A while back, I wrote a blog post discussing the risk of being intermediated and the benefit of becoming the interface between your competitors and their customers, using the example of the financial app Bankin. Then, I wrote a second post, referencing a great article from TechCrunch about the war over the customer interface. Now, I’d like to continue and give you some more insights on this exciting trend using fresh stories.
First, let’s introduce a third way to refer to this trend. No longer the risk of being “intermediated” or the risk of losing “customer interface,” it’s time to fear the risk of “Uberization” of your business.
So, what fresh stories have I spotted?
First, AccorHotels, a Leading Global Hotel Chain, Becomes a Marketplace
(Disclaimer: AccorHotels is an Adobe customer, and if you want to learn more about what they do, check this video)
Accor recently did something very interesting: they became a marketplace, a travel meta-search-engine, instead of letting Booking.com capture big commissions. Check out this FT article that makes it pretty clear.
AccorHotels is worth 2x its turnover, while Priceline (Booking.com) is worth 7x its turnover. Digital actors, focused on interfacing users and hotel chains, create more value (from a pure market-valuation point of view). Just like Uber or AirBnB, which are “just” interfaces (albeit with good technology behind them), digital brands are perceived as more valuable. Non-digital-native brands have to react and become great “interfaces” too if they want their value to behave similarly!
Accor are pioneers, but I expect others will soon follow.
Michelin, Yes the Big White Bibendum Made of Tires Buys Top Websites
Over the past four months, Michelin paid €60 million for 40 percent stake in leading French online tire retailer Allopneus and bought leading UK online tire seller, BlackCircles, for £50 million. Before these recent acquisitions, they purchased truck and car fleet management company Sascar.
Buying companies that sell its products and companies that use them. Classic anti-Uberization strategy.
SNCF, French Railway Opens Its Data With a Freemium Model
Some say open-data is amazing because it gives the world data to build amazing things. Right.
But SNCF says that opening its data without any constraints would also be useful to enormous search engines such as Kayak or Google, heavy-API-call consumers.
As a result, they will of course open their data to let others make great things with it, but they will do so through a freemium model so that major players wishing to use their data will have to pay, as described in this article in French.
The business of search engines is based on crawling. If you don’t let them crawl your data, then you weaken their capacity to Uberize you.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any other examples of Uberization or anti-Uberization?
Reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn, and I’ll be happy to chat about it.
To be continued… Next I will write another post about a related concept introduced by Emakina’s Manuel Diaz, Kodakization.