Elizabeth H

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On November 27, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on GLG: Crowdsourcing Expertise :

Very interesting question of whether or not GLG is more like crowdsourcing or consulting. I agree that it can behave like crowdsourcing, but most frequently is used for more consulting-like needs. In the past, I have found GLG to be most helpful when looking for very obscure insights in very niche industries. Often, this means that there is only 1, maybe 2, experts that qualify. So, that 1 expert becomes more like a consultant more because of the lack of a crowd than anything else.

On November 27, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on CrowdSourcing The Constitution? Iceland Attempted Just That :

Very interesting! This example begs the question for me of whether or not crowdsourcing is the best way to approach large, fundamental issues of any institution. I would imagine after this process that the people of Iceland would have felt somewhat disheartened that their constitution wasn’t actually being passed and that their voices weren’t actually being heard. I wonder if the better approach here would have been to select a specific issue to which politicians had a specific question, and crowdsource answers from the citizens for that.

On November 27, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Blue M&Ms: Using Crowdsourcing to Re-invigorate a Brand :

Love this story – I remember when Mars did this! I’d be interested to know how, if at all, Mars maintained the buzz and interest around the M&Ms brand after this contest. It seems like a fantastic was to reinvigorate the brand and consumer interest in the short term, but inevitable, people forget about the campaign, forget about how the blue M&M ended up in their package, and move on to the next interesting topic. Would love to hear more about how a crowd sourcing contest like this fits into a longer term strategy.

On November 23, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Stitch Fix: Mastering Personalization Through Data Science :

What I think is so interesting about the Stitch Fix model is how they blend the data and algorithms with a personal touch. No customer wants to feel like a mathematical equation has picked out clothing for them, and an algorithm in and of itself doesn’t create a very sticky customer relationship. What I think is so valuable about Stitch Fix is that the company initially uses an algorithm (that’s based on a combination of stated preferences in the style profile with derived importance of what a client has kept from previous boxes — and learns over time), but then relies heavily on a remote group of stylists to actually curate a box. Once a client requests a “Fix”, the stylist receives the profile with a large list of algorithm-selected merchandise from which the stylist selects 5 items. The system acknowledges that algorithms may not be able to deliver a full CVP, and a human touch is sometimes still necessary.

Love this post! I agree with Jenny’s comment about the metrics. Part of what I see as being broken in many education systems is the over-reliance on metrics (such as test scores) to indicate success or failure. In reality, these test scores may not be the right was to measure success and may be giving perverse incentives. I wonder how the new metrics that these schools use will be received by high schools and higher education systems. While the new metrics likely have more value than the current common metrics, schools tend to be entrenched in current ways of working, so I wonder how high schools, for example, would react and accept students who aren’t measured by the “normal” metrics. Without doubt, there should be a solution, but this could present an implementation and scaling challenge in the future.

On November 23, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Zopaf: Stop Leaving Money on the Negotiating Table :

Really interesting post! What I wonder about with this technology is track record and accuracy. I feel like, especially as the company moves away from job negotiations and toward other types of negotiations, that it can be incredibly difficult to model irrational human behavior. So much of individuals’ moves in a negotiation can be irrational and stemming from emotions, so I’m quite curious how the technology will accurately be able to predict human, emotional reactions

On October 26, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on How the Crowd Saved LEGO :

I love how Lego is harnessing the creativity of its fan base! In looking through several of the ideas on the website, the vast majority of them consist only of photos and a brief description. I wonder if there is an opportunity to leverage the crowd even further by enabling the fans to write instructions for how to build their ideas. For instance, one of the ideas was a very complex “Rock City Festival” which depicted a performer on a stage, complete with lights, speakers, etc. If I was a loyal Lego fan who wanted to build this, I would have no idea where to start. The next step here for ideas that aren’t selected to go into mass production could be to allow users to write instructions for their ideas to enable other loyal fans to engage with the brand more frequently and on a deeper level.

On October 5, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Rue La La is declining in ooh la la :

Interesting take and great post! While overall I tend to agree with you that the “hay day” of flash sales that came out of the Great Recession may in fact be over, I do think there are some market trends that could swing in Rue La La’s favor. If you look at the growth in the more “traditional” off price channels (let’s take Nordstrom Rack as an example), the massive growth in their store count is less driven by taking more of the designer merchandise that doesn’t sell, they are actually moving to a model where buyers are placing buys and designing brands specifically for Nordstrom Rack, just like a buyer would place buys for Nordstrom. It makes sense that “made for” and “bought for” products would start to have increasing penetration in the assortment because Nordstrom full line stores simply do not have enough clearance product to fill all of the new Nordstrom Rack stores that are opening. So, in fact, Nordstrom Rack stores start to look a lot more like lower-tier, lower-priced traditional retail stores with only a bit of clearance.

This trend, I think, ends up helping players like Rue La La. It becomes harder for shoppers to find great designer buys at a lower price when shopping at Nordstrom Rack because so much of the merchandise leans towards made for and bought for product. The Rue La La’s of the world, suddenly start to become the more accessible and more predictable channel to get true designer merchandise at a lower price.

On October 5, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Handy: Turning Product Into Platform :

Great post! I’m a handy user myself and while I do like the service, I find their quality to vary heavily from contractor to contractor – I’ve had some great cleanings and some that left something to be desired. My take, in part, is that some of this is driven by what you mentioned about how Handy structures their employment agreements as contract, rather than actual employees.

While Handy can provide suggestions for cleaning tactics, quality standards, etc., the company legally is limited in what standardization practices it can hold contractors to since they are not actual employees. While at a small scale, this may not be an issue, it does become an issue when Handy reaches a larger scale where monitoring quality becomes extremely difficult. They’ll likely have some customers who find a good cleaner and stay with him/her for the duration (providing there is no disintermediation); however, should a new client have a poor experience early on, customer lock-in may prove difficult. I’ll be interested to see how they tackle the labor issues, especially as new entrants begin to eye the market.

On October 5, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on CoachUp: Developing Athletes of Tomorrow :

Interesting company! While reading your post, my mind immediate went to what you addressed in your final paragraph around retention and defensibility. What keeps coaches and players on the platform when they can easily meet off the platform and avoid transaction fees. Without the proper barriers in place, CoachUp starts to feel like more of a dating site to find the best coach for you and then participants move off the platform when they’ve found their “match.” If this ends up being the trend, I think the platform still has immense value, but they may have to restructure the fees and revenue model in order to capture as much revenue as possible up front. Or, I could also see a world where CoachUp become a place where players can come for very specialized coaches (e.g., someone highly skilled in teaching the tennis serve) – a service that may be more likely to have an end time period (and thus eliminating some risk of going off platform) and would also encourage players to come back to find a new coach for their next specific issue (e.g., tennis backhand).

On September 14, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Barnes & Noble: Playing the Digital Game All Wrong :

Very thought provoking! I also think it’s interesting to take a look at what Barnes and Noble has (or hasn’t) done in digital innovation since the failure of the Nook. As far as I’m aware, the company hasn’t done much to significantly push the digital needle forward and is being further eclipsed by superior digital players like Amazon. Barnes and Noble’s failure to really even test in the digital space is concerning and makes me wonder about the long term sustainability of the company.

On September 13, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on Glossier – Disrupting the Old Man’s Beauty Industry :

Great post! I LOVE the idea of pre-launching on instagram to get customer feedback! Not only is it much more economical than using focus groups, for instance, but Emily is also developing customer loyalty along the way. Undoubtedly, customers who participated in her Instagram campaign feel an almost irrational or emotion sense of connectivity to the products as if they themselves designed them. I’d love to see numbers on repeat purchasers and customer loyalty she has after the line has been out for a while!

On September 13, 2015, Elizabeth H commented on USPS: Nothing more than a stamp designer? :

Great post, thanks for sharing! I also find it interesting to think about how the USPS’s role as a government-related agency has helped or hurt its ability to innovate. Although not a formal government entity (and therefore not receiving any tax dollars), the USPS does have exclusivity over 1st and 3rd class mail from the government, like you mentioned. This gives them a monopoly in that space; however, as digital trends move away from traditional mail, the monopoly stops being meaningful. Then, on the other hand, it’s restricted in ways that it can use it’s large amounts of data to innovate. Because the USPS is connected to the US government, it faces limitations on how it can use it’s data, and therefore isn’t able to innovate on the targeted ads/marketing side of it’s direct mail business. It’s also required to provide service to all Americans, when in reality, it may not make economic sense to serve some customers. What initially started as a helpful monopoly has since turned, in my opinion, into a significant disadvantage.