📻 — Defensibility, Community, and Devising Unique Methods of Production

Reading Time: ~ 2 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

Hope you had a great week! This one was a full one for me. A ton of changes in the company / startup and we had a really good time with opening up #yenHOURS a bit more as well as our #yenBOOKCLUB:

I love what we get to do and I love that we get to do it together! Here are some fun links from around the web before you head off into the weekend:

  1. More women. Why Twitch? Backward. True. Permission and fun.
  2. Dirty tricks. Kind of content. Gossip. Backward. In-person event.
  3. Angle. Google‘s community guidelines. Turntable is back.
  4. Artist management. Hit home. Death etiquette. Announce a venture round.
  5. Dehuman. Thread creator. Bramble. BTC winners.
  6. Better tools is not the answer. Stripe validation. Clever.
  7. Image. Tapereal. Expect the unexpected.Backgrounds.
  8. Flatsocial. This is everything. You belong in tech. Ahh! Petty?
  9. Tesla

To infinity & community,

— john

This article via NFX on defensibility is a wonderful dive into Scott Cook’s experience leading and building products. A few notes that I captured:

  1. Brand doesn’t matter as much anymore; it’s far too fluid and the consumer’s “switching costs” are impossibly low at this point, especially with transferability with data. Network effects, really, is the only thing that matters (according to Scott Cook).
  2. This is where you have a method of production that is very different from the rest of the industry and very hard to copy because it differs on so many attributes, such as Southwest Airlines. Methods of production is one unique competitive advantage: Southwest Airlines has been the best performing US airline for 30 years. They use their labor differently, they use capital differently, there are so many differences between how they operate versus a normal airline. The Toyota production system is another. Toyota makes cars in the plant in a way that’s fundamentally different than the procedures used in normal auto plants. Famously, they’ve allowed other car manufacturers to come into their factories, videotape, and spend as much time as they want and in the end, they’re incapable of copying.
  3. What is the core value and philosophy? It’s about culture, hiring, and a real determination to do things differently. It requires a real invention of a better way that’s totally against the way the rest of the world works. So that’s just not going to happen very often.

When you build a new project or community it’s worth thinking through network effects and defensibility and how they can impact what you’re building and how you’re specifically delivering value. Communities naturally have intrinsic characteristics that can help grow and scale a project but it doesn’t happen entirely without strategic “pushes” from the founders or founding team.

The “methods of production” are uniquely-interesting to me because it’s more than just the founding team / community and the establishment of the “why” as well as the operating docs; it’s about building in unique systems that operate and create and then capture value for your community that’s different than what other folks are doing.

In other words, it’s not just what you’re delivering but also how you’re delivering that value. Tooling is going to play a larger and more important role in how we grow, monetize, and scale community.


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