Abstract

This paper seeks to orient the understanding of entrepreneurial opportunities away from the retrospective importance of particular individuals or ventures and towards the ecology of their emergence. We focus on a long-existing market problem, that of high textbook prices. We argue that recognition of this problem as an opportunity requires awareness not only of the problem but also of feasible business solutions. Such solutions have become evident through the success of four internet companies: Amazon (selling), eBay (exchange), Netflix (rental), and Craigslist (classifieds). We therefore hypothesize that as awareness of these companies increases, ventures that seek to solve the textbook price problem are both more likely to emerge and more likely to utilize the respective business model. Additionally, we argue that the ease with which these ventures can be replicated and the opportunity costs involved would lead to their quick demise.

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