Why the answer is almost always ‘no’ and what startups are doing to fix the discovery problem

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Did you see AOC play AmongUs on Twitch a few weeks ago? What about Billie Eilish’s live concert? If you’re like me, you probably have major fomo because you missed both of these live and only heard about them after the fact. And we’re not alone — more than 60% of viewers are missing out on content on a weekly basis (source: Lightspeed Consumer Survey).

Live content is rapidly becoming the most entertaining form of content today, yet discovery is a major bottleneck for creators and consumers — it’s nearly impossible for consumers to find what they want to watch, when they want to watch it. …


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Aging in Place

The Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age, adding over 75M to the ranks of senior citizens in the US. As we’ve all heard by now, Boomers are tech savvy and fiercely independent, with over 90% preferring to age at home. This age-in-place trend is further bolstered by changing Medicare and Medicaid regulations. Several state-based Medicare programs are expanding benefits for at-home care, given that aging at-home is much more cost-effective than aging in a nursing home.

While Boomers are content to age-in-place, their homes, often two stories with multiple bedrooms, were built to suit young families rather than aging adults. As a result, Boomers will need to renovate their homes to make them more suitable for long-term living. This represents a billion-dollar opportunity for the home improvement and IoT space, as boomers own nearly 32M homes in America — in other words: 40% of the entire housing stock in the US. …


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A New Dimension — Age

In a world with increasing personalization and customization, there’s one dimension that has largely been ignored — age. And more specifically, old age.

Older adults often have two choices when buying a product or using a service: 1) something meant for the average adult or 2) something meant specifically for the elderly. And more often than not, the second choice doesn’t exist, or is sub-optimal relative to the first choice. As a result, older adults aren’t able to use certain products and services or are stuck with something that doesn’t quite fit. …


Industries ripe for ‘Business in a Box’ disruption

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Small businesses are core to the US economy. Over 30M small businesses employ nearly 60M people in the US or 47.5% of the private workforce. While starting a small business has many advantages — independence, autonomy, and flexibility — it’s harder than it looks. After 5 years in business, nearly 50% of small businesses fail.

Running a small business is hard because small businesses are well, after all, small — they don’t benefit from economies of scale or negotiating leverage like large businesses. Instead, they rely on local connections and loyal customer relationships for success. My great-grandparents were small business owners. …


The rise of alt-drinks in a sober curious world

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Prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933, yet today’s drink menu looks largely the same as it did nearly a century ago. The alcohol industry is dominated by a few large players that still work within the bounds of the post prohibition era — a three tier regulatory system where distributors sit in-between retailers and producers. Innovation has been slow to come and has often missed the mark, as brands are disconnected from the end-consumer.

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Prohibition-era three tier system of alcohol distribution still in effect today.

Today’s Millennials, well accustomed to developing personal relationships with their favorite brands via Facebook and Instagram acutely feel the disconnect with big alcohol. As mindful and health-conscious consumers, Millennials are ‘sober curious’ — they want low ABV and low calorie alternatives, yet the options from legacy brands are few and far between. …


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Triangulating customer needs through user research

Most products fail, but not for lack of trying.

Over $45B is spent by companies each year on market research and more than 40% of companies have a dedicated team for user research. Despite this effort, a quick Google search of ‘product flops’ says it all: watermelon-flavored Oreos, purple EZ-Squirt ketchup, and even Google Glass.

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Well-known product flops. (Google Images)

So why is it so hard to understand consumers and what they want? Can’t we just ask? Well, yes, but asking is only the first step.

Customers are (not) always right. What we, as customers, say we want is often different than what we actually want. …


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Whenever I go home to visit my parents for Christmas, it’s tradition for me to sort through the mail, find the Christmas cards, and hang them on the mantle. This past Christmas, as I was sorting through the mail, I noticed a piece of mail from AARP — the American Association of Retired People. This gave me pause.

While my parents are certainly getting older and starting to qualify for senior discounts, I definitely don’t think of them as “senior citizens.” My dad is still a very active tennis player and my mom enjoys long walks around the neighborhood. …

About

Ashley Brasier

VC investor at Lightspeed. Former product person at Thumbtack and consultant at Bain & Company. Stanford GSB and Duke grad.

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