Market Mismatch Madness

There are lots of ways problems can develop from solutions. A very common one is when a solution doesn’t have a rich enough model of  its application context. Case in point, Groupon flooded a small English bakery with more than eight thousand orders during a promotion. The bakery normally handles 100 orders per month. It’s not clear from the article whether the bakery owner made a mistake when she setup the promotion, or whether it was a Groupon goof. In any case, the problem stems from a mismatch of the “understanding” implicit in the Groupon process of the nature of the businesses it serves and the actual nature of those businesses.

The lesson I got is that the differences in the natures of the parts of a heterogeneous system must be understood. In this case, it’s clear that a global information diffusion system–Groupon–has a different user-base scope than a small bakery.

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