FLASH FORESIGHT

Flash Foresight“Flash Foresight,” by Daniel Burrus, is around $16 from flashforesight.com. He has some interesting things to say about tech companies and how to start one.

In fact, his approach to starting a new company is the best part of the book. In 2009, he notes, most people said that the 100,000 apps in Apple’s iTunes store were already too many. But Burris noticed that real estate was an under-served category. There were a few apps for local agents, but no foreclosure app. And yet, there were a lot of Google searches on the word “foreclosures.” So he called local universities and asked for names of their top software engineering students, offering one of them a percentage of the profits and a small sum to design “Complete Foreclosures.”

Here was the clever part. Using his guiding principle of “go opposite,” the app is free but real estate agents pay $25 a month for an exclusive listing of the properties in a particular zip code. One agent bought 30 zip codes for his listings, though the average is six.

Beyond the business stuff, “Flash Foresight” is a romp through tech history. In 1979, a five megabyte hard drive cost $1500, or $300 per megabyte. Today’s hard drives bring that cost down to thousandths of a cent per megabyte. And by the way, pay no attention to the conventional wisdom. In 1996, TIME magazine reported that the once vaunted Apple Computer Company was near death. Today it’s bigger than Microsoft and within a whisper of being the largest company in America.

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