Growth

Platform Metrics: The core metric for platforms, networks and marketplaces

Platform Metrics: The core metric for platforms, networks and marketplaces

| April 17, 2014 | 8 Comments

You become what you measure. From my experience working with clients across enterprises and startups, the most common reason for failure and inefficiency is the focus on convenient, but inappropriate, metrics. Your technology doesn’t determine the business you build. Neither does your organizational capability. The metric you optimize for is the single biggest factor that [...]

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How to design the Airbnb for X, the Uber for Y and the Twitter for Z

How to design the Airbnb for X, the Uber for Y and the Twitter for Z

| March 12, 2014 | 22 Comments

This is post #6 in the ongoing series on Platform Design Principles.  Are you building the Airbnb for X, the Uber for Y or the Quora for Z?  Well, then this article might just be for you. I work a lot with startups/enterprises building marketplaces and platforms to solve diverse problems. But these startups often [...]

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The secret to scaling social networks and local marketplaces

The secret to scaling social networks and local marketplaces

| August 29, 2013 | 6 Comments

We often associate social networks with hyper-growth, a perception largely fostered by growth infographics of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest that get shared all around. But not all social networks scale that easily. There are three patterns that I often see across the growth of most social networks (and most platform business models, for that matter). [...]

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How startups compete with friction in product design

How startups compete with friction in product design

| August 14, 2013 | 9 Comments

Startups need Traction. A startup which doesn’t get discovered doesn’t go anywhere. This is all the more critical for platform businesses which rely on their users to create value and network effects. In the specific case of platform businesses, Traction dictates the value that is created. A social network without enough users or a marketplace [...]

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The Scalable Startup Test: Bumps vs. Engines

The Scalable Startup Test: Bumps vs. Engines

“A startup is a company designed to grow fast… The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth.” – Paul Graham   Paul Graham differentiates between startups and new businesses on one particular parameter, the potential for scale and hyper-growth. A startup’s potential to achieve hyper-growth and rapid scale is largely [...]

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So you think you can go viral? Three reasons you may be kidding yourself!

So you think you can go viral? Three reasons you may be kidding yourself!

Startups often wonder why investors can’t see how viral they’re going to get. I met an entrepreneur yesterday who confidently stated that his product was going to grow ‘virally’ because it was the best in its category. That was essentially the optimism that powered the growth slide in his investor deck. (To see why this [...]

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Building Online Marketplaces: A checklist for Disruption

Building Online Marketplaces: A checklist for Disruption

Marketplaces employ the platform business model by connecting buyers and sellers and enabling them to transact. I have written a lot about marketplaces in earlier posts on this blog. Nir Eyal and I have collaborated in the past and we got together again to make this post happen. Bill Gurley had written an interesting post [...]

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The network effect playbook: Social products win with utility, not invites

The network effect playbook: Social products win with utility, not invites

| March 27, 2013 | 2 Comments

Note: This essay was first featured as a guest post on Andrew Chen’s blog. It’s one of the best resources out there for internet startups. The proverbial chicken and egg problem of building a new social product is well understood among tech startups, and it’s been commonplace to follow two contrasting mechanisms for getting traction. Traditionally, startups [...]

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How to become a billion dollar startup: AirBnB, YouTube and Platform Thinking

How to become a billion dollar startup: AirBnB, YouTube and Platform Thinking

| March 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

Note: This essay was first featured on TheNextWeb Technology startups are disruptive because they are driven by a desire to solve an unsolved problem in a unique way and create new value. Most large and established companies, in contrast, are driven by a desire to defeat competition and protect their market turf. Consider the problem [...]

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A Platform Thinking approach to building a business

A Platform Thinking approach to building a business

| January 29, 2013 | 2 Comments

Every business is an engine. It needs to do a certain set of things repeatedly to create value. If you haven’t figured out that set of repeated operations, you probably haven’t created a scalable business yet. Ford needs to repeatedly assemble cars, Google needs to repeatedly run its crawler, Facebook needs to repeatedly get users [...]

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