Web Presence

Book 3 of the e-business strategy trilogy

Author: Peter Small

August 2001

Publisher: Pearson Education (FT.COM imprint)

ISBN: 0 273 65415 2

Although this book took the theoretical conclusions of the previous two books to a practical conclusion (laying the groundwork for stigmergic systems), it was a publishing disaster. It came out when ninety-five percent of dotCom businesses were failing, so its claim to describe how to create a business on the Web was treated with derision.

The market was over-loaded with books making such claims, so this books never even made it to the shelves of the book stores. It did provide a lesson though. It taught me that publishing books in a constantly changing environment is fraught with risks. Henceforth, I decided to give up writing books - with their long time gap between writing and publishing - and write only for the Web and CD-ROM media, where I can be sure that information is relevant to the time of publishing and can be rapidly updated as new situations emerge.

Below are the cover blurbs written by the publisher. You might appreciate the reaction to these at a time when the whole of the mass media was in a frenzy, decrying the gullibility of the people who had lost out in dotCom ventures.

Creating a business out of chaos

Conventional business dogma will begin with the premise that for success it is essential to have a sound business idea, a carefully worked out business plan and a strong, experienced management team.

The ninety-five percent failure rate of the early dotcoms blew a hole in this philosophy. In the highly volatile and intensely competitive world of e-business , ideas are quickly outdated, plans soon become obsolete and managers can't cope with the complexities of change and unavoidable knowledge gaps.

This has resulted in huge amounts of investment capital being totally wasted in online businesses that obtained funding on the basis of non-realisable profit forecasts .

This book presents a new strategy for developing an ebusiness - side-stepping the focus on acquiring funding and long-term business planning, it argues that the primary initial focus should be on creating self-organising systems that are grown rather than planned.

Starting from the fundamentals of investment decision making, it explains by means of practical example why conventional databases are redundant in a world of perpetual change. Taking their place will be techniques borrowed from swarming insects, who create complex systems without any central organisation or control.

This is a book that turns all conventional business thinking on its head.

In this book, Peter Small provides a realistic, practical alternative strategy to the current boom and bust e-business models of acquiring venture capital, following a traditional business plan and then failing to make a profit.

He addresses the really timely issue of the co-creation of wealth in e-businesses - for investors, creators and customers - where profitability rather than technology must lead the way. This has to be the key focus for building any sustainable and successful e-business model.

The difference is that his approach deals directly with the realities of the Internet environment where continuous change and unpredictable competitor initiatives can render business plans obsolete overnight.

Too many e-businesses get sucked into situations of rapidly increasing complexity where costs spiral out of control. This book shows how to avoid this trap by creating highly flexible, low cost systems that are adaptive, self-organising and self regulating.

It turns every conventional business idea on its head except for one: profitability is the main objective.