Eden Chen

One Formula Doesn’t Fit Them All

Eden Chen November 01, 2015

One Formula Doesn’t Fit Them All

What Homejoy’s business teaches us about the difficulty of replicating Uber

Homejoy’s epic demise laid out here teaches us about the fundamental problem of trying to copy a model that works for one industry but doesn’t work for another one.

If I’m hiring someone to clean my house and I use Homejoy, and I happen to like the cleaner, I can just schedule a recurring time for them to come and clean my house every couple weeks or I can call the cleaner and schedule a time for them to come. All that Homejoy provides for me is the initial discovery of that person, and that’s not a long term recurring revenue model that works when customer acquisition costs are where they are.

That’s not to excuse the company for the mistakes that I believe the company made (focusing too little on the cleaners, trying to scale too quickly, etc.). But in an age where I hear “we are the Uber for X industry” or “we are the slack for X” pitches multiple times every month, we need to understand that copying Uber in your respective industry is not enough to be a formula for success; we need to be more thoughtful about what models work and what models don’t for the on-demand / sharing economy.

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