The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2017 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

Pitch Coaches Teach How to Sell in the US

Logo of WSJ.com, which ran an article about pitch coachesIn a recent article (Foreign Entrepreneurs Learn Art of the American Pitch), the Wall Street Journal discussed the role of “pitch coaches” who help foreign entrepreneurs promote themselves in the US. While the article focused primarily on pitches to investors, it applies to selling one’s business to clients and colleagues, as well.

The thrust of the article is that selling in the US is different from selling in other countries. In my work with international clients, I have seen the same thing.

Here are some of the ways that pitch coaches say pitches need to be tailored to work best in the US.

Independent Contractors: Misclassification Can Be Expensive

Picture of several gold bars, symbolizing the cost of misclassifying an independent contractor

I have written several times about potential undesirable consequences of misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor. It’s time for an update.

In 2012, California Labor Code Section 226.8 took effect. That statute is directed toward willful (i.e., voluntary and knowing) misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Consequences can include the following. (more…)

A. T. Kearney: US Seen as Best for Foreign Direct Investment

Logo for AT Kearney, which publisheds study about foreign direct investment

Last week, global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney released its 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index. The major surprise: For the first time in more than a decade, senior executives in large companies chose the US as the most favorable place to make foreign direct investment (FDI).

According to Kearney, the US rose to the top for the following reasons:

  • After downturn-induced cutbacks, companies are investing in productivity-enhancing tools and equipment.
  • The dollar has weakened, while wages in developing countries have risen.
  • Most notably, China slipped to second place because increasing labor costs raise questions about the long-term attractiveness of China’s development model.

(more…)

Infographics Explain What the U.S. *Really* is Like

Interstate highway system as a subway map - sample of infographics discussed by this post

Cameron Booth’s Poster: Interstate Highway System as a Subway Map

I found a recent Quora post concerning Interesting Infographics about the U.S. quite entertaining. I realized it could be a quick way for international readers of this blog learn about Americans’ perceptions of the most important issues that they face.

The infographics address topics as diverse as: (more…)

“Giant Cock” Excluded from Apple’s App Store

Logo for Apple, which did not let Giant Cock into its App Store

Yesterday, in San Francisco, I talked to one of the many foreign attendees at the Game Developers Conference. He told me about a game he had developed, which featured a giant rooster.

In the developer’s native language, the word for “rooster” is similar to the English word “cock”, so he called the game “Giant Cock” and submitted it to Apple’s App Store. Apple rejected the game without explanation. (more…)

What is a Derivative Work, and Why should I Care?

Picture of Leonardo's Mona Lisa with mustache and goatee added by Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp’s derivative work of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa

On occasion I am asked about the extent to which a new work can incorporate elements of a pre-existing work without infringing the pre-existing work’s copyright. To answer such a question, one must understand derivative works.

17 U.S.C. Section 101 says (emphasis added):

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

(more…)

What’s in a Name? A Lot, if You’re a Corporation

Engraved portrait of William Shakespeare

In Act II, Scene II of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet wishes that she and Romeo could simply set aside their warring families, famously asking, “What’s in a name?” I thought about this question recently as I was helping a foreign client set up a corporation here in the U.S.

The foreign client is based in the U.K. It wanted to form a U.S. subsidiary with a similar name for brand-identification purposes. To avoid revealing the identity of the client, I will refer to it as “Amalgamated Widget Solutions, Ltd.” and the desired name of its U.S. subsidiary as “Amalgamated Widget Solutions, Inc.”

(more…)