Shishir Mehrotra – The Art and Science of the Bundle – [Invest Like the Best, EP.175]

My guest today is Shishir Mehrotra and the topic of our conversation is the bundle: offering access to multiple products, services, or providers for a single bundled price. This topic is full of incorrect pre-conceived notions, and as it turns out, the bundle is one of the most powerful ideas in business. Properly harnessed it is good for everyone involved. Shishir explains the ins and outs of bundles in this conversation.

Shishir ran product at YouTube for years and sits on the Spotify board of directors. He founded and now leads Coda (which is “A Doc” spelled backwards) in 2014, to bundle together productivity apps like docs, spreadsheets, databases, and applications. I love this wonky, detailed conversation which has me thinking differently about many businesses and business strategy. Please enjoy. Also, check out his great post on this topic:

https://coda.io/@shishir/four-myths-of-bundling

This episode is brought to by Koyfin.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

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Show Notes

(1:37) – (First question) – The arc of his career 

(3:01) – Why he has an interest in bundling

(7:14) – The concepts of superfan, casualfan, and nonfan businesses

(10:34) – Using Spotify as an example of bundles 

(12:53) – The first myth of bundling: Bundling is bad for consumers

(17:22) – The second myth of bundling: 1st vs 3rd party providers and the bundlers

(22:32) – Low usage but high Marginal Churn Contribution (MCC) business

(23:55) – How insurance fits into these models  

(26:06) – Myth 3 of bundling: How this impacts consumers 

(31:41) – How marginal costs play into the thinking of bundling

(34:23) – Myth 4: Bundling things that have nothing to do with each other 

(39:20) – How bundling companies can apply this into their product development

(42:50) – Strategic advice to companies building bundles

(48:30) – How price and pricing power play into advantages for certain bundlers

(53:45) – How does bundling play into his investing thesis

(56:16) – Most interesting bundles he’s observed

(58:13) – Eigenquestions: The Art of Framing Problems

(58:42) – What the future of this trend is

(1:01:53) – What is an eigenquestion 

(1:05:58) – Kindest thing anyone has done for him 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.  

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag