Monday, December 5, 2022

It’s Whamaggedon Season Again…

If you are currently a participant in “Whamageddon,” do NOT click on this link. If you don’t know what Whamageddon is, it is a viral contest that has become popular every holiday season. The basic rules, which can be found here, involve trying to avoid hearing Wham’s “Last Christmas” (the original, not a cover) from December 1st through December 24th each year.

Under the “official” rules, you aren’t supposed to deliberately send your friends to “Whamhalla” (where participants go each year once they have heard the song). However, the Wikipedia page suggests that you could send someone a “Wham-bomb” by setting their smart device to play “Last Christmas” as an alarm on December 1st! Sometimes, people play with other songs, like Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous “All I Want For Christmas is You” or, in New Zealand, "Snoopy's Christmas."

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Allure of a Family Business

I recently attended an event where the former CEO of a well-known company discussed what it is like to run a family business. The first thought that went through my head was “wow, if all the members of my extended family owned a business together it would be an absolute disaster!”

While I still whole-heartly agree with that statement, I also got to thinking about many of the benefits that would come from being part of a family business. Of the people I know who are actively involved in a family business, which is surprisingly a lot when I stop to think about it, almost all of them have commented on the sense of purpose that they get from their work.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Kevin Starr, California: A History (New York: Modern Library, 2005).

Forty years ago, I had just graduated from a law school that is part of a private research university in what is now known as Silicon Valley. At the time, this was a somewhat sleepy area, tucked among the wealthy southern suburbs of San Francisco but devoid of much industry—except for Hewlett-Packard, located just southeast of campus on Page Mill Road, which made hand-held calculators for engineering students.

I now wonder at the personages among whom I lived at the time, and occasionally ponder what might have happened if I had invested my law school tuition with some of the startups occurring all around me. Frequently, after this painful exercise, I consider what it was about the area that was so conducive to entrepreneurial activity in the early 1980s. Here’s where Kevin Starr, in his California: A History, has much to contribute.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Pickleball Just Keeps Getting Bigger

Frequent readers of my entreVIEW posts (a small but loyal group, no doubt) may recall that earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time before vaccination had become widely available, I wrote this post about my budding enthusiasm for Pickleball. My post detailed how Pickleball had become widely recognized as a perfect “pandemic pastime” and was showing explosive growth as the fastest growing sport in the US. I also detailed some Pickleball-related entrepreneurial ventures.

While I have become a true Pickleball enthusiast and continue to play regularly (having taught at least 50 Pickleball virgins to play), I couldn’t have anticipated that Pickleball was going to rapidly become such big business! I recently saw this article, which details a whole bunch of ways that my new favorite sport (my old favorites are still volleyball and slalom waterskiing) is becoming big business. There are dozens of new companies selling paddles and accessories, hundreds of venues opening around the country, technologists developing software to facilitate Pickleball enthusiasm (court finders, scoring assistants, and even “Tinder-like” apps designed to help you find Pickleball playing partners), along with tournaments and professional Pickleball.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Copyright Licensing – Why You Should Read the Fine Print!

The world of copyright is full of potential pitfalls for new businesses. While a large, established business may have the resources to generate all of its creative works (photos, advertising copy, manuals, videos, packaging, software, website code, etc.) in-house, most businesses will at some point or another have to use material that has been created by a third party. How can an entrepreneur avoid running afoul of someone else’s rights?

The internet has made creative works more accessible than ever before. We have access to what sometimes seem like infinite resources. However, this accessibility has in some ways made the exercise of identifying what is and isn’t okay to use even more difficult and has popularized some common misconceptions about copyright.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

I’m From the SEC, and I’m Here to Help!

Most entrepreneurs (okay, actually pretty much most people) don’t typically think of industry regulators as their friends, but the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation is here to change that!

Let’s take a moment to conceptualize the SEC for most entrepreneurs and start-ups: they’re the ones that burden you with those complex (and pricey!) registration requirements for offerings of your securities, and those pesky licensure requirements for anyone who wants to help you sell them. Yeah, yeah, there are a number of exceptions, but if you miss a step or try to get too creative, the SEC may be waiting with sanctions, penalties, or hefty fines (just ask Kim Kardashian what Section 17(b) of the Securities Act has to say about undisclosed payments for touting a security). And trying to do everything by the book generally requires filing of multiple notices and sometimes ongoing reports, all of which can get complicated and run up expenses and legal fees. So yeah…entrepreneurs might not think of the SEC as their best friend.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

First CCPA Enforcement Action by the California AG – Lessons Learned

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and other new state data privacy laws are set to take effect in 2023. If you needed an incentive to review your compliance obligations, the California Attorney General recently provided one in its $1.2 million settlement of an enforcement action under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), upon which the CPRA expands. Anyone with an e-commerce website should take heed.

Summary of the Enforcement Action. According to the California AG, Sephora, a French cosmetics brand, failed to disclose to consumers it was “selling” (a broadly defined term under the CCPA) their personal information; failed to honor user requests to opt out of sales via a user-enabled Global Privacy Control; and failed to cure these violations within the 30-day period allowed by the CCPA. In addition to the settlement amount, Sephora promised to report to the AG on its changes to its privacy regimen for a period of two years.