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Five tips for a Web 2.0 start-up

I’ve talked to a lot of Web 2.0 companies in the past month, some big and some small. A few themes have developed in how to make a successful Web 2.0 company – here’s a few ideas.

1. Build a real team. There are so many Web 2.0 companies that are either run in a virtual environment or with just a few people in a basement somewhere. It’s not a good strategy because any ideas that could germinate with a larger team – and I mean about 5-8 people or so — will be stagnated with just one or two employees. If you can’t afford a real team that includes a developers and designers, folks in marketing and accounting, and a sales agent or two, you might just have an idea, not a company. It reminds me of my experience this week with a rental car company staffed by just a couple of people. (Yes, I was trying to save a buck.) One of the employees was out sick, so that left one person to transport people to and from the airport, do the paperwork, and deal with frustrations. In the same way, one person can write a blog, but it takes a company to make a real Web 2.0 product that actually does something.

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The cloud is not the answer to every question

Recently, in my normal job as a journalist, I’ve been finding that every new story pitch, interview request, product inquiry or – well, pretty much every e-mail I’ve sent has led to the response that: the cloud can solve that problem. Need better security on your laptop? Use the cloud. Need better scalability in your data center? Use the cloud. Have an itch that just won’t subsist? Use the cloud.

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