A recent post on TechCrunch about TaskRabbit’s roll-out of a new market structure, largely seen as a failed roll-out, offers many lessons for all types of companies. TaskRabbit rolled out a very different version of its market place last July and faced what many called a “revolt” and “rabbit revolution.” Outside of the business reasons for the change and whether it was a net positive for the company (still debatable), there are many lessons from the experience for any company.
Do not surprise your customers
TaskRabbit’s change to a new platform caught many of its customers by surprise, leading to immediate protests. TaskRabbit had tested its new platform in the United Kingdom (where it previously did not have a presence) and saw substantial improvement in its metrics. Based on these results, it decided to replace its platform in the U.S. with the new model. As TechCruch wrote, “as soon as the launch actually went live, the protests and confusion started to pour in.” The company underestimated just how strong the bidding and auction model was ingrained in its brand identity here in the U.S., and how that resonated emotionally with users. Continue reading “How to avoid a product change or new feature debacle”
I hate writing about the next big thing because it is usually trite, clichéd or just hype, but I read a great piece in the Harvard Business Review about the collaborative economy (“Sharing’s Not Just for Start-Ups” by Rachel Botsman) that I wanted to share. Most of us have come across and probably used start-ups leveraging collaboration or sharing, companies such as Airbnb (where people share excess rooms with travelers) or Uber and Lyft (where people who need a ride can find a driver who is looking to earn extra funds. In and of itself, this is an exciting space with many promising early stage companies, from peer-to-peer lending (money club) to online lessons (Udemy). What I found interesting in Botsman’s article is how this opportunity can be extended to many other businesses.
There are great opportunities in the collaborative economy to create additional revenue streams (which may supplant their core business at some point) or provide channels for user growth. Botsman starts by discussing Marriott, the hotel chain, which rolled out an offering in conjunction with LiquidSpace so people and businesses could book excess conference rooms at market clearing prices. Not only did this initiative create a new revenue stream for Marriott by generating income from rooms that were sitting unused, it also helped grow the customer base. Continue reading “The collaborative economy is an opportunity for all companies”