Read Ron Lindeboom's case study in why Creative COW's Business & Marketing forum is one of our Top 5 most visited forums.
Looking down the road a couple of months or so, it will be 2011. Once again, dear ole Dad was right: time passes far too quickly -- especially if your business is searching for its place in the market. At that point, time drags like a sixth-grader counting down the last 30 days of school before Summer vacation.
When we started building online peer-to-peer support sites back in 1995, it wasn't long before our original site outgrew our ability to fund it. Unfortunately, it's hard to maintain something that eats far more resources than it brings in. Back then, most of the industry's advertisers were not interested in the goings-on on the web. (A rare exception was Artbeats, who started with us long ago and remains with us to this day. Without their support, we'd have quit long ago. Please let them know you appreciate their longtime support of it all.)
Even when we launched the COW, we had to wait for the market to catch up with the web's earlier adopters. We built the new site using hard-won lessons about the deadliness of uncontrolled growth. Those lessons provided a sense of cautious well considered planning and implementation and we played within our means, always. Well, almost.
We balanced our cautious slow growth plans, with a sense of thrice weighed and considered strategic gambling. Still, to really win the hand, sometimes you must throw caution to the wind and push all your chips into the game -- risking it all.
You are holding in your hands, our biggest gamble. If the magazine had failed, Creative COW would have quietly faded into the ether.
Why did we do it? Because we knew that the time had come to make our move, as our goals were far bigger than to remain where we were in 2005.
The scary part was that we made our most risky move "without a safety net." We had no investors and we had just enough money in the bank to produce only one issue, nothing more. Crazy, huh? But we knew that in the end, markets mature and consolidate â as bigger, stronger corporations acquire smaller and more innovative companies, largely to maintain their own perceived "innovativeness."
In the end, usually one dominant player leads the market, with a few support players splitting the rest. It would happen in this market, too. It has. We wanted that dominant player to be Creative COW, so we gambled. We drew on all that we've learned over a lifetime and we had many great minds to draw on.
From Day One of Creative COW, we have been grateful to be surrounded with an incredible body of leaders and members daily posting in our Business & Marketing forum.
I still recall over a decade ago when Nick Griffin called me to discuss starting a business forum. "I think it would become one of the most important forums in the line-up," said Nick. And it has. Today it is nearly always in the Top 5 most trafficked forums in the line-up, and I am regularly amazed by the kinds of discussions that are raised there.
I have drawn many lessons from the forum and have combined these ideas with what we see in the news, what we see our competitors doing, what trends we see in the market, and what we need to do to "be there" for our members and meet their expectations and needs. If it is true that "two minds are better than one," then many-minds-as-one is even better. Our Business & Marketing forum has been a great value to our business over the years. As another year draws to a close, let it become a value to you as you make your own plans for the days ahead.