Weekend Reading: Business Models Are Back

The Economics of Giving It Away by Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, and the author of “The Long Tail”. Snippet:

What about those companies trying to build a business on the Web? In the old days (that would be until September of last year) the model was pretty simple. 1. Have a great idea. 2. Raise money to bring it to market, ideally free to reach the largest possible market. 3. If it proves popular, raise more money to scale it up. 4. Repeat until you’re bought by a bigger company.

Now steps 2 through 4 are no longer available. So Web startups are having to do the unthinkable: come up with a business model that brings in real money while they’re still young.

When Talking About Business Models, Remember That Profits Equal Revenues Minus Costs by Fred Wilson, VC and principal of Union Square Ventures (investor in Twitter, Meetup.com, among others). Snippet:

Let’s look at Craiglist. I’ve heard people estimate that they are doing close to $100mm in annual revenues at this point. Many say, “they could be doing so much more”. But the Craigslist profit equation is interesting. They apparently have less than 30 employees. That’s about $4mm/year in employee costs. Let’s assume that they spend another $6mm per year on hosting and bandwidth costs and other costs. So it’s very possible that Craigslist’s annual costs are around $10mm/year. Their value equation then is 10 x (100-10) = $900mm. That’s almost a billion dollars in value for a company with only 30 employees.

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