Sometimes, we only see the brilliance in innovations after the dust has settled.
Airbnb gets other people to use their homes as rental spaces, Uber gets normal people to use their cars as taxis, Facebook gets other people to create content, and Duolingo teaches a new language by getting students to act as pro bono translators.
Over, the past 17 years, we’ve seen a proliferations of startups that have acted not as providers but platforms for consumers. Whether consumers want a medium to communicate through or don’t want to get off the couch to make dinner, every need is slowly being satisfied through this business model.
Don’t believe me? Here are 3 reasons of how small giants like Duolingo will mediate and dominate the future.
#1: Labor and material heavy business models are a pain in the ass
Products and services are becoming less and less physical and much more digital. The physical world is saturated with restaurants, dry cleaners, mechanics, hair salons, fast food chains, and gas stations. To name a few.
These markets are so saturated that if you do desire to open up your own, competition will be unbelievably fierce. In economic terms, the demand for hospitality & services in major cities has likely already been supplied by current players in the market.
#2: The smartphone is all-powerful & addicting
We know that current and future generations depend heavily on their phones for every element of their life: to be social, to give them directions, to check their fantasy football league, edit photography and so much more.
The smartphone is the quintessential tool for all creators and entrepreneur, so now is the golden opportunity for anyone to create their own platform.
What services are “inelastic?” As in, regardless of the level of income, what do people always need? Food? Dry cleaning? Car work? A haircut? Surprisingly, the exact industries that are crowded are the exact services that have been waiting for an innovative platform.
#3: Brick & mortar will ultimately go extinct
Nordstrom generating 21% of their sales through e-commerce, JC Penney cutting 2000 jobs in 2014, and Macy’s closing 63 stores in Spring 2017 is no fluke, but a foreshadowing. The future will be virtual reality and online shopping.
Why would I need to walk into a store when I could use my phone or tablet to virtually try on a sweater? Why do I need a salesman when there is already so much consumer-generated content selling me on it? And why would I drive to the store when I could order anything through Amazon Prime and get it in 2 hours?
Lets face it: in a loaded landscape of physical products and services, digital platforms are the final frontier.