Today I tweeted a little thought that we are all becoming entrepreneurs:
and then Jason asked me this:
… and here is what I think.
I think it’s great that we are entering an age where everyone can play. The richness of human life comes from the social fabric and the variety in personality and experience. When people enter a commercial world it’s impossible for their experiences, views and values not to emanate into their business. So the net result is a wider array of rich ideas and systems which can benefit real people rather than demographic aggregates. Smaller cohorts can be nimble and focus on pleasing the few. Some may even end up pleasing the many. The net result of the new low barrier world is a richer place to live in, both socially and economically.
The internet is a bit like dogs. Life moves a bit more quickly. Which is why I still laugh whenever I hear that the latest hit website is going to be the dominate force forever in that that category. As Facebook is currently being touted to be, then I love to remind the pundit just a little bit about the history of the internet.
Yahoo was search. it was game set and match, then came Google.
Myspace was social networking – it had won, apparently…
Blackbery had stitched up the hand held internet enabled smart phone market…
Geocites was the way we’d all have our own websites… then came blogging
All of which remind us how things can change ever so quickly on the intenert. This wont change, because the barriers to entry are so low. $5 an hour in India for a coder, $9.99 for a domain, $Free internet access and a wifi enabled laptop for a few hundred dollars and you’re an internet entrepreneur. Unlike TV and tradtional media outlets, anyone can play. Creativity wins, not financial resources.
The insight is that the forums people hang out in will always change, like disco’s and pubs (the web is social) – it’s also kinda Punk. Our job isn’t to predict which is the next big thing, but to learn how to use them quickly so that we can participate in a timely manner.
I was having an interesting discussion with a colleague Cris Pearson (founder of Skitch & Comic Life) about pricing models on the web – as soon I’ll be changing the rentoid model.
I asked his some advice and his response was so simple it is till ringing in my ears.He said;
The more choices you give consumers, the less likely they are to do any anything.
He then went on to say ‘choose a price’ not multiple options, to avoid decision inertia. The question for startups is – what complexity barriers have we created which stop our people from buying from us?
As an entrepreneur I’m not afraid of ‘considered’ financial risk. Just like any Plumber or Electrician would guarantee their workmanship, we must provide a satisfaction guarantee. It’s a great way to reduce purchase barriers. Something most successful brands do…. here’s a little exercise for you: Next time you a buy a household cleaning product or chocolate bar, flip it over and read the fine print and *bang* you’ll see a money back satisfaction guarantee. We must provide that too.
I’ve also done this on my latest little project Startup School. Here’s a recent conversation I had with my wife over email:
ME: Hey check out my Startup School receipt – pretty cool huh? (below is a part screen grab of said receipt)
Wife: As a law graduate of course, I would nervous about making guarantees but up to you… Like the poetry!
Me: One must embrace risk in entrepreneurial fields and guarantee work, or revenue wont happen. it’s that simple. It’s a risk I’m prepared to take.
Wife: I know….that’s why YOU’RE the entrepreneur!