Small Scale and High Tech


I had a great conversation with Mark Jones of Future 2 this morning. We got to talking about infrastructure costs. He quoted the number of subscribers he needs to break ever. I thought he'd left off a zero, so I asked him to repeat it. He gave a number in the hundreds, not the thousands. Now he's got a pretty large coverage area, relative to the break even number. This is a huge win for wireless. Of course, all kinds of things can affect this: what level of support do you provide, how strong is the signal in the marginal areas, etc. This explains why there are so many WISPs (Wireless ISPs): the barriers to entry are low.

This reminds me of the another hot technology that's got people talking right now: blogging. There are people making money with small scale, low cost blogging (or near blogging) operations. Here are a few examples:

The last one isn't exactly a blog, but its a great example of a low-overhead media site. This time reminds me of the early days of the Internet. Ross Jardine and I start iMALL in 1994 with nothing but a $10K lease on an HPUX machine. You don't even need that much anymore. We used public domain and open source technology and I wrote most of the code. We were in the black from day one. Of course, we didn't grow very fast, but we had fun and built something that had real value.

Tony Perkins thinks this is the cheapest time to start an Internet company. I think he right.