Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Would Google Do?

Few weeks back I was at the airport waiting for my delayed flight. I ventured into the bookstore to kill some time. One particular title caught my attention “What Would Google Do?”. At that point I didn’t know much about the book or the author (I was too lazy to pull up the reviews on my phone). I bought the book only because of its catchy title. It was an impulse buy. It turned out to be a great read. The book was not about Google, but rather about how companies should start thinking like Google, not just to prosper but even to survive in the internet age.

Following is not a review of the book, but rather some notes that made while reading it.

Lesson: Having a catchy name for you book/business helps.

What Would Google Do?
Author: Jeff Jarvis

1. Successful online businesses allow people to do better, what they already do in real world. You just need to make it easier for them to do it.

Facebook, LinkedIn: Organizes your social network
Flickr: Organizes and shares your pictures
Craigslist: Connects sellers and buyers
Digg, Reddit: Allows you to promote what you like
Twitter: Broadcast to your friends and anyone who will listen
Yelp: Tell others how the restaurant was
MeetUp: Allows creating meet up groups of strangers
Match, eHarmony: Replaces dating agencies
HotJobs, Monster: Replaces newspaper job section

2. Platforms that enable others to build their businesses on are very powerful and successful.

Amazon, eBay: Acts as a platform for others to build their retail business on
iPhone app store: Acts as a platform for other to sell their software apps on
Ning: Thousands use it as a platform to build their own social network
Blogger, Wordpress: Acts as a platform for others to create their own blog
Facebook apps: Acts as a platform for others to build apps and sell

3. The businesses that make most money online do so by allowing others to make lot of money and retain a small portion.

Google adsense, Federated media, Facebook ads: You get money as a publisher, they get a cut
Amazon, eBay: Lets you sell, they get a cut
iPhone app store: Lets you sell, they keep 30%

4. Mobile is the next big thing. There are more connected cell phones than computers.

Twitter: was made with mobile in mind
Loopt: allows you to share based on your location

5. Internet tears down international boundaries.

Google, Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, Flickr, Blogger, LinkedIn: Made here, used globally
Zoho: Made in
India used globally

6. Niches and local products could be huge.

Baidu: Number 1 search engine in china, bigger than google in china
India only
India only, bigger than craigslist in India

7. Big ideas can be pretty simple.

Twitter: Just 140 character microblogging
Reddit, Digg: Share a link
StumbleUpon: Takes you to random websites

8: Do just one thing really well.

Digg, Reddit: Lets user share links and comments on stories
Twitter: Takes one little feature of facebook (status updates) and does it well
Wikipedia: User generated and maintained encyclopedia
Google: Best search results

The notes above are somewhat incoherent because it was something that I had scribbled for personal reference. I decided to publish it anyway because the points are absolutely valid.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

about ctrl+alt+startup

Story of a startup that didn’t know the rules.

We are you next door guys with regular day jobs. Though we are well established in our respective careers all of us have a strong common desire to start an online business and create value for our users. We have always thought about it but never really took the first steps. After talking about it for months we have decided to finally take the plunge. The only problem is that we are not quiet sure where to start.

All of us are new at this game. Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of experience in the internet space, but this will be our first attempt at a startup. If we succeed, this will serve as a guide for anyone in our situation with a desire to build an online business. If we fail, this will serve as a guide on how not to go about doing it. Either way we all learn something.

Follow us as we start out on this wild ride. Let us make the mistakes so that you don’t have to. We will need your support along the way. And remember, we don’t know the rules.