Back in the early days of the web, there were some who predicted that online shopping would never take off, because, in addition to other hesitations, most people would never entrust their credit card information to a website.
Amazon started proving the critics wrong soon after it launched in 1995, and when eBay joined the party the following year, it quickly became apparent that ecommerce represented a massive new business opportunity where a lot of players were going to make (and/or lose) a lot of money.
Cut to the present tense, and ecommerce generated some $165.4 billion in sales last year, or roughly eight percent of the retail product sales in the U.S. According to Forrester Research, that figure will reach the neighborhood of $279 billion by 2015.
Meanwhile, with Groupon and Living Social, daily deals and flash sales, the sheer volume of marketing and shopping information coursing over the Internet has become deafening. Email, Facebook, Twitter are all bursting at the seams with the stuff.
Ever since Tim Armstrong became its CEO in April 2009, AOL has been going through a makeover. The company hired a large number of experienced journalists and bloggers, expanded through Patch into localities all over the country, and made some high-profile acquisitions, including HuffPo and TechCrunch.
But if the company is going to deliver on what SVP Marty Moe described to me in mid-2009 as a business model built on "high-quality content to scale," it is going to take a lot more than just good writing, a network of hyperlocal hubs and absorbing other media properties.
What it will take will be technological innovation of the sort driving the boom-without-a-name currently sweeping through San Francisco and the Valley. Armstrong, Moe and team know that and that's why they've opened an office in Palo Alto, filling it with developers, as well as a gaggle of startup tenants, and an executive team experienced in the ways of the Valley.
So you're in with TechCrunch, have 500+ connections on LinkedIn and are getting cash from Sequoia Capital. The thing is, you're still rolling into work in ill-fitting jeans.
Last year, our little Mark Zuckerberg was listed among Esquire's top 10 worst dressed list in The 2010 Celebrity Hall of Shame. Zuck shares the bi-winning honor with none other than Charlie Sheen. Yikes.
Inspired by Zuck's worst dressed profile, the stylists at Tobi decided to take action with their CEO Style Guide. Armed with cardigans, fitted shirts, and boat shoes, Tobi went deep into the trenches of Silicon Valley, dug out six lucky CEOs and gave them one heckuva makeover. Check out these six newly made men, geeking out on good style.
If you've been debating whether to buy a Kindle for yourself or for a loved one, you may just want to hold off until November.
That's because by then, just in time for the holiday sales push, the price of a Kindle, according to a number of technology experts, will be...zero.
That's right. Though it now goes for $139, it appears that Amazon's industry-leading book-reading device may soon be free.
First, to the evidence.