This is not rocket science: Any “dumb” idea can succeed if enough money or time is spent hyping, marketing and promoting it, and the size and duration of the idea’s success depends largely on whether that idea is copied/improved upon (and outspent) by others, mainstreaming it.
2. Airbnb, Uber, Lyft weren’t breakthroughs or “dumb” ideas. Before Airbnb, people were already couchsurfing, using Craigslist. Before Uber/Lyft, people were already getting into strangers’ cars. Lots of $$ (especially sovereign funds like Saudi Arabia) were the difference-maker.
3. Without the billions 💰 likes of Saudi Arabia poured into Uber, Lyft, Twitter, Slack these companies likely wouldn’t have been able to survive, leave alone “out-innovate” the competition. Fundraising is a crucial component of transforming a “dumb” idea into a global “success”.
4. Craigslist, Couchsurfing and numerous other websites conditioned people to open up their homes to strangers - Airbnb merely made that experience better and copied the feedback system from EBay/Yelp and had slicker design/branding (plus lots of VC money)
5. So the moral is that it’s easier to make a successful product when you don’t have to dramatically alter consumer behaviors but instead focus on enabling and streamlining those behaviors through the slicker use of technology and design (and better understanding of psychology).
6. Uber/Lyft used this approach to build a loyal base of riders and drivers. And ended up altering behaviors - in cities like New York it’s not uncommon to hail a cab simply by stepping outside and waving - but some die-hard Uber riders will wait for up to 10 mins for an Uber.
7. Many Uber riders (even many drivers) of course don’t realize that the marginal cost savings (which for some will be sizeable over the course of a year) by using Uber vs a taxi is because Uber is subsidized by investors, not because of the extra wait.
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