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On November 22, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on HypeMachine: Using Data and Aggregation to Surface The Next #1 Song :

Great post Jeff. I agree that HypeMachine has not been performing that well lately compared to platforms such as Spotify, in your post you attribute this to marketing pushes from other streaming platforms; however, might the content on HypeMachine be too niche? Perhaps this might wind up being the site for the music fanatic, the hyper-user, rather than just the casual everyday listener. Even from just a UI perspective, I find the app difficult to navigate. I can find what’s new, what’s popular, different genres and a blog directory, but I feel like I can’t find what I like. For example, if I look at genres, I don’t know what Lo-Fi, Ambient, Dub-Step, Beats or Dreampop are to name a few. How do I find out what music is music I’d like? I think from this point of view the site could really benefit for more Spotify-like discovery mechanisms.

On November 22, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on Birchbox: using data for personalized discovery :

We recently had a BirchBox case in Entrepreneurial Finance, and I must say I’ve been thinking a lot about the company since the case. After reading your post, it is clear to me how consumers benefit from data, but I’d be curious to hear more about what type of data the company’s request from BirchBox. I assume they want to know at the very baseline what people are buying, but do they only get data as it relates to their brand? Do they receive site trend data overall? What data do they find most valuable? Do they get this type of data from other retail partners?

It is interesting to see how the SAP Hana platform keeps being integrated into sports teams. This post definitely reminded me of the TSG Hoffenheim case, in which SAP Hana was used to manage players and engage fans. It appears SAP also is the partner of choice for the NBA and the German Football Association. Clearly these sports teams see the value in data and analytics, and the potential competitive edge that comes with having access to such data. In this post’s case, I see that SAP has lead to more engagement, but I’d be curious how this engagement actually translates into monetization. Does this investment pay for itself?

I agree that Lay’s did a wonderful job engaging consumers, especially millennial consumers through this campaign and more specifically with the social media efforts associated with this campaign. That said, I’m very interested to see if this increased consumer engagement actually translates to sales. I just commented on a similar crowdsourcing product post on Budweiser Black Crown, and despite involving customers in deciding the company’s next flavor, the actual product hasn’t performed as well as hoped. While it’s still early days for these new flavors, I’d be curious to see how they perform…

On October 30, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on Anheuser-Busch: Innovating Beer Through Crowd Sourcing :

I agree that this is an interesting initiative. Especially peculiar that the AB-InBev didn’t have to monetarily incentivize the brewers or the testers. Similar competitions, such as the “Lays Do Us a Flavor” campaign, in which customers submit ideas for the next Lays chip, offered a $1mm prize to the winner. It’s possible that craft beer is such a passion for certain people that they chose to participate. I wonder if such a strategy would incentivize participation for other projects. Furthermore, is this even the best way to create new projects? It seems that Crown hasn’t been doing very well, and that the copmany hasn’t really focused on it since 2013.

While I agree that YouTube is most definitely a game changer for democratizing the video creation process for actors, producers, etc., I fundamentally disagree that a clip of a cats or a child on drugs is as entertaining as a full feature film or TV show. These 2 minute clips are a completely different way of consuming, and I’d argue are not “instead of” content, but rather “in addition to”.

Furthermore, YouTube has failed to find a path to profitability thus far. In fact their bottom line has been stated to be “roughly break-even”, as the site struggles to extend its reach beyond “teens and tweens” (http://www.wsj.com/articles/viewers-dont-add-up-to-profit-for-youtube-1424897967). I wonder if YouTube Red or Originals will help alter this trajectory…

On October 5, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on Tinder: The dark side of network effects :

I agree that dating apps have network effects; however, because multi-homing is so high (if we look at people as app developers, and their ability to go onto other sites as their ability to develop on other platforms), it is difficult for apps to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Furthermore, in spite of having high network effects, it has been incredibly difficult for the Tinder and Hinges of the world to become profitable. Of the 1.6bn Tinder subscribers, only 260k are paying for the service, and Hinge doesn’t even have a premium tier yet. I understand the freemium model, and trying to get users on your platform before you start to charge them – but with so many freemium substitutes coming available everyday (Bumble, Happn, The League, Align, How About We to name a few), I don’t know that these businesses will ever turn a profit.

On October 5, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on Apple Pay: Living up to the Hype? :

I consulted for a mobile payments start-up for 2 years. We quickly learned that changing consumer behavior is hard especially when you have a product that requires a couple components to be in place to work. First and foremost, you need an NFC enabled payments terminal. Currently only ~50% of terminals are NFC enabled. Thus, even if a consumer manages to adopt the behavior to use their phone to pay – sometimes they simply can’t which is a deterrent to adoption. Beyond this, your phone has to be NFC enabled. The iPhone 6 was the first phone Apple made with NFC. In all honesty, I think that most consumers just have no idea that their phone has this functionality. You’d be amazed how I’ve stunned friends and family members using my Apple Pay in a taxi cab or at the drug store. As NFC technology becomes more pervasive (70% of terminals are supposed to enabled by 2017), I think we will start to see much more widespread adoption of Apple Pay.

Source: Computer World

On October 5, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on YouTube 1, everyone else 0 :

I don’t know that I agree that YouTube has won the game here. Yes, it is the most popular sharing site, but what does that really mean at this point? The media ecosystem at large is going through a major era of change. I would argue that “winning” would entail gaining a substantial share of the $485bn worldwide TV and film industry. YouTube’s revenues are estimated to be ~$4bn, a meager 5.8% of what leading cable provider Comcast brought in in revenue in 2014. Furthermore, the company is believed to only be breaking even. If we’re going to say that YouTube has “won”, shouldn’t they be doing a bit more than just breaking even? I agree that the company does exhibit network effects. However, they haven’t translated into meaningful dollars for the company.

Sources: PWC Global Media Outlook, Business Insider

On September 14, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on How Little Roku Dethroned the Big Apple… But Can They Stay On Top? :

I honestly don’t think it’s that Roku has had a better product here or surpassed Apple in any way, I think their market position comes down to one simple element – price. Roku boxes have historically averaged ~$49.99, whereas the AppleTV has historically averaged $99. Furthermore, we saw huge success with the Google Chromecast Dongle, but again, I think this was due to price – only $35 for a Chromecast Dongle. That said, in March of 2015, we saw Apply drop the price of the AppleTV to $69. While it’s still a far cry from $35, at the end of the day, Apple still is Apple, and I think this has the potential to increase sales.

On September 14, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on Strivr: Revolutionizing Sports from Behind-the-Scenes :

Ah, the promise of virtual reality. I worked at a growth equity fund that invests in media companies this summer – and it seems that the industry more broadly is definitely sipping the VR Cool Aid. And I agree – the technology is pretty cool. That said, there are still a lot of issues with, I’ll focus on one in particular. It is incredibly difficult to film in 360* well. Often times filming poorly or incorrectly leads to footage that is nearly impossible to watch as it simply makes the user sick. How does Strivr expect to capture these plays 360*? Will they hire a new entire film crew to operate these cameras at all points in the game? If so, won’t they need more than one camera? Won’t this costs millions to teams that already face budget constraints? I like Strivr’s premise in theory, I wonder if they will be able to execute in an economically feasible way.

On September 14, 2015, DIGIT Girl commented on Vox Media: Journalism is commoditized, technology is not :

That’s very interesting that Chorus is embedded in Vox’s DNA and that they are using technology to differentiate themselves. However, I don’t think that this necessarily ensures that they will have a sustainable competitive advantage. I liken this a bit to the Multichannel Networks (MCNs) on Youtube. For example, for Fullscreen, Maker or BroadbandTV, one of the allures for content to join these larger umbrella organizations is to increase monetization through advertising across their networks. However, companies like ZEFR are coming in and providing wider reach beyond just their own content, but also to additional content that similar viewers might watch. What is to stop publishing aggregators to come in and provide highly targeted advertising solutions that extend far beyond Vox’s properties? Wouldn’t this hinder much of what they thought they could capture in advertising revenue?