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10 ways to build critical mass

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Collaborative marketplaces may be relatively easy to start but they are not always easy to scale. What are strategies some of the biggest players in the space - Airbnb, Uber and TaskRabbit have used to drive critical mass?

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10 ways to build critical mass

  1. 1. COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY 10 WAYS TO BUILD CRITICAL MASS Materials part of the M.B.A. course, Understanding and Innovating in the Collaborative Economy
  2. 2. CRITICAL MASS Enough momentum in the supply and demand of a marketplace to create liquidity and make it self-sustaining.
  3. 3. ‘MUTUAL BAITING’ PROBLEM For a two-sided business to work, both providers and customers need to be on the platform. However, providers won't come to the platform without customers and vice versa. Both act as bait to get the other to come in. Source: Platform Revolution
  4. 4. 1. LIMIT GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE AND SERVE THIS MARKET REALLY WELL BEFORE EXPANDING 2. TAKE A REQUEST-BASED APPROACH WHEREBY NEEDS OF CUSTOMERS DICTATES SUPPLY 3. TARGET EXISTING COMMUNITIES WHERE BOTH PROVIDERS AND CUSTOMERS CAN BE FOUND 4. SHOWOFF THE SOCIAL PROOF TO CONVINCE OTHER PEOPLE TO ACT IN A SIMILAR WAY 5. ‘STEAL’ CUSTOMERS BY USING CURRENT COMPETITOR NETWORKS TO PULL IN CUSTOMERS 6. FOCUS ON WELL-STOCKED SUPPLY BY THINKING OF CREATIVE WAYS TO GET PROVIDERS 7. KEEP THE SUPPLY SIDE ENGAGED BEFORE THERE ARE CUSTOMERS LOOKING FOR SERVICES 8. FOCUS ON A SPECIFIC VERTICAL BEFORE MOVING TO THE NEXT VERTICAL 9. EXPAND THE TYPES OF SUPPLY AND RETHINK WHO OR WHAT CAN OFFER THE SAME SERVICE 10. ATTRACT VERY IMPORTANT PROVIDERS (VIPs) WHO WILL CONVINCE OTHERS TO JOIN
  5. 5. TASKRABBIT FOCUSED ON BOSTON FOR2 YEARS BEFORE MOVING INTO SAN FRANCISCO IN 2010, THEN IT LAUNCHED IN 16 NEW US MARKETS FROM 2011-2013. IT OPENED IN LONDON, ITS FIRST MARKET OUTSIDE THE US, IN 2013.
  6. 6. LA RUCHE QUI DIT OUI FOCUSED ON FRANCE FROM 2011- 2012 BEFORE OPENING IN NEARBY FRENCH-SPEAKING BELGIUM IN 2013, THEN IT MOVED INTO 4 NEW EUROPEAN MARKETS IN 2014. IT CURRENTLY SERVES 6 EUROPEAN MARKETS.
  7. 7. WHEN UBERLAUNCHED IN SAN FRANCISCO, THERE WAS A LARGE AMOUNT OFINBOUND REQUESTS FOR THE SERVICE IN NEW YORK. BEFORE A SINGLE CAR WAS LAUNCHED ON THE SYSTEM, THERE WERE 1000+ UBERRIDERS WITH CREDIT CARDS ON FILE. 1000 UBER REQUESTS ACROSS NY
  8. 8. PEERBY REVERSED ITS BUSINESS MODEL FROM OTHER PEER-TO-PEERPLATFORMS AND PLACED THE FOCUS ON THE PERSON WITH THE NEED FORGOODS RATHERTHAN THE PERSON WITH THE HAVE. WHEN A PEERBY MEMBER REQUESTS AN ITEM ON THE PLATFORM, A NOTIFICATION IS SENT TO NEARBY MEMBERS WHO MIGHT HAVE THE ITEM.
  9. 9. THE ETSY TEAM WENT TO CRAFT SHOWS AND CONVINCED CRAFT MAKERS TO OPEN UP STORES ONLINE AND SELL THEIR WARES ON ETSY. IN THE EARLY 2000s, INDEPENDENT CRAFT MAKERS DID NOT HAVE AN E- COMMERCEPRESENCE PRIORTO JOINING ETSY THUS THEY SENT THEIR BUYERS TO VISIT THEIR ETSY SHOP.
  10. 10. TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS WHO ARE DUBIOUS OF INVESTING IN PROPERTY OVERTHE INTERNET, PROPERTY PARTNER SHOWS ON ITS HOMEPAGE, THE TOTAL AMOUNT INVESTED TO DATE, THE NUMBEROFINVESTORS USING THE PLATFORM AND THE TOTAL NUMBEROFPROPERTIES. PER PROPERTY LISTING, IT SHOWS THE NUMBEROF INVESTORS AND THE PERCENTAGE OFITS FUNDING.
  11. 11. AIRBNB RECOGNISEDTHAT PEOPLE WHO LOOKEDON CRAIGSLIST FOR HOUSE LISTINGS WERE THEIRTARGET MARKET AND DECIDED TO ALLOW AIRBNB HOSTS TO AUTOMATICALLY POST THEIRLISTING ON CRAIGSLIST AS WELL AS ON THE PLATFORM. AIRBNB LISTINGS BECAME AVAILABLE TO A GREATERUSERBASE AND CRAIGSLIST USERS NOTICED THAT AIRBNB HAD BETTERPICTURES AND DESCRIPTIONS ON THEIRPROPERTY LISTINGS; THEY SWITCHED.
  12. 12. IN ORDERTO GET THE FIRST COURSES AVAILABLE, UDEMY LEGALLY OBTAINED CREATIVE COMMONS-LICENSED VIDEOS FROM VARIOUS UNIVERSITIES. THIS GAVE THEM THE FIRST 50-150 COURSES.
  13. 13. INITIALLY BUILT A TOOL FORPROFESSIONALS TO EASILY POST THEIR THUMBTACKPROFILES TO CRAIGSLIST TO BETTERSHOW OFF THE QUALITY OF THEIR WORKAND HIGHLIGHT THEIR ONLINE REPUTATION.
  14. 14. EXCLUSIVELY OFFERED LEGO RENTAL BUT MOVEDBEYOND LEGO WHEN TOY SUPPLIERS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN OFFERING THEIR TOYS THROUGH PLEY.
  15. 15. JUSTPARK INITIALLY ONLY OFFERED UNUSED PRIVATE DRIVEWAYS ON THE PLATFORM BUT REALISED THAT IT COULD ALSO OFFERUNUSED PARKING SPACES IN CHURCHES, PUBS, SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES, IT NOW HAS THOUSANDS OFPARKING LOCATIONS. SEPTEMBER 2015
  16. 16. SKILLSHARE, A COMPANY WHICH CONNECTS AMATEUR TEACHERS WITH STUDENTS ONLINE, STARTED WITH FOCUSING ITS ONLINE COURSES ON DEISGN. IT OFFERED CLASSES FROM FAMOUS DESIGNERS WHO BROUGHT WITH THEM ADMIRERS OF THEIRWORK TO THE MARKETPLACES.
  17. 17. 1. PLATFORM REVOLUTION, SANGEET CHOUDARY 2. PLATFORM SCALE, SANGEET CHOUDARY 3. HOW DID UDEMY GET 5,000 COURSES SO QUICKLY?, QUORA Q&A The deck is a snapshot summary of critical mass lessons for platforms and marketplaces but there are many other strategies. Some suggested further reading:
  18. 18. rachelbotsman.com Please contact rachel@rachelbotsman.com for permission to use these slides for presentation or teaching purposes.

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