Internet Economics: Making Stupid Ideas Cheaper To Bring To Market

from the make-it-up-in-volume dept

One of the great things about the web is the speed with which it allows new products and services to be brought to market. Another is that it can allow for them to be brought to market very cheaply -- and while that can reduce the risk involved in launching new ventures, it still helps to have a good idea if you want to be successful. In this vein, The Wall Street Journal's Lee Gomes takes a look at Guy Kawasaki's newly launched site, Truemors, which is supposed to be a repository for people to share "true rumors" they hear. It was quickly overrun with spam, but it looks like things are under control on that front now. The problem, as Gomes notes, is that the site seems rather pointless -- but he says that Kawasaki admits that. He adds that he's spent "only" $12,000 on the site (which some might say seems like an awful lot for a Wordpress install), a paltry sum to risk for a chance to earn millions should Truemors take off. Gomes sums things up by calling Truemors a $12K lottery ticket, and noting that even if it fails, it will give Kawasaki fodder for his career as a paid speaker. It's interesting to contrast that tale with that of Gabe Rivera, the creator of TechMeme and some other sites. Rivera has done all the work on TechMeme and his other sites himself, with no staff and no funding, and is seeing a lot of success. The key difference between his efforts and Truemors is that something like TechMeme actually serves a useful purpose, and could be referred to as "a good idea". Kawasaki may brag that the economics of the internet have reduced the cost of bringing a "stupid idea" (as he puts it) to life from $5 million to $12,000 -- but that's of little concern if it's still a stupid idea. It's the reduction in cost of bringing the good ideas to market that's important.

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  1. identicon
    Tom O'Leary, 18 May 2007 @ 7:32am

    It's his name, not his idea

    The only reason that Trumers is getting any coverage is because of the Kawasaki brand behind it. 12,000 dollars is a lot of money to build a crap site. As an example, I recently put together a social network for golfers for 20 different regions in the US and Ireland - The only thing I spent was some time (using WordPress and Ning to develop the sites).


    Perhaps even more important to note is that I developed these social network communities with zero programming aptitude. It doesn't take 12,000 USD to build a business today. It doesn't even take much technical knowledge. You can actually get it started for nothing but time.

    Sure, if something designed in this matter actually did take off, it would probably require some real money and tech skills to scale it effectively, but it's easier to invest time and money in something when there is some initial evidence that it will actually gain traction.

    Of course, my site will not get the necessary coverage to make it an instant success and will probably require some clever marketing efforts to build the communities - because, well, I'm not Guy Kawasaki.

    All the best


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