Redeye VC

Josh Kopelman

Managing Director of First Round Capital.

espite being coastally challenged (currently living in Philadelphia), Josh has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since its commercialization. In 1992, while he was a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation – an Internet information company. In 1996, Infonautics went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

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VIP Treatment

CriticWhen a restaurant owner recognizes a food critic in their restaurant, the critic gets extra-special treatment.  To be a good restaurant critic, you have to be anonymous.  Otherwise, the critic's "picture is posted in every four-star, low-star, and no-star kitchen in town" and they get special service. 


Restaurant owners understand the power of the press -- and go to extreme efforts to ensure that influential customers have a wonderful experience. 
This isn't rocket science -- it's good business! 


Why is it that online businesses don't do the same?  They should!  One of the first things we did after we launched Half.com was create a VIP list, containing the email addresses of all influential reporters, competitors, potential acquirers, analysts, and investors.  (Bloggers didn't exist back then - but they would qualify as well).  We then had our system alert us whenever a VIP created an account, purchased an item or listed one for sale.  When a VIP purchased a CD we'd have someone from our customer service group telephone the seller to confirm that it shipped promptly.  When a VIP listed an item for sale, we'd monitor it to see if it sold.  And if a (hypothetical) reporter listed a (hypothetical) book for sake, and it didn't sell quickly, a relative of a
(hypothetical) Half.com employee in Oklahoma might (hypothetically) purchase the item...Resulting in a (hypothetical) story in the New York Times


Half.com offers a good service -- just like most restaurants serve good food.  But, doesn't it make sense to be on your best behavior with influential customers?

Do you have a VIP list for your company?  Do you know what experience journalists, bloggers, analysts and acquirors are having with your product?

Comments

Liam @ Web 2.5 Blog

Um, why the anecdote about sleight of hand with a major market reporter on this public venue?

The media knows it gets manipulated... but if they learn of a specific instance, they may be put off for an undefined period.

Please pardon my unsolicited civics lecture.

First Round Capital

Thanks for your thoughts Liam. I guess I figured that after 6 years, the "statute of limitations" had expired...

Liam @ Web 2.5 Blog

I hope so! It's just that press types are known for touchiness and long memories.

Were I in your shoes at Half.com back then, I'd have tried a generic "dear user" email informing the reporter that the item listed might not sell quickly, and would they like to list something like x, y, or z that might move faster?

Having now proffered both civics and PR advice to a net luminary, allow me to point out my blog as a source of web tech wisdom. :)

louis vuitton outlet

Thanks for your thoughts Liam. I guess I figured that after 6 years, the "statute of limitations" had expired...

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