The 10-

Survive, Thrive
Company in the

t Manager

and Drive Your
Information Age

by Mark Breier       

   I do everything fast. I think fast. I talk fast. I play fast. I make decisions fast. I always have. Then I came to work in and run an Internet company, the fastest - and fastest-changing - thing around. That meant I had to hire fast, buy companies fast, change strategies fast, put out fires fast, and push people to do things they never thought they could - and to do them faster than they ever could have dreamed.
   Here's what I've learned in my years of running full-throttle in the fast lane of the I-way. It's a road, sadly, where my old friend The One Minute Manager would probably be found facedown with tire tracks up his back. It's a fate the book certainly doesn't deserve: I agree completely that the best minute a manager can spend is with people. But what do you do when you don't have a free minute? That's why you need to learn to be The 10-Second Internet Manager.

1. Act fast and act smart. Your edge against bigger and better-funded competitors is speed. Use it or lose everything. If you're going to do this, though, you're going to have to learn to "will" your company forward, shaving time off every task possible.

2. E-mail morning, noon, and night. Talk in between. E-mail is the oxygen of the Internet. But used badly, it can smother recipients and slow down an entire company. Using e-mail effectively is what separates the savvy manager from those who don't get it.

3. Make feedback your friend. The biggest problems most businesses suffer are from not listening to customers, not focusing on customer service and not working hard to understand what customers want. Appreciating customers is one of the secrets to marketing success - whether on the Internet or anywhere else. The Internet offers tremendous opportunities to solicit and receive customer feedback. But ignoring it opens the doors to faster-moving, customer-focused outfits who will eat your lunch.

4. Make your meetings effective. Meetings are the bane of many employees' work lives: too much time, too much discussion and not enough action, too little respect, too much finger-pointing, too many late arrivers, and too many people who talk too much and don't stick to the point. No manager who wants to succeed in the Internet age can afford this kind of dead-end meeting.

5. Make your brand matter. Building a consistent, recogniz-able brand image is crucial. And creating and securing a brand identity starts with the business proposition itself. To become the authority, the go-to, the "verb" for your category, every decision has to be made with brand in mind.

6. Have fun. Work should be fun, rewarding, and empowering. But over time, obsessed workaholics will burn out. So subdivide your company into impassioned teams, celebrate successes frequently, and build a "work hard, play hard" culture. You'll reap major benefits in energy, creativity, and productivity.

For more tips on how to succeed in the Information Age, visit

Mark Breier is an Internet expert who has led two major e-commerce companies. Breier served as president and CEO of As VP of Marketing at, Breier helped develop radio ads, launched innovative promotions and participated in the company's explosive growth. Today, he advises and invests in Internet start-ups. Email Mark at .