One school of thought says that electronic cards are doomed to failure. Not good for condolences. You can’t put them in a memory box or hold them close to your heart – if that’s how you are inclined to interact with your cards. It isn’t known what line of thinking led the owners of Blue Mountain Arts to offer their e-cards for free on their site Bluemountain.com back in 1995 but it was an instant hit. It was new and interesting, fun and instant. A click from the sender and one from the recipient made for great analytics. But how do you make money with it?
For self-described hippies, Susan Polis Schutz, a poet, and her husband Stephen Schutz, a physicist/illustrator, it was a non-issue. They already had a successful brick and mortar or rather, paper and ink business. In a classic case of “don’t worry, be happy,” and possibly be hippie, they didn’t think twice about offering the cards for free. But it was the dawning of the age of the dot com and while Susan and Stephen may not have cared, other people were busy eyeballing their metrics.
Blue Mountain didn’t have revenues but it had a lot of the currency called “buzz.” Some thought a billion dollars worth. Without the capital to capitalize on the buzz, Susan and Stephen with help from their son Jared sold for $780 million in cash and stocks. Jared would go on to launch other sites and sell them. He’s though to be worth a lot – no one really knows for sure. No worries for Susan and Stephen either. When the dot com bubble burst and the business sold for a lot less they had already moved on to other things such as film making. And the moral of the story could be that it pays to follow your heart and your muse and keep up with technology.
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