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
    Jamie, 18 May 2007 @ 7:45am

    Actually the low cost allows both

    "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."

    There are a lot of stupid ideas that have become very popular, but that never would have been implemented in the first place if the internet didn't make it cheap. Many of those ideas have become quite profitable without being really all that useful. I am thinking of sites like MySpace and Twitter that really serve no real useful purpose but are quite popular right now. While the popularity lasts they can make a lot of money. But since they serve no true purpose beyond enterntainment, when they lose their popularity they will simply die out.
    Even stupid or purposeless ideas can be fun for a while. The internet allows a lot of those stupid ideas to come to market.

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