The latest articles from around the web that caught my attention.
6 Marketing Lessons Learned from a Guy Who Eats Frozen Food for a Living: A great post from Gregory Ng from Brooks Bell Interactive and how he has built up his video review site using some excellent marketing tactics. You don’t need to eat frozen food to benefit from Greg’s solid advice.
TechCrunch has announced that nominations for the 2010 Crunchies are open! These awards celebrate the best tech accomplishments of 2010 and we’d love it if you’d vote for ShareFile.
Coming off our recognition in the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies list, we’d love to be nominated for the “Best Bootstrapped Startup” award.
In a previous article, I argued that Facebook’s business model should not be viewed as an example for aspiring entrepreneurs to follow. While few people would dispute that Facebook has achieved jaw dropping success, in my opinion they chose a high risk / high return approach. This approach yields amazing results for a handful of companies and ends in total failure for almost everyone else.
Indeed, this cowboy mentality is glorified by many venture capitalists, blogs and publications that cover entrepreneurship.
The purpose of this article is to present a dissenting opinion. While others are encouraging you to drop out of school and try to become the entrepreneurial equivalent of the next big rock star, I am the practical voice who tells you that “Most musicians barely make minimum wage, spend your time studying instead.”
At first this advice may sound kind of depressing (maybe that explains why I have not yet been invited to speak at any graduations). The good news is that it’s also liberating. Most aspiring entrepreneurs make things much harder on themselves than they need to. They rack their brains hoping to come up with the next Facebook, a totally new blockbuster idea with a special competitive advantage to keep [insert name of billion dollar tech company here] from duplicating it.
My advice is to do the exact opposite. Pick a business that has established demand and entrenched competitors. Choose something simple that you are passionate about and can do well. Then, focus on execution. Finally, select a business idea that can succeed on a small scale even if it doesn’t hit it big. Before I lay out these rules more formally, I would like to begin with an example of exactly the type of idea I’m talking about: Pizza.
While in college at Ball State, John Schnatter worked at Greek’s Pizzeria delivering pizzas in Muncie, Indiana. Shortly after graduating in 1983, Schnatter decided to start his own pizza delivery business. There were no shortage of pizza joints in Indiana (or just about anywhere in the world for that matter), but John felt that the quality of pizza was generally pretty low and figured he could make better tasting pizza by using fresh ingredients. He purchased $1,600 worth of used restaurant equipment and opened a pizza delivery business out of an old broom closet in his father’s tavern. His pizza was well liked by customers and a year later he opened his first full restaurant, called Papa John’s Pizza.
Today Papa John’s has over 3,100 locations. Its stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ with a market capitalization of over 650 million dollars. Schnatter owns 30% of the company, making his share of Papa John’s worth over $215 million.
Papa John’s is one of many great examples of companies that grew successfully by following the two simple rules (and three corollaries to those rules) outlined below.
This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com
According to Wikipedia, the odds of being struck by lightning over the course of a lifetime are about 1 in 3,000.
Assuming that lightning strikes are independent events, the chances of getting struck by lightning 7 times in one lifetime are about 1 in about 2.2 trillion trillion (that second trillion is not a typo, the number is really that big). Despite incomprehensibly long odds, this is exactly what happened to a man named Roy Sullivan between the years of 1942 and 1977.
Granted, Sullivan was a Park Ranger in Virginia and spent quite a bit of time outdoors, but my point is that the world is a very big place and highly improbable events happen all the time. The law of large numbers says that with a big enough sample, many highly improbable events are bound to occur, like when a woman won the New Jersey lottery twice in a span of four months (odds are about one in 17 trillion). Or like when a college student coded a web site that now has over 500 million users and is worth upwards of 20 billion dollars. The name of this (former) college student is Mark Zuckerberg and the company is, of course, Facebook.