Page Impressions Ltd Blogcetera: February 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Project Canvas leaps in to replace Kangaroo!

Project Canvas, the venture between BBC, ITV and BT to "bring catch-up from the PC to the TV", will cost the partners £24m to get up and running.   A fourth major partner, possibly Channel 4, Channel Five or a major internet service provider is expected to come on board in the near future.

The costs are intended to be shared equally and BBC has indicated that their share will be £6m of licence payers funding. 

The venture's backers aim to provide an open technology offering so that viewers with Freeview or Freesat and a broadband connection can access catch-up and on-demand programming via their TV from online services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.

The BBC anticipates that these new web-enabled set-top boxes will cost somewhere in the region of £100 to £200, and that the catch-up television service will be delivered via the internet. The BBC, ITV and BT believe a sufficiently good service could be achieved with a relatively low speed internet connection of around 1.6 Mb, and other internet service providers are expected to back the scheme.

“We are excited about what this could mean for the viewing public,” Erik Huggers, director of future media and technology at the BBC, told The Times. “While audience demand for high-quality public service broadcasting remains high, the ability of the commercial operators to deliver is seriously threatened by a changing media landscape and the difficult economic climate. Innovation is in the BBC’s DNA, and with our funding model and great content, we’re in a unique position to innovate for the benefit of everyone.”

Earlier this month, a proposed catch-up TV service backed by the ITV, Channel 4 and BBC, was blocked by the Competition Commission. The Commission ruled that Project Kangaroo, the online television venture between ITV, Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide, was blocked by the Competition Commission this month on the grounds that it would stifle the video-on-demand market, so the trio insist that Canvas will be open to any content provider that meets technical parameters. For that reason, those involved with the project are careful to label it as “Freeview mark two; not Project Kangaroo mark two”.  Although I suspect it is the same team behind Canvas that was behind Kangaroo.

The team behind Project Canvas has stressed that other content providers, such as film rental services, would be welcome to offer their services through the platform, as long as they meet the necessary technical standards required.

Some television viewers are already able to watch shows from BBC iPlayer on their TV. Virgin Media offers BBC iPlayer to its 3.7 million subscribers, and this audience accounts for 30 per cent of all viewing requests logged by iPlayer.

Anyone who has tried to watch the iPlayer or any video content online at less than 2Mb will find the suggestion that, 1.6 Mb broadband accesses will be sufficient to support an adequate service to be quite amusing.

In addition, why is it going to cost £24 million to develop an iPlayer for a TV set-top box, when the likes of Sony and Pace not to mention Virgin have capability developed?  Agreeing open access standards for their content to be run on set-top boxes should not cost so much and there are enough set-top manufacturers who are ready to work with such a standard and build it into their equipment.  I recall from a recent Internet/TV project that the BBC frequently changed their iPlayer format to frustrate software developers trying to develop set-top box developments to deliver the iPlayer.

The BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, yesterday opened a consultation on the proposals, and will make a decision on the project by the end of July.

Goldman Sachs Technology Symposium - Apple Developments

Here are the highlights of Tim Cook the COO of Apple comments at the Goldman Sach Technology Conference currently going on in Redwood City, California and favourite to replace Steve Jobs as CEO.  There are some very interesting comments here as to the future direction of Apple.

Economic decline

“I’m not saying Apple’s immune to the economy. But if you look at last quarter as an example … last quarter in the U.S., the GDP growth was less than one percent.  It was miserable by anybody’s calculation. Apple, in the U.S., grew 27 percent.

For us, we’re focused on what we can control. And what we can control is how much we innovate, what products we do, the experience in our stores, the experience in our channel — all of those things. I think Apple’s success depends on how we do on those things versus whether the GDP is slightly above one (percent) or slightly below zero or whatever.”

IPod Touch cannibalizing iPhone sales

“I’d rather Apple cannibalize Apple than somebody else cannibalize Apple. It was very key for the iPod line to go in this direction.”

The iPhone SDK and platforms vs. products

“First of all, I think it’s really important to realize that very few companies in the world know how to build a platform. You can count them on a few fingers. Apple is one of them. We’ve had the Mac platform for years and really understand this.

When we started with the phone, we started by getting developers to focus on web 2.0 apps. And there’s over a thousand of these today. There are probably many people in this room that use them. But people also want to do more than that. And as we got into the phone more and more, it became clear to us that we should release an SDK and we’re going to talk more about that next week at our event. But in essence what it does is it will make the product even more compelling. This is a product that has the highest customer satisfaction (rate) of any Apple product ever shipped, which is a very, very high bar. We’re super excited about where this can take us.”

The real iPhone controversy (aka the missing iPhones)

“The real controversy, if you will, from some people’s point of view is the difference between phones that are activated on Apple-chosen carriers, and the total number of phone sales. So people want to know where are the iPhones? Here’s my short version of this: We have a situation where we’ve purposefully rolled out iPhone in four markets (the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France). We did this at this chosen speed so we would learn, and could apply those learnings to future rollouts, etc. And we are right on track where we want to be. The four million units that we’ve sold over the first 200 days gives us confidence that we can achieve 10 million units in 2008.

So where are the iPhones? Here’s the privilege, so to speak, of this problem. The demand for the iPhone is so intense in the markets where we aren’t offering it that people are exporting it out of the U.S. in many different ways and then running it on local carriers … The thing that I like about that is it shows there’s a lot of worldwide demand. And I think the most important thing for Apple by far in this first 8-10 months of selling in the iPhone world is to deliver a product that would delight customers.

Of all the problems we face, this is the one I face looking at with a little bit of a smile. Because it means there’s great demand for the phone. And to have people stepping over each other to have the phone isn’t a bad thing.”

The one carrier model vs. multiple carriers for the iPhone

“In the U.S., our fundamental choice was do we want to develop two phones: a CDMA phone and a GSM phone. We didn’t. We wanted to do the simplest approach in the beginning because that’s the fastest way to learn. We wanted GSM. GSM is a worldwide standard and AT&T is the largest carrier. The business relationship that we could work with AT&T allowed Apple to be Apple and AT&T to be AT&T. This is the power of this relationship. We feel very good about that. We went into Europe and picked the top carriers in three countries and got going in those countries. Now, are we married to his model? Will we do this everywhere? We’re not married to any business model. What we’re married to is shipping the best phone in the world and continuing everyday to innovate to make (the iPhone) better and turn it from a device into a platform. We are married to that.”

Virgin Media sinks deeper into the red but grows broadband!

The cable services provider Virgin Media had a difficult last quarter of 2008, with new customer sign ups dropping by a massive forty per cent.

The company posted losses of £50 million for the same quarter, which it said was due to the fact that it only managed to attract 14,800 new customers compared to 24,000 in the same period in 2007.  At the same time Virgin Media has seen a fall in customers taking out the profitable broadband, TV and phone packages, with only 185,000 sales in the last quarter compared to 272,100 in the same quarter of 2007.   However Virgin Media claims that "record numbers of customers" are now making use of its services and despite the economic crisis they have seen an increase of 57,100 on-net broadband customers, taking their total to 3.68 million.  This is just 1.5% growth in user numbers at a time when Virgin has been advertising heavily and launching new services such as the new 50Mb package at the end of last year

Virgin Media also noted an improvement in tier mix, with a third of their users now subscribing to their next-generation (10Mb and above) services.   Virgin Media also announced this week that it will be upgrading its 2Mbps broadband customers to a superfast 10Mbps service as it steps up its bid to become "the highest-quality broadband service in the UK". Indeed Virgin will begin migrating customers to the new connection in May, with prices for the 10Mbps package starting from £14 a month.

With Virgin’s broadband user numbers growing slower due to the economic downturn and increasing numbers of broadband users choosing to go to 3G Mobile broadband rather than tethered broadband.   Recently the Office of National Statistics indicated that fixed broadband has started to fall for the first time and this trend looks will have an impact on the major operators.  Expect to see aggressive price cuts to lure new customers from the major broadband ISPs such as BT and Sky during to spring of 2009 to compete with Virgin’s £14 a month 10Mb service.

At least Virgin has not yet decided to opt for Phorm like BT, however, there remain a number of legitimate revenue generating activities it could opt for now that it has deployed DPI (deep packet inspection) such as DNS and HTTP error monetisation.

Is the 3G Dongle the best broadband option for you?

With the 3G Mobile Dongle you no longer need to be tethered to a fixed line or a long term commitment to BT or Talk Talk.  Today there are almost 1 million dongle users in the UK and demand is growing so much so that, for the past two quarters that the number of fixed-line broadband connections in the UK has started to fall for the first time ever, according to the Office of National Statistics. 

With near saturation of mobile phone ownership, the option to go with a mobile dongle is winning over many new users with the promise of broadband that goes with them and it doesn't require them to pay twice: once for the broadband and once for the phone line.

What is the best dongle broadband option for you?  The answer to this question depends why you surf the net, whether for business or leisure or indeed a combination of both.  Equally is you usage occasional or regular usage.  In some cases, the mobile companies are offering laptops or notebooks as part of the tariff options.   However, the two primary options are Pay-as-you-go or Contract in the same way mobile phone service is offered.  So what are the options:-

Pay-as-you-go Dongles

Pay As You Go dongles are growing very rapidly in popularity as they do not require a long-term contract to enable a PC, laptop or notebook user to connect to the internet. The customer simply buys a dongle which has a set amount of time and data download capabilities.

The dongle is then plugged in to the computer as a plug-and-play device allowing for instant broadband access to the internet without a contract. The customer just uses the connection until they have used up the available amount of cash they originally purchased.

They can then just repeat the process thus avoiding a contract commitment of 12, 18 or 24 months to a mobile broadband operator. This system works very well for many users, providing them with access to the Internet, albeit with a limit in the time and the amount of available download before the credit is exhausted.

Customers who make use of their computer for longer periods of time each month very often opt to sign up for a contract with one of the big operators such as Vodafone, 3, Carphone Warehouse or Orange.

Contract Dongle

Although the same operators also offer pay-as-you-go deals, many people prefer the added convenience of long-term contract connection. The two systems basically operate in the same way making use of a broadband dongle to connect the computer to the Internet.

A contract connection offers the advantage of being simpler and cheaper to run on a month-to-month basis than pay-as-you-go wireless Dongles. The savings can actually be quite considerable if you make a large amount of use of your internet connection each month.

Downloading can be far more practical financially with a long-term contract. Many people feel that 18 or 24 month commitments can be outpaced by developments in the mobile broadband connection field. Therefore the most popular contract is one for 12 months giving a good degree of flexibility to move with the ever-changing broadband times.

In this way should you find a deal that suits your needs better, or there is a new technological developments with connection capabilities it is not a prohibitively long period until your contract comes up for renewal.

Both Pay As You Go and contract connections offer advantages and disadvantages. It is wise to consider which best suits your personal broadband Internet needs. As a rule of thumb longer hours spent surfing the web each month or large amounts of data download requirements favour a long-term contract.

Less time spent surfing and little need for major amounts of data download are best suited to be more flexible Pay As You Go dongle connections. 

Network Issues

However, not everyone is convinced that mobile broadband is up to the job.  3G Mobile network availability is clearly an issue in much the same way it is for some mobile operators.   There are also issues with the network when too many people are online and services drop off.  As an alternative, there are a couple of firms offering satellite broadband which has been touted as a solution for rural areas, but it is comparatively expensive with Avanti offers a 2Mb service for £45 a month.

Carphone Warehouse to cut jobs

Carphone Warehouse is expected to reveal about 400 job losses as part of a cost-cutting programme.  The job losses are expected to be mainly among support staff and a consultation period is likely to start today. 

According the Guardian among those affected will be call centre staff who were brought in two years ago to cope with a deluge of complaints when Carphone launched its free broadband offer, Talk Talk.

Carphone Warehouse has 2,400 stores in nine countries and employs 12,500 in the UK.  Job losses are not expected in its retail stores.

Carphone Warehouse's retail division is expected to grow following a joint venture with US electricals giant Best Buy that will pitch it against UK chains such as Currys and Comet.

Last month Carphone Warehouse announced that it would review its structure and financial disclosure policy following its margin squeeze and the fact that Talk Talk’s broadband revenues had fallen by 2%.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Googly hits GMail

Following on from last months Google Search problems, users of Google's popular e-mail service, Gmail, were hit by an outage yesterday.  The service went offline at 0930 GMT with Google saying it was "working hard to resolve this problem".  The problem covered both their general consumers and the paid for business users.  Professional users of Google mail are covered by a service level agreement that promises to be 99.9% operational in any calendar month.  To put that commitment in context, GMail could be down up to 72 hours per month and still meet their commitments! Most commercial email services are run on 99.999% or 5 nines availablity or just 72 minutes of unplanned downtime per month.

According to comScore there are more that 113 million users of Google’s “GMail” service worldwide.  In a statement, Google said "a number of users" were having problems with Google Mail. The problem wasn’t universal with some users unaware of the problems. Users accessing GMail through a third-party email clients configured to send and receive e-mail using the IMAP email protocol were unaffected.

Outages are nothing new to email services and all Google’s competitors have had similar experiences as they developed and certainly Google has invested significantly in their Gmail infrastructure.   According to Google, its e-mail service suffered an average of 10 to 15 minutes of downtime per month in 2008.  The last major outage was in August 2008 when users were unable to use Google Mail for "a couple of hours".

According to comScore, Google has the world's third most popular web mail service behind Hotmail with 283 million users and Yahoo with 274 million e-mail users.

Google will need to improve their target availability if they are to offer the GMail service as a credible alternative to competitive email services.

Monday, February 23, 2009

UK Mobile Dongle User Numbers – Feb/March 2009

I have been researching the number of users now using 3G mobile dongles to link to the Internet in order to offer some insight into this largely hidden phenomenon.

Globally the market for 3G dongles is set to grow from 20 million units in 2008 to 26 million units in 2009 despite the downturn.

In Europe, some of the strongest growth has been recorded mainly due to the near saturation level of mobile usage compared to other parts of the world due to aggressive marketing push from the operators and the handset manufacturers.  This has resulted in an interesting development amongst Generation Y, those users born between 1978-2000.  This group have led the way in not bothering with fixed access telephony and are consequently adopting the 3G Dongle as their preferred method of Internet access.  Much of this growth is based on competitive all-you-can-eat tariffs and ease of use.

In the UK, which makes up approximately 3.5% of worldwide dongle sales, the mobile dongle user community now makes up over 4% of the overall broadband market.  These figures may not seem very impressive; however, with overall dongle sales set in 2009 to see 15% growth over 2008 and with the traditional broadband market at a standstill, the dongle market is likely to continue to make significant in-roads into the broadband market in 2009.  With increasing choice of low cost tariffs and user numbers in the UK could easily top one million by the end of 2009.

UK Market – February 2009



Number of Users

% Share






The established leader of the dongle market, 3 has led the pack with its innovative pricing packages.





T-Mobile has used the UK as its primary test market for their dongle strategy and their innovative “webNwalk” service.





Vodafone is the fastest growing of the major networks aggressively promoting and subsidising dongles because they are viewed as a secondary device that provides additional revenues for carriers beyond a traditional handset.


O2 (Dongles only)



02 were the first major mobile network to enter the broadband market in the UK following its acquisition of Be, however, this seems to have been a distraction which has slowed their adoption of a dongle strategy.





Orange seem to stumble from drama to crisis.  Their 3G Dongle strategy is little better.  They are seeing declining share of the broadband market and have been slow to put together a competitive offering for the dongle market.


Virgin Mobile



Somewhat off the pace with their 3G dongle priced at £15 per month running over T-Mobiles network as MVNO.






To get an accurate picture, a number of published and unpublished sources have been used.  One needs to guard against the marketing hype that is put about regarding sales of individual networks, but the 3G dongle market is viewed as an area of vital importance by the mobile networks.  It will be interesting to see how the traditional ISPs respond.  Late in 2008, BT Broadband started to offer a WiFi dongle that connected to their network hotspots, BT Openzone, to their customers as an extension of their standard contract.  Neither  Sky or Tiscali have a competitive offering as yet, although Tiscali could still make a good fit for Vodafone.

Asia-Pac leads the way in 3G Dongle adoption

Asia-Pacific was home to some 121 million 3G subscribers in 2007 and an estimated 158.4 million in 2008.  By 2013, the region's 3G subscriber base is forecast to reach 564 million, accounting for about 18.2 percent of all mobile users. With 3G subscriber net additions in record numbers year-on-year, mobile operators are eager to monetize 3G external broadband devices, namely dongles and data-cards, to complement their mobile broadband offerings.

3G dongle services have thus far seen promising uptake. Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Marc Einstein noted: "Dongles and data-cards are increasingly a preferred connectivity device of choice for Asia-Pac's broadband subscribers given the slim form-factor of the devices, faster 3G speeds and competitive service plans available."

He reckoned that by 2013, more than one in every three new broadband subscriber will use dongles or data-cards for their mobile broadband needs, giving fixed broadband players a run for their money.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, 3G External Broadband Devices in Asia-Pacific, finds that there were an estimated 5.2 million mobile broadband dongle and data-card users in Asia-Pacific (18 countries) in 2008, with corresponding billings of over $1.3 billion.

With the continuous rollout of new 3G networks and 3.5G/4G upgrades across the region, Frost & Sullivan believes that there will be nearly 37 million 3G subscribers using external wireless devices for their mobile broadband needs by year end-2013, with estimated billable revenues of $7.8 billion.

The uptake for these 3G devices is expected to accelerate after 2010 once 3G services become commercially available in most large Asian markets. Not surprisingly, China is expected to be the single largest market for the device with 20 percent (7.4 million) of the region's dongle/datacard users by 2013; India, a close enough second with 5.55 million (15 percent) dongle/datacard subscribers.

The switch to dongles for broadband access is hardly surprising given the difficultly that some Asian economies have had rolling out fixed infrastructure.  The dongle approach enables users to leap frog into the 21st Century and get a excellent broadband access via the mobile networks.  It will be interesting to see how tariffing emerges in the Asia compared to what we are seeing across Europe and most notable in the UK.

More information from Frost & Sullivan

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Skype and Nokia are bonding – will it lead to marriage?

Latest news from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is that Skype and Nokia have announced a partnership to provide free and low-cost calling for Nokia's N-series of Smartphones, starting with the N97 later this year.  Skype’s software will be integrated into the phone's address book, providing presence detection when other Skype contacts are online, as well as enabling use of the Skype instant messaging client.  Significantly, the Skype service will be available both over Wi-Fi and 3G high-speed networks, so users won't need to be near a wireless hotspot to make Skype voice calls. Users will be able to communicate with Skype-to-Skype voice calls, as well as make mobile and landline Skype calls at their low VoIP prices.  Sony Ericsson also has a Skype on its Xperia  X1 device, running Windows Mobile 6.1 and Skype has a mobile ‘lite’ version running in beta on LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones.

How will this go down with the operators I wonder?  I suspect this will not be viewed as such great news by the operators, who may view this as an attempt by Skype and Nokia to eat their lunch.  In future I expect that the major operators will be less than happy to offer subsidised VoIP capable Nokia phones to their users.  This story clearly has legs and given that eBay have indicated that Skype is no longer compatible with their long term strategy and have effectively hoisted a large “For Sale” sign over them, this move just might make Skype a good fit with either a hungry operator or an aggressive handset manufacturer.

Ten Things for Start-ups to avoid.

Over the last ten years I have been involved with a lot of start-ups. Sometimes as an analyst for a VC and sometimes as part of the management team. Some of these ventures have quickly imploded before going beyond the idea stage, some have gone on to become successful businesses and generate significant rewards for those investors who took the early risk. However, all were guilty at some point of exaggerating many aspects of the product or service. So I have updated Guy Kawasaki's excellent The Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs from 2006 with a few of my own experiences to help start-ups to avoid certain pitfalls if you are looking for money from angels or VCs.
  1.  “No one is doing what we're doing.” Oh yes they can! The same is true of major corporations. When I was with BT many moons ago, I could be sure there were at least two other BT funded groups working on the same idea in some “parallel universe” of which I was unaware. Same is true of the Internet. There will be many people working on the same idea as you and depending on their abilities to get to market , they may ultimately become your competition. Your idea will seldom be unique, but finding a new angle makes the difference and may be worth funding or just do it better. Google have done quite well without being particularly original - just better. Be realistic and do your research. If you’re a business angel and you haven’t the resources of a VC, just take a few minutes to search Google and check out the entrepreneurs claim.
  2. “No one can do what we're doing.” The first cousin of number 1 and the same answer. Yes they can and the chances are they will. VCs get hundreds and thousands of new ideas thrust at them every year and there is a good chance they will have seen something like your idea before. Show that you can create a successful and sensible market for your product and have a clear plan to get to market.
  3. “Our projections are conservative.” No entrepreneur's projections are ever conservative – correction – no one’s initial projections are conservative. We tend to exaggerate our expectations by default. I would have millions by now if I had a pound for every time that some new start-up suggests they will be as big as Google – one I recall suggested his idea was going to be bigger! Generally, an entrepreneur has no idea what their sales will be, so they guess and will be miles out. However, VC’s tend to encourage this behaviour suggesting that unless the concept looks “interesting” the idea will not get backed. Interesting invariably means double digit growth and profitable inside three years. So we have a problem, if you do project a “hockey stick” revenue growth, no one will believe you and if you don’t, the idea will not get funded. Finding the middle way is very hard.
  4. “Forrester/McKinsey/Bain etc says our market will be $50 billion in 2014.” Analysts create reports to serve their market of large corporate analysts and seldom have any more idea of market size than anyone else, but unless the market is projected as big who will bother buying the report. In planning, it is generally accepted that you can get close to a forecast over 1 year, but projecting 5 years out is pure fantasy. Entrepreneurs should simply remove any reference to future market size estimates from consulting firms. Empirical research and bottom up modelling will give a sounder basis for your projections. The only thing that will happen is that your forecast will change!
  5. “All we have to do is get 1% of the market.” There are two problems with this line. First, no investor is interested in a company that is looking to get 1% or so of a market. VCs are looking for companies to face anti-trust issues because of their market dominance not just another business. Secondly, it really isn’t that easy to get 1% of any market, so you look silly pretending that it is. Once again empirical research and bottom up modelling will give you a sounder basis for your projections. It's much better for entrepreneurs to show a realistic appreciation of the difficulty of building a successful company.
  6. Virgin/BT/Vodafone etc… is about to sign our purchase order next week.” This line never has any traction. It seldom happens. The entrepreneur claims they are just about to sign some major corporation and naturally it just doesn’t happen. The only way to play this card is after the purchase order is signed because no investor whose money you'd want will fall for this one.
  7. “Key employees are set to join us as soon as we get funded.” Be prepared for the VC to insist on calling your prospective employee. If it's true that key employees are ready to leave their safe salaried senior positions that is great. Either have them at the meeting or have them call the venture capitalist after the meeting and testify to this effect.
  8. “Hurry because several other venture capital firms are interested.” VCs and angels are very polite people and seldom say “not interested” or "go away" instead they say “maybe” or “we will look at it in the next financing round” or “we will fund post first revenue” etc. If they are interested they will pursue you straight away. They tend not to wait. Other investors know this and also genuine interest will be covered by a very strict non-disclosure agreement and the entrepreneur will not be able to make such claims.
  9. “We have a proven management team.” Um…what exactly proven in this case? Being a senior manager at Microsoft or even Google these days, doesn’t mean that they can run a bath, let alone a successful start-up. Truly “proven”, in a venture capitalist’s eyes, is the founder of a company that returned billions to its investors and they are rarer than hen’s teeth. Being an experienced team is an easier case to prove, but ensure that the senior director from BT you want to bring in, is happy to share some grotty open plan office with a bunch of hippy engineers, get his own coffee and can run Excel. Along with experience come flexibility and an ability to adapt. Make he or she really fits the bill.
  10. “Patents make our product defensible.” No it won’t. It is nice to have a patent and by that I mean a patent that has been “granted” not just filed, but you will need very deep pockets to defend it and quite frankly that will not stop all manner of people poaching your idea. A granted patent may impress Business Angels or some newbie VC, but people who know their business are aware of the limited importance in the start-up market. It will take 4-5 years for it to be granted in any case and be very a very costly exercise. Patents are good, but getting to the market fastest is more important.
Ideas that are based on sound research and market insight are the ones that get the majority of funding. Honesty is a much more important virtue in an entrepreneur than being able to spin a story. You may get some initial funding projecting dubious facts, but ultimately if the promises do not materialise the VC will be back for his pound of flesh and that is altogether a more painful experience. Things go wrong and businesses fail and entrepreneurs who have been through such experience are often much better investment risks than those who make the “outrageous” claim. Do your homework and build a credible business and remember that the most important commodity will be a large share of luck.