3 lessons we can learn from selling drugs online (fast).

Photo: Theresa Locker

If you want to sell drugs online (fast), make sure to always use enough stamps.

Brought to mainstream popularity by the successful Netflix German series "How to sell drugs online (fast)", the story of teenager Maximilian S. who created a million-dollar drug business online is so surreal it walks a thin line between criminal mastermind and naivete.

In the Netflix series, the character of Moritz, portrayed by Hamburg-born actor Maximilian Mundt, is based on 18-year-old Maximilian S. who, in 2013, created an e-commerce called Shiny Flakes which sold different types of drugs.

This young gentleman made millions in cryptocurrency and so far, it seems that he did it all on his own from his bedroom, in his mother's apartment in Leipzig, Germany. 

The irony of it all is that the starting point for the investigation was a package with insufficient postage that didn't find its way back to the (nonexistent) sender and that was eventually opened. 

In Season 1, this development is foreshadowed in the scene where Max and Lenny dropping their first orders at the local mailbox, have an exchange with the postman whom after ranting about e-commerce powerhouses like Amazon getting richer while he's on minimum wage, adds "And make sure to always use enough stamps!"

Photo: Theresa Locker
With a Bitcoin payment, you could order whatever you liked.

Maximilian S. was eventually caught by the police in 2015 and sentenced to seven years in jail.

Regardless of the moral (and legal) implications that this business enterprise entailed, what useful tips can we learn from this wild ride, aside from "don't sell and possibly don't use drugs" of course?

1) Product, product, product!

One of the key elements of success of the Darknet e-commerce was its diversified offer aimed at meeting all customers requests and needs. Ecstasy, MDMA, speed, crystal meth and even marijuana: on Shiny Flakes you could find it all and have it in a few clicks with a Bitcoin payment. The accessibility of it all takes us to the second point...

2) User experience.

The way Shiny Flakes was developed and customised made it incredibly easy even for users with no dark web experience to order drugs online and with its image-heavy storefront, it conveyed the idea of a  clear, transparent service even in the Darkweb. 

3) In a digital world, don't make analogic mistakes.

Don't get sloppy, especially when business is going well. It takes a lot of effort to get to the top but it takes even more to stay there. As projects grow and cash flows, it becomes essential to chose what and how to delegate aspects of your business and finding the right partner can take you to the next level. 

As humans we are biased and we often end up losing sight of the bigger picture. Wanting to do it all on your own on the other hand, can eventually lead you to make expensive mistakes.

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