Changing consumer trends towards more cost-conscious spending has enabled companies to carve a space for themselves in the sharing economy. ThredUp in particular aims to change the way that buyers shop for second-hand clothing. It has grown to become the largest online thrift/consignment shop in the country. ThredUp doesn’t utilize peer to peer transactions to sell items. Instead, ThredUp collects and organizes the clothing it receives then photographs, sells, and delivers the items on their site. ThredUp is a new market innovation because it changes the process of shopping for second-hand clothing and makes it more convenient. Instead of spending hours sifting through racks of unorganized clothing, users can simply search for an item or brand they’re looking for, and all relevant items will populate their screen. Users can benefit from the cost savings of buying second-hand clothing, without having to spend a lot of time searching for desired items. Creating an easy to use, online platform for thrifting makes it more appealing and could attract customers who wouldn’t be keen to try it otherwise. Do you think that ThredUp will gain more popularity over traditional thrift/consignment shops? Do you see it being a different type of innovation when applying a different incumbent, like eBay? Are there any other retail innovators you can think of?
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Netflix is well known for its flat, organizational circle structure. Employees are given more freedom and responsibility than those at other companies, which is evidenced by the unlimited vacation days and lenient expense account policy. Netflix avoids top-down decision making and seeking management approval for everything. These practices are characteristic of a traditional bureaucratic organizational structure. Instead, the company values high employee performance and excellent work. The company believes that in order for employees to perform well, they should be given the freedom to make their own decisions and dictate their schedules. Even though the company may be less rigid about certain policies, the work environment at Netflix is not as “chill” as one might expect. According to Netflix’s former Chief Talent Officer, Patty McCord, the culture is “intense” and there is a lot of “pressure” (View the Source Here). Employees are expected to perform at an exceptionally high level. Managers are required to periodically perform a keeper test. For this test, the manager imagines that one of their team members is thinking about leaving Netflix for another company. She then must assess whether she would fight hard to keep that person. If she answers no, that person is promptly removed and offered a severance package. Netflix doesn’t support keeping “B level” employees. So even though Netflix may have a flexible organizational structure, there is a trade-off between freedom and stability that employees face. Would you like to work in a Netflix type of environment or would a job that offers more security and stability appeal to you more? What would be the benefits/drawbacks of each?