Aki – Thanks for the post! I find it really interesting to get your perspective on the inner-workings of TripAdvisor. It sounds like an exciting place to work where the speed of the job matches the speed of the product you are providing. I am also fascinated by the community TripAdvisor has built. You mention Threadless in your post and I’m wondering – how does TripAdvisor incorporate customer input into their operating model. I see that there is a lot of A/B testing done, but does TripAdvisor solicit input from the community in other ways – either to improve the site or to increase the number of reviews?
I love TripAdvisor for planning my vacations – thanks for your work!
Eric – Great article. It’s cool to see from your work how Zappos’ vendor management and employee operating models are clearly aligned with their goal of being a customer service oriented company. I love that everyone has to spend some time on customer service calls.
A couple of questions came to my mind – the Zappos service-oriented business model clearly did a lot to build a strong fan base for their shoes, but is this type of ‘cult’ following willing to grow with them into other retail sectors? From ‘Delivering Happiness’ by Zappos’ founder Tony Hsieh, he talks about starting the company because online penetration of shoe sales were so low and Zappos picked up a bunch of this slack. To this day, I still think of them as a shoe company, and I’m just not sure what % of their sales are from other retail categories. I wonder if that’s because they focused so intensely on building a culture around shoes. Also, on the operating model – how much overlap does Zappos’ operating model share with Amazon and have they leveraged anything of their acquirer to improve their business model? Don’t know if you have any quick thoughts on these.
Thanks for the clickbait Mark…you got me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I am honestly surprised to hear that BuzzFeed does ‘serious’ articles. It seems so out of line with value I associate with BuzzFeed – a quick laugh or a cute picture to distract me for a couple minutes. It also feels somewhat out of line with their operating model since I think to do the serious correctly you might need a unified voice and multiple contributors to make a meaningful article, but I guess their aggregation of content from other sites helps here. The A/B testing on headlines is also fascinating.
I do wonder how sustainable their advantage is and whether they can ever be more than just ‘clickbait’ for users to read one article. It sounds like they leverage technology in an interesting, but maybe not extremely complicated or proprietary way. The operating and business models clearly support being ‘clickbait’ on a user’s landing/main pages (like FaceBook) but don’t drive prolonged interactions. Maybe that’s not important though!