Foreword for E-Volve-or-Die.com
September 22, 2000
Peter Neupert, President and CEO, drugstore.com, inc.
these pages, Mitchell Levy spotlights three of the imperatives of the world of
e-tailing - constant experimentation, collaborating with the right partners and
keeping the customer at the center of every decision. We didn't have the benefit
of his primer during the drugstore.com garage days but with the ever-sharp focus
of hindsight, I can vouch that his imperatives are consistent with the guideposts
we have followed in our quest to create personal relationships with consumers.
Our team has learned every one of the lessons - we've made mistakes, we've stalked
industry giants as partners, and we've committed thousands and thousands of hours
to creating a superior customer experience. And with all of our accomplishments,
we're still learning every day.
respect for and an intimate understanding of the many unknowns of the Web, Levy
has written an insightful travelogue of emerging business principles. Will his
words guide future entrepreneurs to success? No one can predict the evolution
of the economy, yet I believe Levy is on target with his prescription for building
a successful long-term business in today's fast-paced world: the winners must
approach the endeavor holistically and comprehensively.
drugstore.com, we focus our efforts on doing the best job we can, for our customers,
partners and our investors. In less than two years, we have defined an entirely
new Internet category and seized market leadership. By any measure, the tenets
Levy discusses are working for us. We have more customers than our competitors,
and we continue to show healthy growth in all areas of our business. Using technology
in unprecedented ways, the drugstore.com team works daily to empower consumers
to make better, more informed healthcare decisions.
Levy prescribes in his discussion of the critical elements of a sustainable business
model, drugstore.com constructed a network of strategic partnerships, meeting
consumer demand at every point where consumers interact with their drugstore.
By leveraging the Internet to enhance the customer
experience, we are achieving economies of scale through alliances that offer widespread
access to millions of new customers as well as co-marketing opportunities with
partners that consumers know and trust.
addition, Levy emphasizes the value of failure. At no other time in my career
- be it my role leading the development of the (ultimately) ill-fated OS/2 at
Microsoft, to the first days of MSNBC - have the lessons been so marked in their
immediacy and poignancy. Like most of the team at drugstore.com and many of our
peers in the e-commerce world, I am attracted to solving problems. I love that
this revolution has attracted some of the most passionate, dynamic and fearless
personalities on the globe and I love that I have the chance to work with them
everyday. No doubt, as you read Levy's chapters, you will feel a similar sense
of familiarity or epiphany if you are working in the e-commerce world. For those
who have yet to enter it, I suspect it will touch you sooner rather than later.
And when it does, you will be glad for having read the fundamentals by Levy.