dot.bomb: My Days and Nights at an Internet Goliath

I’ve been too busy to blog much lately. This blog gets over 100 spam comments a day and I don’t have time to read them all to find legitimate comments. If you want to leave a legitimate comment please send me an email with your comment’s subject line so I will know to look for it. Otherwise I’m just deleting all comments.

I just finished reading dot.bomb: My Days and Nights at an Internet Goliath by J. David Kuo. It is a nonfiction book about the rise and fall of the company Value America during the glory days of Internet speculation which ended in the big crash. I read this book in only two days because it directly relates to my business as a web developer. Of course, it was more from the web entrepreneur’s perspective than the technology perspective. I can’t help wondering if the company’s failure wasn’t due to a lack of emphasis on building the technology. It is always a mistake to focus on marketing and sales and make too little investment in the technology side of things. Otherwise you wind up selling what you can’t deliver and that seemed to be Value America’s problem. They never actually implemented their original business plan of inventory-less retailing and direct to consumer shipping.

Value America spent a fortune on print advertising and worried about the cost of customer acquistion. In contrast, my small business requires no advertising and client acquisition costs nothing. Web developers are in high demand and you don’t need to advertise to find more projects. You don’t need to do anything at all except post on message boards where businesses are looking for help to customize their web applications. Unfortunately, I can’t handle all the work that I would be able to acquire. Under ideal circumstances I think a web development firm could grow by investing heavily in expertise and nothing else. As long as the network infrastructure, development software, and office space were provided I think a team of web developers could do quite well without all those useless people whose only purpose is to get the business.

I have ordered a new laser printer and hard drive to complete my home office. I’ve also bought a lot of books to update my technology library. That is probably all I’m going to invest in my career for now. I will soon focus on reducing my debt. I may invest in some more video production equipment and software eventually.

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