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Smart Start-Ups: How Entrepreneurs and Corporations Can Profit by Starting Online Communities Hardcover – May 18, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0470107423 ISBN-10: 0470107421 Edition: 1st

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Smart Start-Ups: How Entrepreneurs and Corporations Can Profit by Starting Online Communities + The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth + Design and Launch an Online Social Networking Business in a Week (ClickStart Series)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470107421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470107423
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Online communities like MySpace and YouTube are shaking up the business world and helping millions of people come together to share information and interests. These social networking sites rely on user-generated content to bring together millions of people from around the globe. User-generated data eliminates the cost of goods sold, resulting in huge cash flow potential on very little up-front investment. But, until now, very few people or corporations have been able to tap into that moneymaking potential.

In Smart Start-Ups, entrepreneur and angel investor David Silver reveals how social networking will change the face of business and create thousands of new millionaires over the next decade. More important, he shows entrepreneurs and corporations how to tap into this powerful trend using visionary business plans to build social networks that will make millions.

Most social networking sites allow members to join for free, relying on Web advertising for revenue. But in the future, networking sites will connect members of niche groups with each other. From Trekkies to knitting aficionados, those with particular interests will pay for the ability to come together and collaborate. Future networking sites won't be built on advertising revenue, but will rely instead on subscriber-based fees, tip jars, kudos, and wireless carrier fees for their revenue sources.

Using case studies of companies you might not have heard of yet—but will—Silver explains business plans and models for start-up online communities, showing how to produce value for members, attract more paying customers, and make it all work at a profit. You'll learn what's happening in social networking, who the major players are, and what makes them successful. Plus, you'll have all the tools you need to research, facilitate ideas, and develop a business model for your own profitable and unique social networking start-up. Plus, launching an online or mobile community is relatively inexpensive—as little as $300,000!

Online and mobile communities could represent the biggest area of economic growth and wealth creation in modern economic history—but only if smart entrepreneurs get in on the act and get serious about making them work. If you want to learn how to tap into the social and economic potential in this revolutionary new kind of business, Smart Start-Ups will show you the way.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Smart Start-Ups

"Silver's new book is a masterpiece of clarity concerning the next great entrepreneurial wave, and my only problem with it was the charley horse in my elbow I got turning the pages."
—Robin Richards, founding President, MP3.com, and CEO, Notification Technologies Inc.

"Silver is a modern-day Prometheus. For community entrepreneurs, Smart Start-Ups contains the secrets of fire from the heavens. If you work with communities of any kind, you ignore this book at your own peril."
—John Szeder, former senior game developer, Digital Chocolate, Inc., and CEO, Mofactor, Inc.

"Silver dives in and pulls the naked truth out of the world of online communities. There's nothing like it on the shelves. He speaks with the best and brightest in the mobile and online community markets."
—Sean Malatesta, founder, Yack Media Services, and Vice President, Indiagames, Inc.

"Smart Start-Ups is a must-read for any aspiring Internet entrepreneur. Silver cuts right to the heart of the important fact that communities are like entire nations, but without geographic borders, and they're creating the greatest transformation since the Industrial Revolution."
—Clarence Briggs, founder and CEO, AIT.com

"Silver's book is an excellent, captivating, ingenious, and essential read for anyone who wants to know how to create wealth by starting an online community. One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way; Silver certainly succeeds in that respect."
—Kyle E. Gillman, founder and CEO, Forgefinder, Inc.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to all entrepreneurs, whether starting or running an online, or offline business.
John P. Greco
The author provides important insights into how a business's potential customers view the communities that they join, and how to win and keep their loyalty and trust.
K Morris
David provided some very insightful examples that, given some thought, can be applied to many different areas of business.
Chris Pinion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Bunny on March 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The whole first part of the book is basically built around one idea: mobile phone based "communities" & social networks. He keeps reiterating the same point in different ways while promising to explain how to do any of the stuff he talks about in later chapters. The first hundred pages come off sounding like a commercial for the author's other chapters or other projects.

By the time you actually get to the later chapters you'll find them very weak on any substantively useful information or action steps to emulate. The whole project just seems rushed to capitalize on current Web trends and makes a hypothesis of dubious relevance.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By CCL on February 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of business books, and Smart Start-Ups is one of the best I've read in a long time.

I'm extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and online communities, and David Silver's book makes 3 key points that really hit home with me on a personal level:

1) The historical perspective of "Second Age of Communities" and moving away from infrastructure building to community building. This idea was intuitive to me, but the analogy of past guilds/unions rising to power compared to the present growth of online communities gave me an immediate "ah-ha!" moment.

2) Online communities need multiple potential streams of revenue to succeed. David draws from a few proven business models (like Mary Kay) to give very useful ideas on monetization. The idea of creating float to fund online communities is also extremely powerful.

3) Online communities not only as a business opportunity, but as an artistic expression and social movement. This part is excellent. Many business writers tend to be more one-dimensional and I found it inspirational that David alludes to artistic and historical contexts within his book.

In addition to all the innovative ideas, Smart Start-Ups provides useful tools for assessing the robustness of business ideas using David's First Law of Entrepreneurship and the Eight DEJ Factors scores.

Smart Start-Ups is a must-read if you are at all interested in online communities and entrepreneurship. The historical context provided in the book gives entrepreneurs and investors conviction that online communities are a macro trend and not a mere fad, while the example business models give concrete ways to approach the market for many years to come.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on July 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't think of a more enlightening book on the topic of entrepreneurship applied to the world of online and mobile communities (can't quite figure out why or how the editors skipped the mention of the mobile component in the title of the book either).

I picked it up by pure accident at a bookstore one day and now it's become an essential reference as I am working on the development of an online community for people affected by diabetes at tudiabetes.com. Although I am not in complete agreement with some of the strategies presented, overall David Silver provides up and coming entrepreneurs with a chockfull of ideas that will keep you making notes as you go through the chapters.

As a veteran online communiteer, I highly recommend this book for anyone considering venturing into the online (or mobile) world to colonize new spaces as we enter the new era of the internet.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Mark Bickerton on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
'Smart Start Ups' does start up smart: interesting possibilities to consider. But then, page after page is spent trying to convince you that the future is this one way street of online communities. Only in the final chapters does the author begin to unravel what you need to know the most: the 'how to do it' part. But once the book is finished you will still find yourself wondering how to get started.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By V. Stern on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Don't waste your money. The amount of actually helpful information could fit in a thimble. The concept of the book has a great deal of merit, but there is very little support for the principles outlined for setting up an online community. There are many excellent examples of online communities that are up and running (like Amazon.com!), yet there are almost no existing business models discussed and analyzed in this book. The author's principles for setting up a community are mentioned over and over again, with almost no support from existing business models or any in-depth discussion of why they make sense. The book contradicts itself by telling the reader not to place advertising on their site, then later recommends accepting advertising as a means to generate income. The last section of the book provides ideas for "online communities", but in my estimation, these are just ideas for online businesses that can generate income; most of them won't create the interchange of information, ideas, and support that are the hallmarks of an online community. I think the principles of this book could have been covered in the span of two chapters, maybe 50 pages. This is an excellent topic, I hope that someone will publish a stronger book on the subject that's actually supported by solid research.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Rowland on March 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
On page 63 he makes the claim that if Telecoms want to stay in business they will need to switch to the real estate business and sell all their downtown property that houses their switches and where their employees work NOW. In the next three to five years, downtown land will be worthless because retail stores are moving online and people will be tele-commuting from their country homes. He also predicts the demise of many industries over the next 3-5 years: Advertising, Automobile, Insurance, Banking, Mortgages, Law, Movies, Music, Computers and more.

I was tracking with what he says until he started claiming that Telcos would go away and then he lost credibility with me.
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