Compete or Die – LiveNation Part Deux

Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more Successful you are, the more people want a chunk of your business and then another chunk and then another until there is nothing ― Andrew S. Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive

So who should LiveNation be paranoid about? Who are its competitors?

As we saw the last post, LiveNation can be thought of a vertically integrated full-service live entertainment company. A comparable public competitor is the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). They also describe themselves as the premier live entertainment company. Via their 10k Continue reading “Compete or Die – LiveNation Part Deux”

Mo Concerts Mo Money – A look at Live Nation (NYSE: LYV)

In the last post, I talked about getting into the habit of reading 10k’s. Time to dogfood my own advice :), for this post, I wanted to look at a completely new industry than the usual fodder. LiveNation is my first pick (NYSE:LYV). Latest 10K for 2018.

What are the goals of this exercise?

  • Understand the business model and a bit about the industry the company is in
  • What are the key growth levers for the business? What is the flywheel/network effect?
  • Who is the customer? What are the customer groups?
  • A brief look at the numbers
  • And finally – What is the competitive advantage of the business?

So let us begin! Continue reading “Mo Concerts Mo Money – A look at Live Nation (NYSE: LYV)”

Specialists vs Generalists – it’s nuanced and why you should read 10-k’s in your spare time

specialist

The topic of generalists vs specialists always comes up in PM hiring and strategy conversations. I see PM hiring managers and PM’s themselves struggle with this a lot. What got me thinking about this topic is David Epstein’s new book Range. The core thesis in the book is, and I quote, “Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization.” So how should you think about this topic? What are the nuances?

Continue reading “Specialists vs Generalists – it’s nuanced and why you should read 10-k’s in your spare time”

Cross-sell is dead

Every companies’ strategy mentions owning the full customer relationship as a key goal. The thinking goes somewhat like this.

  • We have identified a customer need in a super specific niche area inside a large industry vertical.
  • Once we acquire this customer for this super specific need, we want to continue serving them and building a relationship with them
  • This same customer has varied needs that exist in the large industry vertical, a vertical that is unnecessary complex and filled with incumbents offering poor products.
  • We will build products that address all their needs. We will cross them into all these products
  • The customer is happy as there is only one place to go for all his needs
  • We will own the customer for everything they need in that industry vertical – we build high LTV
Continue reading “Cross-sell is dead”

Anti Pattern – The Head Of problem.

The anti-pattern I’d like to explore today is what I affectionally call the head of problem aka senior’itis. In my experience, this is the factor in org design that increases burn and bureaucracy. This anti-pattern is lethal for companies.

It starts off quite innocently. Let’s assume you are the CEO at the early stages of a company and you have identified a problem to solve, say in the general area of customer support. Customer support as a function doesn’t exist yet. You ask around your peer group, you look at successful companies and then you make the common mistake – you get afflicted by senior’itis. You decide that you need somebody senior to run that function, you need somebody who has done it before somebody with pedigree. You need a Head of customer support. You then spend a lot of time trying to woo the right candidate, the one that checks all the boxes. You hire him after a long drawn out courtship. You are happy, your customer support problem will be solved, you have found the right person. You have hired a person who will take accountability to solve the problem.

Continue reading “Anti Pattern – The Head Of problem.”

Anti Pattern – The Ponzi Roadmap

The anti-pattern I’d like to explore today is the Ponzi roadmap. It usually starts with the best of intentions but has extremely harmful effects as a company scales.

When a company is in the initial stages and has a small engineering and product team the planning model that emerges is what I call the pooled model. Engineering is considered a  pool of resources and usually composed of full-stack engineers. The product is typically small and mostly a monolith, every engineer can work on anything and there are just a few PM’s (maybe just one). Since we are all agile, every quarter the PM comes up with a list of priorities and outcomes, engineering staffs the priority from its pool of engineers and delivers outcomes. The next quarter rolls around and we do this all over again. Engineers move on to working on different things every quarter. This makes perfect sense in a small company – but goes horribly wrong as you start scaling up.

Continue reading “Anti Pattern – The Ponzi Roadmap”

The GFC changed us as a generation – adventures in labour market slack

Alphachat (great podcast btw) had a recent episode on Labor market slack that raised some intriguing questions. The central question is how to define slack, what is the right metric. The end result was that slack means different things to different people – but there is one thread that I’d like to explore more.

Let’s start with the concept of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment). Wikipedia defines it as “NAIRU refers to a level of unemployment below which inflation rises”. Central Bank Monetary policy is always and forever worried about inflation. The expected cycle is that as unemployment falls, wages will rise as supply of workers is constrained – less supply, more depends, prices i.e wages have to rise. When wages rise, input costs for producers rise which they will pass on the end consumers. Thus the general price level of the economy will rise hence leading to inflation. Continue reading “The GFC changed us as a generation – adventures in labour market slack”