Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson

Stratechery is what's good.

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Notable works by Ben Thompson for
Stratechery
Stratechery

Aggregation Theory

Ben coined Aggregation Theory after realizing that three successive articles about Airbnb, Netflix, and why web pages suck all had a common thread, forming an unintentional series.

First, the Internet has made distribution (of digital goods) free, neutralizing the advantage that pre-Internet distributors leveraged to integrate with suppliers. Secondly, the Internet has made transaction costs zero, making it viable for a distributor to integrate forward with end users/consumers at scale.
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This has fundamentally changed the plane of competition: no longer do distributors compete based upon exclusive supplier relationships, with consumers/users an afterthought. Instead, suppliers can be commoditized leaving consumers/users as a first order priority. By extension, this means that the most important factor determining success is the user experience: the best distributors/aggregators/market-makers win by providing the best experience, which earns them the most consumers/users, which attracts the most suppliers, which enhances the user experience in a virtuous cycle.