Dan Sawyer's Profile
Really interesting concept! To me, this seems to fit better as an addition to Mint than as an independent company. Using the analytics tools, it seems that Mint could do much more than cancel subscriptions. They have tried to create data mining tools that look for large payments or unusual transactions, but if the analytics could expand into automated budgeting and financial management, I think there would be a lot more value. Ironically, it seems like something they might be able to charge a monthly fee for if done right.
The problem of creating credit scores for “thin file” and other non-scoreable individuals is definitely a big problem. I don’t know that I’m fully convinced that social media mining will provide much help, but FICO recently rolled out FICO XD in partnership with Lexis Nexus and one of the credit bureaus to try to tackle the “thin file” through partnerships that allows for tracking of utility bill payments, rent payments and other closer indicators of payment history. It will be interesting to see what type of score ends up gaining traction with the banks, who will ultimately decide what to fund.
Very interesting post! Zillow is in a very tricky spot – all of their listings are also held by others (most importantly MLS which is controlled by the brokerage community I believe) and consumers have no willingness to pay. It seems like Zillow may need to figure out some way to create more proprietary data and possibly monetize through the mortgage / lender market or elsewhere. At this point, its hard to tell whether Zillow makes more sense as a standalone business or better served under the umbrella of Google or another firm that could push through value with advertisements.
Nice post! It seems Steam has done a great job of acting as the Amazon of PC games (especially many previously only available by CD at this point). Any thoughts on the news that Amazon’s Twitch will start providing something similar? Are there ways that Steam can invest in developers or change royalties to avoid disruption? Any thoughts on if/how this would translate to mobile?
Really interesting post! Do you think the shift from consumer to institutional was a positive move? I do worry that another LendingClub-style institutional withdrawal could derail the model much faster than if the lenders were retail consumers. Also, any thoughts on working with LendingTree and Mint or others to promote their business to potential borrowers? It does seem that this has helped all of the P2P lenders to acquire more customers at lower cost, but has also created more transparency on pricing which could hurt long term. It will be interesting to see where this industry goes!
Great post! For many years it seemed the Uber would become the only remaining ride-share company given the clear network effects. With the challenges in China (Didi) and persistence of Lyft and others, that assumption has been called into question. Additionally, the model has still struggled to show growth in areas without significant density. It seems that eventually Uber will prevail, but questions around labor disputes and Uber’s profit model may limit the overall amount of value created. Any thoughts on the additional services that Uber is looking to layer on top of the ride-matching software?
Great post! It seems clear that Slack has found itself deeply embedded in small enterprises seeking to improve efficiency. Presumably the benefit for larger customers would be even greater given the exponentially larger amount of potential conversations. Are there any concerns around security and privacy in this product? Is there any way to create network effects between companies rather than just within the firms? Combined with other software offerings this could be very powerful – makes sense that Microsoft would want to get involved.
Many of the large publishing houses (Penguin Random House included) have started to use digital distribution channels like OverDrive which offer a way to sell digital copies for prices significantly higher than traditional print ($50+) with almost no marginal cost. Has Penguin taken steps to bring these capabilities in house or will these partners start to control more of the channel? It seems like if the publishers can become digital curators they can survive despite the fact that book prices will likely continue to fall.