Angie’s List and Downtown Abbey have something in common. Call the ex-analyst’s analogy crazy? About as crazy as having a “male heir-only” entail, derailed by the sinking of the Titanic. Read on…
When Angie’s List first rolled out in the mid-1990s (prompted by co-founder Angie Hicks’ need to find a good contractor), and then blossomed into collective American consciousness, its main value proposition centered around getting good recommendations for getting things done around the house. Just like its founder’s original intent.
Part handyman’s list, mashed up with Yelp (essentially a “smart phone book” model in its own right), it was and remains personified by the warm reassurance of none other than Angie herself. Part of the appeal could be perceived as antidote to the sometimes-shady world of Craigslist, with its vaguely sinister, and now infamous, “personals” page. (Although Angie’s ubiquitous TV ads do often feature their own arresting moment, as customer-for-life Dan Mullendore proclaims over and over to America “I love you Angie”, only to sheepishly apologize to his off-camera wife… )
But Angie has flipped its script with the addition of her Snapfix mobility app in January 2014. Where yesterday A-List entailed (there’s that word again: “entail”) trawling through lists of contractors, today, Snapfix lets the fixers come to you – on your schedule. Essentially, you take a picture of what needs to be done (say, a broken window), fill out a few simple steps on project scope, and Angie’s List integrates with your schedule and sets up the appointment with suggested service providers appropriate to the job.
Now to “Downton Abbey” and its loveable, loyal butler, Mr. Carson. Every possible wish of the house is his command, (including getting repairs done and taken care of), with his butler-ian refrain of “Yes, m’lord”. (For all his formality, you have to love the revelation in season 1 that Charlie Carson was, in a past life, a groovy song-and-dance vaudeville man).
The value-prop of Snapfix is, at its core, “Charlie Carson as a Service” (CCaaS); a Code Halos-driven, Digital Personal Assistant to the harried two-income householders of the twenty-teenies. They did this by flipping the script – one way information flow – now becomes proactive, suggestive, reliable, and results oriented. The coup-de-grace for A-List represents the ultimate in a personalized, outcome based contract: “Give you your Saturday back.” To go pheasant hunting with, say, Lord Grantham and his trusty yellow lab. Or at least attend your son’s little league game and the pizza party afterward, without worrying about that broken window.