Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who the heck is Microsoft?

I remember asking that question of a guy one time back in 1982 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was talking about this great new company that was coming out of Washington State and it was going to eliminate IBM and take over the world.

Maybe I'm over-simplifying things here, but someone saw my web address on my business card and asked me what our web site did? I was kind of stunned. I mean if it was called or, or maybe Microsoft, I could see someone asking such a question, but... really? I told them, we have a site where you can  SELL stuff for FREE in the USA. Blank stare back at me. Free online classifieds was the explanation that finally removed the vacant look from their eyes.

It bothered me. Not because I expect EVERYONE to get the name of the site and know what it means, but there is a lot of description in our web address by itself, at least I thought there was. Regardless, for those of you who may have searched for sell free usa on google and found yourselves staring at this blog many years in the future, our website network, was created so that every town in America could have its very own autonomous free online classifieds site with online business directory, dating and relationship section and much more.

Actually, after this encounter, I remembered the great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said that "Great ideas are not easily accepted, but usually have to be crammed down others throats." Sounds familiar to me for some reason. We've had a ton of people say that we're crazy for trying because craigslist is just too big. That reminds me when a banker told Sam Walton that his upstart Wal-Mart stores would never displace Sears, Ben Franklin Stores or Gibsons. Now, only one of those giants really remains intact and Sam went on to build an empire on 25 cent womens underwear. (Read his book... its good).

Upsetting the status quo may be the most American thing that Americans can do. Think of all the things that have changed in your lifetime. Ma Bell is gone, US steel got a whipping by smaller companies, TWA is no more and the big three TV networks have to fight for their lives against these small, formerly upstart cable networks. I can even remember when I was young (I'm dating myself here now) and someone mentioned a company called Microsoft. My first thought was, 'who the heck is a microsoft?'. But, since the early 80's a little known guy named Bill Gates moved from New Mexico back to his hometown in Washington and proceeded to whip IBM's butt, before becoming the richest guy in America. I won't be offended by the questions in the future. I'm sure that Bill Gates had to patiently explain his company to more than a few people when he was starting out. Don't think me arrogant to even put myself in the same paragraph with Mr. Gates, but I am in the middle of the same type of David and Goliath struggle he was, so I like the analogy. I just hope that sellfreeusa can rise up to at least get a few scraps off the internet table someday. What do you think?

Thanks for everything
Craig Hull

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