“Best of TIM Review for Technology Entrepreneurs” is a Kindle Bestseller




Best of TIM Review for Technology Entrepreneurs is available now in Amazon.com.  The book is currently a #1 Kindle Bestseller for Entrepreneurship.



RIM Following the Path of Palm to Oblivion?

News reports indicate RIM may be moving towards a Palm-esk split of the company
– hardware and services.

My guess would be they split three ways:

  • hardware
  • spin QNX back out (since it is somewhat arms-length at the moment still)
  • mobile cloud services

My predictions:

  • Facebook picks up the hardware business and puts their own version of Android on top of it tailored to Facebook (ala Amazon Fire)
  • Samsung picks up QNX
  • RIM continues as a mobile cloud services company

Emerging New Channels to Market for “Creative Class” Microbusinesses

For a start-up, one of the biggest challenge is gaining access to customers and being able to transact business with them as easily and quickly as possible.  In the last 5 years,  new business models have been emerging that help reduce that challenge, referred to as Ecosystem business models.

These new business models are providing knowledge workers (aka the “Creative Class“) access to ready-made delivery platforms and selling channels to a well-defined market.

These emerging channels to market typically provide a means to connect suppliers with consumers, usually handling the transaction between the two as a trusted mediator (taking a percentage in return for the channel services, e.g. selling platform, marketing, customer management, fulfillment, transaction handling):

  • Apple Apps Store – sells applications to Apple iPhone phone users, handles delivery and payment, payment is via iTunes account
  • Google Android Market – sells applications to Android mobile phone users, handles  delivery and payment using Paypal
  • Amazon Webstore – sell your wares online, access Amazon shoppers and Amazon store tools, handles payment using Amazon account
  • 99Designs –  companies/individuals post requests for graphics designs and designated “prize money”, companies/individuals post responses, the winning design selected gets the “prize money”
  • oDesk – teams or individuals post skills/availability, companies/individuals post jobs with desired fee for completion (fixed rate or hourly)
  • Shutterstock – royalty-free photographs, individuals/companies provide photos and get paid based on sales
  • Innovation Exchange – companies/individuals post challenges and cash, suppliers post responses
  • Mechanical Turk – people post questions/tasks, suppliers post answers/accept task
  • Cafepress – individuals/companies generate graphic content, Cafepress puts it on mugs, shirts, etc and handles all fulfillment for the supplier
  • Amazon Kindle – sell eBooks via Amazon and their new eBook reader
  • uTest – on-demand software testing
  • Crowd Spring – similar to 99Designs
  • Lulu – sells self-published books
  • Beta Test – links beta-testers with software publishers (e.g. iPhone)
  • Eclipse Foundation – links Eclipse IDE consumers with suppliers who build on top of the Eclipse open source IDE platform
  • Just Parts – links consumers of auto parts with suppliers
  • Top Coder – links software designers with companies who respond to contest proposals
  • Article One Partners – offers rewards for finding prior art against posted patents
  • Spot Us – allows journalists to post story ideas and solicit funding from public

One channel which can be very significant for Microbusinesses is Paypal –

  • Paypal – “one-click” purchasing between suppliers and consumers.  Many niche sellers, e.g. 3rd party add-on suppliers for Joomla! use Paypal as their transaction vehicle.  Most eCommerce solutions provide a gateway to Paypal as the payment means.  Paypal itself also can accept credit cards on behalf of a seller.  Paypal by itself provides access to a group of consumers who are comfortable transacting business online.  Paypal provides a trusted supplier relationship between the buyer and the supplier.  I have to confess I never thought Paypal would amount to anything when I first heard about the business many years ago…

eCommerce Solutions for Microbusinesses

I’ve talked to several people recently who have been wrestling with eCommerce.  In one case the company was wanting to sell downloadable products online but not sure whether to build, contract or host.   Another had deployed an open source based solution and had engaged an off-shore contractor company for installation and ongoing support – they were wrestling with the challenge of growth and software maintenance support costs.

Today,  there is little reason anyone should be funding custom-coding or software maintenance for eCommerce solutions.   The only effort should be focused on eCommerce storefront  product catalog, related content, community – and fullfillment!   In this regard, there are some very high quality hosted eCommerce Merchant solutions available, of which I suggest people evaluate when looking to deploy an eCommerce solution for their microbusiness: