Book review: 50 Great e-Businesses and the minds behind them

It is a modern day gold rush with the new breed of e-entrepreneurs making fortunes in just five years as they revolutionise the business landscape.

But how did they come up with their “eureka” moments, how did they finance the business, build their communities, create new paths to markets and overcome obstacles that would have felled mere mortals?

50 Great e-Businesses and the minds behind them by Emily Ross and Angus Holland (published by Random House Australia) uses illuminating case studies to explore the great idea, the business models and what makes the entrepreneurs tick.

The two experienced journalists, who also wrote the best seller 100 great businesses and the minds behind them, tracked down e-entrepreneurs who are often elusive and convinced them to not only tell their stories but analyse why they have been successful.

Nearly all the businesses were created as the technology bubble burst but this proved to be a blessing, as they financed the businesses on credit cards, watched their costs obsessively and introduced good management disciplines.

The result is a breed of entrepreneurs who provide a feast of advice, tips and warnings about how to grow an internet business and make money from it. .

The case studies include the obvious such as Amazon, CraigList and Google as well as highly innovative sites that were Australian born such as Artshub and

The book gives lively insights into the personalities behind the business with great detail on the what, when and where, but I was hungry for a bit more of the how. Of course, that would have doubled the size of the book!

Community sites like MySpace, Digg and RSVP are put under the microscope while the authors obviously relish in telling the stories on how upstarts like Webjet, Trademe and took on the big boys.

Watch the launch on 6 Spetember by publisher of SmartCompany, Amanda Gome.


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