Growth

Will peer lending platforms disrupt banking? Feedback loops may hold the key

Will peer lending platforms disrupt banking? Feedback loops may hold the key

| August 14, 2014 | 1 Comments

Earlier this week, I had an interesting tweet exchange with Giles Andrews, the founder of Zopa, one of the leading peer lending platforms. Clearly, Zopa and peer lending platforms of its ilk are going strong. The strong growth notwithstanding, they are a drop in the ocean of traditional lending models, as is often the case [...]

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From Twitter to Tinder: Why you should stop launching at tech conferences

From Twitter to Tinder: Why you should stop launching at tech conferences

If you’re running a tech startup, you’ve probably tried to (or would love to, if you could) do at least one of the following: – Get TechCrunch to cover you – Launch at SXSW Unfortunately, as launch channels go, the more unimaginative the channel, the less successful it is at getting you traction. This is [...]

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From Social Media to the Sharing Economy: The Three Drivers of Business Disruption

From Social Media to the Sharing Economy: The Three Drivers of Business Disruption

First we went wild about social media disrupting the world of business communications and media. Then the Sharing Economy sprang up and we talked about how the traditional ownership model was getting disrupted. We’re looking at the 3D printer as the democratization of manufacturing much like Twitter and blogging democratized publishing and YouTube democratized broadcast. [...]

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Piggybacking Mechanics: WhatsApp, Instagram and Network Effect Marketing

Piggybacking Mechanics: WhatsApp, Instagram and Network Effect Marketing

| April 29, 2014 | 10 Comments

Welcome to the age of the zero-dollar marketing startup. WhatsApp, and earlier Instagram, have officially become a permanent part of startup lore for having built multi-billion dollar businesses without (reportedly) spending a dime on marketing. Meanwhile, Airbnb has grown from a hipster community of mattress-renters to the world’s largest provider of accommodations without spending even [...]

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

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

| April 17, 2014 | 14 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 | 25 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 | 10 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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