Finding symmetries in an unsymmetrical world ..

Emerging thoughts on Quora’s Business model

Posted on: September 11, 2012

The larger Question and the meat of it thereof :  Wouldn’t the user pays subscription model work as well for Quora ? 

Here’s what I mean – As a user , I navigate about 10-20 questions in Quora every time I take out “time” I am willing to engage myself in. And then I go back and start to work on something, hit discussions in a multitude of channels and I forget – and that is when I want to refer to the same fact – in the organized way I first saw it in its context. 

  I think, that is part of the opportunity for Quora. As Achilleas Vortselas mentioned (at Quora) , “Quora as middleman”,  I envision the next layer of structuring and personalization to build on top of the collective knowledge of the community. 

 I want to (and I hope that other users want to, as well) organize this information in a useful way. And that could be highlighting the pages, that are only “specific to me” , like individual page reads.  Similarly, as a user I would be willing to pay for premium services like organizing my knowledge and contacts, and since it is personal, non-obtrusive to any one else. It’s my personal learning dashboard, that I can cross refer years from now, since I find information in a tier based fashion. One, by meta tags AND/OR (Quora) Boards, and two, by my personal notes. 

 

[Hypothesis: Since we are building social capital here, the content management, will take care of itself. ]

Challenge & opportunity  : Information retrieval from the end user’s perspective.  
 

[The Public Good…]
With literally tons of CEO’s and Executives engaging in this model – subscription should be able to make money. May be, in the future, Quora would make part of its revenue from firms funding their top employees, that is the future of Crowd Sourcing Revolution that we are beginning to see.  

  The future of this will be – the firms sponsoring employees/ committing resources to work on abstract problems and new concepts and “Grooming Aggregators” , since it will be far cheaper than the Home-Grown Talent model , difficult to source, retain and keep engaged all round the project. 

In some sense, it is how Rating agencies make money. Everyone else pools in, because everyone else does, and that is the social good at its BEST. 

 

[Hypothesis: Knowledge workers have always and will continue to pay for tools that make them more efficient ] 

Challenge & opportunity  : Of course that needs high computing and read-writes to store the user specific Information,and engineering a solution that can scale as well. Which is where the guiding rule of making money comes in. Make money roughly equal to (Revenue-Cost of engineering the solution), and should be positive.

 

So my Quick points here – 
User pays subscription model 

a. User specific page read/write(s)  and features to organize and personalise the information retrieval for later use. 

b. Putting structure in YOUR personal Network – listing and saving personal content/notes for lookup to organize the contacts from mere “followers and people who follow” paradigm . 

c. The Public good :  Rise of Crowd Sourcing and Social capital.

Business opportunity :  Innovating on the user specific needs(Behavioral & Business needs) and tailoring subscription plan that match these needs . 

PPS: Don’t pick me on words 🙂 Make money is dirty rule, but that’s what we are taking about here .

This article is a part of my original piece at Quora here .  Cosmetics and Technical updates/stack probe in progress.

Ekta

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