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twitter-twestival.jpg Ever doubt the power of Twitter or wonder what exactly its purpose is? Those still skeptical should take a look at Twestival, a global event that took place yesterday. Volunteers organized the events in 185 cities in a mere three weeks, tweeters tweeted about the events to get the word out and countless numbers gathered on the day of in cities across the globe--from Shanghai to Taipei to Brisbane.

And at the center of it all was charity:water, a non-profit organization that aims to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations by funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need. The mission: to raise $1 million for a very global cause.

jasonmask-friday-13th.jpgDon't look now but it's Friday the 13th. The dreaded unluckiest of days--something to do with the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. People still act weird when the 13th, which we have every month, lands on a Friday (but people are acting weirder all the time now, so it's getting harder to distinguish).

On the 13th, they go out less. They make fewer decisions. And they shop less. Estimates range from $800 million to $900 million on the hit the economy takes on Friday the 13th. That's a lot of inactivity for a centuries-old superstition to cause.

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red-queen.jpgWhen the economy is booming and cash is easy to come by, anyone can throw up a shingle and find some success. But it's times like these that truly weed out the underperformers. At the end of this recession, only those with the best plans, backup plans and survival strategies will be left standing. Those lucky few can take a lesson from nature.

In honor of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday anniversary, we remember that both in business and in evolutionary biology, it's all about the survival of the fittest and adapting to the ever-changing economy.

restaurants-love.jpgFebruary 14 is typically a great date for restaurateurs, who rank the evening among the most profitable of the year. In fact, despite the recession, nearly half of the people surveyed for the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey plan on dining out for the special occasion.

So when Valentine's Day falls on a weekday, it's a blessing; but when it falls on Saturday--a popular night already--as it does this year, it's more like a blow to the bottom line.

retail-up-hopes-down.jpgContrary to other reports, the U.S. Commerce Department today reported that the nation's retail sales actually rose 1 percent last month compared to December. Sales for January--reported to be $344.6 billion--were actually down 9.7 percent compared to the first month of 2008, however.

Still, some good news was seen in car and auto parts sales (up 1.8 percent month-over-month), electronics and appliances (up 1.6 percent), clothing (1.6 percent), groceries (2.2 percent) and gas (2.6 percent).

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One of the many mantras you'll hear from the experts around here is that you should never stop marketing. No matter how much or how well you think you've made your point, there's always room for something more or something new to keep your product or service in the minds of potential customers. You want proof? I give you the Gillette and its indestructible uber-razor, the Fusion.

The Fusion comes in many forms: the Power, the Phenom, the Gamer. They're all just superficial improvements to the five-blade product, which by all indications has been killing the competition for some time now. Just when you thought Gillette might never stop adding blades (a Saturday Night Live parody commercial touted a 13-blade version), it appears the company's finally perfected the disposable razor. But a new TV ad seems like a classic case of "Be careful what you wish for."

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I have a confession. I've never twittered. Or tweeted. Dang, I'm not sure which I haven't done. You tweet on Twitter. Can you twitter, also?

That little confession right there is the perfect tweet, at least as far as I know: It's exactly 140 characters, which is the maximum allowed by Twitter, and I didn't have to use LOL or ROTFLMAO once. OK, maybe those aren't the best criteria for the perfect tweet, but it's not bad for a first try--and, truth be told, it's not even a tweet. It's merely 140 characters in this blog entry. Don't judge me too harshly if I don't seem to have my tweet on, cuz, like I said, this is my first try.

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The American Small Business League has expressed concern that the U.S. Small Business Administration will continue to bow to big rather than small business as President Obama takes the reins of federal government largesse.

Under President George W. Bush, the SBA funneled billions in federal business to large corporations such as Lockheed Martin, even though the SBA is supposed to benefit small business with loans and government contracts.

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The retail sector continued to slide in January, with Retail Metrics Inc.'s monthly report noting a 1.8 percent decline in same-store sales compared to December. It's the fourth month in a row of sales decreases in the report.

Excluding Walmart and drug stores, the Metrics report's same-store sales number is actually down 7.3 percent. Department store sales dropped 11.2 percent and specialty apparel retailers saw a 12.2 percent decline in same-store sales.The biggest loser was department store Saks Fifth Avenue, which saw a 23.7 percent decline in same-store sales last month.

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To nobody's surprise, jobs data from the Labor Department show January to be the worst month for job losses since 1974, which nudged the unemployment rate up to 7.6 percent, worst since 1992.

Projections for January's job losses had been in the 524,000 range. Preliminary numbers show the total to be 598,000. To make matters worse, the November and December numbers were revised downward. The January total is easier to understand when you consider 60,000 jobs were slashed January 26 alone.

vidtel.jpgAshley Biever contacted me last week. Biever is media relations for Vidtel, a video communications service provider.

And she's sneaky.

The subject of her e-mail was "Trying to buy a baby to put to work on blog.entrepreneur.com," referencing a previous entry of mine here on The Daily Dose. In her message, she added, "I know it's not a watch phone, but still cool for entrepreneurs," a reference to another recent entry.

My, how she played to my ego.
baseball-bargain.jpgBack in Decmeber when the Yankees spent (in your best Dr. Evil voice) $340 million to sign CC Sabathia and...some guy who used to play for the Angels whose name I can't recall (or spell, I'm guessing...not that I can remember it to begin with), you saw a lot of tongue-in-cheek stories about how baseball must be immune to the effects of the struggling economy.

It was easy to be cynical about the signings, and they were used as an excuse to bash baseball's frequent and often blatant excesses. But a closer look at what has (or hasn't) happened since seems to suggest that, as with life, baseball's a pretty good metaphor for our economic woes.

fakebookcovers1.jpgEveryone has down time at a desk job. And you can't always build a fort out of your cubicle, as it's a little obvious to your co-workers (believe me, I've tried). So, you end up finding alternate ways to entertain yourself.

Some spend their down time aimlessly Googling their own name. Others play online Scrabble. A few run their own small website or blog.

I, however, do all three.

Roughly two weeks ago, T-Mobile UK aired a commercial featuring a flash mob taking over a train station with a smartly choreographed dance routine. Saatchi & Saatchi created this brilliant video, earning an impressive viral following.*



In spite of tough times--or perhaps because of them, as a recent study suggests--creativity is on the rise. The Creative Group found that 40 percent of marketing and advertising executives surveyed believed leaner budgets resulted in more innovative campaigns, and T-Mobile's new "Life's for Sharing" ad series certainly lends credence to the theory.

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It's important not only to keep tabs on how President Barack Obama's proposed stimulus plan could affect your business, but also to remember how emerging from the recession victorious could itself be a huge boost to your business: nothing builds credibility faster than wrestling and winning in the throes of the "Great Depression II."

Heartening to hear is that several benefits for entrepreneurs come with the package. But, as the president has said, it's "going to take all of us" to improve the economy. One small but necessary step is making sure you know what's coming to you in the stimulus package and how to use the help wisely to prop up, improve or keep your business afloat. So, if you aren't already, start casting your eye toward that galaxy not-so-far away: Washington, D.C.