Company Breakdowns - Cruise Day 1 - How do you disrupt the Cruise industry?

Company Breakdowns - Cruise Day 1 - How do you disrupt the Cruise industry?

This is a 5 part series, to jump to the different parts click below:

Part 1 -Disrupting the Cruise Industry

Part 2 -Finding the biggest opportunity

Part 3 -Deciding on the business model

Part 4 -Designing the offer and customer journey

Part 5 -Designing the Facebook Offer

Welcome to a potential new series.

I'll be breaking down every step of the process, including:

  • Breaking down the problem and identifying the opportunity
  • High level strategy doc
  • Execution plan and playbooks for growth (Premium Access)
  • Models in google sheets (Premium Access)
  • Email drafts and sales letters (Premium Access)
  • Lead lists (Premium Access)

The ideas will come completely random. I have a niche generator (I call it the Niche Generator 3000)

This will make sure that every week is a completely new industry, and completely different. No week will be like the last, and every week will be testing my limits as I have to, from scratch, learn all the ins and outs of an industry to identify the possible areas of improvement.

For this week, we will be looking at one of the oldest, largest and steadiest industries on the planet: The industry of Cruises.


An industry known more for a relaxation vacation option for the elderly, and likely the last place where disruption could occur.

But it's exactly in industries like these, where the biggest opportunities are.

To start, let's break down the industry.

To guide our discussion, I like to use a mental model to start my exploration.

Every industry is composed of interactions between 4 different segments:

  1. Creators
  2. Consumers
  3. Maintainers
  4. Endorsers

I'll write a different blog post in the future that will explain this in more detail, but I'll provide quick examples for each of these for now.

Creators are those that build things from scratch. Services built for creators are those like Shopify, or other products that allow someone to create faster.

Consumers are those that consume products. Services built for consumers are those like TikTok or Facebook, built primarily for the consumption of information.

Maintainers are those that maintain products. In our society, think of the armies of 9-5 employees, and the services they need to optimize for their jobs. Services for these include software like Salesforce.

Finally, endorsers are those that work to sustain or invest in a product. While most examples of this include financial investors or capital, it could include things like Patreon.

Here's a pretty basic breakdown of the different segments and the needs they might have. The needs of the different segments will likely fall in one of the following buckets:

Largely, any one of these segments in an industry will need a service to fulfill one of the following:

  1. Generating leads
  2. Qualifying leads
  3. Distributing leads
  4. Selling leads
  5. Closing leads

Despite what many may think, even if you are not in a sales environment, you will likely need to do one of the following.

For example, let's assume you work in operations, and you need to reduce a metric from X to Y%.

In this case, you will likely need to drive a number of initiatives that will bring this metric down. These initiatives can be thought of exactly as leads - potential prospects that will drive your metric down.

You need to generate these initiatives (brainstorming)

You need to qualify them (size the initiatives)

You need to distribute them (assign DRIs)

You need to sell them (begin execution)

You need to close them (track and measure results).

Everything can fall in this framework, so having this mental model can help guide where the opportunities are.

Finally - now let's start thinking about how to break down the Cruise industry.

Here's how to quickly learn all the major trends of an industry in under 10 minutes.

Find the biggest, public company in the US.

Pull up its latest quarterly investor overview. If you can pull an annual one, that's even better.

To illustrate, I pulled up the 2019 Carnival Corporation & PLC 2019 report and looked at the executive report.

The key rule of thumb is this. Whatever is put in the executive report is likely the most important issue impacting the company. There is very limited real estate for the pages, so they will only keep what is truly impacting their bottom line, and is a priority, and will exclude everything else.

This will ensure that you are focusing solely on the areas of the industry that will drive real value and benefit to the corporation. Other things might also be valuable to the industry, but unless it's in the executive report, it's likely not a company top priority.

And as someone starting a new business, you want to maximize your chances of growth. So always try to see how you can be of most value, by tackling the biggest problems an industry faces.

Now, this article was written in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so likely there are some updates that are needed.

However, in this case, let's assume that whatever major trends were occuring in the 2019 report are continuing (if not accelerating).

Here are the major pros and cons:

So in this case, the strategy will likely fall in one of two camps:

1) How do we take the headwinds and remove them?

2) How do we take the tailwinds and accelerate them.

To break each of these down more specifically, the startup will likely focus on the following:

1) How do we improve our scheduling flexibility such that we are able to better handle scheduling roadblocks due to changes in regulatory environment

2) How do we improve our environmental impact on cruises such that consumers are more like to take a trip

3) How do we improve the lead generation business for Cruises so more people go

4) How do we elevate the in-cruise experience.

In tomorrow's post, we will gauge the pros and cons of each of these different fields and settle on a specific vector to explore further.