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!!


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