Tricks Of The Trade

Al Schneider, usedmall.com

Al Schneider, 57, and his current business partner, Harvey Berlent, had plenty of professional experience in the technology industry and were running another computer-related business together at the time they decided to start http://www.usedmall.com .

So when he and partner Berlent launched their Internet-based, electronic classified-listings service in March 1996, they already knew a great deal about running their own business.

Before starting usedmall.com, Schneider already had a solid understanding of what the Internet was all about. He'd worked for General Electric Information Services Corp., which, in the late '60s and early '70s, helped to pioneer the online services industry. He and Berlent tracked the development of the Internet, exploring predictions for its future and surfing the Web.

"Because of that background, we had an in-depth knowledge of what it takes to offer an online service. The main thing we needed assistance with, though, was designing a Web site that would make us unique in this new medium," Schneider says. "We did searches on the Internet throughout the summer of 1995, checking out other sites for what was closest to our concept.

"We found a local site-development company that specialized in producing the kind of site we wanted," he says. "We gave the company's employees a set of specifications that described the primary features we were looking for. The entire process took approximately six months." Since then, he and Berlent have become skilled at making modifications to their own site.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Tricks Of The Trade.

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