As I sit here listening to Benjamin Cohen’s radio documentary about how he nearly became a teenage dotcom millionaire, I’m reminded of how tedious us journalists all found him back in the late 90s. We don’t now of course – now that’s he’s grown up and actually turned out to be a pretty good tech reporter for Channel 4 News, and quite an OK guy, I’d quite happily have a pint with him.
But the story of how he became a teenage dotcom (paper-only) millionaire and finally fell to earth has something to tell us about the nature of startups and Europe and why we must finally kill off the myth of the Dotcom Hero CEO. In 2010 there is no more room for dumbass Internet heroes. From now on we must focus on products, teams and businesses. Sure there will always be “the story” about a startup, or how it started with one person’s idea. But as soon as that becomes their focus that are quite simply dead. Ideas are two-a-penny, it’s execution that counts, and you can’t execute anything totally on your own.