Popular Posts

The Passion Economy: More people are leveraging digital platforms to make a living doing what they love.

We studied 50+ startups on TikTok and here’s what we found
Businesses that figure out how to leverage TikTok will have an advantage in building brand awareness, cultivating user trust, and efficiently acquiring customers. Here’s how startups should be leveraging the platform.

The Passion Economy and the Future of Work
New digital platforms enable people to earn a livelihood in a way that highlights–rather than commoditizes–their individuality. We envision a future in which the value of unique skills and knowledge can be unlocked, augmented, and surfaced to consumers.

100 True Fans
An update on Kevin Kelly’s classic idea of “1,000 True Fans.” To make a living as a creator, you only need 100 true fans, not 1,000. I outline the four necessary components (premium content and community; results and transformation; accountability; and recognition, access, and status) necessary to make a living off a smaller base of true fans.

Enterprization of Consumer
New tools are emerging and focusing on *consumers* first. That’s because consumers today aspire to become businesses tomorrow. There’s an opportunity to engage users pre-“enterprization”, enable their growth, and capture greater economic value as they professionalize.

China’s “Influencer Stack” and Influencer Incubators
While the US continues to debate whether influencer marketing is even effective, China has an entire industry of influencer incubators who work end-to-end to turn individuals into big businesses.

Niche Communities Moving Off Horizontal Platforms
In the next few years, we’ll see more large communities moving off major social platforms where they originated + setting up their own independent properties, with built-in direct monetization models. This is a fascinating example of the Passion Economy at work.

The Biggest Risk for Passion Economy Startups
5 ways that startups can hedge against incumbents adding direct monetization features.

Community-as-a-Service (Paying for Access to People)
As consumers desire greater control over how they spend their attention, an emerging biz model will be paying for ongoing access to *people*–or what I’ll call “Community-as-a-Service.”

Defining “Creator” vs. “Influencer”
What even is a “creator” (as in, creator stack, creator tools, etc.)? I crowdsource and synthesize a definition.

Platforms and the new means of production
Exploring the parallels between old and new means of production.

Investing in Podcast Ecosystem
In the world of podcasting, the flywheel in spinning. The deck and commentary here were presented to extended consumer team, who are investing in this space.


What’s Next for Marketplace Startups: Reinventing the $10 Trillion Service Economy
Marketplace startups have done incredibly well over the first few decades of the internet, reinventing the way we shop for goods, but lag behind in terms of how we discover and access services.

The Next Generation of Marketplaces May Not Even Look Like Marketplaces
Managed marketplaces are an important evolution in marketplaces. The low-hanging opportunities in marketplaces have been picked, and the next wave of startups are innovating on the underlying marketplace model to tackle more complex goods/services that have remained offline.

Pros and Cons of Managed Marketplaces
Managed marketplaces can create a step-function improvement in user experience, but despite that, they can actually struggle to scale as a business due to operational complexities and increased costs of management.

8 Considerations for Regulated Marketplaces
Marketplaces are notoriously hard to jumpstart. For founders building marketplaces in licensed/regulated industries, there’s even more complexity. Here are 8 factors to consider, from existing industry NPS to downside risk of lack of unlicensed supply and user perception.

Fake it Til You Make It” and Bootstrapping Marketplaces
There’s many tactics to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem in marketplaces. Here, I delve into a strategy called “fake it til you make it,” i.e. bootstrapping one side of the marketplace inorganically in order to attract the other side, with examples from startups.

Network Effects: More complex than at first glance.

16 Ways to Measure Network Effects
Network effects are powerful but too often seen as black-or-white: a company either has them or doesn’t. In reality, they vary widely in types & strength. Here’s a list of 16 metrics to measure network effects.

The Dynamics of Network Effects
Network effects are more complex than Metcalfe’s Law would suggest. We detail 3 factors to consider — 1) the product’s value proposition, 2) users/inventory, and 3) the competitive ecosystem — all of which are in flux over time, in order for founders and investors to better understand and forecast network effects.

Consumer Products & Brand-Building

Software Eats Brands: Algorithms are the New Brands
Consumers increasingly trust Amazon, Stitchfix, and other aggregators to sort and surface the best products, which diminishes the importance of individual manufacturers. This means the algorithm is the new consumer brand–signaling trust and quality.

From Influencer Brand to Sustainable Business
Kylie Cosmetics did $600m sales in its first 18 mos, driven by social media. But that’s just the beginning. To become an enduring, standalone business, it’s necessary for all influencer brands to go beyond being tied to a single person, and create a “purpose brand.”

5 Things I Look for in E-Commerce Startups
There’s over 400 startups vying to become the next Warby Parker, but not every one of them can become a massive success. Here’s what I look for, including efficiency of acquisition and network effects.

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