Mastering E-commerce: Profitability, Innovation, and Resilience with Alfred Lin and Justin Kan
This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Alfred Lin with Justin Kan" by Y Combinator
TLDR E-commerce companies can succeed by focusing on profitability, innovation, and emotional resilience, and by pivoting if necessary to find a core competency that they can own.
Two friends started a web development company in the Bay Area and solved the problem of getting traffic to small websites by linking them together in a network, which became the largest audience on the web when sold to Microsoft.
Asian-American leaves Ph.D. program in statistics to pursue business career despite parental expectations; Link Exchange pivots from hourly website creation to network model and grows through outreach to popular websites via Yahoo's directory.
Despite being worth $65 billion, the company was sold for $265 million due to the influence of hired "mercenaries" and having too much money led to a lack of discipline in spending habits.
Zappos pivoted to online shoe sales, while the speaker's company automated 1-800 numbers and generated $150 million in recurring revenue.
E-commerce companies failed by overspending on customer acquisition, but one company focused on profitability from the first order.
Zappos faced financial struggles but overcame them by finding $10 million to reduce debt and make payments.
E-commerce companies face challenges, but emotional resilience is key; Zappos' success was due to their focus on customer service and innovative technology, leading to their acquisition by Amazon as a separate brand.
Don't give up on your big dream, pivot if necessary, and find a core competency that you can own.