June 15, 2020

MFM #83: Why the Washington Post is Copying Amazon

Why the Washington Post is copying Amazon, how the Kochs got so rich and why you should bet on Snapchat.

Why the Washington Post is copying Amazon 📰 📦

  • Arc Publishing: A publishing platform developed by The Washington Post, used by other companies to communicate internally. Use cases: large companies like BP can use the platform to create newsletters or articles for its 200k employees. This is potentially a $100m business that could be bigger than Washington Post itself.
  • 💰 Opportunity: Companies need better ways of communicating internally. Whether it is writing better emails, sending texts with less friction, or safer internal video conferencing, this is a space with lots of opportunity.
  • 💰 Opportunity: Companies can sell tools that they develop for internal use to other companies. This is what Amazon did with AWS. The product was already built, there was little cost in selling it to others.

How did the Kochs get so rich? 🛢️ 👴🏻👴🏻

  • The Kochs: The family who runs Koch Industries. Known outside of business for their political contributions.
  • Background: Patriarch Fred Koch started an oil company, which was eventually taken over by son Charles Koch. Charles began selling the oil leftovers, which included gasoline, kerosene, and propane. He then used these profits to buy other companies. The company’s activities today include pulp and paper, fertilizer, and natural gas, among others.
  • 📚 Books on the Kochs: Kochland, Sons of Wichita, Good Profit and The Science of Success.

Why Snapchat is the future 👻

  • Snapchat Partner Summit 2020: Snapchat’s annual summit where features are often introduced. The biggest reveal of 2020 was the introduction of Minis. Snapchat is hoping to become the “WeChat of the West”: a platform on top of which other companies can build their own products.
  • Tech infliction: Every now and then a new platform is introduced that takes off (example: Facebook). Early developers for these platforms are able to capitalize, for example, Suleman Ali built a trivial app on the day that Facebook launched its developer program, and gained millions of users.
  • ✅ Advice: Snapchat might be the next Facebook or App Store. Capitalize by being early to develop for the platform and “ride the wave”.
  • 💡 Idea: CameoKit — Cameo built on Snapchat. Get celebrities to send messages right through Snapchat.
  • 💡 Idea: Rent payment through Snapchat. Snapchat’s demographic leans young, which means they likely rent. Allowing users to split rent would be a natural application for Snapchat.
  • 💡 Idea: Food delivery via Snapchat.
  • 💡 Idea: Zoom birthdays/weddings. During quarantine people are celebrating events over Zoom, but there’s no great way to do it. Building a dedicated celebration product on top of Zoom could be very popular.
  • Moonchat: Virtual escape room that happens over Zoom. Escape rooms are great businesses, and doing it virtually eliminates the biggest cost: physical space. This is an example of a company building on top of a platform.

Other nuggets 🏆

  • HumanIPO.app: Allows any person to sell a portion of their future time.
  • Book recommendation: The Happy Body. A guide to simple nutrition and fitness advice.

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