The Internet-startup boom continues to create lots of fast-growing companies, several high-profile meltdowns and first-mover advantages. The pace is dizzying and the excitement is electric.
We don't, however, hear much about the key players -- founders and CEOs -- behind these new companies. What compelled them to get out there and play the dot-com shuffle? Obviously, it's more than a dance. If these key players are to keep the promises of the new economy -- growth, transformation of business processes and models, greater business efficiencies and much more -- then they must know that today's business adventure is riding on their success. More than ever, achieving long-term success means mastering the timeless fundamentals of business (serving customers, motivating employees, crafting strategies).
But, so what if we hear the story of a few adventurers who started a new economy company? How does that help us become better B2B buyers? Where's the proof that some of these companies can transform the way we purchase and streamline the efficiencies of our supply chains? The old economy-new economy dichotomy has a deeper meaning than "better way to buy." What these stories uncover is that the minds conceiving some of these new companies discovered the weaknesses in the old economy and tried to fix them in a new economy way. Their stories tell us we're all on the road to better business in the buy and sell ... or should we say we're all heading to the dance.Linking the Construction Industry: Buzzsaw.com
Though he had been involved in startups before, Bass feels he underestimated the time investment required to start Buzzsaw.com. "At the beginning, you get caught up in the idea and excitement. It was something I wanted to do. The emotion sweeps you through the rational part of thinking about it. But that is the real challenge in startups -- how do you do your job well and maintain a family life?"
Bass, Buzzsaw.com's CEO, handles these concerns by trying to get home in time for dinner at least a couple nights a week and also conserves as much of his weekend as possible to spend time with his wife and sons. But of course, meetings and travel sometimes cut into family time.
"When I told my wife I wanted to start this company, neither of us realized how much work it would be," Bass says. "You have to want to do this for the right reason. For a lot of people, getting rich is not a good enough reason. It requires people who are willing to spend a lot of time and deal with chaos and keep it fun. Sometimes you need to be in three parts of the world on the same day. Whether a company fails or succeeds, it's important that you've learned, enjoyed yourself and grown, otherwise it's a waste of time."
Today, Buzzsaw.com provides the building design and construction industry with online tools and resources. Housed in the middle of downtown San Francisco, within a few-block distance of about 100 other dot-com companies, Buzzsaw.com operates out of a 1926-ish gothic building. But that's the only old-fashioned thing about this organization that brings players in the construction industry online.
"We saw early on that the industry needed help in managing the flow of information and getting it to all the people in the process," Bass says. "There's no doubt in my mind that three years from now people will be managing projects online."
Some areas of the construction industry are already more technologically savvy than others. "The general contractors and architects are pretty wired," Bass says. "Other parts of the industry are slower to sign on but I've been surprised with their pace." The construction industry offers tremendous opportunity for his company, Bass believes, with its $700 billion market in the United States and $3.2 trillion market worldwide.