Pinduoduo, Revolut, Snaptravel, Big Mac and Kirana Tech: The Week’s Most Interesting

If you could sum up all the billions every time they would appear in newspapers, I think 2020 would show the highest sums (surprisingly). Somehow during COVID, at least according to me, people have realised it’s the new eye catcher. And Jio and Google have certainly helped. 
So today I try to jump on the bandwagon but with some super interesting stories. There is no particular thread that connects them, but we start with an ecommerce company that is changing the industry in China. It can be an early sign of how the disruptors can become disrupted. We then move on to another billion dollar industry and how Revolut is changing the Fintech world. We end move on to how a travel company became profitable in coronavirus, a masterclass of crisis management. The topic of the fourth article has been a personal favorite for years and gives an insight into how to measure a nation’s worth. We end with companies which would become the future unicorns. It took some times for India’s startups to realise that they will never replace the Kirana store, so finally they started building for and around them. It’s an interesting story.

1. When you put too many coupon codes on a page, the consumer gets confused. It’s crossing the line between benefitting from consumer irrationality and information overload. Or at least that’s what I knew. Obviously Pinduoduo doesn’t really care about my opinions on offer driven growth and UI. The offer driven company has shown a 99% QoQ increase in GMV and is on its biggest stock market run. Why am I talking about it ? It is now valued at $101 billion. The company that is changing the entire approach to e-commerce is a fantastic story to read about. Also given the numbers of offers they are giving out I agree with their investors, they need a CFO.

2. The measurement of effort in consumer service industries has swifty moved from a measure of days to a measure of clicks. But banks usually take some time to click with consumers. On an average it takes 99 clicks in the UK  for a person to open a bank account with HSBC. It takes 24 clicks to open one with Revolut. A company I follow very closely because they have a fascinating proposition. Read about Europe’s leading Fintech startup and how they are challenging the oldest category in the world. Money.

3. Travel startups and behemoths all faced the pain of Corona alike. From losing sales, to zero cash flow, it has been a time that threatens to wipe out an entire sector. But Toronto based startup Snaptravel is already back to 50% of its original sales. Along with profitability. I’ve sort of been collecting articles on how do businesses survive a pandemic or crisis of this scale, You might have noticed a few of them in my mails in the last couple of months (Slack, Arthur Flour etc) but this makes it to a very top. They’ve also made a 10 point list of how they achieved this. Will make for a fascinating read.

4.The Big MAC index has been a favourite of mine for many years and I have closely tracked it for purchasing power parity (what would a dollar buy in every country). For the uninitiated do read this introduction before you move ahead. The article is one of the best comparisons of the economies of China and the USA. Mcdonalds was once the signboard of the supremacy of American capitalism. The Big Mac now points to the fact that the days on the top are over. Also a fantastic article to refresh your understanding of GDP in the current Indian scenario where our statistical bodies essentially make calculations simply to make the government look good

5. By the end of the year you can expect a couple of new unicorns, in the “Kirana Digitization” space. From HUL to Reliance, to a bunch of startups, everyone is working on embellishing the Kirana with microchips and databytes. The particular reason you should read this is because it gives you a complete picture of the landscape. Finally the humble CASIO calculator is probably going to be retired from service.

Hope you had fun reading! Do let me know your views in the comments.

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