Supply side and demand side user
I have never worked at Rover however I’ve probably learned more about marketplace dynamics watching Rover’s strategy evolve over time. My wife is a pet professional and we also own a dog so I get the user experience on both sides of the platform. Reverse engineering their every shifting strategies has been a learning experience for both my wife and I.
#1 Takeaway: Digital marketplaces are most effective when they connect the most fragmented and disconnected aspects of an industry.
OFf the Grid
Director of Product
Off the Grid throws over 3,000 events a year in the Bay area. I manage our software and hardware teams that include product development, customer success, and support. We are building a marketplace-network platform to connect the various players in the events space: event planners, venues, food & beverage providers, musicians, hosts, and service professionals.
Head of Product Marketing
ZOZI was a dual sided marketplace for the $300B tour and activity industry. Responsible for segmentation strategy, new market entry, and over 30 product launches. Worked closely with sales to help grow customer base from a few hundred to a few thousand. Partnered with product to ensure the roadmap aligned with go-to-market sales & marketing strategy. ZOZI was acquired by another industry player, Peek, in early 2017.
#1 Takeaway: Focusing on a narrow market segment is extremely important when trying to get a marketplace off the ground. Spreading yourself thin early on is detrimental on two levels: High burn and lack of density needed to achieve the elusive network effect.
My first marketplace experience was back in college in Boston at going.com which was later acquired by AOL. I was on the marketing team and had a CPA budget of $5 per person. Through events and promotions (I handed out lots of free beer) I acquired thousands of users. Sadly retention on the platform was horrible as most users logged on once and only once.
#1 Takeaway: User acquisition is not the hard part, it is getting users to come back again and again and again that is hard.
Ok, not technically a marketplace. But my love for yoga turned into a small business for a few years. I sold yoga apparel and gear through retail channels around San Francisco and wholesale across the country. Although my volume didn’t amount to much (a few thousand units per year), I learned a lot about starting a business from scratch and getting more involved in the yoga community.