Entrepreneur and "pretty rich guy" Eric Watson wants out of Flying Pig after
the online retailer turned out to have a voracious appetite for investor
funds and a rather strong aversion to profits.
How do people like Eric Watson make their money? I mean -- what on earth
possessed the man to invest in a business which was an almost perfect clone
of another online business that also burns investor cash like it's going
out of fashion (which it is).
I refer of course to the way in which Flying Pig simply tried to be the Amazon.com
of the South Pacific.
Come on guys -- if you're going to copy someone else's business model then at
least choose one that makes sense and makes money. Did you really expect
after copying Amazon.com that, through some miracle, your version would
burst into profit while Jeff Bezos and his venture continue to burn
millions of dollars in capital every month?
It makes me cry that, while so much money keeps getting poured into ventures
that lack imagination, insight or even a basic understanding of the Internet as
a medium, technology, marketplace and culture, there are hundreds of other
brilliant Kiwis with great ideas who can't find a penny of funding.
Let me repeat my own mantra for the benefit of those who have more money than
Don't copy -- innovate. Don't compete in existing markets -- create new
markets and own them
All you need to put this into effect is a single good idea -- and this country
is loaded with people who have a lot of good ideas. Unfortunately,
those people and their ideas seem to be vastly undervalued.
I can say with some certainty that, although the Net has matured significantly
over the past two or three years, only a tiny percentage of the business
models and strategies that will ultimately succeed in the online world have
yet been conceived or implemented. The real road to success lies in coming
up with those, as yet undiscovered models before someone else does.
Late Update: This morning's column was written before
appeared on the IDG site. It would appear that great minds think alike!
The Government Fax-Spams?
What would you think of a seminar that was promoted by fax-spamming?
What would you think if that seminar was one that dealt with the upcoming
issue of e-government and included speakers from WINZ, the State Services
Commission, Statistics NZ and a bunch of other government departments?
If you're as cynical as I am, you'd probably think "yeah... it figures."
One Aardvark reader reports that he received over 30 copies of a 3-page
fax promoting the "Government Online New Zealand" conference, a $1795 two-day
chance to listen to these speakers rave on about how the online world will
affect your dealings with government.
It appears to me as if
4 the promoters
couldn't organise a party in a brewery! And, after their little fax-attack,
I for one certainly wouldn't sign up for any of their email lists!
A refreshing contrast to that fiasco is the upcoming
e-Commerce Summit being
organised for November 1-2 in Auckland.
Having spoken to one of the people behind the scenes of this event, I'm happy
that it has the potential to deliver some useful information to those who can
afford the $460 registration fee and are looking for some guidance on how
they can utilise e-commerce in their business activities.
And -- the organisers of this event understand the importance of not pissing off their
IDG's Crystal Ball Breaks Again
In the online news game there's incredible pressure to be first with a story
and to develop an ability to look ahead and identify upcoming stories that
might become a scoop.
Unfortunately IDG's crystal ball seems to have developed a few bugs of late.
Last week they announced that the website for the government-organised e-commerce
summit was "up and accepting registrations" -- when it wasn't. After it was
brought to their attention in this column they quickly back-tracked and revised
their article (but too late guys -- I'd already got a screen capture).
Well -- now they've done it again!
4 this story
here if it's changed),
we're told that the new E-Zebra site is already launched.
A visit to the
4 e-Zebra site
however tells a different story -- IDG were 10 days early with that story.
But hey -- I'm not criticising, just musing -- I still find the IDG site
a "must visit" on my daily circuit of the Net.
As it's Labor day in the USA I've really had to scratch around for news
headlines. It seems that even the Net-world takes a bit of a siesta when
the USA has a holiday.
As always, your feedback is welcomed.