Note: There is no structure in this thread. I generally don’t plan my threads. Just keep making things up as I go

1/n A thread of random things I am thinking about.

1/ Live streaming my kitchen

If I was a restaurant today, I would do that.

This is just not related to this coronavirus outbreak.

When there are 300 restaurants on Swiggy, there are only a few ways to differentiate: Menu, Price and Hygiene.

Menu and Price are transparent. Hygiene is not.

Imagine if you could see exactly how your meal gets prepared?

2/n This is not just for online but for offline too.

If I could sit outside and know how long it would approximately take for my food to come out, how clean it is inside, I would be far more likely to go to a place.

It is one of the examples of Purple Cow Seth Godin talks bout.

3/n The goal of any product should be to dramatically differentiate itself from competition, so that you are not playing by the old rules.

Old rules: Price, Menu, Quality, Time for prep, Status.

New rules: Transparency, Hygiene.

Coming to new rules,

4/n If I was getting into VC today, I would buy domain names of the GPs, create their personal websites, offer to maintain them in return for an internship.

Imagine how many resumes gets sent for the top jobs. Instead of playing on credentials, play on being a purple cow.

5/n Whenever I talk to peers they joke that people know me from my Twitter or blog.

It is intentional. As a 6 pointer from BITS Goa, who does not have an MBA or did his own startup, the only way I can differentiate myself is through my ideas.

6/n I could have either played using the old rules: CGPA, College name, MBA degree, some marquee companies on my CV where there was no differentiation and massive competition.

or created new rules for myself

I chose to do the later,

7/n by creating differentiation since I was in college.

There were 2500 people in college.

But only one who was an Admin on DC (our equivalent of social network with FB being banned), who wrote a popular Satire blog, was a representative for his hostel on the student council,

8/n Then in my final year of college, I discovered Quora and soon within a year, I was one of the top 50 (?) Indian writers there.

I learned distribution. How to think of new ideas. What worked. What did not. How to enter a place with competition and create differentiation.

9/n I used the same ideas in job hunting too: How I became a Product Manager.

And whenever I talk to juniors, I keep asking them to think about ‘why should anyone give a shit about them?’

10/n Switching track, lets talk about Swiggy again.

How can Swiggy or any restaurant aggregator differentiate itself?

Instead of competing for the same restaurants or price, they should compete on discovery.

11/n By discovery, I mean simple metrics like:

How many users did you manage to try out a completely new cuisine?

How many users changed their eating behavior because of your recommendations?

12/n How many users tried out a completely new diet like the carnivore diet or one meal a day or more vanilla like keto thanks to you?

How many stuck to your platform for a month while trying our the diet because switching cost was high now?

13/n If I was a health nut, and I discovered some diet plan used by Jason Momoa while shooting for Aquaman, can I come to your platform and create a meal plan for me?

Note: This is a niche but interesting vertical where delivery startups can focus on.

14/n I think gyms should focus on exclusivity to drive word of mouth and retention.

If I started a gym, I would have tiers and put people into various tiers, based on their fitness as well as motivation.

My ideal gym would be like Bansal coaching institute, Kota.

15/n You give a fitness test, you get allocated a batch, you compete with others and move up the ladder.

People who get into the top tier will signal obviously. That is the point. It will be a status thing. Let them feel exclusive.

16/n If you don’t train X days per week, or your fitness decrease you drop down a tier.

This will drive engagement and later retention.

17/n I wrote about why Credit cards should look different to drive offline virality here.

18/n Most startups would shut down if they dared ask the question “What sets us apart?”

Most startups don’t innovate on product, nor do they have any unique GTM strategy.

What keeps them in the game is optimism from VCs.

19/n This is true for most people too.

If you asked someone in an interview what sets them apart from 10 other candidates who have also applied for the same job, they would probably give some weak answer like ‘I have an MBA from an IIM or I have relevant experience.’

20/n But what if the 9 others do too?

This is true for most industries.

Take tier 2 VCs. They can compete for price with the best ones on some deals, but no one would choose them over a tier 1 VC, if both of them offered similar term sheets.

21/n Let’s come to Podcasts. There are now dozens of podcasts which invite the same guests over, talk about the same things.

Example. I listened to a prominent Silicon Valley executive on back to back podcasts, and he told the same stories on both. It was a waste of time.

22/n If I ever did my own podcast, how would I do it?

1/ It would be the anti podcast.

Instead of people sharing success stories, I will get them to talk about their initial failures which they have not talked about with anyone.

2/ It would be either bite sized or super long.

23/n Either go full Joe Rogan (2-3 hours podcasts), which people will listen to at leisure, mostly during commute and it would be just like two friends talking, having a good time, but doing real talk.

Or it would be like Naval’s which are bite-sized (5-10 mins),

24/n which people would listen to whenever they have 5-10 mins during meetings, or when they are waiting for someone.

3/ A few ideas which I have not seen implemented yet:

a) Podcasts with really old people talking about their young days, how the world was different then.

25/n b) I would invite Peons, Night watchmen, Cooks, Bank Clerks.

Talk about their jobs, their dreams, interesting stories from their lives.

26/n Lets talk about new games instead of new rules.

I heard an interesting theory in some podcast (I think Village Global’s) about why every decade there is a new social network.

It is not just that teens don’t want to be in the same social app as their parents.

27/n It is also about giving the ability for new non celebrity participants to gain status quickly.

With every social app, there have been new influencers/power creators.

Instagram. Youtube, Vine. Twitter. Tiktok.

28/n If a new user knows that she can’t ever be as popular as Rock on Instagram (175 million followers), and that few people have already won Instagram, then she is far likely to look for a new platform where she can accumulate the social currency (likes, followers) quickly.

29/n and win that game.

Something which I now think of as the social network/app framework:

  1. Social apps need to define their game.
  2. Let non celebrity users gain status quickly through accumulation of social currency.

30/n This essentially means that there is no permanent social network. You can always redefine the game, and let users play the new game, and set rules based on which users gain status and win the leaderboard.

This was all. Phew!!