Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Times Are a Changing

Amateurs market software, pros sell software.
Back in the good old days of the internet, say between 1998 and 2002; if you had a dream and some venture capital you could found a company, hire a few friends, and play business.  That is until the money runs out and you have to file bankruptcy.  Many of those early start ups were huge vortexes of cash and bad management.  Many of them resembled fraternity houses populated with engineers and developers who attempted to have the fun they couldn’t have in college. 

There were a lot of great flame outs; Pets.com comes to mind right away.  Still in the aftermath, Amazon became the destination for one stop shopping on the internet and Google is one of the most valuable companies in the world.  This is the nature of business.  The strong survive and the weak are culled to make room for other attempts at innovation. 

I talk about this because another wave of internet companies are offering IPO’s on the stock market.  The professional marketing site LinkedIn is now said to be worth nine billion dollars.  All of that worth is investor enthusiasm; sales are but a fraction of that market capitalization.  It is easy for an amateur to look at this situation and think that they are ready for another gold rush.    
I am not an amateur. 

I have been in the trenches during the Dot.Com boom and bust.  I know what it takes to put together a good product that works on the web and mobile devices rather than in marketing presentations.  I am going to grow the business with sales and reasonable application of money.  Yes, a time will come where I will have to get some venture capital to grow the business but I want to be smart about it.  People are counting on me to manage their logistics and warehouse data.  That is trust that is earned through hard work and good engineering. 
My hope is the sales will take care of itself.  If not, I am going to be making a lot of cold calls and sending out a lot of mass e-mail.