With the media frenzy surrounding the Google acquisition of YouTube, it’s caught the attention of the mainstream audience to become enamored with a new Internet revolution of riches. College buddies that I normally wouldn’t have expected to give fairly accurate analyses of the outstanding issues of the acquisition. How many people in this world know about the intricacies of copyright law? Apparently more than I expected…
Maybe it’s partially because the YouTube stories are fewer and farther between. Or maybe because it’s easier than ever to envision yourself being in the YouTubers shoes. It’s easy than ever to get a startup off of the ground, both a danger to those willing to loosely throw around money and a boon to those who have a sustainable product/business and the endurance to see it through.
It’s very obvious these days that everyone is thinking startup. It’s in the air that people really believe they can get rich.
Paul Graham has a very useful list of startup mistakes. And in the effort of distillation, I really attribute all mistakes to two things: building something users people want and lack of effort.
Sometimes you put a lot at risk to determine whether people want your product. Paul Graham recommends that building a product that you would use yourself. I would echo that sentiment.
While I also echo the sentiment that you should think about large markets, not small, niche markets out of fear of failure, it also makes sense to leverage partners that are building economies as a great place to start. Limiting your risk is never a bad idea, limiting your growth potential is a bad idea. These economies have taken the risk themselves to build something that you can use to your benefit.
iLetYou starts a new economy and I hope these because they way of the future. In the way that eBay, CafePress, etsy, affiliate programs, threadless, Google AdSense/AdWords, blogging platforms and such have done, we want to build a new economy. We want to expand the pie, not just take a piece for ourselves.
But where is the real money being made? That’s really what your definition of real money is.
eBay is the king of economy creation. There are eBay entrepreneurs, eBay partners, eBay enablers and the US Postal Service itself; an entire economy has been created around the auction marketplace. Same with Amazon stores, PayPal payments and such – they create new economies that are more accessible than ever.
Affiliate programs are another example, but some more distorted distributions. Super affiliates are very limited in number, but largely affiliate programs drive at least some revenue to a large portion of web-based ventures.
The economies that succeed are the ones that share the earnings fairly. Don’t throw your users a few pennies, nothing bugs me more than that. It’s in everyone’s best interest to create an equitable split to grow the pie, not chop it up arbitrarily.
Not everyone gets rich in the process. But what does happen is you see hundreds of thousands and even millions benefit in their day-to-day lives. That’s what’s exciting, granted not as sexy as YouTube.
So the next time you think about where’s all the money being made and where you should start, remember the long tail of earners (cliched, I know) as motivation of where to start. And if you want to start your own economy, start with these earners in mind.