How to start a successful Internet company? Charles Mok Internet Society Hong Kong 2008.03.17
What is an Internet company, and some basic practical tips <ul><li>Is it just a “normal business” with yet another “i-” or...
My Startup 1.0 <ul><li>HKNet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accidental entrepreneur? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1994-2000 (acquired...
From Web 1.0 to 2.0 <ul><li>The basic business issues remain the same:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business/revenue model </li>...
My Present Startup 2.0 <ul><li>Darizi </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.darizi.com   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 wedding pl...
A B2B example <ul><li>A traditional manufacturing/distributing company expanding its B2B portal for matching buyers and se...
Issues we face in Hong Kong <ul><li>Market is small  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>China is not the solution to all, may even be t...
Regional perspective <ul><li>How to realize our full potentials for China and Asia? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial servic...
Some final thoughts <ul><li>“ Changing the world” rather than “Making the most money” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google, YouTub...
<ul><li>Charles Mok </li></ul><ul><li>Chairman </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Society Hong Kong </li></ul><ul><li>[email_addre...
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How To Start A Successful Internet Company

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Presentation to Chinese University of Hong Kong MBA class

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How To Start A Successful Internet Company

  1. How to start a successful Internet company? Charles Mok Internet Society Hong Kong 2008.03.17
  2. What is an Internet company, and some basic practical tips <ul><li>Is it just a “normal business” with yet another “i-” or “e-” in front of it? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there any business today without an Internet strategy? </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0? </li></ul><ul><li>Technology based? </li></ul><ul><li>New economy based? </li></ul><ul><li>Problems faced by “Internet companies” are not different from those faced by other companies </li></ul><ul><li>Even “normal companies” are challenged by Web 2.0 technology/economic trends no matter what </li></ul><ul><li>Same issues faced by any entrepreneurs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do something familiar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sound business plan and financial planning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The art of me-too </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why some succeed and some don’t? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovating doesn’t mean no reference from the past </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>China: the paradise of copycatting </li></ul></ul>
  3. My Startup 1.0 <ul><li>HKNet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accidental entrepreneur? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1994-2000 (acquired by NTT Communications) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ISP subsidized by IDD (callback and later ISR) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telecom, actual service provider, rather than dotcom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biggest challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid technological change/cycles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cashflow/investment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competition, esp. predatory practices from incumbent </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biggest satisfaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid subscriber growth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learning opportunities: e-commerce, e-publishing, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition from market/investor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Overall market window </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. From Web 1.0 to 2.0 <ul><li>The basic business issues remain the same: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business/revenue model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding availability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bottom-up: even more so than before, e.g. user-created/generated content/etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long Tail </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Building value – Is real profitability / revenue model possible? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Become like Facebook, YouTube? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or real advertising income? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depends a lot on your target market, and how you are perceived </li></ul></ul>
  5. My Present Startup 2.0 <ul><li>Darizi </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.darizi.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 wedding planning portal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User-created content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising-based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Click and mortar, again </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Magazine vs. webzine </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regional partnership </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. A B2B example <ul><li>A traditional manufacturing/distributing company expanding its B2B portal for matching buyers and sellers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In fact, just an electronic channel to save cost for itself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What value for customers? For its own staff, e.g. salespersons? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of motivation for self, but not for users! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Same old problems unsolved since the last time the bubble bursts! </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positioning: at the head or the tail end? (expanding sales from existing customers or acquiring new customers?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to create needs, or perception of needs? </li></ul></ul>
  7. Issues we face in Hong Kong <ul><li>Market is small </li></ul><ul><ul><li>China is not the solution to all, may even be the curse to some </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global market? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What some successful local Web 2.0 startups are doing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Funding availability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VCs and other investors: based here, but who invest here? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short-term mentality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Silicon Valley investment cycle vs. here </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of “Government support” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A culture against government interference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A media and a public that are suspicious </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Political environment that is against long-term planning and investment into the future, e.g. Budget 2008-09 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our role in China </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Premier Wan comparing Hong Kong with Singapore on structural and technological innovation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. Regional perspective <ul><li>How to realize our full potentials for China and Asia? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial services alone? – especially in government policies/mentality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our strengths? – People, infrastructure, creativity (sometimes), openness, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Regional competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Taiwan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Singapore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Korea </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Singaporization of Hong Kong? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economical vs. political </li></ul></ul>
  9. Some final thoughts <ul><li>“ Changing the world” rather than “Making the most money” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google, YouTube, Microsoft </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Before you think of your great big idea, many more must have thought of the same thing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about why not, not why </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think from customers/users’ perspectives, not from you yourself as provider </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listen to what the losers have to say </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn from experiences, especially why some fail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One thing you cannot learn from Bill Gates & Co. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most winners are just… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Losing is the mother of winner” – but for who? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Still no sure thing </li></ul>
  10. <ul><li>Charles Mok </li></ul><ul><li>Chairman </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Society Hong Kong </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.isoc.hk </li></ul><ul><li>charlesmok.blogspot.com </li></ul>Thank you!

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