• Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 23, 2015, AJT commented on Uber’s Use Of Data As A Competitive Advantage :

Great post! I agree that I don’t think Uber will necessarily have an issue attracting the best talent. I think the real question is whether the data-driven culture it has created is what is needed to take Uber to the next level of growth. And/or how can Uber potentially better monetize the data it’s collected or open-source the data to improve the transportation experience. I know that Google Ventures has invested in Uber. Along with Google’s focus on the self-driving car and investment in Uber, I bet in 10 years we’ll taking a self-driving Uber. Are we comfortable with this scenario?

On November 23, 2015, AJT commented on Tinder Wants You to Tone Down Your Right Swipes :

Interesting post! It feels like Tinder has become more of a game than a serious dating “job-to-be-done” function. And if you think the value of the swipe right has been undermined, do you really think competition will fix this problem? And how should we think about all the competition that has already emerged to date. I’m also curious how you think about Tinder’s use of data and potential new ways to monetize the data going forward. I believe a user is required to put in a significant amount of personal information — the app can track how much time you spend on the app, what time of day you check-in, but there is also a lot of potentially inconsistent information that is gathered about the user. Could the data about whether you swipe right or left be valuable to brands / marketers?

On November 23, 2015, AJT commented on Netflix: Bringing Data Analytics to a Creative Industry :

Great post! I think Netflix is a fascinating example of a successful data-driven company. After reading your post and a case on Netflix this year, I was reminded how the recommendation system actually also helped Netflix manage it inventory more effectively. Netflix is obviously not going to recommend a DVD that is out of stock and thus undermine the benefit of the recommendation system and convenience of Netflix.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on whether you think the recommendation system will help differentiate the company as it transitions to streaming. Or is there something else that Netflix can do with all the data it’s collected over the years to help the company more successful embrace the streaming world. And how should we think about the difference / role of data in the streaming world? I’m a huge fan of House of Cards and do believe that “content is king” but how far can Netflix play in the content world without abandoning / undermining its value proposition?

On November 23, 2015, AJT commented on Mint: aggregating personal financial data with ease :

Great post! I’ve followed Mint over the years and considered using it, but I was concerned about security. Do you think that Intuit was the best buyer of Minted? I’ve found that I mostly use my Amex and it provides similar offering to Mint by tracking my spending by category, etc. I assume this capability was developed in-house by Amex, but I wonder if Mint missed a significant B2B opportunity by focusing on B2C. Could Mint have partnered with Amx and Bank of America? While I like that Mint in theory provides a more wholesome overview of your financial spending, it does require a customer to actively seek this service.

Interesting post! I was recently having a conversation with a friend about the comeback of Legos and the future of the company. My friend mentioned that there are many Lego builders that have started posting videos of themselves building products (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlj0uZlye9w). He thinks this might be a new opportunity for Lego to build a digital strategy around the creation/learning of building Lego products online. Do you think this could be the next phase of the crowdsourcing strategy?

On November 1, 2015, AJT commented on Wikipedia – Who is the authority for the Truth? :

Great post! Wikipedia is the first example that comes to mind when I think about crowdsourcing. It has solved the quality control problem in part through the track record established by “The Wikipedians,” but your post me think about potential issues that might face Wikipedia in the future. First, is the imbalance between the number of contributors and the users sustainable? You talk about the importance of gaining recognition within the community as strong motivation for the contributors, but what happens with another Wikipedia-like community emerges? The arrival of Genius on the scene feels like a direct competitor to Wikipedia (http://www.wsj.com/articles/start-up-genius-wants-to-annotate-the-internet-1446126027). Should or is Wikipedia feel threatened? And how should Wikipedia respond? Can Wikipedia contributors multi-home and if so, how will that impact the quality of the content?

Interesting post! After reading some of the comments to you post, I wonder whether users of both services would be more motivated or understanding if the crowdsourcing was not hidden? What is the benefit to the users for not disclosing this information whether to the average internet user or a language learner? I know I feel better knowing why I am being hassled to translate a phrase or to participate in translating an article for CNN/Buzzfeed. If anything, this strategy seems to miss a unique opportunity to better motivate the user and potentially increase the quality of the crowdsourced content. It also seems like Duolingo’s crowdsourcing translation platform is not proving to be the main revenue source for the business — what should the lesson be from that? Is it due to the misaligned incentives of its users or is the type of work that much more complicated than the ReCaptcha work?

Great post! I think Oscar is a fascinating company that I find people frequently talking about. When I first heard about Misfit from Oscar, I thought it was a great a cool idea. After reading your post and also having used Misfit and Jawbone myself, I question whether Misfit is the best device to be handing out to customers. What was the strategic rationale behind starting with Misfit compared to a variety of other health tracking products out there. Does Oscar have data proving that Misfit is the best tracking device for the specific metrics that they are concerned about? How does it compare to other competitors in the space? And how willing are customers to provide Misfit data to Oscar? As you mention in your post, there is a selection bias – if I’ve been active then of course I’d love to share my data. And what if the Misfit is providing false data and makes the borderline customers think they’ve done more exercise or burned more calories than they actually have? As other posts have mentioned, one of the biggest risks with crowdsourcing is quality control. Does Oscar have checks in place to ensure quality data? In summary, I think it’s a great idea, but I’d like to have a better understanding of the overall Oscar strategy in order to better understand how the crowd data will be used effectively and efficiently.

Good point about the potential to undermine the “unique and aspirational” experience when someone shows up wearing the same dress. While this could happen if you are not renting a dress, it might be helpful to create a sub-network or community with your friends through Facebook login that prevents someone in your network from renting the same dress. This concept reminds me of the ability to post or see photos of people that are wearing the dress you might want to rent — I actually don’t like this feature. If I could see pictures of people in my own network, I might be more willing to share my own photo and would trust the photo more than seeing a random person wearing the dress.

On October 5, 2015, AJT commented on IMG’s three pronged network effect strategy :

I agree superstar athletes, musicians and actors add a twist to the typical indirect network effect dynamic. In another class, we read a case about IMG and focused on the comprehensive portfolio of offerings the IMG platform has build over the years (owns stadiums, events, extensive sponsor relationships, etc.). The stickiness of the platform makes it extremely difficult for agents to leave the platform. In addition, the penetration of IMG in all aspects of stars careers and throughout various stages of stars careers makes IMG likely to be a sustainable and lasting platform.

On October 5, 2015, AJT commented on Tribe Vibes: The Cult of SoulCycle :

I love SoulCycle! I agree that there might be negative network effects due to over-demand during peak hours. My greatest concern about SoulCycle is the high capex requirement / studio and the significant amount of time the studios are empty during the middle of the day. It seems like right now, the demand for the 6am-9am classes and the evening classes subsidize or cover the underutilized studio cost during the day.

On October 5, 2015, AJT commented on Calling All Babysitters & Nannies :

This is a great post! I really liked how you clearly outlined the way Care.com scaled its business. Your post incorporates many concepts from class as well. My initial reaction is that I would be extremely skeptical of using this service despite the background checks. I find that word of mouth would be a more effective way to find someone to take care of my children. Do you think there are any additional measures Care.com could take to make users like me more comfortable with the service beyond background checks? Maybe Care.com could create some kind of proprietary tracking device/camera that would allow parents to know when/where child/babysitter are located 24/7.

But that being said, I understand that others might not feel that way. I am concerned that when the “service” is successful it means that the platform is eroding its base. While you can make the argument that depending on the TAM and the resulting attrition rate, this business model might be similar to other successful marketplaces. I’m also surprised that this service has not been provided before? The barriers to entry seem relatively low and the business model is easy to replicate. Have other similar marketplace platforms like this failed? If so, how is Care.com differentiated from those existing or prior failures?

On October 5, 2015, AJT commented on Handy: Turning Product Into Platform :

I really enjoyed reading your post! I think you bring up an excellent point about future growth challenges due to employee retention. I recently read an article about the challenges facing on-demand companies like Handy. The article discussed the difficulty of training, managing and motivating the freelance workforce. A company called Managed by Q (https://managedbyq.com/) some have argued is reinventing the on-demand economy. Managed by Q has a similar value proposition to Handy, but has rejected the independent contract trend and instead hires “operators” as employees instead of independent contractors. Do you think this employee model might help standardize the Handy user experience? I have only tried to use Handy once, but I was very disappointed. The appointment was rescheduled 4x.

On October 5, 2015, AJT commented on Zuckerberg’s Big Bet on a New Set of Network Benefits :

Interesting post! I’d argue that Facebook’s acquisition and Zuckerberg’s endorsement of VR legitimizes the VR industry. The acquisition has clearly brought a lot of attention to the space. While I think indirect network effects are clearly beneficial as you discussed in your blog, the way Zuckerberg has talked about the acquisition seems to suggest it might be more than just indirect network effects. He talks about VR being the next revolutionary platform impacting our lives. Do you agree with this? I’d recommend listening to the Ted Radio podcast about the future of screen time. I’ve included an excerpt below and link: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/438902974/screen-time-part-i

ZUCKERBERG: Mobile is the platform of today. And now we’re starting to also get ready for the platforms of tomorrow. To me, by far the most exciting future platform is our own vision or modifying what you see to create augmented and immersive experiences. I believe Oculus can be one of the platforms of the future.
RAZ: So basically, this is Mark Zuckerberg in March, 2014 predicting that virtual reality goggles are the next smartphone, the next Internet, the next thing that’s going to transform our lives. And quietly over the past few years, a lot of other tech companies – Microsoft, Google, Sony – they’ve also been betting a lot of money on that same idea.

On September 14, 2015, AJT commented on Instacart: Shopping for groceries has never been more fun :

Great post! I love using it in Boston, but following up on Shashank’s comment as a native New Yorker I haven’t heard of any of my friends using it and don’t think I will use it when I move back to NYC. I’d be curious to understand the useage of Instacart in other cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. And I do think the ability for Instacart to figure out how to effective use the customer data will be essential for the future of the company.

For my Field 3 project, my team was surprised to learn that many Uber drivers are also Instacart drivers during the week. The success of Instacart seems to be even more intertwined with Uber’s success than I had previously thought…

I enjoyed reading your post! I bought a Garmin watch when I trained for a marathon, but I haven’t used it since. Instead I’ve started using Strava, which I think provides me with similar information and it’s easier to use. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on Strava and whether you view it a real competitor to Garmin?

On September 14, 2015, AJT commented on theSkimm: A Digital Weapon for the Modern News Consumer :

Following up on my post, I came across this interesting article about the NYT’s newsletter strategy: http://contently.com/strategist/2015/09/08/how-the-new-york-times-gets-70-email-open-rates/. The article argues that NYT has realized that email has become the new homepage. Is the NYT really ahead of the its competition in realizing this consumption shift? The NYT has spent a significant amount of time and resources focused on its newsletter strategy and currently has 30 newsletters. The NYT brand gives it a significant competitive advantage that might make it challenging for other publishers to win the newsletter game.

I really enjoyed your post! The Airbnb model has clearly been successful as your post nicely illustrated. I’d like to know what you think about the attempt to apply the Airbnb model to other industries. Why has it been successful in some cases and a complete failure in others? Do you think the trend of the “sharing economy” will continue or is this just a short-term trend?

Great post! I’d love to hear what you think about Comcast’s $200M investment in Buzzfeed and $200M investment in Vox. Does this investment validate that social is the future of news? Do you think these companies are overvalued? And what implication does this deal have how on how other established news institutions will think about playing in the digital space in the future especially as it relates to native advertising?

On September 13, 2015, Ali Thorne commented on Get a Slice of This: Domino’s Dominates Pizza through Digital :

I really enjoyed your post! Your post made me think about the potential impact the rise of Seamless and Postmates has or could have on Domino’s and/or the competitive landscape. Do you think these services will undermine the competitive advantage Domino’s has created for itself? And what prevents Domino’s competitors from trying to copy and replicate Domino’s digital tech strategy? How would you think about the importance of digital tech capabilities for Dominos compared to a non fast food player?