Great article and discussion. Certainly interesting to see how client-facing services change with tech advances. While machine learning could replace a lot of the manual data crunching, I believe that human judgement still plays a huge role. As we saw in class, judgement regarding the input data, variables to optimize, and overall interpretation / implementation of data requires experienced business people. Yes, while function of data collection and analyses might be replaced by AI, the role of junior consultants will morph to working with internal data scientists and the client’s own staff to prioritize and shape business strategy. The ultimate value I see is not getting the right answers through data, but being able to ask the right questions. That’s where human expertise is still needed.
Great post Eliza. I wonder what the supply chain implications are for Wayfair’s shift to digital. You’ve mentioned holding inventory both as a defensive move against competitors but also to serve customers better. I would imagine their storage costs increasing (either capex or cap leases) in addition to hiring supply chain staff to handle the volume of goods. Furthermore, do they sell their own private label goods or are they staunchly 3rd party goods only? To compete, I also wonder what payment terms they get from their suppliers (e.g., days payable) to help with their transition into holding inventory. The other question I have is regarding technical talent. Similar to the challenge that GE faced when trying to hire developers, how does Wayfair differentiate itself? When I think of great tech companies Wayfair doesn’t immediately come to mind. Are they targeting specific programs or have particularly attractive offerings?
Thanks for the post. Really liked the infographic at the end – great way to visualize the power of scale. Has McDonald’s implemented these digital changes across its entire global footprint or only in select geographies? I wonder if/where most of the sales increase is coming from – is it mostly from new geographies, certain new products or just increased purchase volume overall. I also think of Domino’s pizza and their success with implementing fast, convenient delivery. Given the anecdotal poor performance of UberEats, I wonder if a build strategy might be better for McDonald’s as the “fast” aspect of “fast food” seems to be increasing in importance. I also wonder if their data has helped with the nutritional changes in the product (I’m thinking of the “Super Size Me” documentary). Has McDonald’s been able to make a meaningful move toward healthier ingredients more quickly as a result of their data?
Great post. It seems that UA targeted software acquisitions to leap frog the development process and bring in talent. I wonder about their thought process regarding hardware targets. With “smart cloth” being all the rage, are there particular sensor / adapter tech in that UA would be interested in? Furthermore, I wonder how well UA is serving its customer segments. On one hand, I see professional athletes really wanting detailed metrics on O2 sat, recovery, muscle stress, etc. However, the average user who has a fitbit might not be getting as much value for what they’re paying for. Perhaps there’s a price tiering or a product suite strategy here to better serve needs of different consumer bases.
Really like the ability to get super specific about behaviors (a la Project Aristotle). I can see the value of combining Humanyze with something akin to the Toyota Production System to push productivity and efficiency. The Humanyze badge can also demystify the people analytics of how jobs get done. As an example, CEOs often complain that they receive filtered info from their direct reports and don’t often hear about issues until it’s too late. Humanyze could introduce a new level of transparency and interactivity within an organization, essentially flattening the org structure. Of course, Humanyze is, quite literally, big brother. Ensuring correct use of the information and the security of such info is equally complex as it is difficult.
You make a good point regarding incentives for creators. Sites like Patreon.com have offered another way for creators to get paid for their work and many influencers are now directing all their fans to their patreon accounts using their presence on instagram, twitter, snap, YT, FB, and musical.ly, etc. But the question then becomes is it a price war where YT competes by giving creators more and more share? I think you’re right in that the biggest advantage YT has is the scale and the volume of data of user behavior. YT-Red and other paywall services should provide a more detailed data given users opt-in. But then the question becomes, exactly as you point out, how to translate that data into content. Balancing the analytics of audience behavior with creative pursuits is hard. Could we have made “The Shape of Water” if we drove creative decisions with data? Maybe the film could’ve been even better with data?
I’d love to read your BSSE paper. I’ve heard that because many of the YT stars haven’t gone through disciplined training and apprenticeship that traditional actors go through, they have a hard time switching to the larger screen. Furthermore, many of the antics that work as an influencer (degree of authenticity, what they say, etc.) may not be appropriate for a different, non-online context.
I think your suggestion of “payment” through engagement is interesting. The argument to brands could be a lot more powerful. Take Pinterest for example. The degree of interest in a product is measurable and therefore, actually useful to a brand looking to increase conversion rates by targeting shoppers who are already interested in their products. Maybe YT could make the jump but it’ll take both a strategic and organizational change to make that move successful.
Really interesting. It seems like YT is experimenting with more traditional models (YT-Red and YT-TV chief among them) and it’s not clear that the original value prop translates. Especially since the viewer behavior is so well trained for the platform, migrating viewers to a subscription service that may not deliver on the content might prove damaging.
That’s interesting, making YT a social media platform. I can see how they could take aspects of Google+ / hangouts to merge with YT to facilitate social conversations. I guess the main question is whether or not they can change user behavior as they move toward a more socially minded mission. The other challenge would be, in the face of FB’s recent data woes, how Google, who one could argue could do a lot more harm than FB given the data they command, would navigate the privacy issues.
Yeah, censorship / content curation is tough. Exactly as you point out with Logan Paul, it’s not an easy task, especially with the sheer volume YT gets. I think you’re right in that a combination of AI and crowd source (maybe looking at viewer behavior, not just waiting for a flag) could work. Will be interesting to see what they implement and to see how successful it is.
Very interesting! I wonder if FBN has approached the different lobbying groups (e.g., corn lobby) to get more support and thus, wider adoption. Scale seems quite important here as it looks like a winner-takes-all market. I’d also be interested to see if they have a mobile strategy. Emerging markets where agriculture is still the dominant industry could greatly benefit from data that FBN is providing. Given the proliferation of feature phones and basic smartphones, maybe a slimmed down UI that doesn’t require much data could be introduced.
Interesting process. I see the benefits of engaging the crowd for naming flavors, but how does Pepisco manage the actual flavor? One person’s idea of “alligator butter” or “wavy crisps” might be different from another’s. Given flavors are also regional, have they done tests where products are localized? “Lobster roll” flavored chips might be specific to the New England area vs. “cajun spice” which would apply to Louisiana.
When reading about Mapillary, I was wondering if there was a limitation to regions where smartphone penetration and population density are high enough to provide enough coverage. I can see Mapillary offering tremendous value for emerging markets that aren’t as well traveled but could nevertheless benefit from mapping. Perhaps Mapillary could complement its mobile data by tapping into public mapping sources (e.g., city plans, subway maps, security surveillance, etc.)
Given the K-12 classroom is becoming more dynamic, I wonder if the fundamental product needs to advance beyond mere communications. I see a messaging service as necessary but not sufficient for educators, students, and parents to begin paying. Mobile / online collaboration spaces, workbooks, and customized exercise builder would provide the larger ecosystem of products that can mirror and enhance the classroom experience. Such functions would not only differentiate Remind but also increase stickiness as it becomes both a platform and an educational tool. I also wonder what pain point Remind is actually solving. I’m not familiar with primary and secondary education but is messaging between administrators, teachers, and parents a truly critical issue?
Given drone racing is still quite niche, I wonder about the timing of staying a closed platform vs. opening to 3rd party developers. The level of sophistication and cost seems like a continued barrier in the long run, especially when demand for races increases. While I agree that the strategy now should focus on controlling product dev and managing the brand image and UX quality, with a game type that could fit so many genres, perhaps going to the crowd like Google did with Android might be better than plodding along like Apple and the iPhone. Furthermore, their current partnerships have been mostly with distributors and channels. What about on the content side with Ubisoft, Blizzard, Valve, etc.?
Very interesting. It strikes me a strange that an app for which network effects are so crucial (thinking of the engagement and size of user bases of tinder, bumble, etc.) would be “exclusive.” Wouldn’t that necessarily hurt the goal of reaching critical mass to achieve frequent, yet quality matches? I also wonder if each app attracts a particular usage profile. Tinder, for instance, has the reputation of being a hook up app. Does that result in a different “seeker” profile vs. others like hinge?
Very interesting and worrisome. Perhaps this is a space for private-public partnerships. Like we discussed about how Waymo can tie online activity to offline actions, the information that tech companies have could greatly improve the speed and accuracy of studies. Specifically data on the movement of people throughout the country and how communities have formed and changed over time could be particularly interesting.
I also wonder if methods and tech developed by the US Census could serve as a model for other agencies like Bureau of Labor Statistics. Perhaps there are methods that the BLS already deploys that the Census could adopt. Regardless, I feel $15.6 bil could be put to better use than perpetuating an arcane system.
I’ll admit, I laughed a little when watching the Bloomberg video. What started out as super epic technology turned into hand-squeezed juice out of a bag. Do you think Juicero could’ve pivoted to providing just ready-made juice bags of different flavor and ingredient combinations? I imagine that the “juice” market is already quite competitive, but perhaps Juicero had access to particular recipes or ingredients that others don’t? Or perhaps Juicero could’ve pivoted on the hardware side to compete with NutriBullet?
I’m also surprised at how such an obvious issue eluded so many sophisticated people. I wonder what their design / testing process looked like. Juicero is a great example of how being overly concerned with “can we do it” clouds the more important question of “should we do it.” A solution searching for a problem rarely leads to good product-market-fit or, even more basic, a good product.
Thanks for this post. It’s incredible to see how fast Netflix has grown and how quickly it’s changed the entire media industry. I do wonder how Netflix will react to Amazon and others who are getting into the original content game (even Marriott Hotels has a studio arm to produce original content). Both Amazon and Hulu have been receiving critical acclaim as they work closely with traditional Hollywood studios. Amazon has publicly support exhibitors and, in return, received their stamp of approval (https://qz.com/947237/unlike-netflix-cinema-chains-really-want-to-work-with-amazon/) whereas Netflix is vilified and seen as the aggressor. I agree with your last question on how Netflix will fight off a Disney-Fox combination. Even with titles like “Stranger Things,” Netflix lacks the large-scale movies that a Disney/Fox would be able to produce. Hopefully Ted Sarandos has some magic up his sleeves.