Pa Ingalls would have been an internet early adopter. He packed up Laura, Mary, Baby Carrie, Jack the bulldog, and poor patient Ma into that covered wagon more times than Steve Jobs asked us to update our iTunes account. Sure, Pa loved those wide open prairie skies but more than that he saw his chance and he took it. He knew his best shot in life was getting a hold of some land and making sure that his family stayed put. He would have been a fool not to.
It was the same thing for Jeff Bezos. He looked down that internet superhighway and saw open prairie skies. From the very start, he instinctively insisted that his company be called not Amazon but Amazon.com.
The internet is a paradox in that as it expands at exponential rates, it makes the world smaller; as it sends its tendrils into every dusty nook and cranny on this earth, it blasts open the panoramic views when we look into its screen; as it registers more users and domains every single second, it sorts everything with a hummingbird's speed to deliver to us nearly exactly what we seek.
An intoxicating place for anyone with an ounce of ambition, and not much different from Pa's wild frontier. You would be a fool if you didn't set out to stake a claim.
And now, the fools are being ushered out the door. In 1999, Intel's chairman, Andy Grove predicted, "In five years' time, all companies will be internet companies. Or they won't be companies at all." So that's partly why I'm a 'clicks' and not a 'bricks' kind of shop. Internet only. I'm loading up the covered wagon and hitting the trail.
Oh sure, in many ways, it would be sooo much easier to go rent space in town (doable), paint it (very doable), stock it (totally doable), and run it (kinda maybe doable).
Instead, going online involves determining and purchasing a domain (not that hard, honestly), finding and learning an e-commerce platform (hard), creating a brand (super-duper hard), shooting beautiful product photos (hard but fun), writing comprehensive key-word rich copy (still hard but fun), and incorporating a marketing strategy with SEO at its heart (so ridiculously hard I'm crying).
In fact, from personal experience, I will state that this year has been my version of The Long Winter. I'm not to the point where my hands are bleeding from twisting shafts of hay into firewood but this stuff definitely has me pulling out my hair. But I ain't no Nellie Olsen. Pa and his like-minded daughter are my kindred spirits and we will make it through until the train arrives this spring with Laura's frickin' newspapers and my first customers.