30 Costs to 0

Random Observation/Comment #765: Taking out one intermediary often creates a new one. See Tradfi pivot to CeFi leading to over leveraged systematic risks.

Why this List?

When you reduce friction for the customer, there’s going to be an “X” as a service play. It was a fun exercise reflecting on what has been created from these models and how “disruptive” technology clearly shows a new way of doing things. When you take the cost of the specific activity to $0 then you remove the intermediaries built on inefficiencies.

  1. Sending messages to someone – Used to be handwritten mail carried by horse. Electronic versions of this through Email reduces the cost of sending information between addresses.
  2. Sending messages to someone in real time – Arguably replacing phone calls or SMS messages. The new chat apps use the internet rather than cellular services.
  3. Publicly sharing information – Bards would write songs to play at the local watering holes. You may call someone you know to answer questions or find some experts. The ability to create a website or publish your particular expertise through Wikipedia and have a business index/find your material through searches is the web1 revolution.
  4. Creating an audience and sharing information with them – The specific audience targeted to those who’s attention you want is the core to advertising and connecting communities. Facebook honestly provided this undeniably useful service for creators and communities in the web2 world.
  5. Creating personal profile for job interviews – Instead of sending resumes directly to jobs all with different formats and aggregating through very well connected people, I think the brand created by LinkedIn and a combination of other services creates your own identity.
  6. Informing the world about live news – Instead of being journalist working at a news syndicate, anyone can report live news through Twitter. It’s a townhall bulletin board, but also a lot of annoying people yelling through megaphones
  7. Selling your goods to anyone – Garage sales or selling to larger stores is replaced with an open marketplace like eBay or Craigslist
  8. Taking professional looking photos – Costs for the camera, film, and photo processing services all went to 0. Smart phones have saturated the market with good enough cameras and flooded the making and sharing of photos. The only thing left is curation and story telling.
  9. Publishing and monetizing videos – The cost of content creation, editing, publishing, and monetization have all been simplified. You don’t need a full team of 100 for a single creator, but the overhead and freedom of content is all data driven and can be focused on the creators’ integrity
  10. Publishing material to multiple sites and networks – This happened once we knew audiences were clumping in different sites. The value of the site was then easily measured by the size and velocity growth of the network. Tools exist for publishing content to all of these networks and monitor success of posts.
  11. Ordering literally anything delivered to your door – I’m just 100% on Amazon now. It’s disgusting how it’s even replaced search for any aggregation of goods. It’s almost like if it doesn’t exist on Amazon, it doesn’t exist at all. The cost of listing, search, payment, packaging, and last mile delivery are all free shipping and handling.
  12. Creating a live broadcast show – Twitch and YouTube live really draw attention to individuals just sharing their hobbies. Why is twitch cool? Have you ever had a twitch star live shout out your question or comment? That’s freaking exhilarating.
  13. Keeping track of daycare – Operationally, companies create rules to safely monitor and check the health of kids in daycare. Maybe there’s a lot of paperwork, manual checks of IDs, and calls to offices, but the daycare app really solves the two way communication. For those without kids, high-end daycare software basically tags kids and sends notifications for all events and photos with direct messages from teachers.
  14. Logistics of going from point A to B – Gone are the days of taxi dispatch units and loose change. I’ve found the Uber revolution to show streamlined search, matching, and payments so it simplifies the task to just doing the thing. Driving shouldn’t need to worry about taxi medallions – you should just drive. And there we saw the uberfication of everything. The gig economy builds a workforce without the overhead of hiring them full time with benefits.
  15. Connecting to people doing tasks – The matching engine for live requests of any task used to be ads in the paper or bulletin boards. Now the marketplaces are for people with skills directly matching with people with needs.
  16. Logistics of food delivery – The extension of Uber matching for travel is Uber for food delivery. Unifying the software for ordering food and delivering food is a no brainer. The cost of the headache dealing with cash registers, incorrect math human error, and stolen money is completely removed and even includes the tap into the old gig economy.
  17. Buying and Watching content – You can’t recreate today’s Netflix with DVDs. You need the live streaming bandwidth and ability to collect more data and feedback from your users in order to make it a flexible and lightweight business. Instead of spending funds on hosting physical locations and worrying about limited inventory, you convert to all software and extra cash spent on making their own shows.
  18. Sharing reviews and feedback for places – I honestly still just ask people with similar tastes about their recommendations. The ability to take the cost of communication and structured data input specific to restaurants is also just the perfect pitch. If you can monetize from the restaurant, reviewer, and customer side then you’ve created a powerful multisided marketplace of interest.
  19. Memorizing passwords – In general, security across the web has gotten better. There’s still a lot of unencrypted data floating around with poor security practices, but at least we’re not reusing the same password for all the websites…. Or at least none of you should be doing this. Your cost to implement security at your own level and risk has been made much more efficient.
  20. Distributing software to devices – Smart phones in general are awesome, but I thought the ability to access and update connected to an app store was way more powerful. The app store model is the main distribution and notification engine for necessary patches and updates. This means I can start with one software version with one business model and very easily update with new features without individually having users go back to a store. App stores are an impressive creator of businesses and opportunity.
  21. Depositing money and paying bills – While we deal with less physical paychecks and bank lines, we still use a bank. We’ve reduced the cost of driving to the bank and waiting on line. It’d be nice if there was another secure and trusted layer. It certainly isn’t an exchange. It hopefully looks like Superfluid.
  22. Playing games on your own device – Consoles distributed single version games to the masses through stores. The ability to bring your own device either through an emulator or because the game is ubiquitous on pc and mobile means that the console itself isn’t really that necessary. Reducing the cost of distribution and storage of games on a wall of DVDs is a big change.
  23. Listening to random new music – I like this example because I used to discover music from going to bars or sitting at a coffee shops long enough. Now I use recommendations based on previously listened to songs, which sometimes puts me into a comfort bubble. Instead of asking a friend or watching a music video on MTV, you have the robot overlords tell you what I’ll probably enjoy. They’re usually right. I just hope we didn’t accidentally program the internet’s AI to optimize on making money through attention. We totally did it to ourselves.
  24. Accessing and sharing personal health information with doctors – This is honestly still a crap solution. I hate that they still have paper forms and run crappy software. The privacy layer for this is probably the most complicated part, but it’s also the least secure (by having it owned by different varying degrees of security).
  25. Finding and buying the cheapest or fastest flight – I still think having a travel agent is baller. The data from the complex system of airline travel is better accessed and completely free for indexed browsing.
  26. Finding temporary lenders of property – The disruption of hotels by the whole population of houses. Airbnb truly builds upon so many fantastic ideas and creates a simple case for having a remote first and fully adventurous lifestyle. The cost to zero are mostly in the hotel overhead. Platforms that open up new careers are the ones worth investing in.
  27. Sending money to friends or for services – While most of these may still use bank settlement layers, we can see a lot of the abstraction of services to provide faster and more convenient fund transfers. Your off chain venmo ledger doesn’t need to settle until it’s specifically triggered by the user. Sound familiar?
  28. Buying spot exposure to stocks and derivatives trading – Brokerages have provided much better interfaces for gambling. This is abstracted with more and more features that sound attractive, but likely provides more data to institutions. The flow of money is always out of retail. Sounds familiar to crypto.
  29. Manufacturing unique structured products for investors and asset managers – I’m impressed that DeFi protocol like Set protocol allows the portfolio manager to mainly focus on portfolio makeup. DAOs have also abstracted investment clubs and created opportunities for new projects.
  30. Access to high yield returns – Imagine if you could directly buy at bank prices? DeFi gives you programmatic access to this, but not without risks. Token designs tend to rely on these types of supply control mechanisms.

~See Lemons Drink the Kool-aid

What are the Web3 narratives in the next 5-10 years as blockchain and public networks of value matures? Can you write them in this format? If not, you’re probably not thinking about your business case properly.