Every 10 years ago, the smart folks in Silicon Valley select some inefficient industry that is run by dummies which they are going to set straight and end up revolutionizing. Ten years ago, there were smart entrepreneurs (with Internet backgrounds) with even smarter venture capitalists behind them who started a company called Webvan designed to revolutionize buying groceries. People would no longer go to a bricks-and-mortar store, they said, they'd buy all their groceries online.After raising hundreds of millions of dollars and going public, Webvan failed. The smart Web entrepreneurs overlooked some basics about running a grocery business -- online or offline -- like needing to have big expensive distribution centers. Maybe if they'd had some grocery execs in the fold (on the management team or board) they might have thought of that "key success factor" for operating in that industry. But before their failure, if you'd asked them about bringing in some industry talent, their response had been: we're trying to recreate this industry so we don't want to tie ourselves down to the old ideas that have failed.
Why Tesla Is the Next Webvan
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