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David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk
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David Weekly's PBwiki Web 2.0 Expo Talk

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David Weekly presents "The Alpha Geek's Guide to Finding a Business Model: PBwiki's 4-Year Odyssey" at the 2009 Web 2.0 Expo in Moscone West, San Francisco, CA

David Weekly presents "The Alpha Geek's Guide to Finding a Business Model: PBwiki's 4-Year Odyssey" at the 2009 Web 2.0 Expo in Moscone West, San Francisco, CA

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  • 1. A Geek’s Guide to Finding a Business Model
    • by David Weekly
  • 2. Business is Learnable
    • If you’re smart enough to program, you’re smart enough to start a business.
        • (the opposite may not be true)
  • 3. Why Business?
    • It’s another lens through which to understand the world.
    • Systems of the world:
    Biology Astronomy Chemistry Physics Politics Psychology Economics Storytelling
  • 4. Why Business?
    • It is not a good way to get rich quickly.
    • But it is a good way to be in control of your destiny.
  • 5. Why’d I Start a Business?
    • My History:
    • Started Coding @ 5
    • Online @ 10
    • Professional Work @ 15
    • Pro Engineer @ 25
    • … what now?
  • 6. Why’d I Start a Business?
    • Options:
    • PhD in CS Tedious, 4 years, marginal gains.
    • MBA Exciting, fun, 2 years, some skills & network.
    • Start a Company Exciting, immediate, lots of new skills .
  • 7. Why’d I Start a Business?
    • The Shocker…?
    • Zero opportunity cost.
  • 8. Zero Opportunity Cost?
    • Even a Failed Startup Teaches You:
    • How to hire, manage, and fire people.
    • How to structure a plan, test hypothesis, grok a market.
    • How to write a business plan.
    • How to structure finances.
    • It’s better than business school.
    • And it qualifies you for management.
  • 9. So…Opportunity Cost?
    • $80,000 engineer salary
    • versus
    • Two years of $0/year then $130,000 manager salary
  • 10. Be Bold
    • Trying Is Good.
    • So be bold .
  • 11. Business Preparation I got ready to fail. (good thing, too…)
  • 12. Selected Failures BotBlock.com L0K8.com
  • 13. Results?
    • Fancy Technology Didn’t Win. 
    • Simple Projects That Addressed Needs Did.
    • Premature Optimization is the Root of All Evil.
    • The Media Loves Failure.
  • 14. The Answer
    • I had been helping groups with wikis for years.
    • But they weren’t fancy technologies.
    • So I didn’t think there was a business.
    • But I got tired of helping friends set up wikis.
    • They should be able to do it themselves!
    • … as easily as making a peanut butter sandwich…
  • 15. Humility
    • In two weeks, my weekend project had more attention than my year-and-a-half old project.
  • 16. 1 st Business Model: Ads
    • Wikis are mostly text…
    • so should be good for AdWords?
    • … but...
      • Very wide diversity of communities = low CPM.
        • 100,000 users/mo
        • 10 pages each
        • $1 CPM… $1,000/month
  • 17. 2 nd Model: Vertical Communities
    • We built vertical wiki communities:
        • Red Sox, Chronicles of Narnia, The O.C., Home Improvement…
      • Advertise in niches = High CPM! 
      • … but…
      • building communities is hard.
      • Especially when you’re not a member,
      • and especially when you try to grow a lot of them quickly.
  • 18. 3 rd : Consumer Subscriptions
    • $5/mo/wiki = no ads
      • People paid! 
      • … but…
    • Consumer subscriptions usually have 1-5% conversion.
    • So we’d need to be signing up 350k – 1.5m new groups a year to be a million dollar business. Gack.
  • 19. 4 th Model: Education
    • “ Great work in Chicago!” ???
    • Very helpful & energetic demographic.
    • But it’s hard to build an empire from 5 th grade teachers’ pocketbooks.
  • 20. 5 th Model: Enterprise SaaS
    • Our native model (subscriptions)
    • … applied to people who could actually pay (businesses)
    • … and who find us valuable (productivity)
    • A proven business model:
  • 21. The Catch?
    • I’m not good at Enterprise Sales & Marketing.
  • 22. Humility
    • The Branson / Buffett Model :
    • Hire someone to make you rich.
    • … so I did:
    • Jim Groff
    • Sold 1 st Company to Apple for $XXm
    • Sold 2 nd company to Oracle for $XXXm
    • … and now PBwiki. 
  • 23. “ Know Thyself” Know your strengths, Route around your weaknesses, Know that you will fail in the short term And that this is the path to long-term success.
  • 24. Where We’re At
    • Millions of users/month
    • 800,000+ communities
    • 50,000+ businesses
    • Teams at half the F500
    • More content than Wikipedia
    • 30 employees
    • … and rapid adoption by lawyers and for projects .
    • (the experiment continues)
  • 25. Lessons Learned
    • Wrong-Thinking:
    • Networking is for losers. If you’re smart, people will find you.
    • If you write clever software, you’ll become rich and famous.
    • Delegation means you couldn’t figure it out.
    • Right-Thinking:
    • Use the scientific method:
      • Hypothesize, Experiment, Measure, Evaluate, Repeat.
      • Expect to be wrong.
    • Stick to hiring A -people.
      • ( A s hire A s, B s hire C s, and A s get 100x more work done than C s)
  • 26. David E. Weekly [email_address]

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