I’m a little bit surprised reddit hasn’t managed to create a model that allows them to support the costs of running the company through targeted advertising on various subreddits? Do you know if this is something that has been tried, or whether it merely isn’t enough to cover the costs? The delicacy of the platform reminds me a bit of threadless as well… although maybe you could argue that if they make changes slowly enough, the site is so big and so diverse that it would be very unlikely to drive users away?
I’ve thought about this – it seems in some ways that Red Hat creates value in a way that is basically taking a lot of the margin out of the equation that more differentiated software providers require to survive. But I think you could make an argument that in the future, these open source models may move continually towards the norm to the point where more companies need to embrace them. And then, Red Hat is really the only one with the expertise to do it right. What if Oracle bought Red Hat, and then turned around an open sourced everything and used Red Hat to monetize it? It may make no sense today, but it would certainly rock the industry, and is an interesting thought experiment!
I love this example where, like with e-Choupal, a company is working within an existing system to grow the pie for everyone. It seems from the last part of your post that there is a lot of potential for Engro to provide through this system a lot of benefits to rural Pakistan that are way beyond the scope of milk farming. It seems like this is a really great model to get these sort of developments started, but I wonder who picks up the torch to take it forward. Will Engro continue to invest, or perhaps there’s a role for a middleman that can provide a platform that could both benefit the farmers and be leveraged by a number of different industrial players to create value?
I think Microsoft is a great example of a company that’s had its shares of ups and downs but can really execute when it wants to.
What do you think Microsoft’s focus on consumer versus business has to be going forward, and what the future looks like for business revenue on core products like windows and office? Do you think they can wage a two front war on both Apple and Amazon, or will they have to choose?