A few years ago, my Bessemer colleagues Byron Deeter, Philippe Botteri (blog) and David Cowan (blog) led and synthesized a lot of our firm-wide views on what it takes to build a great software as a service (SaaS) business. They have since published several versions of a white paper entitled Bessemer's 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and Saas. Based on the number of press hits, the thankful compliments from SaaS executives, and the quality of the feedback and criticism they received, their effort to "open source" our thinking has been extremely successful.
Given the exceedingly high quality bar set by our colleages, it is with some trepidation that Sarah Tavel and I set out to do something similar for online retailers. We just began publishing (on Sarah's blog), Bessemer's Top 10 Laws of eCommerce, and we intend to share the full paper over the next several weeks.
We welcome your feedback, criticism and, most of all, experience with what believe are the most important rules for building an online retailer.