Inside Wayfair’s Identity Crisis

Inside Wayfair’s Identity Crisis

From nearly every angle you look at Wayfair, the company is riddled with contradictions. Its stock has performed phenomenally well, with Wall Street traders betting it will succeed again and again; at the same time, large numbers of traders keep betting it will fail in the near term. The company’s sales seem boundless, but so do its expenditures in marketing, keeping it from making a profit. It is known for hiring truckloads of young Bostonians and sucking up top tech talent from all over the country, yet it has a reputation for churning through employees like they’re shipping labels. It is positioning itself as a global giant ushering in a new way of doing business, but its leaders’ handling of the border affair seems to indicate they lack the kind of change-the-world vision that we have come to expect from corporations of the caliber to which Wayfair aspires.

The real burning question about Wayfair’s identity, however, is whether it’s a tech company that’s about to turn the corner to profitability and morph into an Amazon-esque moneymaking machine, or simply an outsized and overvalued website facing an inevitable day of reckoning. [Read more]