Morgan Brown

Supply Hacking


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If you’re working on any type of marketplace business you have two sides that require growth. The conundrum of course is that growth on one side is dependent on growth of the other side.

This is true for ecommerce marketplaces like Etsy, supply marketplaces like Airbnb and Uber, and knowledge marketplaces like Supply is the key to liquidity and liquidity is the key to growth.

The easiest place to manufacture growth is usually on the supply side. Gagan Biyani, who ran growth for Udemy and then Lyft, talks about how the early courses at Udemy were created from lectures posted on YouTube. At the time of Lyft’s launch they paid drivers to sit idle, waiting for riders to book a ride.

That’s supply hacking and it’s critical to marketplace growth.

At one way we supply hack is with our growth studies of different companies. It’s our own supply engine of high-quality growth content. Plus it has lots of other benefits like SEO and more.

Sean calls the growth studies the “single player” mode for the site and I really like that analogy. We just published a new one yesterday that I wrote on Spotify

If you run a marketplace and are underwhelmed by your growth, take a hard look at how you can up the supply side of your market. Take a page out of Udemy’s playbook or and create a single player mode that creates marketplace value right out of the gate.

You might find your marketplace growth prospects starting to perk up. 

* Supply hacking is the title of Gagan’s talk at the 2013 Growth Hacker Conference in SF. 

  • Matt Challberg

    Great share Morgan! I often thought this was the way but I’m glad to hear about a few other successful marketplaces focus on that with success.

  • Shaun Roberts

    Great article, Morgan. I have been following your discussions on double-sided marketplaces for a while now. I am wondering how this works for marketplace ideas where there may not be a recurring supply-side player; rather, the transaction is more isolated (i.e. private boat sellers, not dealers). Does this work in this case?

  • Sertaç Yakın

    Hey Morgan, have you moved the article or deleted it?