Shit’s getting real in the ridesharing space right now, with Uber full-on attacking Lyft, Lyft possibly doing samesies, and everyone announcing ride-pooling at the same damn time (not to mention companies like Hitch and Bandwagon, who exist solely for carpooling). When your business model is to connect passengers with drivers, or riders with riders, or riders with riders with drivers, achieving mass scale through strong distribution is vital. On the heels of both Uber and Hailo opening up their APIs, I wanted to note the strong role strategic partnerships are playing in this heated up space.
We are nearing the time when opening our supply chains across the Web isn’t just a good idea, it will be essential for competitive survival….open APIs have become an increasingly vital story for Web startups and traditional firms alike to cost effectively partnership, expand the reach of their products, and drive their network effect deeply across the Web. (source)
(If anyone needs an API refresher, this Quora thread may help.) Uber’s opening of its API recently has shone the light down yet again on the immense power of the new tech ecosystem and its relational capabilities. But along with it, we’re forced to ask the question, “Are APIs making the biz dev role obsolete?”
I don’t do these often – and no, I am not getting paid for this – which should underline the recommendation I’m making here. As a non-tech guy who has a slew of websites for projects, personal use, and clients, I’m beholden to template site services more often than not. Software is eating the world, they say, and this is a vertical that has thrived in such an environment. And I’m confident in saying that I’ve tried the vast majority of services out there, constantly on the search for the right balance of functionality, design, and beauty. Enter Strikingly.
I need a break from my real work, so it’s time for time wastin’. Anyone who follows startups knows who Ben Horowitz is, well-decorated VC and…hip hop fan. His obsession with hip hop has been over documented, quite frankly, which is what brings me here. Bruh, we need to recalibrate your approach to sharing the 16-bars love.
Bear with me here; this was originally three different posts, but I quickly realized the crucial connection between all topics involved.
If you’re even remotely following the startup world / new sharing economy, you’ve noticed all the two-sided marketplaces sprouting up – Uber, TaskRabbit, Airbnb, Handybook, Elance, Lyft, and so on. They all face a pretty common challenge, which is the chicken and egg problem. These platforms do not offer prime value to either side until network effect is achieved on a relatively large scale (when Member X joins, Member Y benefits). And this isn’t exclusive to strict buyer-seller services, as it’s also in play for companies like Tinder and CoFounders Lab. I’m currently working with a few startups that fall into this category, so I thought it useful to research and outline some real-life examples of solving this problem. This will lead right into my next two points: 1) startups need biz dev hustlers on Day One and 2) engineers should cozy up with marketers much closer and much earlier than they typically do.
Guy Kawasaki has nearly 1.5 million Twitter followers, several best-selling books, and is regularly looked upon as one of the brightest minds in the business world. He’s also straight up wrong. Maybe even short-sighted. See what he told a group of startup peeps in a 2013 talk at UC Berkeley (skip to 15:23 and watch for about 60 seconds).
Like any modern day entrepreneur, doubt creeps into my routine from time to time. Of course, this doesn’t tend to occur on my schedule, so I can never truly be prepared. “Startups are like roller coasters” is what we’ve all been told, and boy were they right.