Elena – thanks so much for writing this, really informative and enlightening! You mentioned the challenge of scaling RTR’s clothing processing operation as its business grows, which I think is spot-on. I wonder if an additional scaling challenge around clothing selection might arise as RTR broadens its audience: as RTR has become near-universal in some communities, many users are arriving to events disappointed that others are wearing the same dress as they are, or that they can spot every dress in the room that comes from RTR. Would love your thoughts on the challenge of keeping the service exclusive (i.e. “I’m renting a unique dress”) and discreet (i.e. “and no one knows where I got it!) as RTR makes its (welcome) way into our closets!
The community concept is fascinating and really compelling, especially because it seems to engage employees with users during and after the development process. I was wondering how much these communities overlap – i.e. do Blizzard fans become active members of multiple franchise communities, or does the company have to do a lot of brand-building for each franchise to attract new community members? Thanks for writing, future seatmate!
Thanks for writing – SpaceX has an interesting operating model that effectively supports its business! Just wanted to mention some additional, core sources of future revenues/cost advantages that are critical to understanding the company’s big-picture strategy:
1) Reusability of rockets – the ability to recover rocket parts significantly reduces the cost of space travel. This goal is already embedded in SpaceX’s operations, with attempts to land the Falcon 9 booster on a barge built into three missions to date and significant engineering investment in reusability going forward. Furthermore, Blue Origin – the private space firm owned by Jeff Bezos – just successfully landed their New Shepard rocket after launching to the edge of space. That achievement puts significant competitive pressure on SpaceX to continue lowering cost barriers to space travel.
2) Development of global satellite internet service – this is a major potential revenue generator for SpaceX and a key motivation for Google and Fidelity’s recent investment in the company.
3) The path to Mars – Elon Musk’s commitment to getting humans to Mars is not just a personal goal. It’s a real driver of SpaceX’s operational strategy that is not supportive of its current business model. This misalignment is very much intentional – company plans to use revenues from its launches and satellite internet project to fund Mars exploration and potential colonization, and Musk plans to do so even if the latter is not profitable. In fact, Musk has publicly announced that SpaceX does not intend to go public before the company puts humans on Mars.