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Lastminute Com Hits Operating Profit

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Martin Burns

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User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 143

In 2000, was everyone's darling. Unlike some of its dotcom neighbours, Lastminute actually had a sensible business model, using online technology to accelerate offline business by flogging off near-stale inventory in the travel and entertainment industries.

Broadly targeted at anyone with an interest in short-notice inspiration, it was managing to dispose of unused £1000 holidays to exotic locations at under £300, and seats in restaurants at similar silly prices, simply because the operators it acted as an agent for were facing the same costs whether they were used or not.

In the last 2 years, Lastminute have done deals with many providers of these kind of services, and have successfully sold enough of them to make up for typical slim margins in the travel industry, and been very, very good at turning visitors into regular customers. And now it's paid off - Lastminute are in the black in the UK and in France, three months ahead of schedule.

Although I'm still glad I didn't buy shares at the IPO price...

Martin Burns has been doing this stuff since Netscape 1.0 days. Starting with the communication ends that online media support, he moved back through design, HTML and server-side code. Then he got into running the whole show. These days he's working for these people as a Project Manager, and still thinks (nearly 6 years on) it's a hell of a lot better than working for a dot-com. In his Copious Free Time™, he helps out running a Cloth Nappies online store.

Amongst his favourite things is ZopeDrupal, which he uses to run his personal site. He's starting to (re)gain a sneaking regard for ECMAscript since the arrival of unobtrusive scripting.

He's been a member of since the very early days, a board member, a president, a writer and even contributed a modest amount of template code for the current site. Above all, he likes to do things because it knowingly chooses to do so, rather than randomly stumbling into them. He's also one of the boys and girls who beervolts in the UK, although the arrival of small children in his life have knocked the frequency for 6.

Most likely to ask: Why would a client pay you to do that?

Least likely to ask: Why isn't that navigation frame in Flash?

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