The Perfect Company

Monday, January 11, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 2:03 AM

Originally Published 2005-09-07 14:42:37

Or idea/product.


  • No hardware piece except for commodity products that have obtained monopoly-level penetration. That means the web (best), Wintel PCs (good), or mid-range cell phones (ok -- not as good because of carrier politics). I suppose iPod and Windows Mobile might also be considered platforms, but I'm pretty burnt on anything related to digital music or PDAs -- for obvious reasons if you've been paying attention here or have ever talked to me in person about anything remotely related to technology. Bundling of some kind might be ok, but only with off-the-shelf commodity products.

  • Consumer or SMB focused. Because it's fun, because it's interesting, because it means you're not beholden to a specific vertical, or worse, a single company (AvantGo's historical relationship with McKesson comes to mind). It's also low-hanging fruit and garners a lot more publicity, which has hidden value. Besides, a well architected product that works with a small office will scale to the enterprise. Think salesforce.com or, for that matter, MS Windows itself. Not that I'm making any declarations about either's technical brilliance, of course.

  • Potential acquisition target by an established public company. Of course, it also has to either be ahead of the curve enough so they haven't started building it yet. Alternatively, it has to be something where the user base and/or intellectual property is so highly valued that they'll want to acquire anyway because it kicks so much ass. Microsoft's acquisition of hotmail back in the dot.com years comes to mind as an example. It wasn't about the application, it was about the user base and mindshare. They re-engineered the app to run on Windows anyway.

  • Automated sales channel. Basic purchase should be possible over the web. This doesn't necessarily mean that there needn't be fulfillment of some kind, it just means that the product can be purchased site unseen.

  • Recurring revenue. Either a service that prompts re-use regularly (think TurboTax), a product that has a "shelf life", like content (not just stock quotes -- things like ringtones, video games, and music singles are included), or a product that is "sticky" because it includes server-side storage of customer data (e.g., gmail, salesforce, online bill fulfillment).

  • Scalable. It should translate well without a complete rewrite to the enterprise. Some limited services engagement is fine, but should not be twice the cost of the software, like so many enterprise apps are today (SAP, Siebel, and Oracle come to mind).

Comments

On 2007-12-25 17:20:16 Lame Christmas Presents? Build a Better Mousetrap! » Really Smart Guy » GeekSpeak, Real Estate, Landlording, Technology, Business Ideas, Web Marketing » Blog Archive said:
[...] Because the best ideas, the truly disruptive technologies, the amazingly insightful products — most of them fail the first time. You don’t need to build a whole new breed of mousetrap to forge your path to fame and fortune. You just need to build it. With few exceptions, no product you’ve ever considered hasn’t been built before. And, in fact, you’ll probably do better if you copy someone else’s idea and instead make an incremental improvement. Or sell an equally good replica for less. Or sell it using an alternative sales channel. Better yet, all three. You don’t need to be original to employ the perfect business model. [...]

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