Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smart Start-Ups How Entrepreneurs and Corporations Can Benefit by Creating Online Communities by David Silver

Smart Start-Ups How Entrepreneurs and Corporations Can Benefit by Creating Online Communities by David Silver.

David Silver is a venture capitalist and an author of over 30 books on business. This book varies between being a strategy guide to start an online community and a stream of ideas for starting a variety of online businesses. The book describes online communities as being both on the internet and on mobile phones.

I found the sections on how to start an internet company quiet interesting. He was focusing on social networks like and twitter. Social networks are described as being successful because of the ability to generate mobs of people and focus on user generated content. David Silver describes them as requiring very little capital to create.

He argues for a different strategy in creating communities. His view is that it is important to be part of the crowd, not appear to have a lot of money, ask for tips, try to encourage people to provide content for you, and create services which people will pay for.

Part of the strategy he is describing is appearing to be in opposition to large media companies. For example if you are selling ebooks, you might tell people why you don't like paper books, or if you are selling music downloads, suggest why compact discs are obsolete. Being persuasive and generating controversy, even lawsuits will generate even more interest in your sites as well as money.

Where the book did not do well with me was the constant stream of ideas which he proposed. It is easy to generate ideas but it is much harder to show how to execute on them. David Silver talked about everything from online legal arbitration societies to social sites on how to reinvent the American car. This was distracting. The sections on strategy and implementation were much better than the suggestions for new businesses.

I liked his ideas on how to create an online business strategy. It very much describes how to think like a social networking business person. The book was written in 2007 and seems to have been right on target for 2010. If you can get past the constant stream of suggestions for new businesses this book is worth reading.

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