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This is a really interesting use and unique way of using consumer purchase data. Aside from the privacy risks mentioned, I think this has huge potential for people who are unlikely to go to the doctor as frequently as they should for check-ups etc. Lots of people dread going and believe they only need to go when they are sick, but there are lots of benefits of catching things early – including future expenses. I think this technology could be very useful for this cohort of people who aren’t going to the doctors office. One concern could be that consumers who currently do see their doctor view a tool like this as an alternative. It will be really interesting to see how this gets implemented!

I grew up in LA and given the crazy amount of traffic there, I’ll glad to hear they are investing in this pilot! The results seem promising that using this price data an drive change in consumer behavior. I was initially skeptical that raising the prices would actual cause consumers to behave differently because parking is generally very cheap in LA, so I’m not sure how much more expensive they could go above $3 before people finding it unfair. I think the real benefit here would be if parking becomes more expensive, people might choose to rely on public transportation which would be a good thing for both congestion and the environment. Excited to see what comes of this pilot!

On November 24, 2015, DB commented on A/B Testing for All! :

Optimizely is such a cool company and I love that they launched personalization. Since there are so many A|B testing options in the market, its a good step for them to differentiate from competitors. Personalization is what really improves the user experience and people are started to expect much more from their mobile experience, so the fact that Optimizely does this for desktop and mobile is key.

On November 1, 2015, DB commented on Wikipedia, the Father of Crowdsourcing :

I agree that the quality control is the most important factor for Wikipedia. While I think overall the community approach does a good job to correct facts, I wonder how much personal opinion gets missed. Additionally being online based allows for longer entries (compared to the limitations experienced by traditional encyclopedias). I’m curious if the increased text makes quality control harder especially for less popular topics that might not be read in detail. It seems like there could be a way to supplement the crowdsource model with some innovation in quality assurance with the $36 million they have because getting more contributors overall is important, so is getting a higher contributors per post rate. They could assign additional contributors to pages that have low contributors per post rates to try to improve the quality of the site overall.

On November 1, 2015, DB commented on TripAdvisor and the crowds :

Its really interesting to think about the difference between TripAdvisor and other crowdsourcing companies that rely on user generated content. When considering Wikipedia for example, you can verify that the facts are true by checking footnotes or having the community help monitor. With reviews, its a personal opinion, which becomes much harder to verify. The system they have in place and the data you mentioned put them in a better position to ensure the quality and integrity of the reviews, however it still can be an issue.

Especially given their new revenue model to allow booking through their website. One of the main reasons they were so trusted was that they weren’t in any sort of relationship with the hotels. I’m curious to see how these new partnerships will impact the public perception around the integrity of the reviews, if at all.

This is such a cool idea! I love that they have the potential to target both consumers and businesses, which makes the potential to scale much higher. The one thing that I worry about is crowd participation. You mentioned that 50% of hunts are solved within 24 hours. What percentage are solved ever? Its probably likely that if it isn’t solved in the first 24 hours, the chances of it being solved goes down. So if you end up with only 50 – 60% of total solved, then will that be enough incentive for people to continue to use it? Maybe because its better than having a 0% chance of finding the item, but it would be great if they could innovate to try to increase the solved rate. Maybe by create some technology that can sort through images and try to match your items.

Very interesting app! I love golf, so I’ll have to download it. I especially think creating network effects through friends and competition is a good way to help increase incentives for word of mouth.

To a certain extent this manual user mapping reminds me of Google Maps beginnings and how the value of the platform continued to grow as more and more users downloaded the app since it improved the accuracy. I wonder how accurate the distance estimation is though. For example, since golf courses generally relocate the position of the hole on the green, is there any impact on the technology’s accuracy?

On October 5, 2015, DB commented on LevelUp: A Rewarding Network $$ :

Love LevelUp! Its been interesting to track their recent attempt to scale the merchant side of the network. They now allow consumers to pay via the LevelUp app at any merchant that offers online ordering, regardless of whether the merchant actually has the payments system set up. The way they can do this is by completing the online order for the users, so that the order is already paid for through the LevelUp app when consumers pick up the food. This has allowed them to significantly scale on the merchant side and I believe the data collected through such transactions will act as a selling point for the LevelUp sales team to convert these online order merchants. LevelUp can show them that users want to use LevelUp payments and if they can share data proving the benefits for the merchants (high user loyalty etc), then maybe they are better equipped to convince merchants to install the payment system in stores.

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

I love the idea of businesses allowing consumers to monetize their underutilized assets. We have seen this with in many other industries and most recently with VillageLuxe, attempting a similar model with renting high-end fashion clothing in between wears. Its interesting to consider how consumer behavior plays into the network effects for these type of models. Consumers are used to relying on rental cars and now zipcar, so using a service like RelayRides requires a change in user behavior. Changing consumer behavior is hard to do and adds a level of complexity to the already challenging task of scaling the userbase. It will be interesting to follow RelayRides and see if they can make this business model successful!

On September 13, 2015, DB commented on eSalon: Even Hair Has Gone Digital :

I hadn’t heard much about eSalon before but it sounds interesting. I wonder how their partnership with Priv will impact their trajectory. I think that going into the on-demand space makes complete sense for eSalon, but wonder if Priv is the right partner. Priv competitors such as GlamApp and Glamsquad focus mainly on hair, while Priv focuses on a wide range of services from hair to yoga and massages. While this allows them to cover a larger target market, it also gives them a reputation of spreading themselves too thin and not being particularly good at any service. They are often referred to as being the lower quality version of hair services when compared to their competitors and I wonder how this will impact eSalon. It certainly gives Priv a way to differentiate itself and hopefully will help both companies expand, but I look forward to seeing how far each company can take this and what the impact of their partnership will be.

On September 13, 2015, DB commented on Does Best Buy live up to it’s name? :

Its interesting to consider the impact that showrooming at Best Buy has on Amazon sales. Would Amazon electronic sales suffer if Best Buy ceased to exist and consumers were unable to experience the products in person to decide which ones they liked? It seems like if Amazon continues to have no physical presence that it would be in everyone’s best interest–Amazon, Best Buy, consumers, and electronic manufacturer–to figure out a way to allow Best Buy and Amazon to coexist. Best Buy also has an opportunity to diversify its revenues by charging manufacturers for prime retail space within the physical store. This model is similar to what grocery stores do and has been successful for Best Buy to date. While I agree that Best Buy needs to re-think their business and try to adapt with consumer preferences of showrooming then purchasing online, I also agree with Erika that it might not be too late.

I completely agree that MINDBODY has created value for businesses, however they haven’t taken steps to focus on the customer experience for people signing up for the classes. Every workout class you signup for at different studios, you have to logout and login to a different business instead of being able to allow for universal login across all MINDBODY studios. Its interesting to see the path companies take when they have two sided marketplaces–in this case the studios and the consumers taking the classes. MINDBODY has chosen to focus on providing value for businesses at least in the short-term. They have built a huge client base and these clients have no choose but to use their platform if they want to sign up for classes online, so MINDBODY may not see an immediate need to improve the UX for them. I’ll be interested to see if and when they decide to take that step because it leaves a void where another company could come in and disrupt.