"Crazy" Business Ideas That Actually Worked
It took faith and nerves of steel to get these 10 concepts to market. Each one succeeded -- despite the naysayers.
Take the story of the online giant Zappos. Even Tony Hsieh, the dot-com star who now heads the company, initially believed that shoppers would only buy shoes they could try on. He thought the Zappos pitch was “the poster child of bad Internet ideas.”
In 1975, Gary Dahl was a 28-year-old advertising executive joking around with some pals when he hit upon the idea of selling rocks in paper crates and calling them “pets.” Who would have guessed how much the gag would earn him.
Still bigger companies, like FedEx (FDX) and Amazon (AMZN), weren't instant hits with skeptical -- or downright dismissive -- investors. And remember when Twitter seemed like a laughable idea? The company was recently valued at $1 billion. What a riot!
Here's our look at 10 businesses that weren't supposed to work, until they did.
|The Pet Rock
How much was one joke worth?
How did the guys behind Obvious Corporation get the world hooked on "tweets"?
The world was waiting for an excuse to milk virtual cows and till virtual soil, but why?
The first robot to join the American family may have disappointed sci-fi fans, but boy, can it clean.
|Virtual Product Markets
Selling make-believe goods for real-life money has become big business.
How an online shop convinced us to buy shoes without checking the fit.
They knew the shoes were ugly, and they made them anyway.
When Jeff Bezos first described a plan to sell books without a bookshop, would-be investors told him it wouldn't work.
By Lisa LaMotta
Launching the iconic company required steadfast dedication to a theory first proposed in an unremarkable college paper.
By Josh Lipton
|Groceries without the store
Launched in the middle of Webvan's implosion, the question was, could FreshDirect get the online grocery business right?
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