Foreword for

September 9, 2000

By John Mumford, Founding Partner, Crosspoint Venture Partners

From my vantage point as a venture capitalist, there has never been a more exciting time to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams. My passion for companies, as living, growing, and adapting entities, has never been stronger. The challenges and opportunities, for all companies today, relates to how the Internet brings power, energy, and new equations to the relationships of all the constituents of a successful business. Customer service, outsourcing, and building new and dynamic business models are three key areas where the Internet has fundamentally changed and built new relationships among these constituents, from customers to vendors. I have three deep beliefs that speak to any firm, traditional or web centric, that plans on being successful in the next 5 years:

  1. The Internet, combined with high-bandwidth digital transmission, will stimulate a reinvention of human commerce.
  2. Marketing, sales, distribution, and support functions for almost every type of business will be re-tooled.
  3. The evolution will be rapid. Many existing businesses will perish. Many new ones will be born.

What is exciting about the Internet, especially as an investor, is helping in redefining how businesses relate to customers, partners, and suppliers. Just staying alive in this environment is like crossing the country in a '34 Ford roadster at 100 mph. You have technology that is just barely adequate to keep you held to the ground, as the countryside rushes by at speeds that push every piece of your business machine to its limit. The truly brave push the metal even harder, just to hear the roar of the wind on uncharted road even faster, and the site of their competitors in their mirror. But do you have the strategy to match your unbridled courage? Even light speed isn't everything.

At Crosspoint, we have helped launch new Net-centric businesses that will allow existing companies to communicate, serve, and transact more effectively with their customers, employees, vendors, and channel partners. These new business-to-business networked solutions offer dramatic economic benefits to all parties and improve customer and partner relationships and satisfaction. The key to their success has been integrating internal business processes with outward facing relationships, not just to strengthen business, but build networked e-Business. Integral to continued success is examination of success and failure, and its distillation into knowledge and e-wisdom.

Joining a startup while at Stanford Business School changed my life irrevocably. The growth of the Internet, especially e-commerce, has been driven by similar start-ups with the courage and conviction of an idea, a vision, and a team with the will to bring it to life and adapt in the tornado of growth. Start-ups today face added challenges, and the virtual sea of opportunities of the Internet that accelerates business relationships that make or break a company. But only at the helm of a master who knows that strategy, tactics, and constant introspection, not luck, bring fortune.

Ventures like Ariba, Hello Direct, Inmac, and Office Club (Office Depot), have ridden this sea, and transformed as well as given birth to new companies, even within themselves. Our latest vision, E2 Open, will provide a global marketplace where any computer, consumer electronics or telecommunications company can plan, collaborate, manage and execute supply chain transactions over the Internet. Intelligent collaboration, planned and managed successfully, ensures that a good business today will continue to thrive in a world where business relationships blossom and wither in barely a moment. Evolution and the natural selection in e-Business will be measured in the strength of the relationships and combined strategies that global marketplaces create and marshal. Learn to build e-strategies.

As a investor, I watch the furry and pace of change so close to home from my ranch in Woodside. I also see the opportunity that the Internet revolution can bring to almost anyone who can dream, work hard with undying commitment, and prosper. In a world with such cultural and economic diversity, we live in a time where individuals excel without bias, that only the greatest economic revolution in history can bring. For those born of less advantage, the knowledge gained by learning, and relearning the principles of the new e-conomy will reshape the distribution of wealth and opportunity across the entire globe, and in a time measured in years, perhaps barely a decade.

A book like this can have the impact as it did for me. Inspirational, moving, and deeply personal, showing you a direction that is clear, and a path moving forward. The ideas, advice, and inspiration in this book come from the experience of being there, and going there, and with as many people as your business can marshal.

E-volve-or-die - because light speed is not enough.

John Mumford