitter accounts, partly for personal branding, but also because teams have changed their policies. Instead of discouraging players from using Twitter, teams now tell their payers to just avoid sharing confidential information, Thornton says. “Coaches have accounts, usually under aliases,” he says,” and teams are following players to keep an eye out on what they’re tweeting.”

And if a team-related story pops on Twitter, the organization feels compelled to address it within five to ten minutes, simply because of how fast information travels, he says.

An All-Access Pass

“I’ve been working with the Chargers for 10 seasons. I’ve never seen fans more excited than they are this year,” Price says.

Price speaks of fan engagement with the team — especially via Facebook and Twitter, but also offline as well — as at an all-time high. This year, he says, fans attending the Chargers preseason practices were checking in on Facebook in droves, without being prompted to do so.

Social media, he says, gives fans unprecedented access to players, teams and members of the media.

Thornton concurs. “Social media has taken the place of autographs,” he says. “Before, you wanted players’ autographs, now you want players to say something back to you on Twitter.”

Players too can benefit from this all-access relationship; they now have the opportunity to tell their own stories. “Twitter accounts allow players to have their own personal voices,” sports media consultant Erit Yellen says.

Yellen, who previously advised the likes Shawn Merriman, Ricky Williams and Donté Stallworth, believes that social media has settled into its role. “It’s about the exchange of information,” she says. “[Social media] gives players a chance to communicate with other players in the league who they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to talk to.”

Sports media journalists too, she says, are communicating back-and-forth by way of Twitter from press box to press box, giving fans and players access to their game-day commentary and exchanges.

“More and more rookies are coming in to the NFL with a social presence,” Price adds. “They’re utilizing it to explain what it’s like to be a rookie trying to make a team.”

These first-person narratives provide followers with a different perspective of the NFL — the story of the game, as told by a doe-eyed youngster, minus the panache of an Ochocinco.

Expect even more of it in the years ahead, Price says.

What’s Next?

Price, Thornton and Yellen all agree that social media usage in the NFL will only increase with time, and there seems to be a consensus that players are slowly but surely wising up to the implications of their public tweeting. “Players understand that if they put something on Twitter that they could potentially be reported on,” Yellen says. “Mistweets,” she adds, “have gone way down.”

Price predicts even more fan engagement with teams in the year ahead. The Chargers will be pumping up the volume on their already high-volume social media activities. “Our main goal is to do more on game days,” he says.

Price is excited about the potential of Twitter’s photo-sharing and uploading tools. He believes fans are more likely to engage with a photo shared on Twitter if it’s hosted on Twitter and not on some lesser-known third-party site that they have to click to visit.

Price also talks about location-based services as the next social opportunity for teams and the league. He thinks Foursquare’s just-introduced event checkins are great for the game, but would like to see the NFL use its comprehensive knowledge on venues to better explore the intersection of location, stadiums, games and social media.

More About: nfl, social media

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Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 08:45 AM PDT

Twitter Chart Image

Twitter trends were topped by soccer (okay, football) news this week, with Jersey Shore coming in second as a result of an unusual request by clothier Abercrombie & Fitch.

Of course, Justin Bieber still appeared on the list, along with Harry Potter, a fondly remembered rock star, a special day for Brazilian dads, and even a couple of fast food joints. It was an eclectic week, to say the least.

See the full list below. Note that hashtag games and memes have been omitted from the data. You can check Twitter trends from the past in our Top Twitter Topics section.

Top Twitter Trends This Week:

Catalan midfielder Cesc Fàbregasis was presented by FC Barcelona to fans at Camp Nou, and Brazil won a game against Mexico, 2-0.
Jersey Shore (TV Show)
Abercrombie & Fitch offered a sum of money to the cast of Jersey Shore if they would stop wearing the brand’s clothes on the air.
Harry Potter
Harry Potter came back in the news mainly for the #ReplaceMovieNamesWithVoldemort hashtag game. Movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” also showed on television in Britain.
Justin Bieber
Fans of many musicians tweeted the full name of their idols, and “Justin Drew Bieber” claimed the top spot.
Jani Lane
Janie Lane, former member of Warrant, died on Aug 11, 2011, but discussion of his death lived on.
McDonalds/Burger King
People debated which was the better fast
food chain.
Drake appears on the new track “She Will” by rapper Lil Wayne.
Big Time Rush
Fans showed their love for the band by trending its name..
Twitter vs. Facebook…which is better? No Google+-related trends as of yet….
Father’s Day (Brazil)
The second Sunday in August is Father’s Day in Brazil, and people sent each other happy wishes.

Data aggregate courtesy of What the Trend.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render

More About: Top Twitter Topics, trends, twitter

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What Kind of Workspace Is Best For Your Startup?

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 07:34 AM PDT

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Startup life is all about bootstrapping, but you need a place to work, right? Here’s a breakdown of three workplace styles — home-working, coworking and traditional office space — with pros, cons and input from startups utilzing each environment so you can figure which the right choice is for you.

Working From Home

Why work from home: For those just starting out for those who are one-man bands, it makes the most sense to work from home. “There’s simply no budget for [an office], as I bootstrap the company,” says Paul Molluzzo, founder of Baby Goes Mobile, a web app that lets parents create a private baby book they can view and update from their mobile phones. “I have the space and tools — computer, cell phone and coffee machine — to get my work done, so paying for a space didn’t make sense.” Plus, digital tools like email, Skype, screenshares, smartphones and mean you can do work anytime, anywhere and communicate with just about anyone, so it’s not a must to splurge on an office. There’s also the perk of being able to take work breaks and spend time with his wife and son, says Molluzzo.

Greg Golkin, co-founder of the in-the-works social learning platform ThinkBinder, takes working from home to a new level — he lives with his coworker, Dave Lee. For them, “working from home is the most efficient situation for us to build our product — we can be machines over here,” says Golkin, explaining that the two simply “work, eat, sleep and gym, all with a constant Spotify soundtrack.” The partners actually welcome the lack of separation between work and personal life — “if we are home and not working, we do not feel comfortable, and that is great.” Plus, for nocturnal types who work late, it’s pretty convenient to be a few steps from your bed at 4 a.m. instead of having to travel home.

And let’s not forget that working from home means you don’t have to pay for office space. David Rostan, cofounder of communications startup Umagram, says that his decision to work from home (his cofounder works from his own home, so they’re remote) was financial, but “less in the ‘we can’t afford it’ sense and more in the ‘if we saved that money, we could spend it on something way more important’ way.” As his company grows, he likes the option of hiring flexibly and being able to consider job candidates from other cities and countries. He and his cofounder John meet a few times a week at a coffee shop to touch base and update one another on their respective worlds and solve problems in real-time, which helps to keep them efficient.

But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. As expected, it can be hard to maintain a work-life balance when your living room doubles as your corporate headquarters. “When your baby son and your developer are vying for your attention, it’s challenging to work the two out,” says Molluzzo, admitting that to-dos sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Another downside, not surprisingly, is that working from home can be lonely. In an office, there’s camaraderie and water cooler chit-chat. “Had I taken a spot at [a coworking space], I’d have people to go to lunch with to chat about startups and tech, which would have been nice,” says Molluzzo. “But that seems more of a luxury than a necessity.” Rostan agrees — he thinks coworking spaces can be great for networking, but he says he spends so much time on the phone that he probably wouldn’t get to network that much.

Of course, a home office can only get you so far — most homes have a capacity at which things just get chaotic and awkward. “We’ve maxed out our capacity, and we’re beginning to recruit more developers — it would be quite odd to ask them to sit on the couch to work,” says Golkin. Once they solidify the next hire, the ThinkBinder team will be moving to their own offices.

If you work from home but are finding that your digs aren’t cutting it for business meetings and interviews, you can always hit up a local coffee shop, but be sure to follow coffee shop etiquette.

Coworking Space

Coworking spaces, like General Assembly, Coloft, Dogpatch Labs, Hive at 55, COOP and CoHabitat, are used for office space by many startups.

For a small business with two to three people, coworking is a great option. The cost is much lower than traditional office space, and you have access to a lot of resources — conference room, printers, scanners, Wi-Fi, snacks, coffees — that you’d otherwise have to pay for all by yourself. And don’t forget the other coworkers who could become potential partners or clients down the road.

Dylan Goelz of Roadify works out of Hive at 55 and says he finds the coworking environment to be “a big plus.” He says his team’s focus has benefited from having other work-minded people around, and they’ve even worked with a design team a few seats away. “I’ve learned more about other types and styles of business just by walking to lunch with fellow coworkers than I would have anywhere else,” says Goelz, adding that the occasional inconvenience (not finding a seat) or distraction (laughter or loud conversations in the room) is “outweighed by efficiency, cost-effectiveness and camaraderie.”

One of Goelz’s fellow coworkers, Michelle Weiss, does systems implementation consulting online at the Hive, and though she admits she could do it from home, she comes to the shared office space because of the people. “Everyone there is working towards something, and it’s stimulating to be in that environment,” she says. So Weiss pays $150 a month to have access to the Hive two days per week.

Brian DiFeo, the Hive’s community manager, says the trend is to be professional but have a sense of humor and be ready for the inevitable group laugh or room-wide joke. Whether that’s a funny ringtone or an impromptu blast of Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” coworking can be a great way to network, make friends and have a built-in advisory board of people from many different industries. Plus, a lot of coworking spaces offer classes and seminars on new technology and tools. And of course, all of this comes without the burden and risk of finding and paying for your own office space.

Traditional Office Space

Once your startup has grown to 10 or so people, it might be time to get your own office space. And that’s a good thing, because growing is good, but getting your own office space is not without potential pitfalls.

Zozi, which sells unique experiences and activities, is headquartered in San Francisco’s Financial District and has its own pad. The startup launched in CEO and founder TJ Sassani’s house in Byron Bay, Australia, and then became a coffee-shop-based company when he moved to the U.S. Soon they had grown into a shared space in San Francisco, and finally zozi got its own office space in August 2008. (There’s also a small New York team that works out of a coworking space.)

Having their own office space really enables the various departments to communicate and work together to improve zozi and the customer experience. “We are one team, and the energy is felt by everyone in the office — that’s the gas we run on everyday,” says Sassani, who describes their office space as an open, collaborative and creative space, in which “everyone can tangibly interact with zozi’s vision everyday.” Also adding that energy are trek road cycles stashed throughout the office and inflatable sharks — things that might not fly (or float) in a shared-office space … and probably wouldn’t fit in an apartment.

Zozi’s growth is admirable and enviable, but startups should realize that getting your own office space is a big commitment. Real estate agent David Goldberg of Living NY offers some guidelines and wisdom. First, find an area that matches your companies needs and budget. In Manhattan’s Silicon Alley, for example, commercial office space varies in price from block to block — highly desirable offices near Union Square and the Flatiron District can be $35 to $50 per square foot, and it’s estimated that there should be about 100 square feet per person. Goldberg says the challenge with getting office space for a startup is that quality small office spaces (less than 3,500 square feet) are in high demand, and there’s a very low supply. Most startups anticipate growth, so your first small office likely will not sustain much growth. However, many landlords won't consider a lease that is shorter than three years, because the expenses both for landlord and tenant — lawyer fees, office build-out, vacancies and moving fees — add up. (Hence, the coworking trend.)

If you do find a space that fits your needs, you’ll likely need bank statements, the first three pages of the past two year's tax returns, and profit-and-loss statements — of course, if you’re just starting out, you might not have much of this paperwork, so you’ll need to explain to the landlord what your startup is all about so they feel comfortable renting space to a fledgling business. Then there’s the security deposit, moving fees, good-guy clause, personal guarantee and insurance — yeah, it can be a costly endeavor. Fortunately, most buildings these days are set up for Internet, phones and other business infrastructure, so you don’t have to worry about installing those modern amenities. Landlords will also often agree to build-out of a conference room or private offices if your offer is strong enough, Goldberg says. Otherwise, you can do the build-out and eat the costs. Be careful not to ask for too much work, however, which can make the landlord more hesitant to lower the rent in negotiations. One rule of thumb is that the longer the lease is, the more work the landlord will be willing to do.

Before you sign on the dotted line and start renovating, make sure that you’re truly ready for an office of your own. “The timing really should be right before you decide to move into a space and call it your own,” says Sassani.

What kind of working environment does your startup call home? Let us know in the comments below.

More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

- 15 Keyboard Shortcuts To Enhance Your PC Productivity
- 5 Services For Building Websites On A Budget
- 10 Accessories To Boost Office Morale
- Top 5 Foursquare Mistakes Committed By Small Businesses
- How To Use Social Media For Recruiting

Image via Flickr, David Wall

More About: coworking, Home office, office space, startup

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