Marketing 101 : Ten Guidelines for Building an Internet Company in 2002
Last updated: 6/16/2002; 10:22:22 AM
 
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Marketing 101 : Ten Guidelines for Building an Internet Company in 2002

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We’ve all thought about building Internet companies – even in this post dot com collapse era.  There is still real value in online businesses but it isn’t the radical, world shaping thing that we thought it was from 95 - 2000.  It’s just business.  Here are some guidelines for building an Internet company in 2002.

NOTE: I know that the title of this is 10.  And the quantity is 12.  Once again I got carried away.

  1. Treat People Well.  (Note – I am ex-Dot Commer so I do have the right to say this).  Dot coms were notorious for their ability to abuse their staff.  I saw this first hand and it was just plain repulsive.  When you build any business, Internet or not, you need to treat people well.  This includes staff, customers, partners and suppliers.  Oh… And did I treat my people well?  Take a peek and see their feedback to me.

  2. Physical Before Virtual.  While the speed with which a virtual company can move is just plain FAST, anything in the physical world takes real time.   You need to build this into your schedules and recognize that as fast as you want to move – the world may well not accommodate you.  Figure in that you need to do the physical before the virtual.  And take whatever amount of time you allocate for the physical?  And increase it by 50%.  We all underestimate.  Each and every one of us.

  3. Relationships take Time and Work.  If you have any illusions about succeeding with someone else’s help like a partner or supplier, bear in mind that these things take time.  This is particularly true when working with large firms and government agencies.  It all takes time.  And it takes work. 

  4. Partnerships Only Work if Both Parties Make Money.  A huge number of dot coms were based on the precept of the dot com reaping extraordinary margins on the backs of others.  Yes this does work a few times (think ebay still, AOL selling ads during the height of the madness).  But it’s very, very rare.  And this is the exception not the rule.  In general if both parties aren’t making $$$ then it just fails.

  5. Create the Product Literature First.  A really, really useful technique, at least for myself, is to write the product literature in full before I start a project. 

  6. Run the #s.  Know the #s.  No one else will know them and they will trust you even when they are wrong (but they sound right).  Other Internet companies (and even most Venture Capitalists) are running so fast that they dont take the time to figure this stuff out.

  7. Do Real Market Research.  What this means is talk to real live customers and ask what they think.  Listen, write it down and communicate it to everyone else on the team

  8. Be Honest.  d

  9. Trust

  10. Don’t Raise Money

  11. Run Cheap.

 
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