I just finished listening to this podcast about venture capital and consumer products. One of the underlying questions is whether we are currently in a “consumer downturn.” Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures (USV) talks about the importance of “platform shifts” for venture returns. These are moments where a new technology hits the marketplace and there’s a corresponding mass consumer adoption. When and where will that next shift occur? Maybe it’ll be in real estate.
I like the discussions at 10:00 and 13:50. The first deals with the importance of non-paid customer acquisition strategies for consumer products. Rather than relying on bought attention, you really need organic growth strategies, which is often an indication that people are passionate about your product. This is arguably more important when you’re fundamentally reliant on massive growth/scale, but whether we’re talking about software or a home, I still believe it’s paramount. Create things people love.
The second point is about commerce, Amazon, and how USV avoids investing in companies that are unlikely to ever win against Bezos. Kaden’s position is that Amazon’s advantage is and has been more executional than structural. They are simply really good at doing things better. But Amazon wins at logistics, speed, and value. They are not as focused on experience, entertainment, and discovery. And people still want that.
I’ll stop there. If you can’t see the podcast below, click here.