On a humid day in 2005, American Broadcasting Company chief executive Lloyd Braun stood by a floor-to-ceiling glass window in his private offices on the 45th floor of the Ivory Tower building on the upper west side of Manhattan. It was a cloudy day, but as Braun stared down over the ant-sized people of Manhattan, he had every reason to be satisfied. …

Have you heard of Fear of God?

It’s been around since 2013 but I only heard about it a few weeks ago (since I am fashionably uncool) and have since discovered that they sell t-shirts for $300 and people actually buy them.

But not me. I prefer Uniqlo t-shirts which cost about $8 and I think have pretty good fabric quality and design which is why I wear them pretty much everyday (this may also be because I am fashionably uncool).

Now let’s assume that somehow we could justify that the fabric and design of a FOG t-shirt is 10x…

When taking a new product to market, a common saying is “nail it then scale it”… but when the product being launched is a marketplace: it’s a little more complicated than that.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the unit economics of igniting a new marketplace and how — since these unit economics evolve over time with scale and network effects — what we do in the early days may on the surface appear a little crazy!

Let’s start by defining the term unit economics. …

As a marketplace for local services, Airtasker is often quickly bracketed with companies like Hipages, Deliveroo or Uber — but as with many things in life, the devil is in the detail and I believe that understanding the unique design of the Airtasker marketplace model is super critical because it plays a big role in determining:

  • Customer experience (value proposition) that the marketplace can offer to users
  • Breadth of services (market opportunity) that the marketplace can address
  • Efficiency and financial sustainability (operating margins) with which the marketplace can operate

Airtasker’s Marketplace Model

Airtasker is an open, infinitely horizontal marketplace for local services.


For many things in life, there’s a tradeoff between growing scale and quality of user experience. Big crowds at Disneyland mean long queues. Too many people on a broadband network slows downloads. And almost everybody hates being on a crowded train.

But for marketplaces, the opposite is true: the quality of the user experience is actually dependent upon scale and (in general) the bigger the marketplace, the better the customer experience.

This can largely be explained by what economists call a network effect — a phenomenon in which the value of a product increases as the number of people that…

In a marketplace, trust between buyers and sellers is critical. Trust provides our Customers with confidence to buy services through Airtasker knowing that solutions will meet expectations. For our Taskers, trust lets them know that doing a good job will result in being paid fairly. So the more trust we can create in the Airtasker marketplace, the greater the opportunity we can provide for our Customers and our Taskers.

Now, let’s take a look at the two ways in which marketplaces can create trust (as always there are lots of ways in between too — but for the purpose of…

In my last post, I shared my thoughts on what customers truly love about Airtasker: a huge range of services, available times and prices — and why as a consequence it’s important to be Liquidity First and to be super considered before adding structure to the marketplace.

In this post, I’d like to share my perspective on how the Airtasker marketplace will evolve over time to cover our customers’ different types of service needs by layering structure on the marketplace.

The atomic unit: a task

Our mission at Airtasker is to empower people to realise the full value of their…

As a marketplace, I believe that a great customer experience is primarily defined by our ability to offer our customers access to the widest range of services at the right time and the right price. To create this experience, we need to generate a high degree of marketplace liquidity.

Liquidity = lots of active buyers, lots of active sellers, lots of service offerings

We also want our Taskers to provide the best possible service to our customers by being reliable, offering fair prices and doing a good job through our marketplace.

Since an ecosystem with a high degree of liquidity…

I believe that to build a great product, it’s best to be focussed: pick a problem, get really good at solving the problem, then scale that solution.

A common way of being focussed is to pick one specific customer problem and then mastering all the different steps of the supply chain to deliver a solution that meets that specific problem. This is called vertical integration.

An example of a vertical company is Warby Parker which focuses on eyewear and then designs, manufactures, distributes and sells their products to customers.

Another way of being focussed is to pick one (or potentially…

To deliver on our mission at Airtasker — to empower people to realise the full value of their skills — we need to work together with our Taskers to deliver awesome service to our customers. We can think of this as a partnership between us and our Taskers.

In this partnership, our role is to create opportunity by bringing customers to the Airtasker marketplace and then to provide Taskers with the infrastructure they need to deliver their service.

The role of our Taskers is to create content to respond to this opportunity (making offers and in the future listings) and…

Tim Fung

Co-founder and CEO at Airtasker

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