Top ten geek business myths

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There’s a great post on Ron Garrett’s blog entitled ‘Top ten geek business myths’, about the lies geeks tell themselves about their startup business.

Many of the entries in Ron’s list strike a chord with me from my days getting WebAbacus off the ground.  In particular I remember fretting about the amount of competition (in our case, web analytics companies) already in the market when we started up in 2000. At the time, the major competitors to WebAbacus were Webtrends, Accrue and NetGenesis. Other players like WebSideStory were in the market, but had no presence in the UK.

But it turned out that the presence of competition was a blessing: Webtrends helpfully educated the market (to an extent) as to the benefits of web analytics, but then was acquired by NetIQ and stagnated for several years, leaving a ready-made market of angry customers that we could approach. NetGenesis was acquired by SPSS and disappeared into an abyss. And Accrue, having built their business on the dotcom bubble, imploded spectacularly, taking themselves out of the running.

I can’t say that I predicted any of this at the time, so it’s difficult to say what the learnings from this were, except that seemingly strong competition in the early stages of a market can turn out not to be nearly as strong as you think. The situation’s quite different now, of course, but there will still be surprises as the web analytics market takes its final shape over the next few years.

3 thoughts on “Top ten geek business myths”

  1. Ian: But would you agree that that is true for pretty much every outcome for a new/existing business. It is really hard to predict outcomes no matter how hard you try and sometimes things go one way and sometimes the other way (and in ways that we can’t control ourselves). I have this growing realization that since we can’t really control our destiny maybe it is better to just hunker down and do the best we can and hope that lady luck will spin the dice in our favor in some meaningful way! I know it sounds rather lame. Thanks for the link, it was quite interesting.

  2. Avinash,
    I know what you mean: despite one’s best efforts, external factors can completely knock you over. But I wouldn’t go as far as you in taking a completely fatalistic attitude. I know that we made some good decisions which helped us with WebAbacus, and some stupid decisions which hurt us. It would be to bury my head in the sand not to admit that.

  3. Ian: My apologies, I was not referring to your stint at Web Abacus at all. It was just a general life observation. I agree it is perhaps a tad bit fatalistic! 🙂 But it is more, I think, rooted in my belief in Karma (do the right thing and don’t worry about the reward and it will come). Maybe I am getting too deep at seven in the morning. 🙂
    Have a nice day.

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