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What Makes Internet Entrepreneurs Different?

When you think of an entrepreneur, a powerful, extremely motived, self-made man or woman immediately comes to mind.  But what type of person do you picture when you hear, internet entrepreneur? 

After looking at Mark Zuckerberg, Seth Godin, or Garrett Camp, you have a whole new appreciation for what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how the internet has changed the rules of the game.  Thanks to The Web, entrepreneurs have more of an advantage than ever before:

  • Little start up costs
  • Access to a huge (essentially limitless) marketplace
  • Instant connectability with and feedback from their customers or users
  • Don’t have to be charasmatic or engaging – only have to know the language of the internet.

Personally, I found the last point to be the most interesting.  Our class looked at 3 self-made millionaires and only one of them would be considered “engaging” at a party.  Though some internet entrepreneurs fall short when it comes to social skills, the web has leveled the playing field and anyone (granted they have good computer skills) can become an entrepreneur.

So if you’re sitting there reading this post, stop hiding behind the excuse of not having the personality of an entrepreneur.  As we’ve seen time and time again – sometimes it’s not about personality, it’s about C++.

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I-trepreneur – A Resource for the Internet Entrepreneur

i-trepreneurscreenshotIt’s common knowledge that the internet is changing the way entrepreneurs do business.  We can reach aglobal marketplace, have a storefront that’s never closed, and intereact with customers on an easy-to-use interface.  But one thing entrepreneurs overlook is how many resources are our there to help them achieve their online entrepreneurial goals.

After using technology (like any good entrepreneur) and doing a quick Google search for entrepreneurial resources, I discovered I-trepreneur.com, a site devoted to helping (as the name alludes) internet entrepreneurs.   It’s streamlined site has content that any entrepreneur should take the time to read. 

Sort through articles on Entrepreuenruship, SEO, Marketing, or the Internet and you’ll find a wealth of information.  There are articles of useful web resources for internet entrepreneurs,   overviews of top marketing trends for 2009, and general  info about how the game of entrepreneurship is constantly changing.

If you have a free minute, or even if you don’t, you need to take a few minutes and read this regularly updated I-trepreneurship blog.

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CMU Grad Joshua Schachter Bags Big Bucks with a Del.icio.us Idea

deliciousJoshua Schachter, an electrical and computer engineer from Carnegie Mellon University, is the mastermind behind the widely popular personal bookmarking sight: Del.icio.us or just delicious.com

Schachter wasn’t an over night success.  His first online entrepreneurial endeavor was Memepool, a simple collection of interesting links Schachter found while browsing the web.  He received numerous e-mails suggesting other links, and after he had over 20,000 links, he wrote another program, Muxway.  Muxway allowed Schachter to give each link a “tab” so he could sort his links and group similar sites together with ease. 

He rewrote the code for Muxway and in 2003, Schachter opened up his bookmarking concept to other users and created Del.icio.us.  After two years, Schachter quit his job in March 2005 to work full time on his growing project.  A month later in April, he received $2 of funding to flesh out the Delicious concept.  People loved the idea of being able to access links they previously stored in the “Favorites” folder from any computer with an internet connection.  Schachter’s hard work paid off and in December 2005, he sold Delicious to Yahoo! for between $15 – $30Million.  A selling price in the millions? That’s pretty delicious.

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Do you Dig Digg?

diggIt’s  the 21st Century and you’d be caught off guard if you heard someone say, “Dude – that’s sweet!  I totally dig that!”, but many internet users have been “digging” interesting things on the internet since 2004.  Digg is essentially a site where users can vote up (digg) or vote down (burry) stories they find on the internet.  Submitted stories can range from humorous posters to serious economic comentaries to freaky health issues.   

Digg’s approach is unlike a typical link database in the since that it is uses the democratic system.  The more popular a site is, the more diggs it will get and the higher it will rank in the database until the most popular sites appear on Digg’s homepage

So why does Digg attract nearly 236 million visitors every year? 

  • Relevant, up-to-date information
  • Similar to Stumble Upon, but bad sites are weeded out by others
  • Useful for finding new websites and blogs
  • Constantly changing content

Though a very succinct list, it addreses most of the issues why users come back to Digg day after day.  Why do you dig Digg?

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What do You Know About Knol?

Knol.  What is it and should you use it?

Founded in 2007, Knol is a Google-run collaboration of information on a range of topics.  Similar to the format of Wikipedia, Knol pages are “little snipets” of information that provide users with a broad overview on a topic.  The differnce between Wikipedia and Knol pages is that instead of being written by multiple authors, a more personal voice comes through in a Knol article as one author is responsible for the content of each page.  From personal experience, I found Knol to be more similar to Squidoo than Wikipedia.

Spend a little time browsing the 100,000 plus pages of content on Knol’s website and you’ll find it’s very similar to other sites already out there.  Some people have criticized Knol for merely regurgitating already-published information and not offering fresh ideas, but it depends on your point of view.  If you’d prefer to read an article written by multiple people  versus someone’s individual view on a subject, then I would suggest looking elsewhere.

One good metric of the success of a site is how commonly known it is to the average person.  Ask any student what the best online place to find a summary about a topic and they’ll quickly tell you: it’s Wikipedia, hands down.  Ask them if they’re ever heard about Knol.  “Knol?”  They’ll probabaly reply, “what’s that?”  If a site’s been up for 2 years and hasn’t gained the same popularity as rival sites, it’s normally a good indication they’ve missed the mark.

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