Web Entrepreneurs redefine city life. Fred Wilson looks at a handful of startups that are, in one way or another, influencing the way people live in cities. “But there is something new afoot in urban life,” he writes. “And it starts with the mobile phone, a computer in our pocket or purse, that is with us at all times.” Wilson cites Twitter, Foursquare, Outside.in, and Rock Solid–a startup that launched last week that allows people to report pot holes to the local authorities using a smart phone–as examples. He predicts that the market for this type of company is growing: “And we are just at the very beginning…Think about what happens when we get new interfaces on our phones that don’t require us to be looking down and typing when we we are out and about.”
Brooklyn’s cluster retail model pays off in the recession. Along the affluent stretches of Smith and Court streets in Brooklyn, entrepreneurs have spent the past decade or so building mini empires using the ‘cluster retail’ model. Rather than a successful business replicating itself in a new area, reports the New York Times, these companies are keeping it “aggressively local” by opening slightly different stores and restaurants in the same neighborhood–figuring that if you like their yoga studio, you might be willing to try their kid’s clothing boutique, and so on. By diversifying, companies can leverage their cache with residents without cannibalizing their own business, says Raymond J. Keating, the chief economist with the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, adding that in a rough economic climate, sales in one shop can mitigate losses at another.
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