Great article! Gofundme is a perfect example of a marketplace platform. On paper, it is an ideal way to match demand and supply efficiently regardless of geography. You brought up the issue with trust, which is always such a difficult piece to get right. But for a market place, it is crucial. If I were an early investor, this would have been my biggest concern – a handful of bad press could spell the end of a market place that deals with peoples’ money and charitable causes. However, they have smartly taken a hard line by fully reimbursing affected parties. I think another challenging issue is curating the use cases for Gofundme. I believe that recently they banned using the platform for raising legal defenses. I wonder if this could become a slippery slope that could get in the way of scale. Facebook has made a concerted effort to keep the boundaries as low as possible for this very reason – once you start building constraints, the complexities start to scale with the growth.
Thanks for making me second guess my entire article which used several Wikipedia references! The Wikipedia model is fascinating to me. If there were gross inaccuracies or bias in the articles, I am quite sure I would have picked on them at least once or twice. However, I can’t remember the last time I encountered this issue with Wikipedia. The content seems very informative, unbiased and accurate. I point this out because this could very well be the result of an interesting positive feedback loop with crowdsourcing. With more eyes on the articles, there is more chance that content will be flushed for accuracy, which in turn makes Wikipedia a more trusted source and therefore encouraging more users. This sounds great in principle, but I would have never predicted it to work just given human nature. It appears it does though. I’d be interested to know if they have any other tools that help curate the content outside of direct human interaction.
Great article – you articulated many of the concerns perfectly. As an idea, this sounds really incredible, however, the economics and incentives do seem to have issues when it comes to scale. The curation cost appears to be high and might prevent the sort of scale that one likes to envision with a platform. As many of the comments have suggested, finding ways to keep therapists on the platform with other value propositions will help boost lifetime value and help offset the acquisition costs. I also see adverse incentives as perhaps a roadblock to scaling. If a patient finds a good therapist on the platform, ideally you would have some organic growth from referrals. However, patients can be rather territorial with therapists, meaning they have the incentive of hiding the good ones to keep their scedules more available and open.
Thanks for sharing. I did a similar piece on the construction market. Obviously improving the supply chain process is something that affects everyone in the chain. In other words, everyone gets a little bit of value out of a more efficient system. This might sound great in theory, but I wonder who Flexport must focus on as a paying customer to capture the value it creates. I just did a case on a company that provides really good location services for smart devices, something that is extremely valuable to all end customers, but even with this great amount of value created, they had a really difficult time figuring out how to capture it. Who in the manufacturing stack do they charge and how? For Flexport, who in the complex supply chain do they charge – the end customer, warehouses, shippers, brokers etc.
Drones have always been an interesting market to me. It appears DJI initially was more focused on high end drones that appeal to a very particular, tech savvy segment. I bet if the professor asked how many people in class owned a drone above $100, very few would raise their hands. My hunch is that the push toward simpler, modular drones that can integrate with social networking is a strategic play to open up the general consumer market. This is basically a high end selfie stick. I’d be very interested if this strategic approach makes them a winner in the consumer space. I also am curious how easy it is to get patent protection in this field given the competition.
Very interesting post, thanks for sharing. I wanted to read this because I am fascinated by digital innovation for warehouse inventory solutions. Although this particular business is very interesting, I also know this space is getting very crowded. Amazon is of course front and center when it comes to distribution center efficiency, and robotics are the next big thing in this space. I wonder if AutoStore really has first mover advantage or just a different spin on a common solution, and if the latter, how long can this edge last? I also wonder about the scaling ability given how asset heavy this product is. This would make for a great case discussion.