Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Interface Companies of the Sharing Economy

In the world of competitive sports, "bulletin board material" refers to when you collect negative comments from others and post then in  public place to fire up your motivation. In my world, "bulletin board material" refers to comments that I print out and stick to the board beside my office door, in the hope that they will stir some thought among passers-by. In that spirit, here are some thought-provoking comments from a short blog post on March 3, 2015, by Tom Goodwin, who is senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media.
"Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening. ...
The new breed of companies are the fastest-growing in history. Uber, Instacart, Alibaba, Airbnb, Seamless, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google: These companies are indescribably thin layers that sit on top of vast supply systems ( where the costs are) and interface with a huge number of people (where the money is). There is no better business to be in. The New York Times needs to write, fact check, buy paper, print and distribute newspapers to get their ad money. Facebook provides a platform for us to write our own content, and Twitter monetizes the front page of newspapers, which happens to now be the Twitter feed. ... The interface layer is where all the value and profit is. ... The value is in the software interface, not the products. ... In the modern age, having icons on the homepage is the most valuable real estate in the world, and trust is the most important asset. If you have that, you’ve a license to print money until someone pushes you out of the way.