Selling Customers — Getting the Product Out

Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, Paypal

Technology companies face four major development hurdles along the path to success: basic concept, the product, getting it to customers, and making money. Focusing on the last, the two prevalent business models for making money in the high tech market are advertising or partnering. After thorough analysis comparing the costs of different advertising strategies, the Paypal founders decided that, however unintuitive, giving each customer $10 for opening a new account was the cheapest method to obtain customers.