Ross has some terrific thoughts on "net-enabled bootstrapping".
I’ve been doing some of this myself lately and the economics are stunning. Here’s how we’re driving costs through the floor and virtualizing:
- Skype calls account for about 70% of all the calls I make
- Basecamp for project management
- SugarCRM On Demand for media and analyst database
- Freeconference for meetings…
- Flashmeeting for more meetings… (really cool)
- Blogs – conversation engine
- FunctionFox – time tracking
- Quickbooks Online – accounting
- T-Mobile – WiFi
- SocialText – Wiki
So, think real-estate free entrepreneuring – no computing real-estate; everything virtualized and available to teams so no physical real-estate needed, work from anywhere (don’t have to be close to my own server) so no ties to real-estate.
"Real Estate is the leading cause of death for start-ups." – Ross Mayfield
About the only service offering I’ve been disappointed with is Vonage. Lousy sound quality compared to Skype. Expensive compared to Skype. And they want even more money to make it work like Skype.
Ross is right on:
"I am convinced that being virtual is the best way to start a company. The benefits go beyond cost (although the culture of frugality can go a very long way). In our case, it improves the product. But generally it is more productive. When the bandwidth for collaboration is constrained at times, you gain a certain focus. And with wiki, you develop a group memory to draw upon as you go forward."