Throwback Thursday is a trending online activity aimed at remembering the "good old days." Old family photos, school pictures, memories of all sorts come surging forward each Thursday on social media. Instead of looking ahead at the next big thing, Pymnts.com threw back a look at the beginnings of online marketplaces. They brought to mind easier times, before cyber attacks, data breaches, app glitches and security compromises. Before smart phones and apps. Before e-commerce was an kingdom of it own.
Screen captures of three of the biggest online marketplaces make us all stop and say, "oh yeah. I remember that...however vaguely."
Twenty years ago ebay looked like "a glorified classifieds section," first launched as Auction Web. The first item ever listed was a broken laser pointer--a test to see what would happen if everyone in the world had access to a global marketplace. It sold to a collector for $14.83. Later that week other items sold included an autographed Marky Mark pair of underwear for $400, a Superman metal lunchbox for $22 and a Toyota Tercel for $3,200. Now ebay has an estimated 157.3 million users.
Amazon is the largest internet-based retailer in the U.S., but in 1994 it only sold...do you even remember? Books! Amazon had no navigation, no pictures, no search options. Certainly no PRIME subscription service or streaming media. Today Amazon is the world's largest provider of cloud computing services and strives for $20+ billion in sales.
Did you know Craigslist was started as an e-mail distribution list in the San Francisco Bay area in 1995? It became a web-based service the next year and started serving other cities outside of San Francisco in 2000. Now used in over 50 countries, Craigslist still resembles its appearance more closely than the other sites, with its blue text on white background. But added features include a blossoming list of categories and advanced search capability.
What all three of these online marketplace startup entrepreneurs had was ingenuity, persistence, a strike of genius and near-perfect timing. As technology has evolved, so have these once-basic Next Best Things!
What's Your Next Big Thing?
Small business owners, entrepreneurs and dreamers are alike in that they hope to stumble upon their industry's next best thing. What holds them back? Time constraints, lack of ingenuity or pluck, lack of resources, poor timing, no money. What do you feel you're lacking to launch your next big thing?
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