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Really interesting to hear how sophisticated Caesars is! I wonder if the customer segmentation is too granular. 90 customer segments seems like a lot to handle, even for a 200 person team. It will definitely be interesting to see how this all shakes out in the restructuring.

On November 22, 2015, David commented on The $1 Billion Agritech Company :

Really interesting post! I can’t blame the CEO’s dad for his Monsanto reaction. They certainly do have a terrible reputation, even if you know next to nothing about farming. I would certainly have a tough time keeping the same motivation I had to help farmers after hearing who the acquirer was. I’m definitely interested to see what they end up using the technology for and how they work with farmers. I wonder if they can figure out a way to reduce water usage, particularly in California and other drought-prone areas.

On November 22, 2015, David commented on SeatGeek – Creating Price Transparency in the Ticket Market :

Really interesting article and company! I never thought of how much more complicated it is with that type of ticket given the added dimension of seat quality. I feel like having the confidence of knowing you’re getting a good deal (or at least not getting a bad deal) would be very helpful as a consumer. It will definitely be interesting to see how large players in the market like Ticketmaster and StubHub will respond as they increase their share and begin serving customers directly.

On November 1, 2015, David commented on FOOD52 Makes Every Food Enthusiast Feel like Emeril :

Really cool article! This is definitely an interesting model. I wonder if the ingredient delivery companies like Blue Apron and Plated could utilize something like this for their community. I could see a Threadless-like approach where the top rated recipes are added to the week’s menu and some sort of reward is given to the person who created it. It could be a cool way to source new recipes and get their users involved in more of a community setting. Additionally, I would imagine something like the HotLine could be really valuable to Blue Apron, Plated, etc. and would be even easier to manage given that there are only a few recipes a week that people would need help on.

Wow! I had no idea they were using our “free labor” in that way. That’s really interesting! It’s somewhat more of a real-time need, but I wonder if something like that could be used for creating closed-captions for video/audio clips. Granted, it was a couple of years ago, but the last time I worked on something requiring closed captions, I remember the solutions were slow, expensive, inaccurate, or some combination. I wonder if this could be a cheaper and more effective way of creating those captions.

Really interesting insights! Very cool to see the data on review ranges. I have had a similar suspicion but never took the time to prove it.

Your suggestion on how to give people personalized recommendations is more or less what Foursquare has been trying to do. I think, in theory, it makes a ton of sense. I’m not sure whether it was the Swarm debacle, or something else that has kept Foursquare from growing with this approach, but it doesn’t seem to have caught on in a big way.

One thing I think would be really helpful would be a way to see ratings and sort reviews by who is local vs. a visitor, much like you can filter to elite Yelpers. It’s really hard to figure out, especially in tourist-heavy areas, whether you’re getting the best version of something in a city, or just the most well-known by tourists. I’d take a review into account much more heavily if it came from a local and/or someone who has reviewed a number of similar restaurants before.

On October 4, 2015, David commented on GrubHub: Seamlessly Taking Over Delivery? :

Really interesting and hard to see how a clear winner could emerge in as crowded and fragmented a space as food delivery. It seems like the bargaining power for restaurants has historically been low, allowing GrubHub/Seamless to charge high rates and lock vendors into exclusive contracts. I wonder how that will change with the increasing number of players entering the space and ability for customers to multi-home easily.

On October 4, 2015, David commented on EdX – learning for anyone, anytime, anywhere :

This seems like a really interesting case where the network effect is limited by external factors such as universities accepting course completion for credit. Like you mentioned, now that the recognition stumbling block is starting to erode, we might see even more courses posted for credit which could lead to students taking and completing more classes. Having universities accept only a portion of courses could also help correct for the uneven quality issue you highlight.

Really interesting! I wonder if ClassPass will run into some of the same issues Groupon, LivingSocial, etc. saw with vendors seeing an increase in subsidized offerings but little corresponding increases in the same products at full-price. Given how my friends used it this summer, it was definitely a substitute for gym membership rather than the lead-source most of the gyms were likely hoping for.

On September 13, 2015, David commented on Waze: Redefining Carpooling :

RideWith sounds really interesting! I was thinking of ways to do something similar a few years ago after learning about “slugging” in the DC area. In order to take advantage of HOV lanes with significantly less traffic into and out of DC, commuters will travel to designated “slug” stops where motorists will pick them up and take them to predefined destinations downtown. In the evenings, commuters line back up at designated spots downtown and are dropped off again at their starting points in the suburbs.

I’m glad to see that someone is trying to make something that there is clearly a demand for easier to manage. I am curious to see if, what seems like, a paid service like RideWith can compete with the free “slug” option in DC. Either way, I’m sure there’s a place for it in other, less established, carpooling areas.

On September 13, 2015, David commented on Slack, a Digital Open Office :

I definitely think, for interoffice communication, Slack can easily take over 95% of traditional email communication and relatively easily consume the rest. Aside from forwarding a few emails from external partners and customers that we could have channeled through Slack with an extra few clicks, all messaging and email within the office dropped off completely (to my knowledge) after a few days of introducing Slack. The only other email I sent to the team for the rest of the summer was my “thanks and keep in touch” email on my last day, and I sent that from my personal email.

It seems like publishers are also looking for additional digital content and avenues into other parts of the education environment outside of e-books. In the lecture capture market, specifically, there have been several partnerships and acquisitions, with Cengage partnering with Echo360, Macmillan partnering with Panopto, and McGraw-Hill acquiring Tegrity. I’m guessing we’ll see more similar moves in other education segments as publishers attempt to maintain relevance and market-share.

On September 13, 2015, David commented on Instacart + Whole Foods Market = Digital #Winner :

I love Instacart and used it often to save time and effort getting to the store and stay warm in our lovely Boston winter last year. I wonder if the Instacart search results take into account slotting fees paid by food or goods producers to grocery stores. Given that it’s where, I believe, most stores make the majority of their profits, adjusting those results and sharing in those fees (or charging producers their own fees) could be an interesting revenue source for Instacart, if they are not already doing so.