Gina, wonderful post! Thanks for sharing!
This reminds me of Jeff Bezos’s old quote — “your margin is my opportunity.” That said, I do wonder if there are some key value props and core competences that Big Mattress companies have, which Casper lacks. Two that come to mind are: (1) Heterogeneous products, to cater to a customer base with heterogeneous preferences, (2) deep expertise in a potentially technically complicated space. I wonder if Casper just has a strong brand and good following among millennials, but is super vulnerable to a Big Mattress co who is willing to disrupt itself. This NewCo would offer (a) a legitimately top-tier mattress with [50 years] of expertise &  skus to cater to a heterogeneous user base.
Thanks, Hanif! I wonder how much Instagram benefits from the fact that its core product doesn’t “delete” your content. I realize that this was Snapchat’s primary value prop & differentiator at the outset, but also — by definition — Snapchat is destroying the very asset that would help lock in its user base. Instagram, however, benefits from content-related lock-in–as customers are less likely to abandon a platform on which they’ve built a curated album of 500+ photos– and it benefits from having the tech-capabilities and scale to introduce Snapchat-esque features.
Thanks for this fascinating piece. I’d be curious to see how quickly Pizza Hut rebounds (if at all). If it rebounds quickly off the back of digital innovation, this would call into question the benefits/drawbacks of being a first mover vs. a thoughtful follower. In some ways Domino’s digital innovations appear to be great and accretive (i.e. the mobile app), but other ones seem to be odd moonshots in undeveloped spaces (i.e. Drones). I wonder how much more inefficient Domino’s tech-related R&D spend is vs. Pizza Hut, given all of this exploration.
Very interesting. This reminds me of Andella — which focuses on training software developers in emerging markets, and matching them with employers domestically or abroad. Similarly, this solution solves a labor market mismatch.
That said, I agree with Gaurav’s point that this instance of rightsizing mismatch maybe be more vulnerable to advances in ML/AI, etc.
This is incredible. This post makes me wonder what it would take for a product like this to launch and scale in the United States. If the major barrier is regulation, then I’d be hugely concerned about how our regulatory climate may impact our ability to launch and scale transformative services like this. It seems like a core blocker for launching this sort of app in the US or Western Europe is the privacy regulation (attn: the DeepMind reference).
Also, I would be curious to see how the Echo-like product evolves. It seems like this would be a good use case for ML/AI for helping answer rudimentary problems.
Very interesting post — I also hadn’t heard of Kaggle. Reading your article, I am left with a question and a thought. The question: I wonder what the play for Google is. The thought: this business model ties in beautifully with Prof. Karim Lakhani’s work on “Crowds.”
Regarding the question, it is interesting that this was announced at the Cloud conference. With the platform’s focus on data scientists, this seems like a strong complement to Google’s growing cloud business. I wonder if this would be of any interest to some of the older enterprise clients that are starting use Google’s cloud services. I doubht it would be a huge money-maker, but it makes for an interesting bolt-on. I also like the recruiting argument that you make.
Regarding the comment about Professor Lakhani’s work, I think that this is a wide open space that has yet to be fully explored: the power of leveraging crowds to solve otherwise private, corporate problems. There is a private/public challenge to this, as well as a “matching” problem related with marrying “problems” with the right “sort” of talent.
Thanks for sharing this! I am curious about other paths for growth and monetization. I like the “subtle advertising” approach, but I wonder if they can move into the adjacent market of “content creation.” Imagine an “Instagram for Athletes,” by Strava: it would look, feel, and act just like Instagram, but would be built by Strava, and geared solely for sharing content & experiences with your community.
As I think about how the crowdsourced content space emerges, I think that this the “kitchen sink” approach that Instagram takes may give way to a half dozen platforms that have distinct social networks and cohesive aspects (i.e. your professional sphere, your fitness sphere, your home sphere, etc.). If this is how the industry shapes up, then Strava could actually have a high-margin programmatic ad business, which would supplement its current model.