Trade Me Manifesto

What is it about Trade Me that makes it so successful?

Is there a secret formula? And, if so, can we bottle it?

The success of Trade Me is a simple combination:

  • A good idea
  • At the right time
  • And then great execution

The first two are difficult to replicate (but not impossible).

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to focus here on the third part.

I’m calling this the Trade Me Manifesto.

There will be 10 short posts, based loosely on a document written by Sam a while back which was itself based on Google’s Corporate Philosophy (as an aside, this is where their famous ‘Don’t be evil’ motto comes from). And also incorporating a bunch of the material pulled together for various presentations we’ve done about Trade Me over the last few years, starting with my presentation at the first Webstock conference.

These are not trade secrets.

All of the ideas are very sensible and obvious, although not as common as they might be.

A lot of this was written when I was still working at Trade Me, so I say “we” rather than “they”. I figure that the audience who will probably get the most value from this are Trade Me staff, so it seems appropriate to leave that as is. I hope this doesn’t cause any confusion.

Many of these ideas are things I’ve posted about previously, so where appropriate I’ll include links to those posts too.

It’s probably not an exhaustive list, but hopefully you can apply some of these things to the ideas you are working on.

If you want to follow along bookmark this post and I’ll update with links as we go, or subscribe to my RSS feed.

As always, your comments are welcome.

I look forward to hearing what you think.



The Trade Me Manifesto

19 thoughts on “Trade Me Manifesto”

  1. Nothing beats good old fashioned “R + D”
    aka: “Rip off and Duplicate” . It’s a tried and true formula for success!


    Trade Me
    Find Someone
    Pay Now

  2. Maitland –

    You’ll notice I said “good” idea and not “original” idea.

    There were search engines before Google, eCommerce sites before Amazon and online auctions sites before Trade Me (and before eBay too).

    Hence the focus in this series on execution.


  3. Rowan said…
    You’ll notice I said “good” idea and not “original” idea.

    Yes, I agree here, it is the good idea in the first place. The world is getting to know almost anything imaginable under the universe, meaning that original ideas are shrinking fast. On the other hand good ideas is still plenty.

  4. Yup. It reminds me of the quote:

    “Don’t worry about someone stealing your idea. Because if it’s truly original you’ll have to cram it down their throats” – Howard Aiken

    Which is probably why I’m an artist. and not a capitalist. ;-)

    Re: the comment from Falafulu:

    “the world is getting to know almost anything imaginable under the universe, meaning that original ideas are shrinking fast.”

    I whole heartedly disagree.

    Considering humans know so little about the universe or even the basic building blocks of life. (i.e. 75% of the universe is dark matter / energy (whatever that is)

    Great + original ideas are infinite. (And increasing exponentially)



  5. Maitland said…
    Great + original ideas are infinite. (And increasing exponentially)

    Maitland, how about you suggest to me a great original idea that perhaps you and me could start developing that idea into a software business. I am sure that if we pitch that original idea into an angel investor from the University of Auckland Icehouse business incubator, then I believe that we could get funding straight away.

    I am looking forward to your original great idea.

  6. Actually I think great execution is just as hard as a good idea at the right time…. great execution requires a blend of people and skills that is extremely hard to define or replicate…. it also requires sacrific, self belief, stamina, and patience. People with lots of good ideas can often be short on some of these qualities!

    To bastardise the real estate saying, “Execution Execution Execution”!

  7. I think that original ideas are both infinite and being thought of…

    It is very difficult to think of an original idea, it is much easier to take an idea and make it unique… Like Trade Me taking online auction and making it very New Zealand friendly…

    But as we discover new technologies – and sections of the universe – new business opportunities emerge… but we wouldn’t have considered them yesterday, because yesterday they didn’t make sense!

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