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June 13, 2010

互联网和相关的数字科技领域里面有一个很有趣的现象,就是:如果大家都知道能赚钱的地方,基本上就是搞得一塌糊涂。

最早的例子是互联网本身。互联网能赚钱,这个是90年代大多数人的共识。于是很多人冲进去,以至于只要会写HTML就能找到高薪工作。那个时候,概念满天飞,有个笑话,说发财的办法,就是去注册一个稻糠母的域名,然后跑到加州首府撒库拉门托去,找一棵树踢一脚,从树上掉下一个风险投资家,趁着他还没有清醒的时候,对他说咒语:portal,B2B,B2C,他就会给你一大笔钱,你把你的网站上市套现,然后回到撒库拉门托,找一棵树,爬上去。

那个故事未免太刻薄了一些,但是请看这几个著名的例子:

浏览器。网景的风光,是来自大家对浏览器作为互联网入口的认可,以及从此引发的对网景盈利的憧憬。后来微软搞了IE,大战网景,最后网景和IE都没什么盈利。

后来的电子商务,大家都知道这个赚钱,但是当年能看出现在ebay和Amazon的规模的人,估计不多。而给那些现在已经不存在的公司投的钱,何止千万。

近一点的例子有数字版权管理DRM。这个是线性推理的必然结果:出版社,唱片公司和好莱坞都是大生意,那么一样是抽版税的DRM,必然也是大生意。可是最后笑的是SONY么?是手拿ipod的水果教主。

一个反例是google。在google开始adwords之前,大多数用户都以为google是两个博士生的一桩公益项目,毕竟搜索引擎如何盈利,当时只有goto.com的人知道,其他人都没有在这个领域看到明显的盈利模式,连微软都没有嗅到里面的利益。但是google的创始人和投资人坚持了那么久,逐步的占领市场,直到最后开始盈利,这个时候对手再追赶,已经晚了。

在他们的成功面前,任何对他们当年远见的恭维,都是苍白的,因为他们的成功本身,是对他们的洞察力和坚持,以及执行力的最好评价。

4 Comments »

  1. Google创始人当初是为了赚钱做Google的吗?

    Comment by 野草博客 — June 13, 2010 @ 12:25 am

  2. 开始未必,但是后来坚持那么久,而且投入那么大,没有盈利的预期,也说不过去。

    Comment by 美人她爹 — June 13, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  3. 这是一个好话题,很多人脑子中的G点。

    Comment by 素里太守 — June 13, 2010 @ 9:21 pm


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    Is Netscape really “一塌糊涂”?

    OK let’s look at what happened to his founder:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Andreessen

    “a multi-millionaire software engineer ”
    “joined the Board of Directors of eBay”
    “named to the board of HP”

    Is firefox “一塌糊涂”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation


    In 2006 the Mozilla Corporation generated 66.8 million dollars in revenue and 19.8 million in expenses

    Not bad.

    Let’s look at its founder:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Hyatt

    Dave Hyatt (June 28, 1972) is an American software developer currently employed by Apple Inc. (since July 15, 2002), where he is part of the development team responsible for the Safari web browser and WebKit framework.

    Not bad. The guy gets good jobs.

    If those are “一塌糊涂”, I have to say your standard is a little too high.

    I agree with 美人她爹 that google’s founders have unique insight. But I don’t think they are the only one. See here:

    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.31.1768

    From the citations of their most important paper, we can see there are already a lot of research and projects on this at the time, and they are just one of them. Are they among the very first who envisioned the search engine’s business model? Yes. Have they had a clear picture about search engine money making before they pour considerable energy and time into the research project, the INNOVATION itself? I doubt it. I agree with the doubts of “野草博客”.

    Overall, I respect google’s success but I 美人她爹’s comments about browser and ebiz people are not very fair.

    From research to business, there is a whole ecosystem in between. I guess we can draw this picture:

    Research/idea –Larry Page–Marc Andreessen — Firefox team — business

    When you’re closer to the research/idea side, your projects are more risky and it’s better to start the project with most geekish/scientific interest. Have fun! You might very possibly fail, but the return for success is huge.

    When you’re closer to the business side, profit is more attainable but the return is average.

    The whole game, again, is betting against market. For ever gamer here they are all winners. They all profited and made a huge impact. It’s cool to be like Larry page: go all the way from the research side to the business side. But for real gamers here, I think before “洞察力和坚持”, they need to have a really good self knowledge, and find the right trade off between business and research for themselves.

    If Larry and Sergey were not Stanford PHDs (http://google.stanford.edu was a very important phase!), if they’re not a system+algorithm combo, can they still bring out google? Maybe it’ll be someone else. Something to think about.

    Comment by song — June 14, 2010 @ 10:02 am

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