I’ve discussed the value of a nouveau idea and being first to market on several occasions. In short, I strongly belive ideas are not enough, it’s all about execution, and being first may help especially if your business is built on the network effect (e.g. Digg), but often the second, third entrant to the market will execute better.
I guess today’s funding news by SiliconBeat proves that you really don’t need to do something”new” to get funded: online T-shirt company Spreadshirt picked up a few million$ from Accel. T-shirt printing? How boring. No fun, no “changing the world”, just printing money .. .I mean t-shirts Apparently the market is huge, it bears more than a few players (current big names are Zazzle and CafePress). But don’t rush to Sand Hill Road with your T-shirt business plan just yet: these guys are not beginners, they’ve proven themselves growing their business for four years. The company was founded by 2 students in Leipzig (former East Germany) 3 years after the fall of Communism (hey, they learned capitalism fast!), and since has sold over half a million products.
Encouraged by this I’ve created my own “business plan”: sign up as an Affiliate and get rich based on a banner ad right here: however, I gave up when I saw the long list of questions on the signup page
Update (7/20): Sean Murphy reminds me of CustomInk.com, another major player in the business. And talk about ideas, their importance in success, well, here’s the other extreme: Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big Time. (hat tip to Eszter)