How do you decide whether to concentrate on supply vs. demand early on? 🧐


  1. 80% focused on supply
  2. Only Rover, TaskRabbit, and Zillow were demand constrained
  3. Patreon :exploding_head:


1/ Learning #1: The vast majority of successful marketplaces focused most of their resources on creating supply early-on (80% of the companies I interviewed, 14 out of 17)

2/ “To scale, we always went supply side first”

“In the early days, we were only focused on driving supply. We found that supply drove demand.”

“No question, supply growth was the unlock for demand growth at Lyft”

3/ Learning #2: In the three remaining cases (Rover, TaskRabbit, Zillow), supply came easily so they concentrated on demand. My hypothesis is that this happens when you can offer your “supply” super easy, flexible, meaningful income. Or, for Zillow, you bootstrap available data.

4/ “For us, the scarce resource was demand. I don’t think we were ever supply constrained. Supply was easy.”

“TaskRabbit was never supply constrained. We had thousands of people on our waitlist"

5/ Learning #3: You may be better off recognizing you aren’t a marketplace after all, like Patreon:

“A lot of people wrongly think of Patreon as a marketplace. I don’t blame them - most of Patreon’s team for a while thought of Patreon as a marketplace. Fortunately, …"

6/ “…we corrected our vision and our metrics in time to match the reality of our product-market fit. Realizing we weren’t a marketplace was the best thing that happened to us. It allowed us to take ‘Discovery’ (find a creator to pledge) off our roadmap, …”

7/ "…because we realized this would misalign us with creators as those creators got big. It allowed us to focus on building an apps and developer platforms instead (analogous to Shopify). Something that YouTube/Facebook, with their competing products, could not do.”