Mother Teresa and Lord Dark

We have a strong preference for sustainable strategies to grow your company. But sometimes, especially at the beginning or maybe when you hit a bit of turbulence, the Mother Teresa ways don’t always work so well.

We then like to think about what Lord Dark would do. Lord Dark breaks things and hacks the system to get an unfair advantage. Lord Dark strategies are not sustainable but they can be the shot in the arm you need before you can be Mother Teresa again.

Here are just a few examples of what we’ve seen Lord Dark do (inside & outside of our portfolio):

  • A market place artificially created supply & demand by selling and buying under fake accounts that they actually owned. Giving a perception of a highly liquid marketplace and therefore attracting “real” buyers & sellers

  • A loan marketplace was ignored by local banks and therefore went to foreign banks, that had lower lending rates, and offered their cheaper loans in other markets through their platform via a legal loophole they had discovered. It got the banks’ attention

  • A peer-to-peer task / service platform hired students to carry out tasks for customers, before “real” people offered their services – thus always providing a great experience from day 1

  • A daily deal platform bought a huge amount of vouchers from a popular coffee retailer  and sold them at a discount to create huge demand & buzz around their platform

  • A company offered a key competitor a can’t-refuse partnership, realizing it would probably steal all of the competitor’s customers mid-term once they had experienced their superior product via the partnership

There are plenty more. Point is, building a company ain’t always pretty and its OK to be Lord Dark now and then.


2 Comments on “Mother Teresa and Lord Dark”

  1. Anoop says:

    Adding on, one of my favorite examples. An e-commerce company buying the entire stock offer from ‘Shoes for $1 campaign’ from a rival firm and using the stock to give it as freebies on their platform gave them a better buzz 🙂


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