An obvious information source for netpreneurs is the Net itself. Searching for news, following press releases on competitors' Web sites and receiving daily e-mail alerts from industry press and stock analysts give comprehensive looks as well as save time. "E-mail newsletters are timely," says Narasin. "I read mainly two newsletters daily, the Silicon Alley Reporter and NY New Media. But there are constantly new publications."
Although the Internet is timely, the printed word isn't totally obsolete in the e-commerce world. Due to a Web culture that is rapidly developing, the information in books is outdated by the time they're printed and shelved. Some netpreneurs still read them; however, it's more likely that they read a variety of daily, weekly and monthly publications.
"I subscribe to 20 magazines," says Morrison, "but there's no single place to keep up on developments in our market. I have to let them backlog, then I get on a plane with 10 pounds of magazines, read them cover to cover and leave them."
With all these issues to follow, the need for continuing education seems obvious. Yet most business owners agree that formal classes are not the answer. One problem is time.
"For me to sit on the sidelines for two years right now. I'd miss the boom," says Spiegel. As a result, netpreneurs learn by doing, and its the ultimate pass/fail course.
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Keep in mind, though, that while you may not be going to school today, tomorrow's e-commerce stars are. Schools nationwide are adding e-commerce components to their business school curriculums. MIT's Sloan School of Management has an eBusiness Track and a Center for eBusiness@MIT. The Marshall School of Business at USC founded its Electronic Economy Research Program Lab (the EbizLab) in 1998, making it one of the first of many similar research arms of business schools. The e-business program at the University of Washington's business school was credited with saving the MBA program at the school, which had dropped off U.S. News & World Report's list of the top 50 business graduate schools.
Narasin clearly views formal education in a positive light. "When I'm hiring and I see that people have taken courses like e-commerce when changing careers, it shows a commitment to their new field," he says.
Even those who dismiss the idea of going back to business school to extend their education discover that keeping up with all the changes and developments in this fast-paced world of the Internet still takes time and focus-make that a lot of time and focus. But the successful ones insist that making the effort isn't a choice-it's a necessity.
Popular bookmarker that lets you save your favorite Web pages into a personal directory for easy reference later
Electronic Conference Resource Center
Lists e-commerce industry stats, resources and other information related to doing business online
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Where netpreneurs get their education-in print and on the Web:
The Industry Standard:www.thestandard.com
MIT's Magazine of Innovation Technology Review:www.techreview.com
Silicon Alley Reporter:www.siliconalleyreporter.com
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