"Being Small Was an Advantage"

Online small-business pioneer Janet Attard talks about innovation and why technology means nothing without the right ideas

Back in the dawning days of the Digital Age, on Aug. 8, 1988, Janet Attard launched a small-business forum on an online dial-up service called GEnie, which was owned by General Electric (GE ) and had fewer than 75,000 subscribers. Two years later, Attard launched a three-month trial forum on GEnie's upstart rival, America Online (AOL ), and wound up running it for 11 years. As technology and the online business media have evolved rapidly over the years, Attard has had to adapt her business model accordingly. Attard, who founded and currently runs BusinessKnowHow.com, spoke recently to BusinessWeek Online's Karen E. Klein about her pioneering years and the quick changes she has had to make.

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