My Take-Aways From The Book e-Preneur

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 03:12 PM with 0 comments

In my takeaways on the book The Venture Cafe I said in business you cannot truly go it alone. But what if you took it to the extreme, where the ideas for what your business does came from other people, namely the same people you are trying to sell to? This is the premise of the book e-Preneur, subtitled “From Wall Street to Wiki: Succeeding as a Crowdpreneur in the New Virtual Marketplace.”

A crowdpreneur, as defined by the author Richard Goossen, is, “an individual or organization that uses the strategy of online crowd empowerment in its various forms (collective intelligence, mass collaboration, crowdsourcing & others) in the pursuit of an entrepreneurial venture.” In other words, your business is solely about the ideas from others. Crowdsourcing, as I have digested it, is making an open call for ideas. An example of a crowdpreneur often cited is Chicago’s Threadless, a t-shirt company where ideas are submitted by the community through their Web site, who vote on what shirt designs will eventually be sold.

To many this is not only a new idea but one they probably would never consider. How can you give control over what your business does to others? However if you have some curiosity on the topic, this may be a read for you. Even though my own business Dunkirk Systems, LLC would be considered traditional in comparison to a crowdpreneurial business, I did have takeaways from this book.

My greatest take away is to keep in close contact with your customers. Business owners of all sizes can easily lose focus of their business and the service they offer to their customers. As a small businessperson, the input and ideas from my partners and clients are critical to the success of my business. On the other extreme is the airline industry, who plainly doesn’t give a damn about their customers. Input can sometimes be a distraction, but managed properly it can be a vital source for ideas and as a result increased business.

Another take away is that there is no shortage of ideas for running a business. Advances in technology, including Internet technologies labeled as “Web 2.0,” have enabled companies to do many great things, including crowdsourcing and being crowdpreneurial. Just think back a few years for many of the services and Web sites (e.g. YouTube) were merely good ideas in someone’s head. By keeping an open mind and being able to adapt and change as needed, companies can either stay ahead of the game, or survive in tough economic times.

E-Preneur takes the reader through 5 steps to create a crowdpreneurial venture, from the original concept to funding it. Throughout the book there are many lists, though if they were broken out more as tabular lists would have been more helpful in organizing your thoughts as you read it. The book closes with some basic business start-up concepts that, if you are already at this point, you may already have down. Where many books have a type or two, a glaring error was in citing name of the chairman of Cisco Systems as John Cisco instead of John Chambers! All things considered, if you are looking for ideas or a different perspective on business, e-Preneur is a good and encouraging read.


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