William "BilFish" Fisher

April 2000

Everything I Know, I Needed To Learn. Natch.
I did it taking chances and werkin' my butt off, and making every mistake in the book, of course.

Sometimes twice. Why? The first time, we didn't realize what the problem was. Ya live, ya learn.

It's really off-topic from what I had intended to chat about, but still true. Some people I meet seem to think they should be taken seriously because they've been given a serious job. They act as though a position of power, or authority, means something in terms of competence. Or, they see wealth as a "Grade A" stamp of approval on their decisions.

As with all things, sometimes this is true. Often, it's not. I have chosen not to embrace these concepts. I have chosen the path less taken, perhaps. Or, really, most of us take this path, some just go farther. Me? I'm learning that I'm part-way down the path, and I want to go farther, to explore the unexplored, as it were. Why? Who knows. I certainly don't think happiness lies down my chosen path. It's complicated and difficult.

But, it's me. It's been me for years, and I've enjoyed all of it. In fact, I've managed to derive theories about it. Hmmm, too much time?

I've started or helped to start four Internet companies. Two of them have been sold, one went public. I've worked for a few others. And I've learned from them all.

In essence, however, they've all been the same -- a way of redefining business tools or getting into the mind of the consumer interactive user.

Belief #1: You can't do both at the same time. The business market is NOT the consumer market, and I've gotten a kick out of watching heads of business products try to get to the consumer mind, and vice versa. It doesn't work. The same company can do both, but you can't develop for, think strategically about, or understand both simultaneously. You end up missing both marks.

I've always examined new technologies and concepts to create significantly improved ways of doing business -- oftentimes, the same old business done before, just better.

Belief #2: The Internet provides a core means of creating dramatic leaps in business efficiency and productivity.

o I provided dialup Internet access from 1992,
o Digital Frame Relay from 1993
o Invented Web hosting in 1994
o "The Man" (beta version, production version to be called "WOman") was in development to create a task and workflow management system (i.e. what I now realize SAP does for $$$) for companies as small as 5 employees
o Vertical portal websites such as beer.com beginning in 1993 (before vertical sites had a name),
o And most recently VDSL, RADSL, SDSL -- heck, call it xDSL.

Belief #3: Hey, there's a lot of freakin' opportunity for the little guy. Big business always wants --and needs-- to charge a lot of money. Smaller consultants and businesspeople can always find a way of doing something better, easier, less expensively.

When you see something being done in the traditional corporate manner, see opportunity. It's there. Big companies believe too much in their own arrogance, almost by definition. The Internet space is proof of that arrogance. The largest marketplace for my products has always been by referral. Big companies believe they can fool their customers. They can, for about a minute. That's what has provided me with my success -- hoping to create a relationship that lasts, with its ups and downs, for at least a day or two.

Also, I've always been able to believe in my products and services, and I've found that your passion can be your success -- and passion is always successful, if not just downright k3wl.

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