To take on the big guys, just log on
Amir Anzur calls himself a webrepreneur and recently conducted a lecture in Dubai on how others can use the internet to create wealth. One tip: it's never too early to start marketing, even if the product does not yet exist.
In your lecture you talk about "creating wealth in the internet economy". What does that mean?
Firstly, I ask the question, what exactly is wealth? I think it is basically how much value you create to the world. A heart surgeon creates a lot of value and, so, wealth for people. What the internet enables us to do is to create more value, more cheaply.
Can you give me an example?
If I want to write a book, I can upload it to Amazon.com and I can then market it myself. I do not need a publisher now to make more money. The cost of media is also zero. On my blog I have as much power as The National, for example, and using Youtube I can compete with CNN.
What you are talking about is potential power, because you need to build a brand first.
Yes, but over time it grows. Entrepreneurs can speed up building trust through marketing and public relations, so they should try to master these mediums online. Everyone should have a personal e-mail that reads email@example.com, so you are building up trust over your lifetime.
Using the internet to plug a business is not necessarily a new concept, so why are you educating entrepreneurs now?
The region is still developing in the online sense. Different regions develop at different rates. I was sat once in a coffee shop with an Emirati friend who said smoking would never be banned in the UAE. Ten years before I had the same conversation in Ireland and a ban was brought in. An entrepreneur should look to take advantage of what is changing.
The internet has such a vast amount of information. How do entrepreneurs pick the bits that work for them?
First they need to find a niche. What are they passionate about? The internet is just the tool to get you to wealth faster and quicker. My dream is to run an online university teaching people about the internet. I don't have a physical university, but I have already started marketing it online at webpreneuruniversity.com.
So people should market their business before they even have the product?
Definitely. In 1999, I launched my first business and lost US$100,000 (Dh367,315). It took me three years to get that back. If people have a steady income from their current job, they should not quit and start a new business. Market the idea for a business online first to gauge response, then launch a product.
What if you like your job?
Make more money for your employer by using the internet. A job is never safe.
Published: May 1, 2011 04:00 AM