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However, historically, we’ve not found it hugely valuable yet, simply because we have such a challenge in front of us already with 25 million active, engaged small business pages and only a million advertisers. We already have the touch point with the business, and for us it’s about trying to continue to prove the value to get them to engage more deeply and become advertisers, whereas I think a lot of the value of the channel is actually kind of getting out to reach those businesses. That is a fortunate problem that we don’t have right now.
The classic telco arbitrage story was long distance and international. Long-distance and international connections used to be very expensive, no longer are, but telcos pricing had not fallen to match, and first calling cards and then Skype arbitraged the difference between the list price and the real economics of long-distance or sub-sea fibre. Mobile messaging apps do something similar for data, arbitraging the gap between the economic cost of a few K of data and the price charged for SMS. As cellular data speeds go up, we should expect voice apps to take off in a big way as well: the pricing gap is not as big but things like on-net/off-net call pricing will also go away (with both positive and negative margin effects for telco, for reasons I won’t go into here).
The challenge with the full stack approach is you need to get good at many different things: software, hardware, design, consumer marketing, supply chain management, sales, partnerships, regulation, etc. The good news is that if you can pull this off, it is very hard for competitors to replicate so many interlocking pieces.
When I first started my blog, I was tempted to write about the latest marketing tactics, those which would immediately grab people’s attention and give them an advantage in the quickly-changing industry. But each time I considered these types of posts, I felt they lacked depth and purpose. They…
I’ve seen safely 30 percent inflation on early-stage deals in the last year. And we continually ask ourselves, “How big can this get?” And for a lot of things that don’t seem like they can get that big, it’s not a rational conversation to have with the entrepreneur to say, “We think you’re worth less,” when someone else thinks [he or she is] worth more. It’s not only uncomfortable for us, but I fear for what some entrepreneurs are going to have to deal with when they set really high expectations for their seed or A round and have to go back and deliver, in theory, some sort of appreciation to their early investors. There’s no way around that ending badly.
While the company isn’t likely to offer continental breakfasts and spa bathrobes with an Airbnb logo handstitched on the breast, Chesky does hint that “there might be an opportunity to democratize a lot of the services that the Four Seasons provides.” To that end, a source familiar with the company’s plans indicates that Airbnb has tested an airport-transportation service similar to Uber. One top industry researcher, who asked to remain anonymous so as not to alienate any traditional hotels, said that it’s not a stretch to imagine what might come next. “Once the guest has made a decision where to stay, [he or she] may need a dry cleaner, or a restaurant in the neighborhood, or transportation service to and from there. Airbnb could become a travel agent for the people who are staying with its hosts.”