In our first year of operation ”six months of sales in 1994 ”we did about $60,000 worth of total sales. We advertised in a variety of ways. We d go online into news groups, and someone would have posted a question saying, ˜We re looking for such-and-such an album; does anyone know where we can find it? And we would respond by saying, ˜You can find it at CDnow!
Or we would go to the search engines. Back in those days, you could advertise on them for free. If you said to them, ˜Hey, we have something that is new and cool ”you should put us on your new and cool list, they d do it. And so we got Yahoo and Webcrawler and a lot of the old original engines to list us as something new and cool. And, in fact, we got them to list us as something new and cool every week. So we kept trying to do new things that would keep them listing us on their home pages.
We went into magazine advertising in the fall of 1994, just as we launched the Web site. We bought these third-page black-and-white column ads in Wired magazine. We also hired a public relations firm.
Jason has since sold his business to pursue other interests. He reflects: What I enjoy about programming is the same thing that I enjoy about entrepreneurship. Using problem-solving skills, creativity, and commitment to create something that initially exists only in your imagination , whether it s a software application, a company, or anything else, is one of the great joys in life. For me, it s the embodiment of the phrase ˜Follow your dreams.
It s still possible to turn a good idea into a lucrative software product ”and do it on your own, without corporate backing, so that your invention is your intellectual property. You ll need entrepreneurial vision, great coding skills, tenacity, the willingness to work long hours (perhaps for years), along with a passion for your product. You ll also need a nest egg to live on for a few years ”or a parent or spouse who s supportive (both financially and emotionally).