WHAT CRYPTOS SHOULD LEARN FROM AMAZON’S DOTCOM JOURNEY
LIVING THROUGH THE DOTCOM BUBBLE---------------------------------------------------------
I was there in the thick of the dotcom bubble. My first real venture outside of mobile, I built an internet services business called Reality from scratch, which was sold to GUS, a FTSE100 company, for $50 million just one week or so before the dotcom crash in March 2000.
As well as the excitement of new horizons, I witnessed first-hand paranoia, negativity, malicious focus on attacking success and a lack of understanding of market dynamics. All of this bears startling resemblance to our current crypto market, as does the 99% of focus being on 1% of customers; and the 1% who broke through being focused on 99% of the market place.
There have been much in depth analysis of the dotcom bubble, with general consensus pinning the challenges on an overheated sector with investors not considering basic business fundamentals of profit loss and growth.
"The most common strategy all innovators use to create new industries is to take advantage of an emerging trend or technology. It’s becoming harder to pull that off because we’re living in the “next big thing” economy, one where every new product and service is a gimmick looking for a market.”
The facts of the dotcom bubble speak for themselves. The obsession over what new technology could bring and the energy spent on having the best technology regardless of customer needs created a very negative environment. Sadly, many great technology advancements became biggest victims of the crash.
I recall being at a key networking event with senior people, in early 2000, where, incredibly, the evening was spent attacking the fonts used by Amazon and eBay, with the buzz being that they wouldn’t even last a year as they didn’t even know to how use tech! How wrong they were.
In fact, the main survivors, including Amazon and eBay, plus others like Priceline, Shutterstock and coupon.com, were all companies that were deemed as ‘technically inept’.
What is interesting is that almost all the survivors were not focused on the technology itself but mostly on how technology could help the user experience for traditional business models, indeed, some of them focused on their principles and changed the world.
My experience of the frenetic dotcom period is very similar to the experience that we are having in the crypto world now - where most people are focused on making money from trading rather than creating long term, sustainable value.
For some time now, we are seeing analysts relating the crypto market place boom to the dotcom boom. More recently we have seen Amazon being used as a justification as to why Bitcoin and other large market cap cryptos will be OK.
For example, Lou Kerner, of venture capital firm CryptoOracle, compared the current slump in crypto prices to the dotcom burst in the early 2000s on CNBC, stating that strong coins should be viewed like the big companies that came out of the dotcom bubble, using the example of e-commerce giant Amazon:
“If you go back to the internet bubble, which is what a lot of us in crypto look at for direction, Amazon, arguably one of the greatest companies in the history of mankind, was down over 95 percent over two years. Amazon went public in May 1997, with its share price of $18 per each. By December 1998, the company’s share price surged to more than [$300*] per share, but right after the dot-com bubble burst in March 2000, the share price slumped to just under $6 per share. Over time, Amazon managed to become the second U.S. company to reach a market value of $1 trillion."
The comparisons being used are, however, based on Amazon’s market cap recovery rather than the actual business, how they survived and the steps they took to make it such a huge success beyond dotcom.
FOCUS ON AMAZON - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
At its dotcom peak price at the end of the nineties, Amazon represented just 1% of Bloomberg’s internet index of 280 dotcom companies, who had a combined value that peaked at $2.9 trillion.
After a year of preparation, they launched commercially in July 1995. Their 1st year sales were 500k and, 3 years from launch, when they floated in 1997, they had 1.5 million account holders and turnover of $16 million.
Jeff Bezos set out on a clear mission. He didn’t get caught up in the industry politics, instead he focused on the market opportunity. This is clearly illustrated from his vision 20 years ago when he started out:
“I very frequently get the question: “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: “What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?” And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two - because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.
In our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection.
It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, “Jeff, I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher.” “I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.” Impossible.
And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
Whilst they suffered some extreme growing pains and process failures in the early years, they went on to enjoy the meteoric success that we all know now, and they are now the second ever trillion-dollar company; with Jeff Bezos currently the world’s richest man.
So what does this actually mean for the crypto industry?
Like dotcom, the opportunities are enormous but we have even more challenges to deal with such as the legacy stigma, regulation issues and sheer complexity of most cryptocurrencies. The unfortunate climate of criticism and negativity across both dotcom and crypto is not helpful for anyone, and it has been shown that the companies who rise above it are destined for greater things.
Whilst I wholeheartedly believe in the likes of Bitcoin and other “strong coins”, I feel that assuming their trajectory will mirror that of Amazon gives a false sense of security rather than fixing the root of the problem.
The industry must develop to become more acceptable, but I feel using the Amazon comparison to the likes of Bitcoin is unhelpful and misleading.
Amazon was not a market leader at the time, with just 1% market share compared to Bitcoin’s leading share of ± 50%.
Amazon was considered an outsider by many of its peers, it was not as tech obsessed as most others, and the more success they enjoyed, the further displaced they became.
FOCUS ON BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Amazon survived because of their solid business model, the basis that Jeff Bezos quoted above where he focuses on what won’t change in the next 10 years for his retail customers:
CUSTOMERS WILL ALWAYS WANT
- LOW PRICES
- FAST DELIVERY
- VAST CHOICE
Electroneum is a much closer comparison to Amazon.
Electroneum has been focussed on simplifying everyday use of cryptocurrency for financial inclusion and mass adoption.
We created a hybrid digital currency, operated via mobile wallets with a patented instant payment system, which is built from the ground up to enable our fully inclusive ecosystem.
We identified a much more efficient model for the blockchain coin emissions which not only funds the operational costs but allows us to create a global marketing opportunity which rewards users, partners and vendors for engagement.
Like Amazon, Electroneum identified the characteristics of our market opportunity that won’t change in the next 10 years:
PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS WANT
- MORE MONEY
- INSTANT EASY ACCESS
- WIDE ACCEPTANCE
Just like Jeff Bezos, our business does not focus on what’s going to change in the next 10 years, it is all about what’s not going to change . Can you imagine anyone saying “I want less money” or “I don’t want to be able to spend my money so easily”…? I can’t .
One of the benefits of my experience in seeing this all first hand is the understanding and importance of building a solution that the market wants.
The companies that are successful are built on strong business fundamentals:
- A product/service that people want
- A defined economic model and market need
- Substantial detailed marketing and growth plan
- Confidence in a team with the ability to deliver, adapt, and expand
Electroneum has built this insight into its core DNA.
We are focused on the fundamentals of traditional business, giving people what they want and helping to achieve financial inclusion and inclusivity, by creating an end to end ecosystem for everyday use of crypto, by anyone anywhere.
PROVING THE THEORY - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
One of the current challenges with the crypto marketplace is understanding what is real and what is hype.
Electroneum have spent time building products, solutions and partnerships rather than hyping them, meaning that most people are unaware of what has really been achieved in such a short time.
This has led to some saying we are not doing anything new or unique with blockchain.
The reality is that we are doing the single most important thing with blockchain - we are making it useable in everyday life.**
We are sometimes berated for our wealth of marketing expertise – as though this is a bad thing! We’ll take that, no one will achieve mass adoption without it. But we are so much more than that…
Here is a snapshot of the range of products we have built and released into market.
A simple, safe easy to use wallet that enables any smartphone user to earn, spend, buy, sell and transfer their ETN.
INSTANT PAY ( Global Patent Pending)
The world’s 1st fully integrated vendor API that allows instant checkout at any point of sale – online or in person.
By sharing the emissions from our blockchain, users earn a few dollars in ETN per month. (Cloud mining to replace existing mobile mining. Gig economy to be released Q1 2019)
COMPLIANCE: KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER /ANTI MONEY LAUNDERING
KYC/AML builds confidence and loyalty with partners and customers.
One of the industry’s strongest crypto communities with 2.6m+ active users driving growth.
A freelance platform to bridge the gap between industrialised and developing communities.
ETN’s fees are the lowest in the digital payment industry for users and vendors compared to the world’s largest payment providers; and the transfer takes place in an instant.
Importantly, we have direct Fiat exchange with 5 currencies and more being added - this is unusual. Although we are listed on dozens of exchanges globally, our direct to Fiat capabilities are normally only associated with the big dominating cryptos such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.
SUCCESS FACTORS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
After just a year without any marketing, we have proven without doubt that our model is working and the facts prove it:**
- 2.6 million+ accounts opened
- 300k + social following
- 1m+ android app downloads
Not only has this attracted early supporters and users, we are proving substantial sustained and growing usage.
- Number 4 Cryptocurrency in Alexa usage with only Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple above.
- Top 10 on chain transaction (transfer) volume
- Top 10 daily active wallets out of all cryptocurrencies
The combination of our ecosystem, our partners and the scale of our community puts us in an incredibly strong position to achieve our goals of financial inclusion.
Creating an all-inclusive product which assists the unbanked and delivers benefits for industrialised nations is helping attract some very influential partners.
GLOBAL REACH - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Our global footprint of users:
Valid at time of publication
ENABLING RAPID GROWTH THROUGH PARTNERS - - - - - - - - - -
OPERATORS, VENDORS, AGENTS, NGOs*
Our partners introduce and acquire new users and in return gain new sustainable revenue.
These distribution partners are an incredibly important aspect in enabling mass adoption for digital currencies. They bring access to an existing user base, they bring credibility and trust - especially during the early stages of growth and they can also attract additional commercial partners.
Armed with such powerful opportunity, it is no surprise that they are bombarded with a multitude of different options and offers from various services with the desire to achieve distribution deals for growth.
The Electroneum team are fortunate to have considerable relationships across all of these distribution partners, working closely with a number them throughout the planning and creation of our ecosystem.
THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH ELECTRONEUM
Electroneum brings substantial economic and operational benefits to partners. We remove the risk factors often associated with crypto and deliver products with meaningful impact on the benefits our partners can deliver to their users.
In our first year, we developed, tested and launched a much wider set of products and partner benefits than anyone expected.
We are now being viewed as a gateway partner for a wide range of financial services and enhanced customer benefits, with a toolkit and approach that enables partners, governments and entrepreneurs to benefit from cryptocurrency; no longer is it just cash in/cash out or accumulation – we stimulate everyday, continual usage.
These multi-partner deals are more complex and will take a little more time, but the scale of long term opportunity is substantially increased.
JOIN US - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As we continue to expand our reach and strive to make a difference to financial inclusion and financial inclusivity we are constantly looking for more partners.
We welcome NGOs, vendors and operators, who believe they may fit into our ecosystem or would just like to keep updated, so, if you’re interested, please do get in touch.
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#financialinclusion #electroneum #etn #enablement #cryptocurrency #crypto #digitalmoney #blockchain #unbanked #fintech #mobilemoney #mobileoperators #Amazon #JeffBezos
With thanks to Michael Xterest and CryptoDavo