I don’t begrudge John Doerr & KP the right to invest in Zazzle, a distant second to CafePress in the custom-product market, but I wish he’d be upfront (in this BusinessWeek interview) about what his strategy is rather than pretending it is about distinctive differences:
Q: CafePress has offered custom goods online since 1999. How is Zazzle different?
A: CafePress doesn’t offer custom postage, just for starters. There are just not many people approved by the U.S. Postal Service to make custom postage. I don’t think CafePress has the same collection, the same range of library tools. I’ve looked at the user interfaces, and I think Zazzle is way more convenient, way more easy to use.
Support for a dying communications medium plus having a better interface now qualifies you for a Kleiner investment? Rather than pretending such a bizarre thing is true, I’d rather Doerr said the obvious: This is a nascent market and a well-capitalized fast-follower could still supplant an incumbent like CafePress. Pretending otherwise is silly.
[Update] As many (many) readers noticed, in the first iteration of this article it was me that was dizzy. I called Zazzle “Dazzle” which, while providing me with an alliterative title, was wrong. I could argue that I was actually going to rotate through a whole series of -azzle company names, from Dazzle, to Eazzle, and so on, eventually ending up at Zazzle, all as a way of making a complex alliterative punning statement about unmemorable company names, but that would be incorrect. I just forgot Zazzle’s name. Sorry.