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Crowdsourced predictions populate new website

Justin Bieber as president? Tom Cruise cloned? Steve Jobs back from the beyond to announce the launch of the "Apple iCryo?"

Anything is possible at PhutureNews, a new crowdsourced future-prediction website launched out of Montreal by technology expert and now science fiction writer Matthew Mather.

The site, featuring "the news headlines of tomorrow today," offers postings from science fiction authors, scientists, techies and other futurists, with headlines added daily by users.

Mr. Mather has put together the site in part to promote his own self-published sci-fi novel, Phuture Dawn. Mr. Mather himself studied electrical engineering at McGill University, worked for the university's Centre for Intelligent Machines, founded a tactile feedback company, later sold for millions, and has been working in a range of tech fields, from computational nanotechnology to weather prediction systems to genomics to cybersecurity, according to this recent story about him.

Sci fi and other futurist fans can submit their own story of the future here.

State of the Union and small business

What was in U.S. president Barack Obama's State of the Union address especially for small business?

Inc.Wire offers a succinct summary of five key points of interest for small businesses and entrepreneurs that it drew out of the speech, in which he called for reforms to support "the next Steve Jobs."

This posting also highlights parts of the speech with entrepreneurs in mind.

Ten marketing marvels

Every year, some marketing initiatives "hit on that winning combination of great idea, perfect timing and flawless execution," writes this piece on It offers a slide show of its picks of "10 marketing marvels of 2011," and lessons that can be drawn from them.

Telecommuting around the world

About one in five workers around the world -- 17 per cent -- telecommute frequently, 7 per cent work from home daily and 10 per cent do so frequently, on evenings and weekends, according to a new poll done by Ipsos for Reuters News, which was also reported on by Reuters.

Among the places it cited for being least popular was Canada, where 8 per cent cent of people frequently work from home. And Canadians were also among those who said they were least enthusiastic (21 per cent) about telecommuting, according to the Reputers report and the poll, which was based on a survey of more than 11,300 people in 24 countries.

The Reuters report says the arrangement is particularly popular in India, where more than half of workers are home-based, followed by 34 per cent in Indonesia, 30 per cent in Mexico, and slightly fewer proportions in Argentina, South Africa and Turkey.

Other places it is also less popular include Hungary, Germany, Sweden, France, and Italy, the report says.


The road to retailers

Wondering how your products can make the cut for retailers. Small Business BC is hosting a seminar to explore "what should take priorty in vendor sales calls to retailers," some insights into how retailers decide what they will buy for their stores, and how to prepare for a meeting witha prospective customer. The seminar takes place Jan. 26 in Vancouver and will be delivered to other locations via live video conference. For more details, click here.

Securing financing

In need of working capital? The Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development is hosting an information seminar to help entrepreneurs looking to secure financing. A panel will explore various financing options, offer insights on what those providing funding look for and discuss ways to position your business for potential investors. The session takes place Jan. 27 in Halifax. For more details, click here.


Canada is losing its entrepreneurial edge

In many ways, the words Canada and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. But something odd is happening on the road from start-up to standout. While local markets are humming with activity at the startup phase, we are lagging behind over the long term, writes Colleen McMorrow, entrepreneurial service leader and program director of the National and Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year at Ernst & Young LLP .


Telecommuting and small business

Work-at-home programs for small and medium-sized businesses was the subject of a four-part Web Strategy series back in October of last year. For a look at the pros and cons of instituting a telecommuting policy, building a case and tips and tricks for making telecommuting programs work, have a look back at the series here, here, here and here.

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