Sharing Economy – Uber for X: A Post Mortem

 

If you’ve never heard of Uber, Congratulations, You’ve been living under a literal rock. One of the great pioneers of the sharing economy.

All Jokes aside, Uber is a Mammoth of a company, that i’ve written a few blogs about over the years, and its meteoric rise to Startup Stardom has lead to quite a few ambitious entrepreneurs trying to crack the code  required to create the next uber.

A common trend amongst the most ambitious Uberprenuer is creating the “Uber for X” and this will be the focus of this post.

Simply put, the biggest misconception around Uber for X, is that Uber’s value proposition is transportation, logistics or delivery. The truth is, that Uber’s value is that it alleviates the need for you to own a car that you only use a few times a week, for a few minutes a day.  The real Uber for X’s get that and they aren’t trying to compete in things you can do with cars / drivers because that pool is closed, its a waste of breath, they own what they can, and they own it hard. No gold left in those mines.

To participate in the Uber for X economy today, focus your attention at alleviating other high cost / maintenance verticals, around products people need but use infrequently use.

A great case came up recently with Chicago start up, PrintWithMe. Hearing about what they were doing, they were truly the Uber of Printing. They’ve solved the problem of finding a printer, configuring it to print, and maintaining it. Ink, paper etc, managed. No longer do I need a clunky piece of shelf plastic for the 10 things I need to print a year.

Figure out what Vertical you can disrupt by alleviating ownership, then become the Uber for X, then launch it with Waitlisted.

Startup Capacity, Too many users can ruin your startup. Waitlisted helps you manage the crowds.

Waitlisted started to solve a few problems but at the top of these was giving startups interesting ways to engage prospects. The problem we saw was that companies were spending their precious dollars building sign up forms that engaged their early customers. The classic example of this is Robinhood, who I would credit with really bringing waiting lists to the forefront. At waitlisted we wanted to provide a similar technology and platform to everyone. We wanted startups and marketers to be able to focus on building their unique products, and to leverage us to help them grow their sign ups. That is exactly what we are doing.

The next question we must answer is, why have a waiting list at all? Why not just use MailChimp and collect email address directly?

At the forefront of all other arguments, is that of limited capacity. Waitlisted helps solve startups’ capacity problems by acting as an engaging buffer that a mailing list cannot. It also incentivizes referrals by granting users faster access to your capacity. 

How waitlisted addresses the Capacity Problem

The next question you might ask is, What is Capacity? Capacity is the number of users you can support. This is a reality for any startup. It can be a function of what your servers can support or it can be a function of what your staff can support. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your capacity is how many requests per second your web server can handle, the biggest bottleneck is often how many customers your team can service. 

There can be too many users.

The truth is too many interested users can Ruin your product, but it doesn’t have to. For one taking feedback from thousands of users day one with a limited staff would be like drinking from a firehose, good ideas broken into cohorts over time, tracked as features grow and change will allow you to see what is working and what isn’t.

Releasing everything day one, and getting horrible feedback also sends a bad social message that could be avoided by inducting smaller cohorts and iterating on problems as they come up. On top of all this, you could experience the slashdot effect or perhaps the ProductHunt effect where a massive one day influx of users overwhelms the amount of infrastructure you expected to need. By hosting your landing / signup page somewhere like Instapage, and using our Waitlisted plugin to manage your cohorts and drive social gamification, you are more likely to have a solid long term launch strategy that works.

 

Landing Page Hosting – Top 5 for Drag and Drop beta sign up.

Landing Page Top 5 List

One question we get a lot at Waitlisted is where should I host my landing page. Since Waitlisted does not currently host or build landing pages, its a common question for makers. They want to use our simple modal, but where do they put it and how do they make their page convert. This list goes over some of the best page builders that work with Waitlisted.co

 

Instapage

What we like:  Full mobile / responsive support. Easy to add a custom script tag, which allows you to embed custom plugins like waitlisted. Instapage takes the approach of focusing on what converts and giving marketers the tools to optimize campaigns. One of the really awesome utilities that Instapage provides, is the ability to import a page on your site, and using the styles to generate your landing page. Instapage works really well with Waitlisted, try it out if you need a great page to host your modal.

Lead Pages

What we like: A really powerful drag and drop editor. Lead Pages’ editor is like nothing we’ve ever seen. You can create very power, very engaging, very interactive pages, just by creating them visually.

Lander

What we like:  You can use their great template to get up and running in about 5 minutes. Using their custom HTML block option, you can paste in your waitlisted embed code. Very simple to link a button to launch the waitlisted modal.

Square Space

What we like: Well known, well supported. Square space has been around forever and are making a huge push to become a premier hosting solution. Its a bit harder to embed the waitlisted code, but we have a tutorial up on our site. A great option, especially if you want to build out more than a single landing page.

Unbounce

What we like:  Support for custom JS and HTML. Good resources for getting your landing page up and running. Check it out, they have a good offering.