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Network Effects That Don’t Look Like Network Effects (a16z.com)
117 points by imartin2k 78 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

Wow, this is a pretty poor article. Mixing up intentional (throttling) vs unintentional (unfinished) decisions and describing these as "hidden networks" which is supposed to be the intersection of "Seems like network effects" and "Doesn't seem like network effects."

Is this a joke?

Telling that the biggest conclusion I came away with is that rich people are mostly rich due to luck and circumstance.

The article doesn't really have enough examples or analysis to justify its categorization of network effects. It deserves a more clickbaity title like "6 runaway startups you won't see coming".

Yup, it just seems like some random unsubstantiated theory being touted by VCs who want to show they're smart.

It's impossible that everyone out there blogging actually knows what they're talking about, and figuring out which ones do is getting to be a lot of work.

My thoughts exactly

But it has a Venn diagram so it's science!

Pretty sure the left side of the Venn diagram should say "Has network effects", otherwise it doesn't make sense.

Although even then it's confusing.

This is what happens when you outsource graphics to people without making sure they understand what you are talking about.

Hence the disclaimer:

> Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision.

Interesting points, but they forgot to include one category: "We thought we would have network effects, but it turned out we didn't". Which, you know, can be really hard to distinguish from the others.

I am too cynical, I guess, but part of me was wondering while reading this, "Is this a piece intended to convince investors that some not-ramping-as-fast-as-we-thought startup is actually what they need to invest in?"

I'm wondering "Is Lambda School one of those startups?"

Well they haven’t invested in Lambda School, so it’s not like they have an incentive to say we have a network effect we don’t have

A claim that the prestige/name recognition of a school is a network effect is just plain wrong. More than half these examples are not network effects. Don't dilute the term in to uselessness by making its borders infinite.

This article conflicts with A16Z earlier article on the "lack of data network effects as moats"


One of the cited examples of slow network effects is lending. Even if you draw a line saying "it's acquisition, not data"...due to nature of underwriting and acquisition in lending, there's no way around ignoring data there.

Which essentially means that this article is implicitly making the case for data network effects.

Yeah a16z is probably not best viewed as a monolithic entity, but rather a loose connection of people. They've contradicted themselves other times too. For example, Ben Evans has said that autonomous taxis will likely lead to more bland, commoditized cars, since fleets will buy cars like corporations buy PCs [1]. Frank Chen has predicted the exact opposite, saying that autonomous taxis will likely lead to a wider variety of cars, because it will enable weird designs to be shared across people to serve the long tail of needs [2]. Kinda hard to trust their logic on what's true when they have people arguing both sides, as in the example you highlight regarding data network effects. I guess we each have to come to our own conclusions and then let reality be the judge.

[1] https://www.ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2015/7/27/ways-to-th...

[2] https://a16z.com/2018/02/03/autonomy-ecosystem-frank-chen-su...

Sure. Wasn't pointing out an organisational contradiction. I was pointing out that specific fact, since the previous article was much debated here on HN.

This is a great article but that ven diagram is really distractingly off. "Seems like" and "doesn't seem like" really shouldn't have an intersection. If you must use a ven diagram for this juxtaposition, make it "things that have network effects" and "things that don't seem to have network effects". (Still want that ven diagram?)

That attempt at a Venn diagram makes my head hurt.

/r/dataisugly is a pretty good resource for similar charts.

A very insightful article by AH!

The only thing is that you can hit network effects after someone else and still win. Like bacteria cultures in a pond. By the time you lock horns you’re both worth a lot.

PS: @dang please fix HN to not zoom during doubleclick on iOS 12+! It’s one meta tag, but without it we iOS users can’t select and edit text!!

Double-tap-to-zoom is standard web behavior. I (and I think most people who are familiar with touch behavior) would be surprised if it wasn't there. Hold-to-select is the more standard method of text selection.

On iOS, tap-and-hold brings up a black menu where you can click Select. That works but is far longer than just a double-tap.

All HN has to do is put one meta-tag <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1, user-scalable=0">

Tap and hold works for me to select text on HN using iOS 12

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