Network Effects: Measure Them, Nurture Them (3 of 3) | Summary and Q&A

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March 29, 2019
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Network Effects: Measure Them, Nurture Them (3 of 3)

TL;DR

Network effects are not binary and can be measured using various leading and lagging indicators.

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Key Insights

  • 💗 Network effects are not binary and can grow or decline over time.
  • 🥺 Measuring network effects requires a combination of leading and lagging indicators.
  • 🥺 Leading indicators like retention cohorts and power user curves help understand the dynamics of the network.
  • 🥳 Lagging indicators like the DAU/MAU ratio and pricing power indicate the strength of network effects.
  • 🥺 Early adopters might contribute to higher retention rates, complicating leading indicators' interpretation.
  • 📶 Evaluating the energy/capital required to replicate a network can indicate network strength.
  • 👤 Multi-tenancy and user loyalty are important aspects of network effects.

Transcript

how do you actually nurture what are some of the important you encourage people to look at yeah so we wrote an entire blog post that's filled with 16 that's of course 16 obviously there's only 16 and so yeah exactly so going back to the point about network effects one of the primary misconceptions about network effects being that they're binary eit... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can network effects be measured?

Network effects can be measured using a combination of leading and lagging indicators. Leading indicators include retention cohorts and power user curves, while lagging indicators include DAU/MAU ratio and pricing power.

Q: What are leading indicators of network effects?

Leading indicators of network effects include retention cohorts and power user curves. These metrics help analyze the behavior of users who joined more recently and indicate whether the network is growing or declining.

Q: What are lagging indicators of network effects?

Lagging indicators of network effects include metrics like DAU/MAU ratio and pricing power. These metrics assess the engagement and profitability of the network and indicate the strength of network effects.

Q: How do leading indicators differ from lagging indicators in measuring network effects?

Leading indicators provide insights into the current state of network effects by analyzing recent user cohorts, while lagging indicators assess the overall strength of the network based on historical data and profitability.

Summary

In this video, the speaker discusses network effects and provides insights on how to measure and nurture them. They talk about the misconception of network effects being binary and emphasize the significance of understanding the nuances and growth potential of network effects. The speaker introduces a list of 16 different ways to measure network effects, including leading and lagging indicators. They delve into metrics such as retention cohorts, power user curve, and pricing power. The speaker also highlights the importance of considering competitor dynamics and multi-tending in evaluating network effects. Ultimately, the goal is to assess the strength of a network by determining the resources required to replicate it.

Questions & Answers

Q: How can network effects be nurtured?

Network effects can be nurtured by understanding their nuances and implementing strategies to promote growth. The speaker mentions a blog post that provides 16 ways to measure network effects, which can serve as a guide for nurturing them. By focusing on leading indicators of network effects, such as retention cohorts and power user curves, one can gain a deeper understanding of user behavior and tailor strategies to enhance the network's value and engagement.

Q: What are leading indicators of network effects?

Leading indicators of network effects are metrics that provide insights into the growth and engagement of a network. Examples mentioned in the video include retention cohorts and power user curves. Retention cohorts involve examining the user cohorts who joined in different months and analyzing their retention rates. With network effects, it is expected that the more recent cohorts, who joined when the network was more developed, exhibit higher retention rates. Power user curves, on the other hand, plot the histogram of monthly active users based on their activity level throughout the month. A network effect product should show a right-leaning curve, indicating that more users are actively using the product for a greater number of days.

Q: Why might the early cohorts have higher retention rates?

The early cohorts may have higher retention rates due to the early adopter effect. Early adopters tend to be more loyal, committed, and enthusiastic about a product. These users may have naturally found their way to the product without the need for extensive advertising or marketing efforts. Therefore, they are more likely to remain engaged with the product over time, resulting in higher retention rates compared to later cohorts.

Q: How can the power user curve indicate network effects?

The power user curve offers insights into the engagement and activity levels of users within a network. For a network effect product, the power user curve should exhibit a smile-shaped distribution. This means that as the network grows and time progresses, the more recent cohorts should show a higher percentage of users who are actively engaged for the maximum number of days in a month. This indicates a positive network effect, as more users are becoming power users who contribute to the overall value and usage of the network.

Q: How can the cost of replicating a network be used to measure its strength?

The cost of replicating a network can be a valuable measure of its strength. By considering how much capital or resources would be required to build a comparable network, one can assess the strength of a network effect. If it would take significant investments, such as billions of dollars, to replicate a network, it suggests a strong network effect. Conversely, if the replication cost is relatively low, such as only requiring a small budget, it indicates a weaker network effect. This measure provides a macro-level perspective on the strength and barrier to entry of a network.

Q: What other metrics should entrepreneurs focus on to assess network effects?

In addition to leading indicators and replication cost, entrepreneurs should pay attention to competitor dynamics and multi-tending. Multi-tending refers to users participating in multiple networks that offer similar value propositions. By tracking multi-tending behavior over time, one can gauge the loyalty and increasing preference for a specific network. Another essential metric for network effects is pricing power. Pricing power reflects the ability of a platform to maintain higher prices or take significant commissions compared to competitors and still retain user demand. It is a lagging indicator and demonstrates the ultimate demonstration of power and value in a network.

Takeaways

In summary, nurturing network effects requires a nuanced understanding of their growth potential. Measuring network effects involves assessing both leading and lagging indicators such as retention cohorts, power user curves, competitor dynamics, and pricing power. By focusing on these metrics, entrepreneurs can gain insights into the strength, engagement, and value of their networks. Ultimately, the goal is to build and maintain a network that is difficult and costly to replicate, thus establishing a strong and sustainable competitive advantage.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Network effects can grow or decline over time and are not simply binary.

  • There are 16 different ways to measure network effects, including both leading and lagging indicators.

  • Leading indicators, such as retention cohorts and power user curves, help understand network dynamics, while lagging indicators, like DAU/MAU ratio and pricing power, provide insight into network strength.

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