It’s hard to overstate how much power online platforms now have across the globe.
They enable us to easily book a room in São Paulo, scan the news headlines in Nairobi, search for a job in Wellington, and connect us to the people, products, and services around us.
The dominant model for all of this activity is the modern marketplace.
Amazon, Airbnb, Didi Chuxing, Uber, Stripe, WeWork, these are all marketplaces, designed for people to buy and sell products and/or services. The model also extends to social media, where platforms like Facebook have marketplace features and are also viewed as a marketplace for information, ideas exchanged, views shared, beliefs tested etc.
But a marketplace isn’t a community, and as it turns out the difference matters quite a bit. Read More
One of the first pieces of startup jargon you’ll hear when creating a company is the importance of focusing on pain points, and adding value.
It’s a simple idea: talk to potential customers, find out what’s not working, create an experiment that addresses that pain point, and see what happens.
In lean startup language this is often called a MVP (minimum viable product) but it’s been around since the scientific method was invented, and maybe even longer.
For the most part, big data sets aren’t necessary at this stage. If you listen to your customers, look at their habits with respect to your product vs. what they do otherwise, you’ll find out quickly if you’re adding value to their life and/or work.
But adding value can work in a lot of ways, not all of them are real and/or sustainable on even a medium range much less long-term. Lyft and Uber used claims of revolutionizing transportation to create artificial growth and “solve” a pain point for consumers. Yet, both companies have heavily subsidized the cost for a majority of riders, and lost billions of dollars each year. Read More