Clay W

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I’m a big fan of Hype Machine – have been using it for years to discover new music. I think it’s a great example of crowdsourced to surface things that otherwise might not be visible – in this case up and coming music. It’s sad to see that Hype’s traffic has fallen lately though I can understand why since Spotify offers more of a one stop shop for music listening and discovery. The thing that gives me hope is that Hype Machine seems like a very lean operation and shouldn’t have major operating expenses, so hopefully they’ll continue to run and keep on serving up new hits.

On November 23, 2015, Clay W commented on Big Data Takes Flight at Delta Air Lines :

Love the AV post. It’s interesting to think about how Delta is more than just an airline – there are diners clubs and rental car partnerships and credit cards. This reach certainly gives them more power to do highly personalized and targeted promotions. Until reading your post, I didn’t consider how spending on an airline credit card might result in promotions to spend more on Delta airlines. Very cool (and a little creepy)

On November 23, 2015, Clay W commented on Target Using Predictive Analytics to Increase Value Capture :

Such a fascinating story – I totally missed it when this story came out. This is a such an impressive use of massive amounts of data and separating the signal from the noise to find true patterns It’d be interested to know how Target found, and confirmed, these 25 predictors? Were they looking to predict pregnancy (I imagine pregnant customers have a high customer lifetime value)? It’s one thing to have the hypothesis, I wonder how they were able to confirm that they were right.

Great example Noah. I always thought this was such a brilliant move on Netflix’s part to improve their product. However, I think this is an example where casting a wide, crowd-sourced net can create some unintended consequences. Apparently the initial contest caused some privacy concerns that resulted in a class action lawsuit and the cancelation of the second contest ( Additionally, my understanding is that not all of the contest innovations were used because of the engineering costs associated with implementation (

On November 1, 2015, Clay W commented on White House Petitions: “We the People” gone wrong :

I think this is a great example of engaging with crowds, though I have a different conclusion in that is has been somewhat successful in terms of of civic engagement. Yes, Colbert and Reddit can game the system, and they have. But I don’t think this is particularly costly for the govn’t. The media attention has raised awareness of We The People overall and people have been able to submit sincere petitions that resulted in a legitimate response from the administration. While it may not result in legislative changes, the constituents who submitted the petition are more engaged and feel heard. And writing a cheeky response (as the White House did with the Death Star proposoal) got plenty of positive media coverage — it earned the Office of Science and Technology Policy some nerdy street cred and demonstrated that they can take a joke and aren’t taking themselves too seriously. Thanks for the provocative post!

On November 1, 2015, Clay W commented on Local Motors is crowd sourcing your next car :

Great post – Local Motors is really interesting. It seems to have created a platform to bring together a community of enthusiasts and it has been harnessed for specific needs (ie the DARPA challenge). I wonder if this is the niche they intend to fill or if the founders truly think there is a possibility of creating a consumer ready vehicle – will regular consumers trust a 3D printed car?

On October 5, 2015, Clay W commented on Shut out: Can Meerkat win the mobile live streaming war? :

Great post and a great example of the perils of being dependent on a single platform. This isn’t the first time that Twitter has made their own version of a 3rd party product and cut off the original product after the launch. After Twitter created mobile apps that could upload photos, TwitPic no long served a purpose. And Twitter threatened to cut off access to the API. Ultimately TwitPic “reached an agreement” with Twitter and basically shut down.

I wonder what Meerkat could have done to protect themselves? Perhaps try to multi-home and also post to Facebook as well?

On October 5, 2015, Clay W commented on Just Venmo me. :

Whoa! That’s really interesting. I had always heard/thought that Venmo made their money based on interest.

On October 5, 2015, Clay W commented on Just Venmo me. :

Terrific example of the value of direct network effects. It’s just such a deal breaker when a friend doesn’t use Venmo. I worked in London this summer and Venmo hasn’t launched there. It led to a lot of painful happy hours. I find Venmo’s social features amusing – it makes the process of parting with my money slightly more pleasant, but I wonder if any increased value can be unlocked from these interactions. I suppose I could see a scenario where ads are inserted into this feed – proactively pushing bars and restaurants that might give each user a venmo credit or discount if they head to their restaurant, but otherwise my imagination fails me. I think the next step for Venmo would be to integrate their payment systems with vendors and POS devices. It would be incredible to pay a bill via Venmo – and for each person to chip in their amount at a restaurant until a bill is paid. For now I’ll keep sending emoji payments to my friends.

On October 5, 2015, Clay W commented on RelayRides – The New Era of Car Sharing Economy :

Great post! RelayRides seems like a good alternative to ZipCar — it starts so cheap but I’m always frustrated by the final price tag. There are so many under-utilized vehicles that sit in driveways and in parking garages and this puts them to use. It’s too bad that RelayRides isn’t still focusing on the peer-to-peer carsharing. Shifting over to airport rentals seems to be an indicator that they aren’t able to compete head to head with Zipcar. I agree with you that they exhibit network effects, but I bet other factors are holding them back. As we discussed in class today, quality seems like a major issue here. It seems like a high friction transaction between renter and rentee with the onus on the two parties to meet and exchange keys. If they could somehow automate this process, ala Zipcar, I think this could really take off.

This carry-on sounds awesome. The peace of mind that you won’t lose your bag (or that you can find it if you do lose it) seems extremely valuable. It’s a great point that there are many different systems we interact with when we travel (hotel, rental car, taxi, ATMs, etc). There are a ton of opportunities to make this more seamless – I wonder if this company will be the one to do it.

I’m a big fan of Zenefits. I’m curious to see how they’ll expand their HR offerings, and if so how they’ll capture value. It seems like once they get their foot in the door, they could offer additional ERM products that would compete with Oracle and Salesforce — however I’m not sure if a Zenefits style business model would work for these types of offerings. It will be interesting to see if their customers will be willing to pay additional products as add-on services — otherwise Zenefits might not be able to continue on its aggressive growth trajectory.

On September 13, 2015, Clay W commented on Fidor – Digital winner in the banking industry? :

Great post SJB. I’ve come across online only banks before but hadn’t heard of Fidor – and this is the first digital bank that seems to be innovating and taking advantage of the fact that it is online only. Other online banks just seem to replicate consumer banking while saving on costs. The full embrace of digital currencies seems like a no brainer – but I really like the creation of a community out of the customer base and turning them into value creators as well by empowering them as financial advisors. I wonder how much Fidor invests in tending this community to ensure that high quality, accurate information is disseminated. If the financial advice is little more than a free-for-all forum it probably wouldn’t be that helpful (and potentially could turn customers away), but a well-moderated system could definitely provide enhanced value.