Browse Month: December 2019

google vs apple

The Complex Solution #2

Imagine that you have been bitten by a startup keeda and you have started fantasizing about a million dollars in revenue for whatever that you are gonna build and how on one fine day you will sell it for a billion dollars!

Sounds great, right? Now here’s the catch. Your product has this core feature which is dependant on a third party service. Somewhat like how Ola, Uber run on Google Maps. But the third party which provides the services (some API or data or platform) is also a budding startup with a bit of competition, where you are a client. Now, both players are kinda generating value for each other. The question is who will pay whom for using the other? Remember the classic chicken-egg problem?

Problem is very clear. Usually, where both the players are on a falling side, this creates a win-win situation. Most startups partner with each other in this case and then they are good to go!

What if both the players are on the strong side of the game and hold most of the market share in their respective segments? Who should roll up their sleeves and demand the payout from the next party? Or should they also follow the startup mindset and partner with other? Unfortunately things are quite different at this scale.

Google holds more than 88% market share for search engines. And any platform leveraging their search aces. It generates more than 90% of its revenue from their search service (ever noticed how searching good sports shoes ends you up in getting relevant ads at the top of search results, gmail and ad-spaces on websites you visit thereafter?) Also, around 50% of Google’s revenue is generated from US markets, mostly from mobile-based searches.

On the other side of the table you have Apple which holds more than 50% of mobile market in US with their proprietary iOS. And thus almost all the phone-surfing is done via Safari, their default browser, holding the most popular mobile internet browser position. Apple, at its core, is a hardware selling company which happened to glorify its offerings by one of the best possible OS, personalised channels & services, huge class of phone applications to choose from and also the fast and best user experience. Now when it comes to surfing the internet you know who offers the best experience on the planet.

Got the catch yet?

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Tushar Shinde

The Complex Solution

How often do you come across a situation where you get to know that there’s no way out of this problem which you’re facing?

Doing business, or doing good business is not an exception. We, by our sole human instincts try to avoid failure at any cost to prevent the aftereffects. But O dear lord, that’s not gonna happen. And it is not surprising to see yourself doing mistakes till the very end until the business dies out. The same goes with building or managing a product too. In my startup journey, I did make many mistakes and other times came up with crazy solution which worked as well, but that’s the topic for some other time.

Let me tell you about one similar story I read recently.

If you have travelled by a plane anytime, you must be knowing that to claim your baggage you have to use the baggage carousel. You have to get down from the plane, walk through the huddle (or sometimes in an airport bus) to get to that carousel, which is pretty hectic provided you had a long flight and you just want to head back home to your loved ones.

Houston airport is a pretty crowded one and mentioned is the real situation the management came across. Thousands of people travel to and fro every single day. So, after a long flight with unease and jetlag and discomfort, people had to get down and walk to the carousel to claim their baggage. Now it takes them 1 minute to get down from the plane and to the carousel and almost 8 minutes to wait for their baggage to arrive. You see, 88% of the time is wasted in waiting. Result? Increasing customer complaints! We people hate having no idea about what to do and simply be idle.

Management tried implementing various solutions to increase the customer satisfaction.

  1. They tried to deploy more manpower for handling and transporting the baggage to the carousel – A really costly solution having not more than 30% to 40% of resolution. Plus, it comes with the opportunity cost.
  2. They thought to automate the process – Which itself is even costlier and also changing the entire practice at how baggage handling works on the airports. Cost Vs Benefits ratio broke the walls of management room.
  3. Speeding up the carousel – If you think closely, this pretty inefficient solution could have never worked out and would even have increased the complaints of non-complaining users. So, this solution has side effects.

So, how else would you reduce the average wait time for the claim?

Sometimes, it’s a good thing to zoom out a little and focus on a more deeper need of the customer. Is time really a problem here? Or people just didn’t know what to do with the time in their hands? What would happen if we address a more deeper need?

Facebook simply did not make another social networking site. they addressed the people psychological need of getting connected to other people around you without having to face the anxiety or nervousness to talk to them in person. I bet most of the guys have had started talking to other girls this way 🙂

Back to the problem, the final solution that Houston management came up with is to move arrival gates farther away from the main terminal. Would it help? Absolutely! Now it takes passengers almost 7 minutes to walk to the baggage claim compared to a minute before. By that time, all the baggages are ready to be taken from carousel. They have no idle time, and people have accepted it as a standard airport infrastructure.

You just have to observe closely. Not every problem requires a complex solution!