Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

"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.

PrintPRINT
There’s a satisfying “gotcha!” quality to tales of businesses that succeeded when no one thought they would.

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.


Pet Rocks
  •  
The Pet Rock
How much was one joke worth?
By Steve Burgess
Twitter
  •  
Twitter
How did the guys behind Obvious Corporation get the world hooked on "tweets"?
By Steve Burgess
Farmville
  • © Zynga game Network Inc.
FarmVille
The world was waiting for an excuse to milk virtual cows and till virtual soil, but why?
By Justin Rohrlich
Roomba
  • © iRobot Corporation
Roomba
The first robot to join the American family may have disappointed sci-fi fans, but boy, can it clean.
By Steve Burgess
Virtual Product Markets
  • © PRNewsFoto/AKQA
Virtual Product Markets
Selling make-believe goods for real-life money has become big business.
By Lila MacLellan
Zappos
  • © Zappos.com, Inc.
Zappos
How an online shop convinced us to buy shoes without checking the fit.
By Ryan Goldberg
Crocs
  • © Crocs, Inc.
Crocs
They knew the shoes were ugly, and they made them anyway.
By Lila MacLellan
Amazon.com
  • © Amazon.com, Inc.
Amazon.com
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
FedEx
  •  
FedEx
Launching the iconic company required steadfast dedication to a theory first proposed in an unremarkable college paper.
By Josh Lipton
Fresh Direct
  • © FreshDirect
Groceries without the store
Launched in the middle of Webvan's implosion, the question was, could FreshDirect get the online grocery business right?
By Ryan Goldberg
No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

PrintPRINT
 
Featured Videos

WHAT'S POPULAR IN THE VILLE