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Look who’s in the Cool Company Awards for 2009

The nominations are coming in thick and fast, female involvement is close to reaching an all time high (as posted previously) and, next week, mobile billboards will be hitting major CBDs (thanks to your input). However, one or two trends have emerged that have surprised me.

Forget India. Silicon Valley tech firm outsources to Australia (thanks to vampire-programmers)

Australia’s IT industry received a shot in the arm this week when Silicon Valley firm GitHub spurned its selection of local providers - some of the world’s biggest hosting companies - in favour of Sydney web developers Anchor. Why? Anchor founder Andrew Rogers cites the vampiresque habits of programmers.

Does this company deserve $100k in seed funding? Heck, yeah!

Australia's richest business plan competition, offering $100,000 for one savvy Australian business, reached its conclusion at the Queensland State Library in Brisbane last Wednesday night. Does this company deserve $100k in seed funding? Heck, yeah! Now watch the clip.

Your votes are in. So what was Australia’s dumbest business decision for 2009?

Clearly, iSnack 2.0 and Westpac's banana smoothies left a strange taste in your mouth, while Mars and the Liberal Party delivered a wrong'un with their spin. Readers who don't take the world too seriously agreed with our pre-emptive request (to not take the report too seriously), while Virgin's black email generated enough annoyance to equal the sinking of Storm. Jackson Jive shimmied in to score your number eight vote, while the social media attempts of the big brands to attract your clicks failed to inspire you (once again). The Myer float scored the least votes at number 10 (perhaps due to the number of people who now own their own special parcel of this prestigious accolade).

Crowdsourcing crisis: Should 'Idea Bounty' be renamed 'Discount Idea Store'?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here at Anthill, we've taken a particular interest in the evolving concept of crowdsourcing, and specifically the growing practice of companies sourcing creative ideas and designs from the crowd online. Crowdsourcing is a bone of contention in the Anthill community. For yet another view, here we publish the thoughts of Paul Cornwell, Partner at creative agency BCM Partnership, on Unilever's recent use of crowdsourcing website Idea Bounty to source creative ideas for its Peperami brand.

Kiss and sell: Will Chinese demand transform Australia's cane toad problem into a princely...

A Queensland entrepreneur is hoping Chinese demand will solve one of northern Australia’s most pressing natural problems: cane toads.

The iPad vs the Tablet PC vs the Notebook: Which one will come out...

With the release of the iPad 2 earlier this month, all signs indicate the tablet is here to stay. Yet some disenchanted users (and their sore fingers) are ditching tablets for the no-nonsense notebook. Stephan Lange assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each and predicts which models will fare the best with consumers.

Debate rages at Mumbrella/Anthill Online Marketing by Design in Sydney last night — #mumhill...

There were plenty of great insights and conversations shared about marketing and social media at last nights Online Marketing By Design event held at the Shelbourne Hotel in Sydney, co-hosted by Mumbrella and Anthill Magazine.

Google’s top searches reveal glaring hole in small business planning: Backup

Possibly the least sexy aspect of running your own business, backup and data security are nonetheless fundamental to the operation of any enterprise. Think about it: what would happen if you lost all your files and contacts? Catastrophe, for sure – but this won’t ever happen to you, right?

Website(s) of the week: Students locked up until they built 6 web startups from...

The idea of locking a bunch of creative people in a room until they have hammered out a plan for a new business is not new. In fact, it's been done at Mixer events around the world for a number of years. But the concepts - which tends to engender a form of Stockholm Syndrome in entrepreneurs held hostage by market problems - always seems to churn out interesting formative business. They might not always go on to become the next Google, but the process illustrates the power of focused collaboration.

The value of entering awards for small business

Every year, whether they are successful or not, entrants in business awards programs sing the praises of just completing the process. Johanna Baker-Dowell reflects of a year of commercial self-discovery.

Freaky 'Face Bank' teaches children frugality and fear

Take this "Face Bank", which gobbles down each coin with ghoulish realism. The original model had eyes, but (perhaps moved by reports that it was inspiring night terrors in children) the makers updated it last year, removing the eyes and adding a nose, Easter Island style.

Website of the Week: Toxel – the inspiration station

Repetition is the enemy of creativity. How often have you begun the day with a grand vision for progress and change, only to end it with the nagging feeling that you’ve done much but achieved little? Time to get inspired.

Why wasn’t my business in the SMART 100?

Every year, we receive a handful of requests from disappointed business owners seeking a reason why their innovation didn't make it into the SMART 100. This year, we've decided to take the most efficient and least painful approach and attempt to answer this question by way of blog, by providing four of the most common reasons.

Nicholas Molnar and Simon Molnar, 2015 Anthill 30under30 Winners

What is the 30under30? 30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our...

Let’s create a movement to remove the words ‘social media’ from the business lexicon.

Too often in the past, the term 'social media' has been peddled as a panacea for whatever commercial problems 'ail ya', with the zest of a spiritual healer or snake-oil salesman. Is it any wonder that 'social media' experts were so quick to adopt the descriptors 'guru' and 'evangelist'?

Twitter is suing me!

Under this intensified pressure, is Twitter - the poster child of everyone's-invited, it's-fun-to-share, revenue-will-come-later, progressive web culture - becoming tetchy and litigious?

Will hoarding followers only drain Twitter's power to work for us?

Twitter taps into our need to collaborate and to collect. But the compulsion to build a long list of followers can throw those needs out of balance. One solution: Replace the follower count with something that truly measures our Twitter influence.

What do you do to make your company look bigger than it really is?

Some of the best startup concepts fail to gain funding or traction from customers simply because the entrepreneur behind them doesn’t do enough to present the opportunity in the best light. As a result, the buyer, venture capitalist or distributor sitting across the table doesn’t warm to the idea and it falls over. I learnt this lesson the hard way.

Are you ready for people to see your business stark naked?

Do you know where your favourite coffee shop sources its beans? What about the fat and sugar content of your breakfast cereal? Or how about the environmental standards of the paper you use in the office? Well duh, of course you do. And no, I'm not setting out here to judge your choices, but rather to point out that you probably wouldn’t have had that information 20 years ago. Times have changed and your business is about to be exposed.
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New Zealand’s Xero eyes US IPO, further disruption as subscribers increase...

Xero recently held its annual meeting in Wellington, during which the company revealed some interesting details about its future. As has been widely suspected, the...