[thelist] [OT] Future of Dot-Coms, E-commerce, B2b, C2c, b2c, elearning, Asps, Problems, VC, Why dot com busts,

H. G. Quinn hgquinn at attglobal.net
Sun Sep 23 12:00:10 CDT 2001

Re why b2b and b2c can fail, in my own experience:

My current employer had a working business and product model when I joined the company.  The product
he offered was a good one back in 1995.  It was a little behind by 1997, and began to be seriously
out of date 2 years ago. Nonetheless, he did not listen to his customers' and technicians' feedback,
and made no product changes of note.

Last year, my current employer floundered around trying to find future direction, yet was still not
willing to listen to his current clients or his techs (of whom I am one); however, he could not
ignore slowing sales.

One of his partners had a friend, a marketing consultant in the industry my employer serves. This
consultant  made a proposal to give my employer some future direction concepts.  My employer
accepted.  This consultant was supposed to meet with everyone in our company to get himself grounded
on how things are done now & where techs believe the company should go, because we were on the front
line.  Our raises are put on hold because we have to be able to cover this consultant's invoices to
us (we're quite small).  It takes 5 months for the consultant to get around to interviewing us.
What is the consultant doing in that 5 months?  Having day-long meetings each week with employer.
The meetings get employer so hyped up he does not keep focused on daily business, which therefore
does not always run right.  Employer from time to time drops hints of what is being discussed.
These are things that do not sound as if they will work, but because consultant hasn't met with us,
we hold our fire.  When we finally meet with consultant (1-on-1, I guess it lets him bill more hours
to my employer, if I were in his shoes I'd do bigger meetings to create dialogues), it's clear that
he does not know his a-- from his elbow, either market-wise or technology-wise, yet where he wants
to swing the most weight is in recommending technology change and new user interface!  Additionally,
he's often vacant, impatient, smiles insincerely, can be hostile, moody, and often sniffs to keep
his nose from dripping (never blows his nose or coughs, though, so it's not a cold) -- you draw your
own conclusion.

Have we changed direction?  Not yet.  What did concrete things has the consultant produced so far?
A brochure layout that was amateurish, the copy for which was cribbed from our current marketing
lit.  Partners had to have this pointed out to them.  Then they asked me to redesign the brochure's
layout (not part of my job, and kept me from meeting several deadlines) and clean up its copy.  (I
could have done this last year, y'know!)  Anything else?  No.  Just a halt to their thought
processes.  The employer now comes up with interim ideas, has me do prototypes, makes no decisions,
and in the meantime, we do not change, we do not move forward, and we will stop growing soon,
saleswise.  Yet some of the ideas that have been prototyped are good ones.  What a waste of time and

Here's what I think was wrong.  The employer stopped growing professionally.  Because of unconcious
awareness of this, he lost touch with his technicians.  He grew deaf to his customers' feedback.  He
waited too late to consider actually making a change, though we had been urging hm to do so for a
long time.  The fact that he made the decision to change so late caused pressure in him, so he could
not make unbiased decisions -- in other words, fear took hold of him.  He allowed disengaged and
unknowledegable partners to invest in his business, and paid too much attention to their opinions
because of the investments they made, not realizing they invested with him because they thought he
was a tech leader.  He brought in an outside consultant whose only real motive was to make enough
money to feed his own needs, whatever those were.  When it was clear the consultant was not moving
us forward, the consultant was not dropped.

With reluctance to listen to the people using the current product, and the  technicians supporting
it, with a resistance to flexibility and change, and fear and money a strong driving force, the
right decisions could not be made and funded and acted upon at the right time.

It takes a CEO with knowledge, honesty, courage, etc. to run a company that is going to respond
nimbly and quickly to the constantly changing demands of e-biz models and product requirements.

One specific area that many b-2-b and b-2-c product CEO's ignore: they are no longer dealing with a
controlled market as they were 7 or 10 years ago -- they can no longre rely on the weight of their
corporations to convince their customers and prospective customers to go with whatever product
that's got whatever features delivered in whatever style.  The Internet has flattened the
marketplace, allowing individuals a large vote in what products they will or will not buy or use.
The CEO who ignores public style and interface requirements is setting him- or herself up for early,
often inadvertent, retirement.

Navin Dhanuka wrote:

> ...Also what is b2b, b2c, c2c...., why did it fail as promised...
> Thanks in advance.
> Navin Dhanuka
> NetInfoTech.net


Heather Quinn
info at windyhilldesign.com
hgquinn at attglobal.net

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