I’ve been working on early stage internet ventures for the last seven years as a product guy, an investor and an incubator. I’ve led several ventures from idea to business and advised many others through this journey. I’m curious about internet-enabled disruption (in the Clayton Christensen sense) and business model failure (in every known sense). I’ve spent the last few years extensively analyzing business patterns that explain:
1. Why most internet businesses fail and a few succeed
2. Why internet startups disrupt traditional businesses
3. Why internet businesses are fundamentally different from most traditional offline businesses
This blog is about those patterns.
Most of the articles on this blog are based on real-life experiences working with startups, from ventures that I’ve built myself or from my ongoing research and analysis. I often filter these inputs through my research on business failure to structure every article around a point of success/failure in the business model.
This blog was ranked among the Top Startup Blogs by the Harvard Business School Centre for Entrepreneurship Chair Prof. Tom Eisenmann.
I am a contributing author to the book Managing Startups, published by OReilly Media which curates the best advice on building technology startups. Other contributing authors feature in this book include Eric Ries, Paul Graham, Steve Blank, Ben Horowitz, Chris Dixon, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, Ash Maurya and others.
In Media: My articles have been featured on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch publication, Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, The Hindu, Wired, Forbes, YFS Magazine and other leading media. My articles have also been quoted, referenced and recommended by All Things Digital, Inc. Magazine and GigaOm.
In Industry: I have also been quoted and/or referenced on leading research and corporate blogs including the MIT Centre for Digital Business Blog, SAP’s SDN Whitepaper, CapGemini’s Content Loop and the Cisco Futurist Blog.
In Academia: The articles from this blog have been used as teaching material or recommended as additional reading at leading schools around the world including MIT, ESADE, HBS, Bryant University and Illinois Institute of Technology.
Syndications: My articles and essays are syndicated by leading blogs across the world including ViralBlog (Europe), PluggdIn(India) and ProductNation (India). They have also been featured on leading regional blogs including Habrahabr (Russia’s #1 Tech blog), 36kr (South Korea) and TechOrange (Japan).
Popularity: My articles have been regularly featured on editorially chosen lists, like Medium’s Editor’s Picks, Tom Eisenmann’s Annual List of top blogs of the year, All Things Digital Voices Must Read, Om Malik’s curated list, Fred Wilson’s Sunday list and some have trended at #1 on HackerNews and Reddit.
I’ve extensively researched and analyzed internet business models. All business models fall into one of two buckets: Pipes or Platforms. Pipes are a well understood business model and have been the dominant business model for the last 200 years. Platforms are an emerging business model and poorly understood. Most internet businesses run platform business models. I believe most businesses, in the future, will migrate to Platform business models. The motivation of my research is to create a methodical approach to building Platform businesses.
I currently collaborate with leading economists at the MIT Centre for Digital Business on researching this topic. I was invited as a researcher to MIT in Summer 2013. I also collaborate with many other independent thinkers globally, working on Design Thinking, Business Model Theory and Corporate Innovation.
My current/past collaborations include:
Marshall Van Alstyne: Research Scientist, MIT Centre for Digital Business, Professor at MIT and Boston University
Geoffrey Parker: Research Scientist, MIT Centre for Digital Business, Professor at Tulane University
Nir Eyal: Serial entrepreneur, Blogger at Nirandfar.com, Lecturer at Stanford University, TechCrunch Columnist
Patrick Vlaskovits: New York Times Bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur
Mark Bonchek: Former Global VP at Sears, Founder of Orbit & Co., HBR Blog Contributor
Damon Brown: TED Book author
Andrew Chen: Uber-blogger, The original ‘Growth Hacker’
If you’d like to collaborate with me, I’d love to hear from you.
I work with several early and growth stage startups in advisory roles. I also work as a mentor at several incubators
and accelerators globally, including 500 Startups (Global), The Founder Institute (Global), JFDI (Asia), Startup Leadership Program (Asia), BombaCamp (South America), SearchCamp (UK) among others.
Some of my current advisory relationships include:
Rock The Post
Rock The Post is a New York – based equity crowdfunding platform aiming to disrupt traditional venture capital. Unlike other crowdfunding models, this allows the crowd to invest in exchange for equity. RockThePost has been listed among the world’s top crowdfunding platforms by TIME, Forbes and Inc. It has also been listed among the ‘Top 10 NYC startups to watch’ by Business Insider.
SkillShare is taking a Platform approach to disrupt a traditionally Pipe business, education. Connecting diverse groups of teachers with students over a central platform, it is one of the first attempts to design the school of the future. Investors include Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.
Scrollback is trying to change the way forums work and was a part of JFDI’s accelerator batch in 2013.
CroakIt is a Platform for sound, allowing users to share 30 second sound bites with a community of listeners. It’s found great adoption in foreign language learning community globally.
Advisor-on-retainer: I also engage with other startups (not mentioned above) on an advisor-on-retainer model, where I act as an ongoing advisor on the business on a monthly retainer. If you’d like to explore that, feel free to drop me a line.
Skype Consultation: If you’d like to book an hour over Skype for specific consulting, please reach out to me directly.
If you’d just like to connect and bounce a few ideas around, feel free to just drop me a line. I’m always happy to connect.
I am a regular speaker at industry events like TechVenture, Echelon, ProductNation Summit, Casual Connect, Startup Asia and at leading academic institutions like MIT, NUS and INSEAD.
I was the Keynote Speaker at Echelon 2013 (Asia’s largest Tech industry event) alongside Dave McClure and Sahil Lavingia.
I was invited to speak at the MIT Media Labs in July 2013 to an audience of C-level executives from Fortune 500 companies. I typically speak on the following topics:
1. Platform business models
2. Managing networked businesses and connected organizations
3. Success and Failure in Internet Business Models
4. Disruption of traditional industries through internet-enabled business models
And if you’re in Singapore, give me a shout. I’d be happy to catch up in person.