[Following from Cloud Revolution]
Profitable since the first quarter, 375 million page views per month, $4 million in annual revenue, 75 employees and $30 million in venture funding. Certainly sounds like a successful business, and it is.
I Can Has Cheezburger has leveraged the initial success of that hit web site by launching hundreds of other similar but slightly different sites based on the original. Many of these sites fail to attract traffic and are shut down within weeks, but every now and then one works, like “Fail Blog” or “Totally looks like“. With many copy cat sites launching web sites daily, chasing the latest “meme” and clipping the ticket on advertising for every one of your page views there’s plenty of motivation to continue.
Traditional innovation business models involve coming up with a great idea, getting seed capital, driving the business for a year only to watch it fail and leave the inventor bankrupt for his troubles. CEO Ben Hu is a new breed of trial-and-error innovator powered by the “scale fast” and “fail fast” business model enabled by the Cloud. By constantly trying out new variants of sites and seeing what works, and more importantly what doesn’t, he is tightening up and lowering the cost of the innovation cycle.
Could a cringe-worthy blog on cat pictures really change the world? Quite possibly, yes. Mr Hu is disappointed with the way newspapers have been presenting news online and is using all the lessons learnt in publishing cat pictures along with his new $30M of seed capital to reinvent the world of online journalism. He will no doubt try many new ways to present news, most will fail, but eventually something is going to stick and we could then be looking at the next Rupert Murdoch.
We know from Richard Dawkins “Blind Watchmaker” that many small incremental changes combined with a process of selection will eventually turn an amoeba to a human. When applied to the Internet and powered by the pay as you go model of the Cloud, the rate of change can be dialled up to 11 and the consequence of failure is near zero. The result will be revolutionary and highly effective ways of presenting information over the Internet for the benefit of humanity and especially Mr Hu!