It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur

There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one. Here’s one example.

Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000.

Why on earth is there a 30X difference? There’s probably a lot of reasons, but here are my top four. I’m interested in hearing about what other people think are factors as well.

Hardware is 100X cheaper
In the 10 years between Excite and JotSpot, hardware has literally become 100X cheaper. It’s two factors – Moore’s law and the rise of Linux as an operating system designed to run on generic hardware. Back in the Excite days, we had to buy proprietary Sun hardware and Sun hard drive arrays. Believe me, none of it was cheap.

Today, we buy generic Intel boxes provided by one of a million different suppliers.

Infrastructure software is free
Back in 1993 we had to buy and continue to pay for maintenance on everything we needed just to build our service — operating systems, compilers, web servers, application servers, databases. You name it. If it was infrastructure, we paid for it. And, not only was it costly, the need to negotiate licenses took time and energy. I remember having a deadline at Excite that required me to buy a Sun compiler through their Japanese office because it was the only office open at the time (probably midnight) and we needed that compiler NOW.

Compare that to today. Free, open source infrastructure is the norm. Get it anytime and anywhere. At JotSpot, and startups everywhere you see Linux, Tomcat, Apache, MySQL, etc. No license cost, no maintenance.

Access to Global Labor Markets
Startups today have unprecedented access to global labor markets. Back in 1993, IBM had access to technical people in India, but little Excite.com did not. Today, with rent-a-coder, elance.com and just plain email, we have access to a world-wide talent pool of experts on a temporary or permanent basis.

SEM changes everything
Ten years ago to reach the market, we had to do expensive distribution deals. We advertised on television and radio and print. We spent a crap-load of money. There’s an old adage in television advertising “I know half my money is wasted. Trouble is, I don’t know what half”.  That was us.

It’s an obvious statement to say that search engine marketing changes everything. But the real revolution is the ability to affordably reach small markets. You can know what works and what doesn’t. And, search not only allows niche marketing, it’s global popularity allows mass marketing as well (if you can buy enough keywords).

So What?
It’s nice that it’s cheaper, but what does it mean to entrepreneuring?

More people can and will be entrepreneurs than ever before
A lot more people can raise $100,000 than raise $3,000,000.

Funding sources explode which enables more entrepreneurs
The sources of funding capable of writing $100,000 checks are a lot more plentiful than those capable of writing $3,000,000 checks. It’s a great time to be an angel investor because there are real possibilities of substantial company progress on so little money.

More bootstrapping to profitability
With costs so low, I think you’ll see many more companies raise angel money and take it all the way to profitability.

Higher valuations for VCs.
And, for those that do raise venture capital, I think it means better valuations because you can get far more mature on your $100,000 before you go for the bigger round.

All in all, it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.

125 Comments

  1. Anon says:

    Ok, I’m really curious about this. How could you possibly have gotten to a launch on $100k? Please give some more details, otherwise this just seems like an exaggeration. I mean, were you paying anyone in the US? Because $100k will only get you 1/2 person-years.

  2. Dave McClure says:

    another set of good reasons:
    * down round financing went from >50% in 2002-3004 to <20% in 2004. all the old crap is finally being flushed out.
    * first round financing expanded 2 quarters in a row (Q4/04, Q1/05), and seems to be on the way up. now that the old crap is out of the way new crap can get funding! (ok, so hopefully this time it’s not crap…)
    * Google’s IPO created another major portal that can provide acquisition liquidity for new ventures; so now with MSFT, YHOO, GOOG (and also IAC, AOL, EBAY, AMZN et al), there are a LOT of companies out there willing to buy startups with solid technology — and thus more optimistic entrepreneurs and angel/VC investors.
    * in addition to SEM creating instant traffic, AdSense & other online advertising networks can create provide a new form of instant revenue & monetization for startups (albeit limited in most scenarios).
    * a multiplicity of publicly available web services / hosted ASPs are making “mashups” a lot more prevalent, and people can now remix some very cool apps without having to build the entire technology stack from the ground up. folks like Paul Rademacher can be a one-man band & create HousingMaps.com.
    the technology DJ’s time has come.
    yep, gotta agree… time to buy shades :)
    – dmc

  3. Pelle says:

    I am in hole hearted agreement with you but I have also added my own reasons:
    * Simpler services are more successful
    * Big is no longer cool
    * Better frameworks
    Which I expand on on my blog post. I and many other people are trying to bootstrap without Angel Investors, which is something you will see a lot more of as well.

  4. Imran Ali says:

    Let’s not forget the proliferation of broadband in the last 2-3 years…lowering the barriers to adoption for any number of startup’s service offerings.
    Here in the UK, there’s a direct correllation between the broadband ISP price war and the adoption of broadband services and content.

  5. The era of the disposable startup ?

    Joe Kraus has a thoughtful post:

  6. It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.

    Joe Kraus posts his thoughts on why this is a great time to start a new company:Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000. Why on earth is there a 30X difference? Theres probably a lot…

  7. Our experience at Revieworld and Reevoo concurrs with what you are saying. There is a positive attitude amongst UK investors at the moment. There is a realisation that a lot can be done with little – “low cost model” is becoming a philosphy. Everything can now be measured to maximise the benefit.
    Technology (software and hardware) is cheaper but marketing (a huge source of cost previously) can be better controlled utilising the best of the old word off-line techniques combined with modern marketing (adwords, viral, word of mouth etc).

  8. It’s a Great Time to be an Entrepreneur . . .

    says Bnoopy, because “it’s never been cheaper to be one.” Specifics follow. Infectious Greed adds: Granted, you still need good ideas — and maybe even better ideas if the financial barriers to entrepreneurship have fallen — but people still haven’t…

  9. It’s a Great Time to Be An Entrepreneur

    Echoing many of the things I’ve been saying, Joe Kraus has a great piece on how cheap it is to start a web company. I can provide a couple of additional data points. I started ONElist with $5K. That lasted…

  10. Entrepreneurs, angels, and the cost of launch

    Joe Kraus from JotSpot has a great piece on how the last ten years has reduced the price of doing a startup from three million to a hundred thousand dollars for him. That’s definitely an interesting development and Joe is…

  11. Entrepreneurs, angels, and the cost of launch

    Joe Kraus from JotSpot has a great piece on how the last ten years has reduced the price of doing a startup from three million to a hundred thousand dollars for him. That’s definitely an interesting development and Joe is…

  12. New product development & entrepreneuship

    Joe Kraus has a great post on how it took $3M to start Excite and only $100K to launch Jotspot (here – via O’Reilly Radar). The reasons he lists are hardware being 100X cheaper, software infrastructure being free, greater access…

  13. Peter Cooper says:

    I mean, were you paying anyone in the US? Because $100k will only get you 1/2 person-years.
    That’s just not true. You’d be surprised how many people out there are working for peanuts on projects. A lot of people balance their regular work with working on more entrepreneurial dreams, and $100K would go a very long way indeed, especially for the young (and most entrepreneurs these days are younger than ever before).

  14. New product development & entrepreneurship

    Joe Kraus has a great post on how it took $3M to start Excite and only $100K to launch Jotspot (here – via O’Reilly Radar). The reasons he lists are hardware being 100X cheaper, software infrastructure being free, greater access…

  15. What's Next? says:

    Nano-corps?

    One other driver that I think is important is that it is now possible to add value in smaller doses than ever before.

  16. Changing Way says:

    A Great Time to be an Entrepreneur

    Here’s something else I’ve seen several links to, but cannot risk to urge to link to myself. It’s Joe Kraus’s post on the $ cost of entrepreneurship.
    Mark Fletcher links to the post, and provides some detail on the companies he’s started (and subse…

  17. Jon Kraus on entrepreneurship

    Jon Kraus has a great writeup on something I’ve been preaching about lately – on how it is a great time to be a entrepreneur. What he’s talking about now, I’ve talked about many many times before. Expense cuts due to the usage of ope…

  18. Emma says:

    it’s global popularity
    >>
    its global popularity

  19. Is it a great time to be an entrepreneur?

    According to ex-Excite founder it is. And, yes, the argument that costs are coming down is a great help to entrepreneurs. Relative scarcity of initial VC still continues to be an issue according to the New York Software Industry Association….

  20. Start-ups are cheaper and easier to start…

    Great post from an entrepreneurship blog titled: It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.
    Reasoning: 1. Hardware is 100x cheaper than the late 90s. 2. Infrastructure software is free. 3. Access to global labor markets. 4. SEM marketing.

  21. The cost of a start-up

    The biggest difference comes from the fact that we know better now. We know that we aren’t going to get one hundred million dollar valuations just like that. We know that VC’s are going to probe much deeper. We learned that Super Bowl commercials and…

  22. Chris Yeh says:

    Joe,
    I’d love to have you give a talk on this topic, either for the Harvard Business School High Tech Alumni Association, or for SDForum. I know that your schedule is busy, but is there any chance you might be able to carve out an hour or two?
    –Chris

  23. Faisal says:

    Interesting article.
    i agree with most of what you said except on advertising , search engines will bring you qualified visitors but it will not give you massive reach , and definitely will not make your service popular like what the traditional media (TV , etc) did to Excite.
    Thanks
    Faisal

  24. Startups on the Cheap

    Joe Kraus on why it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur: There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one. Here’s one example. Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea…

  25. Audio: Start-Up Your Business Today

    Download the MP3 [ 11 Minutes - 2.5MB ]
    I’m doing a bit of motivational podcasting for you today. As pointed out by Dane Carlson from Business Opportunities and also Bnoopy, it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur and you should start your bu…

  26. Give me $100,000 and I’ll give you a Company

    This is so true, Joe Krauss has hit it on the nose…

  27. Speaking of Disruptive Technology…

    Have an idea for a company? Have $100,000, or know where to get some? If you build it, they will come…

  28. HTNet says:

    Is it a Good Time to be a Netrepreneur?

    Joe Kraus has written an entry on why now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. A good writeup, although the obvious limitation would be that it’s a great article on the topic of net entrepreneurship but not necessarily entrepreneurship in gener…

  29. John says:

    Yes it is a good time to be an entrepreneur.
    I agree that net startups can be done on the cheap, and they should. But wages still cost, and good talent is expensive. Yes, you can offshore some of it, but you have better have a solid core base built before you go down that path. Software development outsourcing is difficult, from the start you’ve got cultural, communication and timezone issues. Not to mention usually a misalignment of macro understanding of what the product is and how it should function.
    I am just curious, if you really believe you can bootstrap the entire operation from start to exit, then why did you take in $6MM in venture? Why dilute your equity more than you have to?
    I dont fault you for taking the cash, I would take as much money as I could raise (you never know when/if your going to need it.)

  30. Phil Wright says:

    Another great way to save on advertising costs is to concentrate on Internet Adversiting. I just posted on my website all about that area after attending a great marketing course.
    Check it out here….
    http://componentfactory.blogspot.com

  31. lifehack.org says:

    Good time to be entrepreneur

    Joe Kraus at Bnoopy has a interesting post on why it is good time to be entrepreneur now days. He came up couple of reasons:
    “Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000.”
    Hardware is 100X cheaper
    In…

  32. Duane says:

    It appears that the people best positioned to startup a new venture on $100k are the ones that are already rich from their previous venture and thus can work for no salary. I’ve seen it first hand, a friend is starting (co-founding) a company and wanted me to join, and all his partner can argue back at me is, “See all these people working for me? They’re all working for just stock because at the last company they all made a million dollars.” Great for them, super. But I didn’t (yet), I want a salary. Does that mean no startups for me?

  33. gapingvoid says:

    “it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur”

    From Bnoopy:It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one. Here’s one example. Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot…

  34. hexod.us says:

    links for 2005-07-01

    Covering The Story Of Your Life Camera Phones and special Web sites allow mobile bloggers to record every detail (tags: flickr) Font guide for webmasters So which fonts are installed on everyone’s computers? Your best bets are the ones…

  35. Ninja Startups

    I figured, meh, why not weigh in on the latest topic to storm the blogosphere (at least the small section I read) – Cheap startups. Some heavy hitting names have been posting about it… Joe Kraus, David Hansson, Om Malik, Mark Fletcher, & Chris Sayl…

  36. Just Hack says:

    VC and Angel Funding

    David over at 37Signals wrote a great little piece about VC funding, Entrepreneurs, angels, and the cost of launch. His article hit pretty close to home as I am involved in writing a cool little web service with two of my friends. We are doing it on virtu

  37. It’s cheap to be an entrepreneur

    From the entrepreneur’s channel and Boopy, It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur….  Access to Global Labor Markets 3.

  38. I am surprised at the comparison drawn between Excite and Jotspot. No offense, but to me, a search engine is a hell of a lot more algorithmic, tuning and systems work than a customisable wiki is!

  39. adam says:

    I agree that it is a great time to be an entrepneur. Aside from the lower cost of equipment there are more avenues to sell products and more ways to market your products. With proven marketplaces like ebay and amazon.com, many people are starting their own small business to supplement their income whereas 10 years ago, a lot of these things were still grey area and were only for the strong willed. Word of mouth marketing has never been better. With the advent of blogs and popdcasting, getting a post on one popular blog can spark a firestorm of sales and increased visibility.
    The internet now is not just the latest “new” thing, it’s just another outlet, which means that people have become more comfortable with it that has allowed them to embrace starting an online venture.

  40. b7j0c says:

    much of this has been in place for some time. yahoo was bootstrapped with free software…in 1995. cheap hardware too. david filo was way ahead of his time, he was doing “cheap” when it was actually novel and often disputed (you can’t do this without sun boxes!). i credit him for the cheap revolution.
    also note that these conditions draw many more players into the game and reduce margins. when it costs $0 to start a business, you can likely expect $0 returns.

  41. Paul says:

    @Ashwin:
    “I am surprised at the comparison drawn between Excite and Jotspot. No offense, but to me, a search engine is a hell of a lot more algorithmic, tuning and systems work than a customisable wiki is!”
    That may true for some wiki projects out there, but it’s not true in the case of Jot. If you had taken more than a cursory look at what Jot is doing, you would have realized that it is more than a “customizable wiki”. It’s a large-scale hosted service that is a platform for building applications.

  42. Fred says:

    Hello Duane,
    I do not think so. Here in Canada, I can leave with 15k$ CND a year (small accommodation, no car, some food and a monthly subscription for a place to train). Could you? If so, you can easily bring 15k or 20k a year with small consultant contracts that will take only a part of your working time during a year. The other part of your working time could then be use to start that dam startup :)
    I do not think that the problem is cash, but much more one of work, hard work and patience.
    Take care,
    Salutations,
    Fred

  43. I couldn’t agree more. Now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. I have been using Rentacoder, adsense, adwords, and SEO to build and market content online.
    So much infrastructure is available today that used to be prohibitively expensive and difficult to build. I can accept payments using the new Paypal payments API, and I can promote my sites in a few minutes using adwords and other advertising programs.
    It does take some money and know how to get started. If you’re a business person with a great idea, it’s still fundamentally difficult to translate your vision for the business (a web site, a community, a lead generation system, etc.) into a product specification that engineers on services like elance and rentacoder can implement.
    That said, the cost of getting things up and running is fundamentally several orders of magnitude lower than it was just a few years ago.
    How do you get running on $100K? You have most of your development done offshore using services like rentacoder and elance. You hire contractors offshore as well as students to help write the content and marketing text for your sites. You buy hosting at low cost from any of the many hosting providers (so you own no hardware). You promote your site or sites via advertising and organic search (SEO).
    It truly is a great time to be an entrepreneur.

  44. GrumpY! says:

    “So much infrastructure is available today that used to be prohibitively expensive and difficult to build. I can accept payments using the new Paypal payments API, and I can promote my sites in a few minutes using adwords and other advertising programs.”
    this is a decent way to build a small business, a second income etc., but thats about it.
    “How do you get running on $100K? You have most of your development done offshore using services like rentacoder and elance.”
    this is just clueless. no 24/7 web service can live without oncall staff who know the code. i don’t care if they are in sunnyvale or bangalore, you need someone on payroll who can solve mission critical issues asap. oh yeah you can outsource your colo, but they aren’t going to fix your mysql bugs.
    all of these comments in any case revolve not around general entrepreneurial activity but setting up small-time websites. duh! this has been cheap for a long time. also 99,999 people are your competitors, once again this approach is great if you want to make $20k a year reselling purses.
    tell me how i do advanced materials, alternative energy, biotech etc on the cheap.

  45. John Furrier says:

    Right on! I’ve done a variety of podcasts with entrepreneurs and VCs in Silicon Valley and Joe’s points are echoed by many. This is the new model and YES it’s great for entrepreneurs. My company was funded entirely by myself and customers. We paid nothing for technology to get the business off the ground. Open source is changing everything every day.
    John Furrier
    Founder of PodTech.net
    Joe – “Lets Podcast”

  46. Dru's Blog says:

    On “It’s a Great Time to Be An Entrepreneur”

    Mark fletcher was chiming in with Joe Kraus on the topic “It’s a Great Time to Be An Entrepreneur”, so I thought I would chime in as well. I haven’t started any companies worth noting, but I was an employee of Mark’s back in the Onelist/eGroups days….

  47. adam says:

    Joe,
    I’m with John on this. It’d be great if you could create your own podcast for business development stuff and talk about your trials through excite as well as with jotspot.
    After starting my company, I have found that I have loads of info about “what not to do” when starting a business when my friends think about jumping into the foray.
    Good luck to everyone that have started or are thinking about your own ventures. Its rough out there but HIGHLY rewarding.

  48. ed Fladung says:

    Hey Joe – my apologies, i didn’t mean anything negative by my comment on SVN. It was meant to be a metaphor. I love Jot Spot. you guys are doing great work. I don’t think there is anyway you could be doing Jot Spot with just 3 people.

  49. John Girard says:

    Nice post.
    Add to the list:
    Employees who’ve done it before
    We take 10s of cycles off of projects these days because we have a core group of people that have built similar technologies before. The hardware/software costs have diminished a lot, but so have the personnel costs. Some of the time savings is because they have better tools. Most of the time savings is because they are walking along well-worn paths.
    Cheers,
    John

  50. Back when bootstrapping wasn’t

    Here’s a little blast from the past – a story on entrepeneurship during the bubble from ’99. Of course from…

  51. medmusings says:

    links for 2005-07-02

    Cisco: Paging Dr. Info Tech “Cisco already has taken steps in this direction. Employees who go to Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a 650-doctor practice that serves 10% of Cisco workers, can use an early version of secure messaging. This year, Cisco star…

  52. “It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur” – Really hope so! ;)

    Bnoopy: It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur
    I really hope this guy’s right!
    Seriously, I went to the bank today to transfer my checking account into a different once since I was originally getting free checking because I was getting my …

  53. It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur!

    Joe Kraus talks about how much cheaper (30x!) it is to do a startup today. However, I thought that this is probably something only people who have done a startup 10 years ago would understand and, appreciate. Joe claims that his new startup, JotSpot, i…

  54. See a similar article by Utah entrepreneur Paul Allen at Connect Utah magazine: http://www.connect-utah.com/article.asp?r=1050&iid=34&sid=4
    He gives 8 similar reasons why now is the best time in the history of the world to start a company.

  55. TechCrunch says:

    Web 2.0 This Week (June 26 – July 1)

    Beginning today, we are going to link to and summarize important web 2.0 developments, essays, posts and announcements over the previous week.
    Many of you may read Richard McManus’ excellent web 2.0 Weekly Wrapup at his site (link). Richard,…

  56. Is it time to rethink about being an entrepreneur?

    We’re running out of excuses why we can’t get involved in something . . . a view from a top dog (‘serial entrepreneur’ Joe Kraus)

  57. It’s a great time to be a entrepreneur!

    I’ve found these wonderful posts from two entrepreneurs. They should know, coz they’ve been there. Precisely what I’ve been thinking all these days. When I actually provide an off-line presence for Viamentis, very little of the money will go into buying s

  58. GeekFun says:

    Small (the new big), continued.

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a couple of posts about the opportunities for small organizations to do big things , and the impact this might be having on the venture capital industry. This past week, Joe Kraus, co-founder…

  59. Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 27 June – 3 July 2005

    sponsored by: This week: Grokking Yahoo! My Web 2.0, What is Where 2.0, Entrepreneurs start your engines, RSS VC fund fever, Techie Post of the Week – Attention. Thoughts on Yahoo! My Web 2.0 Yahoo’s unveiling of a “social search…

  60. Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor

    The Web is clearly changing before us. Most don’t have a complete picture of what’s happening, but the media’s attention to blogging is a clear sign to many that things are different. Indeed they are! Blogging or weblogs have been…

  61. Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor

    A lot has been said about Joe’s post during the past few days. Which made me think — is it also a great time to be an investor?
    I think so and provide reasons why in my post, Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor. It would be great to get feedb…

  62. A big opening for little guys

    Whether it’s virtualization, grid computing, or software-as-a-service, utility computing is creating attractive opportunities for a new generation of tech entrepreneurs.

  63. A golden age, except for the darkness

    It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur…except that we’re entering a dark age for innovation. (The latter is from someone at the Pentagon, and everyone else discredits it. So it’s still a great time to be an entrepreneur!)

  64. Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor

    A lot has been said about Joe’s post during the past few days. Which made me think — is it also a great time to be an investor?
    I think so and provide reasons why in my post, Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor. It would be great to get feedb…

  65. I definitely concur that it’s an opportune and excellent time to be an entrepreneur and\or a startup.
    In our case, we’re defying odds in spite of the fact that we’re located in a region of the world most people assume has
    1)No innovation
    2)Low penetration of technology.
    My company, NEO(New Enterprise Objects), is a budding startup specializing in levaraging mobile technology to explode the enterprise and provide an efficient distributed collaboration infrastructure.
    Currently, 100% of our staff(5 members) are either consulting or employed full time. All time spent coding ,having meetings or strategising is derived from what I fondly call, “the night shift”, where the real hacking begins.
    In addition, none of us is being paid any salary but is fueled by
    1)The vision
    2)The increasing value of the startup and our stake\stock in it.
    Who could have thought that a startup in an LDC could be accelerating in the enterprise space with very little capital (even much less than you’ve indicated above) and no full time employees?
    This truly is a wondeful time to be an entrepreneur.

  66. Now’s the time to Start

    To start a business, I mean. This short article explains why.

  67. Great article. O would only say it is underestimation. To start going with your idea now you need much less than $100.000
    Of course you can spend money to save time but it is other story.
    PHP, MySQL are simple enough so almost everyone can learn them to prototype idea.
    Many projects can be done on virtual hosting, which can cost just 5$ a month, even if need something more complex, 50$ a month will buy you dedicated box with ton of traffic.
    Finally there are easy ways to start driving revenues – google adsense, amazon or ebay affiliates. You do not need sales team to hunt for advertisers any more.
    So practically if you have idea you can start with 500$ and few spare hours per week, while keeping your day job.
    That is practically what we did in our project. http://www.ljseek.com is search engine searching millions of blog posts by livejournal users

  68. FMPublishing says:

    Uh Huh.

    What Fred said…. …and what Joe said….

  69. TJ's Weblog says:

    A great time be an entrepreneur

    Joe Kraushas his personal analysis why he finds being entreprenuer much easier than before: “Hardware is 100X cheaper In the 10 years between Excite and JotSpot, hardware has literally become 100X cheaper. It’s two factors – Moore’s law and…

  70. TJ's Weblog says:

    A great time be an entrepreneur

    Photo:siliconvalleywatcher.com Joe Kraus has his personal analysis why he finds being entreprenuer much easier than before: “Hardware is 100X cheaper In the 10 years between Excite and JotSpot, hardware has literally become 100X cheaper. It’s two facto…

  71. TJ's Weblog says:

    A great time be an entrepreneur

    Photo:siliconvalleywatcher.com Joe Kraus has his personal analysis why he finds being entrepreneur much easier nowadays: “Hardware is 100X cheaper In the 10 years between Excite and JotSpot, hardware has literally become 100X cheaper. It’s two factors …

  72. Holy Shmoly! says:

    It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur

    Here’s a great article on starting out in business. You still need a good business plan and an idea, but the easier it is to get going, the more will survive!
    Here’s some advice for high tech startups. (all via delicious)

  73. MA says:

    But with a low barrier-to-entry it’s going to be crowded. You’d better have a good idea that’s protected, or be able to run really fast to avoid being starved out.

  74. Mike says:

    Yes and what about the fact that
    1. It’s now so much easier for anyone to start a company with the same concept as yours
    2. It’s so much harder to protect your ideas from being copied or stolen.
    3. There is so much more international competition
    4. Knowledge about any early initial success is so much more widely available now so first mover’s advantage is far weaker.
    5. Search engine bid prices are favoring those who can derive more profit from each click and that tends to favor companies with the broadest product offerings.
    This post blatantly ignores the realities. It’s easier to be an entrepreneur now but we are entering a “15 minutes of fame” world.

  75. Reuben says:

    “This post blatantly ignores the realities. It’s easier to be an entrepreneur now but we are entering a “15 minutes of fame” world.”
    I don’t think the post is blatantly ignoring the realities you suggest; instead I think you just have an overly pessimistic view. But everyone sees things through their own filter.
    Do you really think we’re just now starting to enter a “15 minutes of fame” world? I seem to recall, having lived through it, that circa 1995-1999 quite a few companies with little or no business plans (or polished products for that matter) went on to successfully sell themselves to larger companies for lots of cash in relatively short periods of time. 2005 ain’t got nothin’ on the late nineties in this regard…

  76. Happy Links

    Andy Budd shows us 10 Bad Project Warnin

  77. So, does anybody know how can I get $100K to expand my `little blog empire?

    I’m dead serious. If you know anything about VC, seed or angel investors, please shoot me an email. I’m just bootstrapping it here. With $100K I’d be able to launch 5 more titles without having to go weekly to the blood bank. So talk to me. Bnoopy: It’…

  78. So, does anybody know how can I get $100K to expand my `little blog empire?

    I’m dead serious. If you know anything about VC, seed or angel investors, please shoot me an email. I’m just bootstrapping it here. With $100K I’d be able to launch 5 more titles without having to go weekly to the blood bank. So talk to me. Bnoopy: It’…

  79. sean says:

    For every good idea, there are 25 people ready to shoot it down.
    It is truly ‘unrealistic’ to try anything new because success is not guaranteed.
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” –George Bernard Shaw

  80. Net says:

    Mind Set of the Online Poster

    Consumers who post online tend to be more trusting of online sources and more brand-loyal. Manufactures must connect with this group 52 percent of consumers who post online find information from manufacturers to be somewhat or very trustworthy and

  81. A great time to be an entrepreneur

    There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one. Here’s one example. Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000. Why on earth is there a 30X…

  82. A great time to be an entrepreneur

    There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one. Here’s one example. Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000. Why on earth is there a 30X…

  83. It’s a Great Time to Be an Entrepreneur (In the Association Market)

    A couple weeks ago, Joe Kraus (he founded Excite.com back during the bubble and, more recently, Jotspot, a pretty cool hosted wiki/collaboration platform) wrote a post that’s gotten a lot of play in the small business blogosphere — “…

  84. How to build a software product on the cheap: Open Source + Usability

    Joe Krause recently wrote that “Its a great time to be an entrepreneur”. Yes, it is. Joe talks about cheap hardware, free infrastructure software, cheap global labor markets, and search engine marketing. There is another reason that its a great…

  85. How to build a software product on the cheap: Open Source + Usability

    Joe Krause recently wrote that “Its a great time to be an entrepreneur”. Yes, it is. Joe talks about cheap hardware, free infrastructure software, cheap global labor markets, and search engine marketing. There is another reason that its a great…

  86. JotSpot

    Looking around for wiki tools I found the robust Media-wiki, a tool that loads like a champ and appears infinitely extensible. Some downsides include the quasi arcane wiki mark-up language that is just different enough from HTML to be really

  87. http://newmarksdoor.typepad.com/mainblog/2005/07/bnoopy_discusse.html

    Bnoopy discusses four reasons why it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.

  88. Happy Links

    Andy Budd shows us 10 Bad Project Warning Signs. Specific to web, but applicable to a broad range of services we might offer. Christopher Hawkins outlines 11 clients you should fire right now. This is great stuff. Jason Santa Maria

  89. Junto Boyz says:

    “IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR”

    Great post by Joe Kraus of Jotspot. Our startup is isn’t that low budget, but will be pretty close. If we were building our product back in 1997-1999, it would definitely take over $3 million. Anyway, here is Joe’s post:

  90. ON TOP TEN ANTI-BLOGS

    Enough with the Top Ten Blogs already…let’s talk about the Top Ten Anti-Blogs!Don’t know what I’m talking about? OK, a new Top Ten Blogs meme has been running on in the World-Wide Wild world of Blogging for the past few weeks, and it’s been fun so fa…

  91. Thanks for this post, Joe, very inspiring. Captures very well the present opportunity, largely owing to falling infrastructure, hardware, & communications costs.
    Also thanks for mentioning SEM. :)

  92. Tino Buntic says:

    I agree, it’s an exciting time being an entrepreneur. But, it will also be exciting on the sidelines. Since more people can now afford it, we should be seeing a lot more innovation

  93. Ed Daniel says:

    It’s always exciting being an entrepreneur, lol!
    One view is that many things are easier but most of all the predominant factor influencing entrepreneurs is ‘decisioning’ capability.
    The wealth and availability of knowledge to take a concept, proto-type it, get feedback and tune the vision is getting better and better.
    With access to thousands of consumers participating in supportive dialogue and feedback many businesses are getting to find out whether there ideas have merit way before capital gets wasted.
    This has lead to greater experimentation and eventually down the line some interesting innovations.
    Overall, yeah risk might have reduced but if anything it’s barrier to entry. That is good/bad for all entrepreneurs but most of all bad for the encumbents with inflexible models and capital already spent – some might consider them sitting ducks – others might know their lawyers ;-)

  94. Rebecca M says:

    Curious about JotSpot. So there is a big deal being made about customizing content (ie. Google) and about blogs (who is a publisher/who isn’t), where do Wikipedia’s (like Jotspot) fit into the mix or do they?
    Do Wikipedia’s use the same technology as being able to store calendar, documents and such on line? We’ve had this technology capability to do this for awhile, why now is it becoming so important?
    -Rebecca

  95. Armchair Entrepreneurship

    I spent part of last week trolling the SES (Search Engine Strategies) conference. Out of the few hundred companies in the convention floor, I would say 80% of the companies there are SEM and SEO related. About half way through the show, Joe Krause��…

  96. Sarah says:

    Hi,
    Your blog fits along with Barry Moltz’s writings. He has touched the lives of many entrepreneurs via his writing. His first book, entitled You Need to be a Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business, is a true-to-life, inspiring look at what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. He delivers irreverent, straight talk about the complex intersection of start-up business, financial health, physical well-being, spiritual wholeness and family life. His perspective is augmented with personal tales from the entrepreneurial front. He offers insights that will vaporize isolation, encourage self-reflection, and refresh the spirit of anyone who has started a business or is considering doing so.
    If I send you a free copy of his book, would you be willing to review it online?
    Thank you,
    Sarah

  97. objectwire says:

    The Entrepreneurial Generation at Work

  98. Dealio says:

    Bnoopy: It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur

    Bnoopy: It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur

  99. objectwire says:

    The Entrepreneurial Generation at Work

  100. april says:

    I really enjoy your posts. When is the next one?

  101. Josh says:

    Other reasons might be:
    The layoffs of experienced IT professionals from the Tech Boom, who helped setup all of these things before, and can now do it quicker, cheaper, and without the hassle of establishing contacts made at previous places of business.
    Hardware/Software becoming cheaper: The blog suggested that hardware has become 100x cheaper, but didn’t address the new uses of open source software that has become more reliable than the Microsoft versions. Linux has become a major part of businesses being able to setup and maintain web pages and e-commerce sites quickly, cost efficiently, and with as little overhead as possible.
    Dark fiber is another reason that some e-commerce businesses are becoming successful so much cheaper. People who know how to negotiate with companies formerly supporting the .com companies can get fiber nearby that has gone dark due to a failed .com for near free.
    Electronic marketing has become increasingly more beneficial per dollar as people learn to not only make customers, but find ways to retain them online. Software like Blue Martini is benefiting companies in this manner by using their marketing dollars to create additional sales, instead of cool commercials that don’t actually sell whatever the commercial is trying to pitch.
    Use of Podcasting, Digg.com, and a community of professionals online to get professional suggestions on equipment and processes, as well as to share experiences with products leading to the most cost efficient products. The word of mouth online has become exponentially valuable trough these online mediums such as TWIT (this week in tech) or the Digg-nation (www.digg.com) where anyone can instantly have access to help in technology allowing them to become an electronic expert with about 20-30 minuets of effort.
    The innumerable reasons for low cost electronic business only means an increase in these trends and their use to make low overhead business more competitive to the big guys, and more beneficial consumer end products.
    Josh Christian
    Josh.christian@gmail.com

  102. Wil Schroter says:

    We setup a Web site to help companies do just this – accelerate the process of starting companies while keeping costs down. We blogged on it at http://blog.GoBIGnetwork.com
    I think it’s not just about the cost, but the timing as well. These days you can go from concept to implementation in months, not years, and have a great product.
    The world is a lot more accessible to entrepreneurs than ever before.

  103. Soon Lee says:

    Although I agree in principle, hardware was cheaper because the markets were much less mature then. Although it’s cheaper to startup now, there’s a lot more noise out there, so it may be just as difficult to get financing from a VC.
    The bar is substantially higher as well. So rather than being a great thing, cheap costs might be a necessary thing in order for startups to have a chance. But the cost savings relative to difficulty in coming up with great groundbreaking innovation in this mature market may not pan out to the entrepreneur’s favor…

  104. Excellent Article

    Cost driving startups… Very nicely done and thought out.

  105. John Sanders says:

    I think you bring up a great point…there really has never been a better/cheaper time to be an entrepreneur. For example, there are thousands of entrepreneurs and investors (VCs, angels, etc) connected on The Go Big Network http://www.gobignetwork.com , many of which have launched solid businesses for next to nothing. I highly recommend that you check out the network and see for yourself. The entrepreneurs and investors on Go Big are highly accessible and will show you exactly what it takes to launch a business on the cheap these days.

  106. So many comments…
    I just wanted to chime in that Music for Dozens was built on less than $1,000, but we were all working for free. Really, what more expenses are there than a linux box, electricty, broadband, and food?

  107. The possibilities are limitless…innovation at work

    A lot has been written about web 2.0 recently – which is to be expected with the Web 2.0 conference happening this week. While I do not want to join the fray in trying to refine a definition for…

  108. berbs.us says:

    Embracing Project Constraints

    Recently, I’ve been hearing a similar theme about software project management from a couple of difference places. I like it so much that I want to pass it along. When working on a project of any size, people naturally want…

  109. Venture Survival Rates

    Back in July, Jeff Cornwall wrote about entrepreneurial venture survival rates, citing a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that found:
    The data show that, across sectors, 66
    percent of new establishments were still
    in existence 2 years after t…

  110. [Career] Evan Williams’ Ten Rules for Web Startups

    Evan “EvHead” Williams, one of the creat…

  111. Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor

    A lot has been said about Joe’s post during the past few days. Which made me think — is it also a great time to be an investor?
    I think so and provide reasons why in my post, Web 2.0: It’s a great time to be an investor. It would be great to get feedb…

  112. Zoli's Blog says:

    Web 2.0 in the Enterprise – Round 2

    Stephen Bryant lists Five Reasons Web 2.0 and Enterprises Don’t Mix(hat tip: Espen …

  113. Web 2.0 and The “Whatever Box” Server

    One of the key differences between the original dot-com bubble and the Web 2.0 bubble we’re entering now is that our servers are a lot cheaper and a lot more powerful. Moore’s Law in action isn’t exactly news, but…

  114. Redeye VC says:

    The New Dual Track

    There have been a number of wonderful blog posts debating whether this is a good or bad time to start a business. Fundamentally, I believe that the reason the debate is occuring is because there have been some fundamental changes

  115. The great thing about advice is that there’s so much to choose from.

    Us gnomes are geniuses at corporations. In 2005, there seemed to be a prevailing air of encouragement of bright young small teams to get out and start companies; for example: Joe Kraus said that it’s a great time to

  116. yizzle.com says:

    Entrepreneurship, design, etc.

    Doug sent me this interesting link about why entrepreneurship is easier now than ever.
    Excite.com took $3,000,000 to get from idea to launch. JotSpot took $100,000.
    Also, we were talking about how the Web 2.0 look is so perv…

  117. A big opening for little guys

    Whether it’s virtualization, grid computing, or software-as-a-service, utility computing is creating attractive opportunities for a new generation of tech entrepreneurs.

  118. [...] true now even more than when Joe Kraus (@jkraus) wrote in 2005 (original post), “it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur” (see Mark [...]

  119. Je suis tout à fait d accord avec cette opinion. Cela me paraît fort intéressant. Merci,

  120. Bonjour, Felicitations pour ce bel article ! Cela me paraît fort intéressant. Bonne journée

  121. […] 10 years ago Excite and Jotspot founder Joe Kraus exulted: ”There’s never been a better time to be an […]

  122. […] 10 years ago Excite and Jotspot founder Joe Kraus exulted: ”There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never […]

  123. […] 10 years ago Excite and Jotspot founder Joe Kraus exulted: ”There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper […]

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