Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Charming and useful: Tim O'Reilly's conversation with Yossi Vardi

I live in a remote area (2 1/2 hours from the nearest large airport) so I am always on the lookout for great online conference videos to watch - avoid travel and expense when possible. So far, my favorite online video from the European Web2Expo is the conversation with Yossi Vardi who was the founder of ITC and as O'Reilly says is "the godfather of Israeli venture capitalists."

Vardi's business model seems to be choose people who he likes and have a passion for something, and invest in them, treating them fairly. I liked his comment that "business plans are a sub-genera of science fiction", meaning that although you need a long term goal and basic business ideas, you need to be adaptive in how you reach your goals. O'Reilly and Vardi also had good thoughts on the cultural stigma of failure and how that can affect entrepreneurship.

A question from the audience addressed when a web 2.0 company might want to transition from free to paid-for use. Their advice was good: if you can get millions of users then free is a good business model. As Yossi Vardi said, you only then need one paying customer: the person who buys your company. Tim O'Reilly pointed out that new businesses can not count on having a huge number of customers so a good metric is how much real value a web application provides users. I also liked what they had to say about bootstrapping and using money efficiently. Good stuff!

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