Friday, February 19, 2010

The evolution of the web (and standing on the shoulders of others)

Max Ventilla, co-founder of Aardvark, has some great insight into building new web businesses today.

He argues that not every web business needs to be a destination site and you're actually better off building on top of the shoulders of existing incumbents first.

Aardvark was the sixth idea that we tried, following a string of failed prototypes. But all our ideas were subject to the restriction that they could not be a destination site. Any candidate idea had to be useful from within some other online application. Aardvark is designed to be a contact that is accessible from anywhere that contacts go (email, phone, IM…). It wasn’t until we were about eighteen months into the company that we finally built a full-fledged website. That seemed pretty remarkable for a *web* company but I think it will increasingly be there norm.

It's worth reading the entire post from Max.

As everyone has been flocking to the web to have "a presence" over the last twelve years, the paradigm has shifted. It's not about getting on the web now, it's about getting in front of the consumers where they are already congregating.

It's equivalent to the challenges of selling dog biscuits. Do you open the shop in the neighborhood strip mall, or do put all your effort into getting inside Target?

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