Lowering the Personal Entrepreneurial Threshold

Recently a number of articles have argued that it’s easier today for web-based companies to get going. Current tools are enabling web-savvy individuals to launch viable businesses with far less capital than before, which in turn helps them shorten the time and resources spent on becoming whole ventures with the ability to serve customers profitably, quicker and cheaper than before. I agree.

What intrigues me is the way this same trend applies to the business of personal life. I’m not all that web-savvy (gee, looking at this site, you think?), yet I do know enough to recognize when and how tools are lowering the entrepreneurial threshold in all ventures. What does this mean? Simply that individuals have more control over entrepreneurial aspects of their life that were once unmanageable, or required so much time and effort that they were best left to others. Most of us are now doing much of the work we once outsourced to travel agents, stock brokers, bank tellers, and much more. And more of us are using the web to form mini-ventures that bootstrap our personal resources to deliver cool stuff to others.

This personal do-it-yourself ethos only gains further traction as the many uses of the web become more apparent and more manageable. In the past I’ve raved about Make Magazine, which is the best new publication of the past several years (in my humble opinion of course.) Now comes the excellent book Rule the Web: How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet—Better, Faster, and Easier by Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of Make.

The promise of the book couldn’t be simpler: “It’s a guide to getting stuff done with the Web,” says Frauenfelder. And he delivers, in abundance. Rule the Web satisfies so many specific wishes and needs of individuals who, like me, realize they use about as much of the web’s potential as they do their own minds. Some of my favorite how-to’s in his book:

*Use the website gethuman.com to break through any service line to a real person.
*Exchange an unwanted gift certificate at swapagift.com.
*Look beyond Amazon for books by using bookfinder4u.com.
*Improve your website or blog immeasurably with more tips than I can list.

This is more than just a great list of sites. Using the same DIY sensibility that informs the pages of Make, this book applies a “gee-whiz isn’t this cool that we can do it together” attitude that makes this profound new tool welcoming. Highly recommended. Interestingly, I’m not as huge a fan of the accompanying website, which is currently heavily weighted towards podcasts (a media that I still have not become a fan of).

Posted by tom at September 25, 2007 05:19 PM
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