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Mike Maples: The Party is Over (pehub.com)
17 points by garbowza on July 25, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

I was most struck by this:

But it also has an agreement with Google that Maple is hoping will eliminate any need for the company to market its services. If you Google a dentist in some markets right now, a customer review in DemandForce’s system will pop up

Pop up where? In the natural search results? Is it standard practice for Google to have such special arrangements?

As a developer with some spare time and an idea, this certainly won't be stopping me.

Part of the issue might be that there aren't many venture-scale consumer-oriented projects left to fund. As a corollary, the low cost of trying ideas and starting consumer-oriented software companies has decreased the need for VC money in that arena.

> Part of the issue might be that there aren't many venture-scale consumer-oriented projects left to fund.

(1) Yes, there are. (2) Some of the remaining ones are 1-50x bigger than anything that has been done so far.

"[H]e said he has switched his primary focus to business software and services." As would I, if I spent 23 years at IBM and a dozen or so years as a VP at Microsoft. You have nearly four decades of experience in the field, why give that up?

Selling to small and medium businesses is fantastic because they have money and they might even be willing to spend it. The same cannot be said of college kids who are only willing to buy ringtones and alcohol.

The problem with this is that it is much easier to get to all of those college kids than it is to get to the SMB market. You _need_ funding to sell into this space because you are going to end up pissing most of it away on marketing. There are no CxOs or VPs you can go to and get a five-figure sale, no conferences that will provide enough leads to generate a 10x return on whatever it cost you to get to the conference, and no viral campaigns that can get your product in front of millions of twenty year-olds with a small bit of disposable income.

This is a late-adopting, retail-driven market and you will be competing with companies that have serious marketing budgets and established relationships throughout the distribution channel.

How about making a freemium subscription web app where the base paid plan is $9/month?

Note: I have never worked in a startup.

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