One of my primary career goals is to promote entrepreneurship in developing nations and all around the world. I love how entrepreneurs can change the world and I think the world needs more people who think positively about what they can do to make a difference and fewer people who sit back and wait for the government or for their company to provide something for them to do. It's easier to "make meaning" (Guy Kawasaki) when you start your own enterprise.
I am fascinated by IT Conversations. This is an audio service using podcasting to deliver up to 140 megabytes of audio "conversations" daily with IT experts. The founder has a very useful service and apparently a large number of users.
Now he is asking for his customers to help him find a business model that will keep the service alive.
Guy Kawasaki says in business, before you think about money, you should think about "making meaning." You should want to change the world and make it a better. I don't know anyone who does this better than Google.
Yesterday I spent time looking at internet marketing tools (I've purchased and used several over the years). I decided that Web Position Gold's web site is perhaps the cleanest and crispest single product ecommerce site that I can ever remember visiting. The layout, design, formatting, and copy is so well done.
Question for readers: what other single product ecommerce sites do you think accomplish their purpose superbly? And why are so few web sites laid out so well?
I've been fortunate in my career to have a business partner, Dan Taggart, who is an expert salesman. In the early 90s, every computer and bookstore that he visited agreed to carry our products. As a telemarketer he is superb. Once when our in-house sales reps were only closing about 20% of incoming calls (to upgrade to our newest CD ROM product), to demonstrate how it should be done, he took 17 consecutive calls and closed 100% of them.
I found a web site with 50 interesting and free financial calculators, very simple tools that let you calculate annual returns, compounded interest, loan payments, etc. Very useful for financial planning.
Another site, Dinkytown.net has more than 150 calculators (and a way to put them on your own site).
Yahoo has announced that it will be giving away a free version of X1, the desktop search engine from Idealab! starting next year.
This is a brilliant move. In May I blogged about Google's free desktop search and what a threat it posed to Microsoft:
"When Google offers its free download, I'm not sure X1 will have a prayer, unless Microsoft buys X1 and starts giving its tool away for free to compete with Google."
I bought the book The Genius of China after Joseph Schoendorf from Accel Partners (who had just returned from China) recommended it at the AlwaysOn conference at Stanford University this summer.
I'm working my way through this fascinating history. In the section on Agriculture, author Robert Temple claims:
In 1997, Infobases Inc. (a company I founded with Dan Taggart) had more than 150,000 customers. Powered by search engine technology from Folio Corporation, we distributed libraries of valuable reference material (primarily religious and educational content) on CD ROM.
In 1997 we exited this CD ROM business to build Ancestry.com. Since that time, CD ROM sales overall seem to have been in a steep decline as more and more content and customers have turned to the web to access information.