Viewing entries tagged with 'business'

On finishing things

Much earlier in the year I blogged about starting things, because I believe more young people should team-up with friends and create businesses, projects, causes...the future.

I was, at the time, full of optimism and in the process of starting something myself, and now as 2013 draws to a close, I'm in the process of finishing it.

And I've (re)discovered something. Finishing things sucks.

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posted by Dylan on 17 December 2013, 1:03 am in , , ,

On Mighty Ape, Marriage Equality, Brand & Values

Marriage Equality Cover Art

When the Third Reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill (a.k.a Marriage Equality) took place a Parliament on Wednesday, Mighty Ape showed support for the Bill by posting this image to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, which together are followed by over 200,000 New Zealanders.

Mighty Ape is a business reliant on paying customers, so obviously the decision to show support for a potentially divisive issue wasn't without risk. We are primarily a retailer, after all.

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posted by Dylan on 21 April 2013, 6:50 pm in , ,

On starting things

I'm surprised more people don't start things. Internet things. New ideas. New opportunities. New websites.

There are a lot of super-smart people in New Zealand. Super-smart designers, developers and business people working hard to maintain the status-quo.

We can do more.

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posted by Dylan on 14 April 2013, 9:02 pm in , , , , ,

It's not 1999 any more

Lance Wiggs blogged yesterday on Air New Zealand auctioning themselves to the lowest bidder. I added my own thoughts in the comments, but I thought I'd take a moment to explain why I think Trade Me is wrong to assume they will continue to be the default venue of choice forever and ever amen. 
Trade Me works because it has the greatest number of buyers and sellers. If you want to sell something (e.g. a heater) you want to sell it in the marketplace with the greatest number of people looking to buy a second hand heater (Trade Me). If you're looking to buy a second hand heater, you want to shop in the marketplace with the greatest number of second hand heaters for sale (Trade Me). It's a "winner takes all" cycle that's difficult to break and it's allowed companies like Trade Me and eBay to remain dominant for over a decade despite their relative lack of innovation compared to would-be competitors.
But the thing about auctions, is that you only need two people to want it badly enough to achieve a fair market price (add a Buy Now, and you only need one). In the case of Air New Zealand auctioning international airfares for $1 reserve, there will be no shortage of people willing to suffer the pain of taking 30 seconds to sign up to a new site in order to place a bid. It's worth it, and Air NZ wouldn't be choosing alternative venues year after year if it wasn't working for them.
And this leads me to my second point. Trade Me is often considered the default venue for selling just because it has the highest volume of traffic. This is a lazy argument. It's qualified traffic that really matters. You don't need millions of visits a month to sell a handful of airfares at $1 reserve. Likewise you don't need millions of visits a month to be Mighty Ape and sell more copies of a new release videogame than Trade Me or any other NZ retailer. People might not visit Mighty Ape to buy a second hand heater, but they'll visit to buy a copy of Skyrim or Battlefield 3.
You just need to look at how specialist e-commerce platforms are destroying eBay's core business in the USA to realize that the world is different today than it was a few years ago. Customers have billing relationships with multiple e-commerce providers, and finding them is just a click away thanks to Google and Facebook. In fact, the way Facebook allows e-commerce providers to leverage the social graph and instantly build trust is eroding the network effect advantage that eBay and Trade Me have enjoyed for over a decade. In 2010 you can build a new site and fill it with customers much more quickly than you could back in 2005 or 1999.
Trade Me may indeed still be a better fit for Air NZ, but it would be arrogant to assume that's because Trade Me has more traffic. Air NZ don't need Trade Me's natural traffic to run a successful auction, and that argument flows through to a growing number of vendors who are looking to start selling online.

Lance Wiggs blogged yesterday on Air New Zealand auctioning themselves to the lowest bidder. I added my own thoughts in the comments, but I thought I'd take a moment to explain why I think Trade Me is wrong to assume they will continue to be the default venue of choice forever and ever amen. 

Trade Me works for most people because it has the greatest number of buyers and sellers. If you want to sell something (e.g. a heater) you want to sell it in the marketplace with the greatest number of people looking to buy a second hand heater (Trade Me). If you're looking to buy a second hand heater, you want to shop in the marketplace with the greatest number of second hand heaters for sale (Trade Me). It's a "winner takes all" cycle that's difficult to break and it has allowed companies like Trade Me and eBay to remain dominant for over a decade despite their relative lack of innovation compared to would-be competitors.

But the thing about auctions, is that you only need two people to want it badly enough to achieve a fair market price (add a Buy Now, and you only need one). In the case of Air New Zealand auctioning international airfares for $1 reserve, there will be no shortage of people willing to suffer the pain of taking 30 seconds to sign up to a new site in order to place a bid. With Facebook Connect - you can now sign up to site with a single click. It's worth it, and Air NZ wouldn't be choosing alternative venues year after year if it wasn't working for them.

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posted by Dylan on 2 December 2011, 1:50 am in , ,

Shane Bradley on Grab One and secrets to success

New Zealanders aren't usually ones to blow their own trumpet, so I'm making it my business to talk to some of our less-known industry leaders and gain insight into how they got to where they are today. First up is Grab One founder, Shane Bradley.

In case you've been living in a cave for the past year, Grab One - founded by 33 year old Shane Bradley - rose quickly to become New Zealand's #1 daily deal coupon site (65% market share), despite being third into the market and up against some deep-pocketed competitors including Trade Me, Mediaworks, and US-based Groupon and Living Social.

By all accounts the site is a run-away success, having recently sold $500,000 worth of coupons in a single day, and with a growth curve not seen on a kiwi web site this side of Trade Me. So, how did he do it? And more importantly, what lessons can be learned and applied by other up-and-coming Kiwi entrepreneurs?

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posted by Dylan on 5 August 2011, 2:30 pm in , , ,

Trade Me valuation and future threats

Recent news that Fairfax may float part of the Trade Me business they acquired in 2006 has led some Internet commentators to speculate the auction giant may now be worth much less than the NZ$750 million they paid in 2006.

Unlikely.

Online auctions may be yesterday's news, but in a "Web 2.0" Internet where many ventures remain cool but wildly unprofitable, Trade Me continues to truck on and generate upward of NZ$80 million per year in earnings for Fairfax - and growing.

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posted by Dylan Bland on 9 June 2011, 10:48 pm in , ,

Make small deposits

Small deposits are an investment in our future, and made often enough, they can add up to something big.
We all know about deposits in a monetary sense, but deposits can be just about anything: a small favour for a friend, consistently arriving early to work, doing little things to show your partner you care, remembering your friend's birthday, answering a call for help from a colleague, always replying to email in a timely manner, checking in with family and friends who live outside your weekly routine, paying your bills on time, going out of your way to do small favours for customers, being punctual to appointments and so on and so forth.
Life is a lot easier for people who consistently make small deposits, and equally difficult for those who don't. Favours are more willingly given to friends who help friends. Employers are more flexible with time off for errands or illness when employees are punctual or have been generous with their own time. Colleagues are more likely to have your back in a tight situation if you've previously helped them in kind. Friends and partners can forgive tardiness or forgetfulness if you've been consistently thoughtful and made time in the past. Customers forgive screw ups if you have previously demonstrated attention to detail and good service.
Cut yourself some slack. Make small deposits.

We all know about deposits in a monetary sense, but deposits can be just about anything: a small favour for a friend, consistently arriving early to work, doing little things to show your partner you care, remembering your friend's birthday, answering a call for help from a colleague, always replying to email in a timely manner, checking in with family and friends who live outside your weekly routine, paying your bills on time, going out of your way to do small favours for customers, being punctual to appointments and so on and so forth.

The thing about small deposits is they add up to something big and you get to cash them in. Life is a lot easier for people who consistently make small deposits, and equally difficult for those who don't. Favours are more willingly given to friends who help friends. Employers are more flexible with time off for errands or illness when employees are punctual or have been generous with their own time. Colleagues are more likely to have your back in a tight situation if you've previously helped them in kind. Friends and partners can forgive tardiness or forgetfulness if you've been consistently thoughtful and made time in the past. Customers forgive screw ups if you have previously demonstrated attention to detail and good service.

Cut yourself some slack. Make small deposits.

continue reading...

posted by Dylan on 22 May 2011, 4:58 pm in , ,