02 May 2013

Absurd Pitches

Marginal Revolution :: Tyler Cowen :: Absurd pitches (pull out the Hayek and Polanyi lesson)

Facebook - the world needs yet another Myspace or Friendster except several years late. We’ll only open it up to a few thousand overworked, anti-social, Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then join since Harvard students are so cool.

Mint - give us all of your bank, brokerage, and credit card information. We’ll give it back to you with nice fonts. To make you feel richer, we’ll make them green.

Instagram - filters! That’s right, we got filters!
These are funny. I really should resist the temptation to take these jokes seriously, but I'm not going to.

You can make a lot of things seem ridiculous if you ignore the point (e.g. Mint, supra).
Tesla - instead of just building batteries and selling them to Detroit, we are going to build our own cars from scratch plus own the distribution network. During a recession and a cleantech backlash.
I would add: "But it's okay, the DOE is giving us a sweetheart deal on half a billion taxpayer dollars, which is about what the entire equity stake of the company is valued at."
Dropbox - we are going to build a file sharing and syncing solution when the market has a dozen of them that no one uses, supported by big companies like Microsoft. It will only do one thing well, and you’ll have to move all of your content to use it.
Wait. Doing one thing very well is a fine thing. Especially when you're surrounded by a bunch of lumbering mastodons who do many things moderately poorly.
Twitter - it is like email, SMS, or RSS. Except it does a lot less. It will be used mostly by geeks at first, followed by Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen.
Any mass-market internet company's description probably ought to read "it will be used mostly by {geeks; Bobo teens; hipster/yuppy crossovers*} at first."

(* By which I mean people who buy into hipster aesthetics but still have careers.)

No comments:

Post a Comment