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The Founder’s Dilemma: To Compete or Unbundle

Jeff Jordan, Connie Chan, Andrew Chen, D'Arcy Coolican, Jonathan Lai, Bennett Carroccio, Anne Lee Skates
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Horizontal social networks: steal market portion or go vertical?

  • Big three (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) have deep network effects, making it hard to compete
  • Successful vertical approaches: Craigslist and eBay are ripped apart by specific search category platforms
  • Easier to branch out of a niche in marketplaces compared to social networks

To go vertical, find a niche community and satisfy their needs

  • Example: Twitch and Discord can venture beyond gaming, possibly into livestream shopping
  • Leadership team sets the ambition and strategy
  • Potential for gamification in fitness industry
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