How good UX wins

… the most important factor determining success is the user experience: the best distributors/aggregators/market-makers win by providing the best experience, which earns them the most consumers/users, which attracts the most suppliers, which enhances the user experience in a virtuous cycle.

—Ben Thompson in ‘The Bill Gates Line

Platforms v Aggregators

… the most important distinction between platforms and aggregators: platforms are powerful because they facilitate a relationship between 3rd-party suppliers and end users; aggregators, on the other hand, intermediate and control it.

— Ben Thompson, in ‘The Bill Gates Line

Continue reading Platforms v Aggregators

Why every app has a subscription:

My use of Paper is an essential part of stratechery, yet I needed to only pay $8.99 for two in-app purchases, for which I never need to pay again. That’s a hell of a bargain, but it’s ultimately unsustainable.

Ben Thompson in Stratechery: Papering Over App Store Problems

Business startup 101 – financing & profit

…most businesses start out in the red: it usually takes financing, often in the form of a loan, to buy everything necessary to even open the business in the first place; a company is not truly profitable until that financing is retired.

Stratechery:Amazon Go and the Future

A very American view on equality & achievement…

This is a principle that is repeated in every aspect of life: if you raise the floor of competence, you inevitably lower the ceiling of achievement. There is no reward without risk, and demanding that everything meet a certain standard is to inevitably ensure that nothing goes beyond.

Ben Thompson, in the Stratechery Daily Update dated 22 Jan, 2018

Needless to point out that I completely disagree with Ben on this. I believe the opposite to be true. When the minimum required standard is raised, the standard of achievement required to stand out nudges even higher, spurring innovation and achievement.

I find his quote to represent a very American view of things – something that underlies/propels a lot of policy (and impolitic) discourse in their society. Even the most thoughtful, most reasonable people, once integrated in the US way of thinking tend to develop a intrinsic distrust and fear of equality, and anything that may even remotely resemble it, or lead to it.

Continue reading A very American view on equality & achievement…

State of the web: Just a lack of foresight?

Everyone knows that the initial research that led to the Internet was funded by the government, but that only emphasises just how unexpected everything about the Internet has been.

It is impossible that anyone in a position of power would, had they understood just how deeply the Internet would disrupt all aspects of life, authorised its creation. No one saw any of this coming.

Stratechery: Vulnerabilities, Philosophies, and Ad-Blockers; Intel’s Response; The Advantage of Serverless

Advertising v/s users’ trust – the business model question

Foursquare had people’s trust. It was a fun app that, perhaps thanks to the fact it never built a real advertising business, never gave its users a reason not to share their location.

On Agency Commissions and Fees, Google’s Advertising Changes, Foursquare Analytics, April 27, 2017, at 09:59 AM

Ephemerality – the cure to decline in sharing

Snapchat was offering young people the kind of experience that Instagram was not: A low-pressure way to share photos and videos that don’t stick around online

Stories, in particular, was a change targeting the pressure around sharing that Instagram executives had noticed in late 2015. Stories disappear after 24 hours, meaning the bar for what qualifies as “post-worthy” is usually much lower on Stories than what you’ll find in your feed. It’s a lot of the same stuff — food shots, sunsets, selfies — just less manicured.

Stratechery Daily Update 2017-01-25, January 25, 2017 at 11:51PM


Why successful messaging apps are so scarce..

the most important feature of any messaging service is whether or not your friends are on it: if they are, your service can be very barebones (like WhatsApp), or technologically weak (like LINE, in my estimation), and it won’t really matter; however, if you’re friends are not on it, your service can be super full-featured and highly-differentiated (again, like LINE) and it won’t matter. The trick is to not just add users, but to add users by group, so that they have a reason to use the app from day one.

Stratechery Daily Update 2017-01-26, January 26, 2017 at 04:13PM