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On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Snapchat, a “camera” for Gen Y and Z? :

Great blog post! Thanks Cathy! I read this very interesting article today:

Since going public, Snapchat’s stock has dropped about 10%, and only 12 analysts rank it a “buy” while 23 rank it a “hold,” “underweight” or “sell.” The author of the article argues that Snapchat will lose against the “Goliath” Facebook, which has already introduced a video feature into its social apps (as you mentioned). Facebook will improve its features continuously, thereby collecting best practices from competitors to initially meet, but eventually exceed customer expectations.
What do you think?

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on – The Original Tinder :

Great blog post, Charu! I agree with my predecessor – it is interesting how Shaadi has incorporated local culture/customs. How do you think Shaadi can defend itself against new entrants besides harnessing their brand? Is there a strong “Shaadi community”?

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Shopify – the Emerging Platform for Global Commerce :

You present very compelling arguments to why Shopify is successful and off to a bright future. Do you see any risks? For example, I think that building and maintaining websites becomes easier and cheaper, and there are many third-party services, which offer payments, financing, insurance, return management services,… individually, which would allow small retailers to cherry-pick what suits them best and have more individual/personalized websites.

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on TrueCar, a true friend to both consumers and dealerships :

Interesting blog post, with great practical implications – I will definitely use TrueCar when I buy a car in fall ; )

I wonder WHY there is no competitor in the market yet? I understand that TrueCar has build a platform, but I don’t see large entry barriers, because multi-homing seems easy. Do I ignore anything important?

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on American Express : Using data analytics to redefine traditional banking :

Great blog post!
I am wondering what the market share of AmEx customers is for important merchants = Is it large enough for them to bother to leverage the data information “using targeted marketing to match merchants with the right customers”?
Do you think that Visa and MasterCard can convince banks somehow to enter anonymized data sharing agreements in order to share benefits from data analytics?

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on New York Times: 360 degrees news :

Very interesting blog post! I wonder what kind of news content is suitable for VR? I assume it requires much more time and cost to be produced than regular articles

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on zSpace, the AR/VR innovator in Education Space :

Interesting article! I like the idea of a realistic learning environment, especially for poorer students who cannot afford to physically go to places. How do you think they should move forward?

On April 28, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on ShelfZone, a VR tool for improving retailing :

You already hinted at it when you wrote “assuming customers will find value in shopping from realistic but digital stores from home”: What is the unsolved need from the customer’s point of view? I think I would prefer NOT to walk virtually through a supermarket, but to say/write the item I am looking for and then being told the brand, price, quantity etc.

On April 7, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Artsy: Sequencing the Art World’s Genomes :

Great post! As a major in Art History in undergrad, I like Artsy’s mission a lot, and think it meets an important market need by connecting people, who are interested in buying art, with galleries, who have failed in the past to leverage the opportunities of selling online.

However, as much as I like the idea of discovering new artists through Artsy’s data analytics, I think there is still room for improvement: Despite the fact that I have spent a substantial amount of my time on Artsy at some point in the past, it didn’t succeed in making sense of my taste; the vast majority of their suggestions for me was completely irrelevant, making me question the feasibility to categorize art tastes through a set of attributes. What do you think?

On March 21, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on GoPro: Falling short in capturing value from crowds :

Although I own a GoPro myself and use it quite frequently, I haven’t even heard of their entertainment division. Being one of the “average Joe’s” you were talking about, I agree that they lost sight of the customer needs. Maybe they try again, this time with a gamification/community lens first, and a monetization lens second.
Do you have an idea how successful value capture (apart from increasing hardware sales) could look like once GoPro – hypothetically – succeeded to have a loyal crowd posting many videos and pictures (ads, selling content to third parties,…)?

On March 21, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on ArcBazar: Crowdsourcing Design :

I haven’t heard of them before – very interesting! Do you know if Arcbazar makes sure that only accredited architects submit proposals? Is anyone liable that the proposed design complies to minimum requirements and can actually be built?

Interesting article! Waze seems to do a great job engaging the crowd through gamification and community building. However, I wonder how they will compete against e.g. HERE and other open location platform, which offer customizable navigation solutions / highly precise and dynamic 3D-maps (they pull automatically real-time sensor data from the cars in which they are installed, and uses it to predict traffic, accident and other hazardous events)?

On February 7, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on So Long, Groupon! :

In undergrad, I used to look for deals on Groupon frequently, and had mixed experiences. From a customer perspective, low prices and getting new ideas seemed compelling. However, I think a major flaw is the lack of quality control over the partners. First, many deals were oversold and businesses couldn’t keep up with high order demands. Second, a few businesses provided very low quality. Third, some deals turned out to be no real deals for Groupon, but e.g. normal bundled offers.
At the same time, stories of massive losses for businesses surfaced, and that slowed participation from businesses. This in turn reduced the variety and number of offers, which then reduced consumer interest.
I think Groupon’s monetization strategy (which financed their rapid expansion) was too aggressive, taking too much margin from every deal. Furthermore, Groupon failed to do due-diligence of their partners.

On February 6, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Danske Bank – A winner in digitalization :

It’s indeed impressive how Danske Bank managed to create a e-banking platform with wide acceptance, and even expanded into real estate with mobile mortgages.
What is their monetization strategy? You mention that mobile transactions are free. Do merchants pay? Do they charge a fee for peer-to-peer transactions backed by credit cards? (similarly to Venmo) How do prices and conditions for the mortgages compare to the competition?

On February 6, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Amazon Go – A Winning Bet in the Convenience Store and Grocery Business :

Very interesting post, Kunal!
While Amazon definitely leverages its Kiva warehouse capabilities with Amazon Go, I don’t think it’s enough of a competitive advantage to successfully run a supermarket chain. From a customer’s perspective, it is convenient not to queue and pay at a cashier, but location, product range and brands, price and quality seem more releavant factors for the choice of the supermarket.Thus, partnering with existing grocery chains seems like the more successful alternative to me

On February 5, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Winner: Venmo – the next generation checking account :

After having thought about your comment for quite a while, I personally think none of the current mobile payment options is really dominant and perfectly fulfills customers’ needs (neither I nor my friends ever pay with the phone, and I rarely see it happening in stores either), leaving enough space for Venmo:
The Starbucks App is a huge success esp. as a one-fits-all customer loyalty program, but you can only pay in a Starbucks with it. Apple Pay is proprietary, the numbers of repeat usage are poor, and overall it fell far below expectations. Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Google Wallets’ adoption rates lag behind Apple’s at this point, but they are doing better than Apple was at the same time in its rollout ( Thus, the market seems crowded, but all these players might just have done a good job of paving the way for Venmo by bringing attention to the space and educating people.

I think Venmo could pull it off – their user base is huge and consists of the ideal candidates for adopting digital payment (primarily millennials who already use their cellphones to pay among each other). As discussed in class, Venmo should probably focus on convincing large merchants to accept their payment method and spend marketing money on making known where “Pay with Venmo” could be used (e.g. with stickers at the cashier).

Rolling out Venmo in other countries, emerging and also emerged (I am from Europe can totally see a use case there), seems like a great idea! I guess they focus on the United States for now and hone their business model here, before they expand internationally.

On February 5, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Winner: Venmo – the next generation checking account :

I agree – Venmo probably already has more users than the nation’s largest bank ( The transaction data gathered are very valuable!

On February 5, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Winner: Venmo – the next generation checking account :

Glad that you liked my post, thank you!

I personally think the social feed is fun – people get really creative describing what the purpose of payment was for. Furthermore, the large user base especially among millennials gives Venmo a HUGE competitive advantage in direct peer-to-peer payments; it’s would be very difficult for a potential competitor to threaten Venmo’s positioning in that space, I think. Thus, while I agree with you that Venmo should expand “Pay with Venmo”, I think that it’s not their only option and they could also monetize its peer-to-peer business more by carefully charging credit card payments, data analytics and maybe even introducing some advertising.
It will be very interesting to see what route Venmo is taking!

PS: I don’t know if you read the other comment, which I found also interesting: it suggested to use the social feed for data analytics for merchants, potentially tapping an additional revenue stream.

On February 5, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Winner: Venmo – the next generation checking account :

Hi Charu,
It was great hearing about Paytm and how they managed to grow from a prepaid mobile recharge website to a payment and commerce ecosystem. I agree – in my opinion Venmo’s best monetization strategy is to breach out and scales “Pay with Venmo”. However, I think that mobile payments could disrupt debit/credit card payments in stores because it’s more convenient than cramming for your card and often having to sign or type in a number

On February 5, 2017, Carolin_Oldenbuettel commented on Winner: Venmo – the next generation checking account :

Hey, thanks for your answer! I like your idea of providing data analytics to merchants using the social media feed – that’s definitely a potential additional revenue stream!

Yes, I think Venmo would have survived even as a standalone company. Sure, that’s a mere assumption and I can’t prove the counterfactual of the acquisition by PayPal, but Amazon was unprofitable 1995-2002, 2012 and 2014, and still attracted masses of investors because their expenses were seen as investments in LT growth. Twitter has burned $2bn since launching a decade ago, and investors’ pressure today seems to have less to do with anxiety whether or not the company can earn money now and more with its prospects to grow its user base continuously in the future. I think Venmo’s growth rates would enable them to raise sufficient funding as an independent company.