Posted by: hdemott | April 16, 2010

Become Indispensable

I was recently speaking with the CEO of a company I am involved with – Neetu Bhatia of Kyazoonga.

Kyazoonga is on the road to becoming the Ticketmaster of India – doing ticketing for cricket, movies, sporting events and other large iconic events like the Commonwealth Youth Games. There’s only one issue – they actually have some competition.

We had a great discussion about the competition and what the competitive response should be.

What do you do when your sole competition is willing to accept lower margins – when they are willing to subsidize one part of their business for market share?

How do you react? Do you try and raise more and more cash to out market your competition? Do you lower yourself to their standard and go back to competing on the merits?

My answer is no.

What you do is make yourself indispensable.

You do what Anil Dash said at the NYC Meetup: think about it as one of the large problems facing a nation – how does it get solved?

If you are a fan of movies in India- and everyone in the country is seemingly a movie fan – you super serve them. Just looking at the U.S. model, I figure you can do IMDB of India, Rotten Tomatoes of India, you can do better mapping of theaters, implement more social sites (why not 4 square based on movies and sports – heck, everyone has a cell phone).

What you want to do is make yourself completely indispensable. when someone in the market wants to know anything about movies – who is in them, how much box office have they done, what scandals are there around the stars, what are the reviews, where are they playing, which friends of mine have already seen it, etc…. and at the end of all of this – there is the ticket sale.

It’s no different for cricket. I’m no expert – but I guarantee you there are thousands of experts on cricket in India. Aggregate them, get the best of them – set up fantasy leagues – and attach all of that to a ticketing platform.

If you are selling a commodity product you can do one of two things – become the lowest cost provider of the commodity (subsidize tickets, have the lowest cost of delivery etc…) or you can take your commodity and attach it to something indispensable – and then you are no longer in a commodity business.

You make your company a linchpin. (stolen gratuitously from Seth Godin)

Become Indispensable and you are no longer worried about what your irrational competition is doing – you are solely worried about serving your core constituents.

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