"The Power of Moments: A Startup Case Study and Consumer Evaluation Journey"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 07, 2023

4 min read


"The Power of Moments: A Startup Case Study and Consumer Evaluation Journey"


In this article, we will explore the fascinating journey of Chegg, a startup that transformed the textbook rental industry, and delve into the concept of consumer evaluation throughout the purchasing process. By connecting the insights from Chegg's success and the consumer evaluation model, we will uncover valuable strategies for businesses to create impactful moments and foster customer loyalty.

Chegg: From Craigslist for College Students to Textbook Rental Giant

Founded in 2001 as a "Craigslist for college students," Chegg struggled to gain traction until it introduced textbook rental services in 2008. This move proved to be a game-changer, as it provided overwhelming value to students who could rent textbooks for a fraction of the cost of buying them. Chegg's ability to tap into the specific needs of its target audience, offering physical books with advantages like the ability to highlight text, set the foundation for its success.

The GLEe Model: Get Big, Lead, and Expand

Chegg's growth was fueled by the implementation of the GLEe Model. By focusing on getting big, leading the industry, and expanding its services, the company was able to capture a significant market share. The innovative approach of offering textbook rentals at affordable prices disrupted the traditional textbook market and positioned Chegg as a leader in the industry.

The DHM Model: Delight, Hard to Copy, Margin-Enhancing

To further enhance its offerings and cater to students' needs, Chegg adopted the DHM Model. This model involved enabling students to buy and sell class notes, creating a comprehensive "student graph" dataset that encompassed all courses and related content. Leveraging this unique personalization technology, Chegg developed a social newsfeed similar to Facebook, based on the student graph data. Although this specific feature did not gain traction, it exemplified Chegg's commitment to experimenting and refining its product strategies.

The Rolling 4-Quarter Product Roadmap: A Vision for Growth

Chegg's CEO, Dan Rosensweig, prioritized growth as the company's primary goal. The rolling 4-quarter product roadmap provided a high-level view of how Chegg's product strategies could evolve over time. Starting with step-by-step solutions to textbook answers, Chegg expanded into various homework help areas, such as writing assistance, tutoring, and flashcards, ultimately creating a popular monthly subscription service called "Chegg Study." The brand's distinctive orange boxes on campuses contributed to its viral growth and solidified its presence in the market.

Understanding the Consumer Evaluation Journey

Consumers evaluate products or services through four key moments: ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth), FMOT (First Moment of Truth), SMOT (Second Moment of Truth), and TMOT (Third Moment of Truth). ZMOT occurs when consumers search for information online or on social media before making a purchasing decision. FMOT takes place when they consider the product in-store, while SMOT happens during product usage when consumers assess its performance. TMOT occurs each time consumers interact with the brand, updating their overall brand experience.

Creating Impactful Moments: The Power of TMOT

TMOT, or the Third Moment of Truth, plays a crucial role in shaping consumer perception and loyalty. It encompasses the experiences and interactions consumers have with a brand after purchase. Chegg's ability to create positive TMOT experiences contributed to its success. By consistently delivering exceptional service and personalized solutions, Chegg fostered a loyal customer base that continued to engage with the brand and recommend it to others.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize Growth: Like Chegg, focus on driving growth by identifying opportunities to expand your offerings and capture a larger market share. Continuously evaluate and refine your product strategies to meet the evolving needs of your target audience.
  • 2. Embrace Personalization: Leverage data and technology to create unique and personalized experiences for your customers. By tailoring your offerings to their specific needs, you can enhance customer satisfaction and build long-term relationships.
  • 3. Invest in TMOT: Pay attention to the Third Moment of Truth. Consistently provide exceptional post-purchase experiences to create a strong brand image and foster customer loyalty. This includes delivering outstanding customer service, personalized recommendations, and ongoing engagement opportunities.


Chegg's success story and the concept of consumer evaluation highlight the significance of creating impactful moments throughout the customer journey. By understanding and capitalizing on these moments, businesses can differentiate themselves, build customer loyalty, and drive growth. By prioritizing growth, embracing personalization, and investing in TMOT, companies can position themselves for long-term success in today's competitive landscape.

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