When the Pony Express came along, it really reshaped society to be able to move things around fairly reliably at that speed, which was measured in many days. The U.S. Postal Service—growing partly out of the Pony Express and having it be even more reliable and starting to shorten the time—really did change society again. FedEx overnight delivery has absolutely changed the world again. We’re starting to see same-day service actually change the world. Why would we think that the next 10x—being able to get something in just a minute or two—wouldn’t change the world?
Startups are the embodiment of risk. Big enterprises, by their very structure and nature, often try to avoid risk because dramatic changes can feel like abandoning a successful formula.
For (target customer)
Who (statement of need or opportunity),
(Product name) is a (product category)
That (statement of key benefit).
Unlike (competing alternative)
(Product name)(statement of primary differentiation).
Using this framework, you can explain your product or service in as plain of English as possible.
While only one of the Fortune 50 (Google itself) uses Google’s email software, 92% of a recent class of Silicon Valley startups do. And 60% of mid size companies like Twitter, Dropbox, Box, Airbnb, Square, Uber, and Etsy use Google. So what do you think happens when these companies reach the Fortune 500? And what happens to Microsoft?
Today, I define Pinterest as a place where people can go to get ideas for any project or interest in their life. And as you encounter great ideas and discover new things that you didn’t even know were out there, you can pin them and make them part of your life through our system of boards.
Best of all, as you’re creating a board on Pinterest, other people can get inspiration from your ideas, so there’s this cycle where what you’re creating for yourself also helps other people make their lives.
I think of it as a kind of utility. People use it to save and organize things for later. And then it turns out that integral to saving things is discovering new things.
And Pinterest is just getting started. They’ve got 30 billion pins now, half of them in the last six months. They’ve got 750 million boards. A full 75 percent of their traffic comes from mobile devices, and according to researchers, they’re the top traffic source to retailers’ websites and an important secondary source after Facebook for some media sites, like Buzzfeed.
My contention is that Pinterest is one of the four ways that people find things on the Internet. The default, of course, is Googling (or—fine, Microsoft—Binging). For real-time searches, there is Twitter. For people or entities, there’s Facebook. But if what you want to find are things, objects, then Pinterest is the way to go.
The person doing the introducing is spending some social capital when making the introduction. So you don’t want to embarass them. - @davidlee
One of the biggest questions in the retail/consumer/shopping industrial complex is this: Will any of these new mobile payment or automated service projects really stick, or will they just drive people crazy? Last week, I think I saw the beginning of the answer. At Disney.
For this is the truth that we are now facing. For all of its democratizing power, the Internet, in its current form, has simply replaced the old boss with a new boss. And these new bosses have market power that, in time, will be vastly larger than that of the old boss.
So, as an investor, when you see a dominant market power emerge, you should start asking yourself “what will undo that market power?” And you should start investing in that.