Entrepreneur Corner: Spying on employees and evaluating partnerships

Here’s the latest from VentureBeat’s Entrepreneur Corner.

Where are the lines in employee surveillance? – Hollywood shows companies spying on their employees all the time, but in the real world, it’s something that can land you in a world of trouble. Attorney Curtis Smolar runs down the legal cans and can’ts of keeping tabs on your employees – even when you suspect them of stealing trade secrets.

5 ways to boost your freemium conversion rates – The freemium business model is hardly new, but convincing customers to convert from a free version to a paid model is an area where most startups struggle. Ivan Koon, CEO of YouSendIt, offers five tips to bosst your conversion rate above the industry average.

Entrepreneurship is an art, not a job – Owning a brush and canvas doesn’t make you Picasso – and serial entrepreneur Steve Blank argues that having modern theory and tools don’t necessarily make you an entrepreneur. While advances in startup theory have cut the number of failures significantly, he says, founders still need an internal drive and characteristics that no tool can replace.

7 things to consider when evaluating a business partnership – Business partnerships can be a big boost to a start-up (as well as form the base for an eventual acquisition). But to make the most of them, entrepreneurs need to establish the relationship early on. Steve Fredrick, general partner with Grotech Ventures, gives seven suggestions on how to accomplish this without offending your potential partners.

Innovation can’t be taken for granted – The evolution of business – both start ups and established firms – has created companies that are short-sighted and settle for mild advances rather than true innovation, says Jlabs CEO Judy Estrin, in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture. Ultimately, that’s something that’s resulting in economic problems and hurting the quality of our day-to-day lives.