Your Product Needs to be 10x Better than the Competition to Win. Here’s Why:

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 | 50 comments


Last night I had the great privilege to interview Bill Gross, one of the Internet’s true pioneers. To say he has had an impact on the web would be an understatement. His impact has even helped a small country gain admission to the United Nations. All of that are in this week’s episode of This Week in VC. Summary notes, as always, provide below. It was a pleasure to write them myself.

Overture (Goto.com)

He invented the category of sponsored search. He presented the idea at the TED conference in the mid 90’s and was literally boo’d while he was on stage. I thing I’ve learned over the years is that technology purists hate advertising even when it is that revenue stream that truthfully drives much of our industry.

He created GoTo.com (later renamed Overture) out of a frustration with search. At the time when you did a search on Lycos, Alta Vista or similar for a category such as Cars you ended up getting 9 spam results and 1 proper website to meet your needs.

The idea actually came to him from the Yellow Pages business. He was a life-long entrepreneur and the first business he created out of college (actually, he founded it while he was at Caltech) was a company that manufactured high quality audio speakers. He took out an ad in the Yellow Pages (it was the early 80’s, pre Internet), which cost him $1,000 / month for a half-page ad.

He was skeptical of spending the money but astounded at what a transformational impact it had on his business. What he realized was that the full pages ads were displayed first (say for 3-5 pages) then the half page ads (another 3-5) then the quarters, the eighths. So the Yellow Page business was always “pay for placement.”

Bill’s rationale was the more serious your business was, the more you could afford to pay for placement and therefore the more likely it was for consumers. If it worked in the Yellow Pages, why not on the Internet?

So he launched a company with exclusively paid search. He said it was better than the Yellow Pages because he would provide pricing transparency. Users would know exactly how much was paid for each click.

Heresy.

Google was clear that they WOULD NOT go into this business. Amazon was planning on working with GoTo.com but actually pulled out just before launch. Not because they didn’t want to do Pay-per-click (they are huge buyers of SEM) but because they didn’t want other people to know what they paid for clicks! Funny story, after Bill presented at TED (back when Amazon was still a small company) Jeff Bezos was in the audience. He came up to Bill after the event and said, “clever idea, we should do that with you.” Immediately thereafter Amazon became a large business.

GoTo.com went on to ink huge distribution deals with Microsoft, AOL & Yahoo! – the biggest Internet portals of the day. They were a juggernaut and Google was a small company. Overture was sold to Yahoo! for $1.63 billion – not a bad result, hey? But obviously Google won the war. Bill attributes to two primary reasons. Mostly, Google just had way better organic results (“the loss leader”) so it was always preferred by consumers. Secondly, they had an owned & operated (O&O) website – Google.com – and Overture had shut down GoTo.com at the request of their very profitable and large distribution partners. That gave Google a huge cost advantage.

IdeaLab

In 1995 Netscape IPO’d and browsers started to become more prevalent. Bill had previously created a packaged software company called Knowledge Adventure the produced children’s educational software. He wanted to build direct customer relationships to get product feedback but only 2% of customers would ever return their registration cards.

So when he saw the browser it instantly dawned on him that this would be the greatest customer development tool ever. He thought, “This way any product you launch you can talk instantly with and get feedback from customers.” He had the idea that people would want city guides to tell them where to eat and what to do. So he founded … wait … CitySearch. Yes, long before Yelp or any similar service.

From here he realized that he was full of ideas and if he could attract people to come and run companies based on his ideas he could generate a lot more companies. So he founded IdeaLab with his wife Marcia Goodstein (he talks in the video about working with a spouse and also working with siblings). As an outsider who has observed them together in action I can say that they seem both very complementary in skills sets & temperaments and to make it work they have to be very respectful of each other’s opinions and skill sets.

IdeaLab has created 75 companies, leading to 8 IPOs, 35 or so acquisitions and more than 5 companies worth in excess of $1 billion. And when I say this I don’t mean they funded billion dollar companies – they literally created them. Some IdeaLab successes / brand names aside from Overture & CitySearch?

  • eToys
  • Shopping.com
  • The Wedding Channel
  • Commission Junction
  • Cars Direct / Internet Brands
  • Picasa
  • Snap
  • Insider Pages
  • eSolar
  • X1
  • And now, of course, UberSocial, Bill’s latest project.

And while they historically had come up with 100% of their ideas and created the companies themselves, they are increasingly open to funding people with great ideas who want to build businesses with IdeaLab provided the companies will stay be in LA (and preferably Pasadena). They are very hands on. In fact, IdeaLab employees around 50 people who are not necessarily dedicated to a single company.

IdeaLab has a philosophy that if they can get a centralized group of expert staff to help with legal, accounting, recruiting, PR, etc. they can build teams that really focus on building & marketing great products. This has been their formula for nearly 15 years.

If you want to hear a ton of other stories like this please watch this special interview with Bill. And if you enjoy the post or video a quick vote here couldn’t hurt ;-) Testing HN efficacy / longevity.

Some other things you’ll learn:

  • Bill believes that most of the best business ideas come from people solving personal problems that they have in their every day lives. Almost every business he’s ever launched has been this. I totally agree. I’ve talked about this often – the biggest mistake I made in my first company was going into an industry for which I wasn’t passionate.
  • He made a comment that really resonated with me, “You need to make sure your product is 10x better than that of your competitors. First, you’re probably exaggerating how much better it is. But also when you’re developing so is your competitor. So if you shoot for 10x better you might hit 3x better and that’s super important to win.”
  • Too many entrepreneurs focus on dilution. Bill thinks that most companies your success is usually binary. So the most important thing is to surround yourself with people who can help you succeed. Make sure they’re as passionate about your space as you are (and have strong knowledge of your area). But over-optimizing for dilution is a bad attribute relative to focusing on creating a big & winning company. I further that. My point of view is that most Internet markets create “winner take most” outcomes where the largest player is super successful and disproportionally less for everybody else. Think YouTube vs. the rest.
  • Bill’s a huge believer in MVP. When he tells his stories from the 1990’s your realize that he was probably the original “lean startup.” They would give companies $250,000 to launch their products. They would launch quickly and test whether or not there is any demand. If there was, they would green light the project and if not they were likely to shut it down & move on to the next project unless the team was super passionate about continuing. Almost sounds YCombinator-esque.
  • Test monetization early. You can fool yourself into believing that there is inherent value in your product but you only really know when somebody has to get out a credit card and part with hard-earned money.
  • Don’t think about starting an incubator until you have real operating experience otherwise you don’t really have anything to offer startups. Bill had been an operator for more than 15 years and had had 2 successful companies before ever launching IdeaLab. I commented that many young entrepreneurs I talk to these days have a desire to “go plural” and create an incubator. I think this makes no sense. When I look at the very successful people doing this like IdeaLab, YCombinator, TechStars or Betaworks – they all have deep operational skills and prior successes.
  • We talked about patents. Bill doesn’t think you should over invest in them but he does believe in protecting ideas when you have a true invention and many of his companies have done so. I brought up the fact that I find many larger companies abusing the patent system to slow down smaller competitors which is actually anti competitive. We had a nice discussion on this topic.
  • In the video Bill talks about how he started his first entrepreneurial venture at 12 doing a mail-order business (very Tony Hsieh of Zappos who did the same thing). His first “real” business came in college where he designed audio speakers. He sold so many that after Caltech he decided to open a retail store. It’s still there 30 years later!
  • He bought a copy of Lotus 1-2-3 (a predecessor to Excel for those youngens) and programmed his own accounting software for his business. Yet again, he was solving for his own needs. He turned his accounting software into a product he could see. He loved it because where speakers you could build a product for $400 and sell it for $500, with software you could build it once and have almost no variable costs going forward. Lotus loved it so much they bought the company and Bill went to work there for 6 years.
  • Bill tells an excellent story about how IdeaLab became the first company to buy and own it’s own TLD (top-level domain) when they negotiated to buy the .TV domain from the tiny island of Tuvalu. They generated about $50 million for the island, which was transformative in building hospitals and infrastructure. It also is how they financed their entry into the United Nations. This is a great story – best if you hear Bill tell it.

Anyway, we discussed so much more. I don’t have time to type out all the notes. But if you have some spare time and want to hear from one of the most innovative (in the truest sense of the word) people you’ll ever hear from – I think you’ll enjoy watching this episode of This Week in VC.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    This is my favorite interview so far Mark.

    Bill has and is still making a huge mark on our world. He’s one of my heroes.

    BTW…I worked with him when I was @ Creative and he was doing Knowledge Adventure. I founded the developer group and they were a big supporter of SoundBlaster audio.

    Great stuff. Thanks for doing this one.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Awesome, Arnold. Was a real pleasure for me to get all of the knowledge on the video with Bill. I wish we could have filmed for 5 hours! ;-)

  • http://www.wadhwa.com Vivek Wadhwa

    Mark, this is fascinating. I can’t get the video to work, however. Shall try again tomorrow. Based on what you have written, this is a must watch.

    Regards,

    Vivek

  • Josh Webb

    YES! Finally!

    This shows Bill exactly how he is: a mile a minute and passionate to the Nth degree.

    Kudos to both of you for making that happen; I hope you enjoyed your trip to Pasadena!

  • Hamilton Chan

    Great, insightful interview! I like how it’s conducted in an IdeaLabs conference room, rather than the usual TWiVC chamber of darkness. Also, it’s so great to hear from what I would describe as an intellect-driven incubator rather than a personality-driven one. No hype, just results – very Caltech. Go SoCal technology!

  • http://www.eqentia.com William Mougayar

    Great interview, especially how Bill bridges the continuum of lessons from pre/post dot-com days til now. But I was expecting more talk about the recent investments, e.g. UberMedia/TweetDeck (did I miss that segment?).

    Great observation that with Twitter, a user builds over time an increasingly personal news stream where the rewards far exceed the efforts being put in (I’m paraphrasing). But my point of view on this is that our time is being sucked by the discovery process at the detriment of intentional and deterministic approaches for getting informed which are going by the way side. There has to be a balance at some point between discovery and relevancy. Tinkering with discovery will make the discovery results more interesting, but that doesn’t always lead to total relevancy.

  • http://twitter.com/iCrowdApps Ted Kao

    Wow, what an amazing background. I knew of Bill Gross from CitySearch and Idea Labs but didn’t know all of this rich history. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TheJulior Julio Rodriguez

    What a thoughtful interview, Bill is a really inspiring guy who is obviously brimming with ideas; you really get the impression that he can barely hold them in as he speaks at a hundred miles an hour. Together, Mark and Bill really highlight the brighter side of entrepreneurship. I really love the perspective he is able to shed on things, having been involved with the business side of the web for so long. In fact, a lot of his ability to think on longer timescales than most is captured in this interview.

    An unimportant side note, but I still feel the need to point it out: Whatever camera was being used really did not like Bill’s shirt, the constantly shifting moire pattern was somewhat distracting.

  • Josh Webb

    I spent four years there, some of them pretty close with Bill, and still hadn’t heard some of these stories. I am glad that these made it out into the public. I think Bill would agree that there is a lot of learning to be done from the things that have happened along the way.

  • Humphrey

    Thanks Mark looking forward to seeing the interview. I really had no idea about how he managed to build so many successful companies but I guess hard work, testing, failure and iteration.

    I just had a question around the sales process. How did he manage to sign such big names as Microsoft for overture? I mean where do you start creating a relationship with these massive corporates. Also how much of these pre-existing relationships do you think have benefited his new startups in terms of sales.

    Also recently I was going to start with a freemium model with my own business but being reminded of Steven blanks “charge from day one” and now Bill I think charging is letting you know exactly how much of a pain are you hitting.

    Thanks again. Humphrey

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Should work fine. Try a different browser.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I can’t keep up with his brain / innovative thoughts. I have to prepare in advance ;-)

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Great analogy about intellect-drive incubator.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I personally preferred to stay away from any controversy. Bill has such a storied career I didn’t want to reduce it to any current conflicts. We had agree to do this interview long before he was involved with UberSocial.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I *thought* I knew most of the stories. I could tape for 5 hours and still learn new stuff. Hard to reduce 35 years of success into 90 minutes!

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    re: shirts – probably reflects my lack of experience in telling people how to dress for TV. re: Bill, I thought I had ADHD until I met Bill. I channel the best of my ADHD. He has codified it into the most successful incubator in history.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    re: signing big deals … really think it came down to having a compelling product that made a ton of money. Dollars talk. Silicon Valley is allergic to advertising … until such time as they remember it’s how they created the majority of their recent business successes.

  • Nick Sanchez

    Bill Gross is a Genius. I had the please of hearing him speak at Harvey Mud College not too long ago. Great interview.

  • http://www.eqentia.com William Mougayar

    Sorry, I should have been more specific – I wasn’t thinking about the controversy of the Uber shut down, but rather about potentially discussing his vision/plans for the Uber/TweetDeck combo.

  • http://twitter.com/aaroncray Aaron Crayford

    Jesus

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/luisfelipecastro Luis Felipe Castro

    Great interview, the best so far.

    I just wish you two talked more about the competition with Google. Bill said they did not compete but since Google had the IPO in 2004, they had to be competing at some level in 2003 when Overture was acquired.

    There is no shame in “losing” to Google, specially when the consolation prize is a billon dollar acquisition, but I wonder if Larry and Sergey won because they were more focused and passionate about search than Bill and Idealab.

    What’s your impression, Mark?

  • http://twitter.com/RenegadeTools Renegade Tool Co.

    Wow Aaron,

    Really going on the deep end on this one. I definitely do agree with you that new start ups need to be different, but I absolutely disagree with everything else you said above. We are living proof that being 10x better then your competition works! We are on the verge of taking full market control because 1 of our main contributing factors is that we are 10x better then our competition. I don’t know what you do, but it seems that your commenting on this post because you cant be 10x better then your competition. Keep your religious and inappropriate comments to yourself!

  • http://berislav.lopac.net Berislav Lopac

    Mark, I hate you — I still have a backlog of your TWiVC videos to watch, and you keep throwing out amazing interviews which I just don’t have the time to watch! Damn you! ;)

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, Aaron.

    I do believe you win by putting out better products. I believe Detroit lost its way precisely because IT DIDN”T put out the best cars – the ones that people wanted.

    I also disagree with your assessment that first to a market never wins. It’s true that often a trailblazer who is too early loses. As I always repeat, “being too early is the same as being wrong.” But don’t confuse being a pioneer with market timing. If you time the market well and your first you can do just fine.

    Re: first to get it right – Bill was the first to get it right, which is why he created a $1.65bn exit. But … I think even he would acknowledge (actually, he did acknowledge) that ultimately Google won because it had a better product in organic search (Overture licensed theirs from Inktomi).

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I don’t remember if he said it on camera or afterward but Google seemed to win for 3 key reasons (the first two according to Bill, the third according to other sources of mine).

    1. They had better organic search. Overture didn’t focus on it. Bill said that at the time he argued internally that they should but there wasn’t consensus for it. They licensed this from Inktomi and it was never good enough.

    2. Overture was so successful that they signed up most of the major distribution partners. Ironically that early success hurt them. Their partners strongly pushed the to shut down GoTo.com, their “owned & operated” site. So Google had a cost advantage in distribution deals because its core O&O business was so profitable it could take a loss on other deals for a few years.

    3. Overture ranked based on highest price. Google ranked on a “yield management” basis. So on Overture (just an example) you could pay $5 for the top placement, which might only get clicked 5 times or $25 in revenue to Overture. Whereas on Google the top bid might be $5 but they might in stead place the results of the $3 bid because it gets clicked on more. So 20 clicks at $3 would generate $60. So Google was inherently more valuable.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    LOL. OK, well THIS is the one to watch!

  • http://www.terametric.com Taariq Lewis

    Awesome interview Mark! Thank you!

    I just listened to Steve Jobs Stanford Grad Speech about: “Connecting the dots” and I am absolutely impressed to see how it works with Bill Gross.

    Bill has a great and consistent story. He’s not a flash-in-the-pan success. He has continued to build from first experiences and does so excellently.

    Just awesome. Thanks!

  • http://www.terametric.com Taariq Lewis

    As an early user of Inktomi, the explanation above makes sense. We would lament the quality of GoTo Results and Google branded itself as the best/quality organic results. Also, GoTo Went away very quickly as the partners took over. Yes.

    Your 3rd point was very interesting. Yield management approach was very smart. Great job on GooG’s part.

    Thanks for this, Mark,
    T.

  • http://twitter.com/aaroncray Aaron Crayford

    Oh Suster your right i was wrong so, so wrong you aren’t drunk you gotta be HIGH MAN! I wanna fight you with a spork so bad right now! you know why a spork cause i don’t wanna dignify you with a knife!

    Watch this magic trick Suster, SUSTER WATCH!!!

    I wanna buy a hybrid car… so I buy a Prius.
    I wanna buy a fun car…. so I buy a BMW.
    I wanna buy a electric roadster…so I buy a tesla.
    I wanna buy a dependable car… so I buy a corolla.
    I wanna buy a safe car…. so I buy a volvo.

    I wanna search for something… I GOTO GOOGLE (get the double entendre?)

    Suster PERCEPTION WINS that’s it. When the consumer goes to make a decision their mind goes to a category and the connection that is strongest in the mind for owning that category. I recently bought a new BMW… when I got it, it was ranked 16 on consumer reports number 1 & 2 Buick and Cadalac…. The car had to be towed 6 times the fuel pump was changed 7 times (the car had 2 oil changes) BMW handed me a check for $30k and paid off the loan so I wouldn’t sue. Now when I bought the car I knew it was ranked poorly…it WASNT BETTER!!!! but I wanted a fun car so I bought it.

    Suster you just contradicted yourself again. Bill Gross won and so did Google? no hommie Google won. Bill Gross made a ton of cash and good for him. He’s a great guy and an innovative thinker no one can take that away from him… But Sergey and Larry won.

    Give me a case where first to market that won the market meng! Do it! Here’s another one Rio MP3 player vs Ipod who won!? who was first to market!? BAM

    dude you should pay me for this gold

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Love the longer format. You should get out of the studio more often, no time limitations from the producer ;)

    Great interview!

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Love the longer format. You should get out of the studio more often, no time limitations from the producer ;)

    Great interview!

  • 1001 ideas

    “And while they historically had come up with 100% of their ideas and created the companies themselves, they are increasingly open to funding people with great ideas who want to build businesses with IdeaLab ..”

    Contradiction to what their site says:

    “Idealab is primarily focused on developing and operating technology companies based on its own internally-generated ideas. Idealab does not invite the submission of business plans, ideas, concepts, inventions or any other material (“Material”). Please do not disclose to Idealab …”

    But I suppose they do not want to be flooded with e-mails and they prefer recommendations.

  • http://thousandandoneideas.blogspot.com 1001 ideas

    Or they have not had time to update the website

  • petegrif

    This is a truly great interview. He is an exceptionally smart guy and a frighteningly articulate. I loved it. Thanks to you both.

  • http://x.co/J9cm PortablePay – PhoPay – PhoPal

    or be original

  • http://www.RenegadeToolCo.com Timothy Lemnah

    Aaron Crayford,

    Knock it off! Are you trying to be being a Blog Gangster or something? “I wanna fight you with a spork?” “I dont wanna dignify you with a knife?” What the hell is wrong with you?? Seriously grow up, your never going to get anywhere in life with this attitude! Don’t you know that anyone and everyone can read your posts? You basically just blacklisted yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/staysmall amar

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for a great interview :) The recurring themes and descriptions of why Google won long term are intriguing. Bill views organic results as a “loss leader” whereas Google views them as the heart of their branding/qualitative difference — are these two sides of the same coin or do they point to a fundamental philosophical difference?

    Quick tangent, really liked your blog-rant about unreadable name tags at SXSW.

  • Jayant Kulkarni

    Great interview. What I found interesting was that Bill is not the typical stereotype of the creative person in that he is very very numbers driven. For practically every question where it was possible he was doling out numbers: 75 companies, 1 penny per month, 250k for 12 months, 10-12 companies a year etc. I guess that a creative person who can be quantitative and can tame his creativity by data can do quite well!

  • Mikelee_

    Vivek,

    Try watching the video here:

  • Anonymous

    This is fantastic interview, one of the best in the series.

  • http://twitter.com/vocabgenii Genii

    Bill Gross is truly my entrepreneur hero, unassuming, full of great ideas and most importantly he knows how to get the ideas into products or business models. Compared to those noisy, attention-seeking people trumpeting mediocre stuff in the world of startups, Bill’s temperament and track record is awe inspiring. He’s the Warren Buffett of technology entrepreneurship.

  • Dave W Baldwin

    Great interview… it is freezing up on me too (even straight YouTube). Worth just watching in pieces.

  • http://davidlew.is thedavidlewis

    A little more background from the trenches:

    1) As you pointed out, Google won because it had organic traffic. GoTo had almost none. Users loved Google from the start. Of course, a big piece of Google’s success was Yahoo. Like GoTo, Yahoo didn’t have its own organic search results. Yahoo was a human-edited directory and not a search engine. Yahoo paid a pennies CPM to Google for its organic results which were labeled “powered by Google”.

    2) We had several other distribution deals that you didn’t list. I was hired in 1999 to land deals with portals and browsers. We did. Early on we thought that once we had 4 or 5 of them we would start to gain negotiating power. The problem was that by that time the company had gone public and a loss of any one of them would tank the stock. That happened when Earthlink jumped ship to Google. While that deal was small for GoTo, the stock lost a third of its value that day (to the best of my memory).

    3) There was a lot of debate over changing to the “yield management” system before Google launched AdWords. There were issues with the technology. If you doubt that, take a look at the launch of Panama and all of the issues around that.

  • http://davidlew.is thedavidlewis

    There are some interesting stories for several of the GoTo distribution deals. As for the history with Microsoft:

    1998: Talmadge O’Neill, then Director of BD for GoTo.com, signed a deal to be in the side search for Internet Explorer (before MSN had it’s own search engine). It was in rotation with other search engines. Users could either select a search engine or have one randomly picked for them.

    1999: The deal expired and Microsoft wasn’t keen on renewing it. I kept them talking and convinced them not to delete the cookies that had been assigned to users.

    2000: We resigned the deal solely keeping the users who had been cookied to have GoTo as their search engine. The deal cost $3MM and earned over $14MM. We had already made $3MM in the months between the end of the old deal and the start of the new one :-)

    2001: GoTo signed a deal with Microsoft to have the top three GoTo results displayed on the SERPs for MSN’s search engine. That was the deal we had been working toward by staying in the browser.

    Money did talk. Many of the deals were backed up by guaranteed payments to the portals. Todd Tappin, GoTo’s CFO, did an amazing job both giving us the resources we needed to close deals and making sure that we signed profitable deals.

  • http://davidlew.is thedavidlewis

    Also, regarding Google, in late 1999 we pitched Google on using GoTo’s paid search results. Everyone told me I was nuts for setting that up. It was a nice meeting in which the Google execs told us that they would never allow paid search on Google’s SERPs because paid results were not relevant and were just wrong.

    Some people have argued that Google was planning AdWords and was just trying to throw us off. That is possible and a logical conclusion.

    Over the years I’ve heard from people “in the know” who said that Google’s VCs told them they had to get into the paid search game. At the time, Google’s main revenue source was a pennies CPM for providing organic search to Yahoo.

    If you look at Google’s multi-billion dollar market cap, I’d say Google made the right choice giving in to the devil and launching a paid search program.

    [Note: One exec at a portal did tell me that paid search was the work of the devil.]

  • http://twitter.com/sdimarco Stephen DiMarco

    We were happy that Compete started as an idealab company. Bill had a tremendous influence on our vision.

  • Julian Mossanen

    Dear Mark –
    I’ve been a keen reader of your insightful blog for some time and I’d like to thank you for sharing your experiences (like this great interview) and for your guidance to entrepreneurs. I’m the founder of LiveExperts.tv, a live video expert community and platform, and we’re launching in a few weeks to help people get access to expert opinions through live video. Your insight into raising VC capital has helped tremendously (although we still don’t know whether to take on seed capital or wait until we have more revenue!) as we navigate through these unchartered waters, so thanks a lot for that.

    Best regards,
    Julian Mossanen
    julianm@gmail.com

  • http://twitter.com/jsphwesley Joseph Wesley Putnam

    Hi Mark,

    I found you yesterday through your article on TechCrunch. It was great, thanks.

    But I’m more impressed with this one. I just finished it, and it’s awesome. Thanks for letting me know about Bill. I’ve never heard of him before, but I’d love to meet him. Since I live in the LA area (Anaheim), maybe that can happen someday.

    I’m also shocked at some of the ideas that I have that are exactly like what Bill has done. I have an idea very similar to The Wedding Channel that would be a competitor. I didn’t know that the Wedding Channel existed until I was doing research for this idea. There’s still room since every McDonald’s needs a Wendy’s… :)

    I also have an idea for an e-retail that’s very, very similar to etoys. Some people think it isn’t very sexy because it’s retail, but I think that it is.

    Thanks for the post. It’s inspiring, and I’m happy to be “introduced” to Bill. I look forward to keeping in touch.

  • http://twitter.com/ToksOgun Toks Ogun

    From the notes alone it’s already interesting.

  • http://www.garywhitehill.com Gary Whitehill

    Very interesting article. Bill Gross is assuredly a true pioneer. My favorite segment from the interview is when Bill explained how the most successful ideas to start a business always come from things we do in our everyday lives. To become an entrepreneur you do not need a groundbreaking idea. You can start by simply looking within yourself and your everyday activities.
    I wrote an article listing many of the characteristics that a successful entrepreneur needs here: http://bit.ly/cXPVTA. If you possess these characteristics, you have a chance at being very successful, just like Bill. I also recommend, if you have a chance, looking at the Start-up Advice folder under blog topics.
    Best regards,

    Gary Whitehill
    http://www.garywhitehill.com/