MFM #86: Why You Should Always Have an Enemy


June 26, 2020

Shady money ⚠️

Sam and Shaan breakdown unethical businesses. The guys talk about the richest people they know who made their money in shady ways and note that the line between what’s ethical and fraudulent is often blurry.

  • UberPro: Allows users to buy discounted credits for ride-sharing services. Users can get $20 off a ride by paying $10. How does it work? Ride-sharing services often offer a referral credit for referring new users. UberPro games this by signing-up new users in India, receiving the referral credit and then selling it.
  • Co-registration company: When users sign-up for websites like Expedia, their information is sold to third parties. Sam has a friend who acted as a middleman for these transactions and made $50m doing so.
  • 💡 Idea: Businesses focused around preventing online scam. From fake Bitcoin giveaways, to PPE scams, digital scams are as pervasive as ever.

Storage and real estate 🏠 📦

  • 💡 Idea: Baseball card storage. Baseball card collecting is booming (in part to Gary Vee). However, taking possession can be difficult, and currently, there is no great way to store cards. There is a need for a card depistory that can store and protect the cards and also offer verification and authentication services.
  • Clutter: On-demand storage startup.
  • Public Storage: Self-storage company that operates as a REIT. One of the most profitable companies on the stock market.
  • Book recommendation: Confession of a Real Estate Entrepreneur: The story of a newbie learning real estate. Shaan and Sam’s takeaway: Real estate is all about adding value or changing use. There are more wealthy, average people (not geniuses) in real estate than any other field.
  • Side: “Backend real estate brokerage.” Provides the same brokerage service as traditional companies like Century 21 or Coldwell Banker, while taking a much smaller cut.
  • 💡 Idea: Use this same approach as Side, but for other things like, insurance. Provide the backend insurance brokerage support while taking a much smaller brokerage fee than traditional brokerages.

Why you should always have an enemy 🥊

  • Beef marketing: In their book, Rework, Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson say: “If you think a competitor sucks, say so. When you do that, you’ll find that others who agree with you will rally to your side. Being the anti-______ is a great way to differentiate yourself and attract followers.”
  • Hey.com: A new email service from Basecamp’s founders. Its attacks on Apple’s app store fees generated a lot of buzz. 
  • Basecamp ethos: Basecamp is a tech company that has always positioned itself against mainstream tech culture. They promote bootstrapping, 30 hour weeks, and taking summers off.
  • Feuds should: be against bigger enemies, make sense, be polarizing, and tell the story of what your brand is all about.
  • Buffer: Social media tool company that makes salary and revenue public. An example of unorthodox marketing.

Other nuggets 🏆

  • Lulu: App that rated guys, but was ultimately shut down.
  • 💡 Idea: Wikipedia for creeps. Oftentimes when sexual misconduct happens, evidence and reports have been surfacing for years. A company could facilitate victims coming forward by being a depository where allegations can be sent anonymously and then validating their claims. Wouldn’t work as a for-profit company because it’s very easy to be sued.
  • 💡 Idea: “Private Twitter”. A new feature from The Hustle will provide readers with opinions straight from experts. The Hustle will ask experts their take on a topic and will publish their unfiltered opinions. Applying this new The Hustle feature to other things like sports could make for a business. Instead of having talking heads giving their opinion on a topic, get it straight from the experts.

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