Emilie Valentova

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On November 23, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on IBM Marketing Gets Tennis Moneyball Rolling :

Very Interesting post, Vlado!
I see a big monetization opportunity. Besides what was already suggested by Noam (selling to professional players) and Gonzalo (selling to clubs training amateurs), I would argue that there is a market for casual players. There have been so many wearables and gadgets designed for runners and bikers; these markets are now over-saturated. More people enjoy the tracking, comparing and sharing aspect of sports. Tennis can represent the next market to capture this need. I can imagine that a year or two down the road, an amateur player will be posting on Facebook messages such as “My backhand was 89% similar to Nadal today.” “I achieved my personal best in serving speed”.

On November 23, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Zara Leverages Data Analytics to Understand Consumer Tastes :

I truly enjoyed reading this post, Noam!
Zara is ahead of its peers in many aspects. You put it into a very nice perspective! I am wondering how Zara should approach the sales. To maximize profits, you obviously want to sell majority of goods for full price (and creating a “it may sell out feeling” is a great push factor). At the same time, today’s retail customers are so used to sales. When a new sale wave starts at Zara, the stores are crammed all day long. If Zara succeeds in making the production process very short and accurate, where will the discounted merchandise come from? Will Zara shorten / abandon the long weeks of low prices that happen several times a year? What is your opinion?

On November 23, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Dumb blonde no more: Barbie is getting smart with artificial intelligence :

Great points both on the legal side and the business side.
Regarding the price point, it seems to be within a range of the most wanted toys for Christmas 2014 (http://www.techtimes.com/articles/15707/20140916/christmas-shopping-2014-target-lists-30-toys-kids-want.htm), more on the upper side for kids below the age of 10. It would definitely be a premium toy with a limited reach for this Christmas, though this may be exactly what the authors wanted to do. The core fans will serve to improve the software (and may not mind some initial issues). The mass adoption will happen once the software is fixed (and the price point can be lowered).

On November 23, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Dumb blonde no more: Barbie is getting smart with artificial intelligence :

Thank you for your comment! I also immediately thought about the article “Software is eating the world”. I believe that as we have difficulties imagining our phones without interactive apps these days, our kids will one day not understand a value proposition of a “non-smart” Barbie.
I would recommend ToyTalk to keep the company ownership for the next 1-2 years as the expected value of their business is set to reach an exponential growth.

On November 23, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Pymetrics: Play Games, Get a Job :

Thank you for this post, Carina. It encouraged me to re-take the Pymetrics test that I did several months ago. Overall, I agree with the approach that certain skills can be measured. However, I am not sure to what degree this test is representative of true behavioral traits. Can an online balloon game in which you can gain or lose 5 imaginary cents correctly predict your risk-taking profile? The test results were inconsistent with reality for me. Also, my second concern is related to veracity. Since you can retake the tests several times and you are told what your potential employers are looking for, you can manipulate the outcome of the individual tests to fit the desired profile. What do you think?

On November 23, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Dumb blonde no more: Barbie is getting smart with artificial intelligence :

Thank you for your comment, Alexander!
Parents panicked already and created a petition on Campaign for Commercial-free Childhood portal earlier this year when the doll was presented (http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/action/hell-no-barbie-8-reasons-leave-hello-barbie-shelf). Mattel and ToyTalk decided not to react and launched the product. There are restrictions on how the data can be used (research and development and data analysis); they cannot be used for marketing purposes at all (e.g., Barbie cannot say “Hey, Mary, buy Ken, I feel alone here.”). Plus parents have to agree with the terms and conditions before the product is connected to the ToyTalk’s cloud. However, I believe that there is a grey zone and that this zone will become regulated over time. I would expect a strict point of view of the regulators.
Not all parents have such an antagonistic point of view, obviously. If you go to YouTube, there are many public videos of little kids trying to communicate with Siri (such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8zG_gGmfmo). ToyTalk is more private in the sense that the access to the database is limited to the parents (they can even delete specific comments by their kid) and the data analysts…
What do you think about this?

On November 22, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Dumb blonde no more: Barbie is getting smart with artificial intelligence :

Thank you for your comment! I definitely agree that parents resistence may prevent a quick mass adoption. At the same time, Barbie & ToyTalk has done substantial amount of work in this area already. Barbie’s answer to “Do you believe in God?” (“I think a person’s beliefs are very personal to them.”) is very thoughtful way to teach kids about tolerance.

Check out this New York Times’ article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/magazine/barbie-wants-to-get-to-know-your-child.html?_r=0

On November 2, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Is Crowdsourcing the Future Of Film? Not really :

Thank you all for the great comments, lots of food for thought!
Overall, I believe that the crowdsourcing and crowdfunding activities will continue, however, we will not see a sustainable business model emerging. Even if it is a basement movie, the cost will be high. I understand all the OTT / direct-to-consumer points – will we ever have a model that someone will be paying per view more than a movie theatre ticket or more than a monthly Netflix subscription? Even if the cost is just $1 million and we assume $10/person (going directly to the producer, not as in the case of movie theatres where it is between 50-90%), we would need 100,000 viewers just to break even. Will the niche movies get these supporters? You would have to spend extra money on advertising in order to reach these masses. Will Netflix buy your specialty movie? I doubt it given its mainstream focus. Do you have more business thoughts on this?

On November 1, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Beware of Ninja Turtles on 88th & 2nd :

Interesting blog post, thank you! Could they have implemented some sort of user feedback or user scoring system to prevent the slippery slope? Uber is trustworthy because of the working feedback loop. I can imagine that users with high rankings would be rewarded for an actual violence/mugging report (for example confirmed by the police). Alternatively, can the power of crowds “push out” the negative comments (as for example in the case of TripAdvisor – one individual can only cause certain harm)?

On November 1, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Wisdom of Crowds for Rare Diseases: CrowdMed :

I really like the blog post and the argument that healthcare is currently extremely individualistic. I believe there needs to be more digital interaction among physicians, especially for the rare diseases. This is where the wisdom of crowds pays off. What I would be worried about is to what degree “a great spokesperson” will win the diagnostics debate over a true expert. What can be some checks placed in the system?
Here is an interesting TED talk on why doctors should start speaking about their mistakes.

On October 6, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Flatiron: Fighting Cancer Online :

Great push, Angela! I believe big data advertising skills would bring value only if combined with the researchers’ cancer analytics skills. I see Flatiron “helping the researchers who master their local “pond” knowledge navigate the deep and large ocean waters”. Big data advertising has a spike in understanding drivers and responses across heterogenous audiences.

On October 6, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Flatiron: Fighting Cancer Online :

Great thinking! I have not thought about it this way. I still believe that this platform can deliver big innovation potential mid-term (getting access to much larger portfolio of patient data, currently only 4% of US patients with cancer participate in clinical trials, and combining the dofferent treatment options). The question remains, how to be innovative & self-disruptive long-term (how not to become just a cash cow of the plaform lock-in effect as we saw in the simulation).

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Flatiron: Fighting Cancer Online :

Thank you for your comment! I see the future of academic research getting inspired by big data. If I had a lab, I would create a team of a top big data analyst working side-by-side with my top biologists. There is so much potential for cross-pollination of ideas!

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Get In Ma Belly: How A Little Blue Card Helped Out Mom & Pop :

Than you the post! Is this an SMB-play only or will Belly try to integrate all the CVS/Apple/Nike/VS loyalty cards later as well?

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on LOVE YOUR DOG, LIVE YOUR LIFE: ROVER.COM OFFERS PET PARENTS A PEACE OF MIND :

Great post, Joy! I found an interesting infographics comparing DogVacay and Rover (link below). Apparently, there are more dog-owning households than household with children in the U.S. In my opinion, there can be market for both (Uber vs. Lyft type of dilemma). The current VC money battle is tight. Rover received in total $50.9M (latest funding in March 2015) and DogVacay received $47M (latest funding in November 2014).


On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on BzzAgent: An Effective Management of Network Effects :

Interesting! How much is this model scalable (i.e., how many true enthusiasts can you find for different products)? What do you believe will be the main “playground” of BzzAgents? Would it be blogging? Reviewing products on Amazon? Sharing their experience on Facebook? Talking to a friend in person? Would it influence the award program for BzzAgents?

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on CoachUp: Developing Athletes of Tomorrow :

Thank you for the post! I am wondering whether it makes sense to pick your customer segment and focus. Would the true great coaches aspiring to train future sportstars want to be listed side-by-side to a new-mom-hobby coaches? I have a feeling that there may be markets for both, but I would probably position the products differently (super-premium product vs. easy-access, “impulse buy” platform). What do you think?

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Coursera: using network effects to build access to education :

Interesting post! I truly like Coursera’s direct network effect. In some way it reminds me of the HBS Digit blog posting & commenting. I believe if you find appropriate incentives for students to structure their conversations / provide only good quality comments, you can significantly boost individual learning experience beyond one’s horizon and with limited time / cost investment from the provider.

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Go-Jek : Uber for motorcycles in Indonesia :

Thank you for the post! Do you believe this platform is disrupting the current market consumption (bike hailing) by transforming it into a seamless experience or rather entering a non-consumption market (e.g., people who were previously using public transportation or had safety concerns)?

Also, who do you believe is the primary customer – a random rider for a short-to-medium distance or a regular commuter for a medium-to-longer distance?

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Flatiron: Fighting Cancer Online :

Thank you for your comment! I believe the “what to DO with the data” should be the sweet spot of Flatiron. I am judging based on the profile of the two co-founders (big data advertising technologies). This is what excites me – how we can drive innovation by cross-pollinating ideas from completely different industries.

On October 5, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Flatiron: Fighting Cancer Online :

Flatiron claims it has industry-best technical security standards in place to encrypt and protect data at every point. On the top, it claims that Flatiron has met or exceeded the expected HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards. http://www.flatiron.com/legal/hipaa

Patients who undergo a clinical trial have to give a green light to the data release. Flatiron made a smart move when it established cooperation with all the cancer care centers who “received” previously the green light from their patients. Thinking about future, I would expect that regulation in this respect has to change significantly to the benefit of Flatiron and similar companies. In the end, it is in the ultimate interest of humans to have cancer research advance using the data (compared for example to Facebook that uses our personal data for commercial reasons).

On September 14, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Pa(in)Pal: A Company In Denial :

Thank you for the post, Chrisoula. I did not know that PayPal acquired Venmo.

I am wondering when (and whether) the traditional US banking players will launch a user-friendly interface and drop all the exorbitant fees to be up to speed with these players. There are European innovative banks, such as AirBank, where sending money transfer is a matter of one click as well. The advantage is that you do not need any third-party. And it costs you practically nothing (compared to Venmo which charges 3% if you have to use your card. That’s pretty expensive). Let’s see whether there may be a natural convergence tendency towards payment methods.

On September 14, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Sephora – How to THRIVE as a retailer in the digital age :

Overall, I believe that this may be an interesting impuls for the makeup industry to start investing more in the digital space. However, I have some reservations similar to Atima.

Sephora partnered with ModiFace to come up with this app. ModiFace’s story started in 1999 at Stanford where its founder initiated research on automatic face anlysis. The company itself was incorporated in 2007 and received ~$4 million dollars in 2012 in Angel/VC money. It has several of its own apps (ModiFace Beautiful Me, ModiFace MakeUp), plus it powers a number of partner virtual modifaction projects. I believe that the relatively limited success of ModiFace (and no more money being poured into the game) may be driven by “fad”-like nature of its product. It seems super cool when you use it for the first time, but you do not have an incentive to use the product on a regular basis.

Similar to Sephora, L’Oreal has its own MakeUp Genius app as well. The product and the campaign earned several marketing awards in 2014. It claims to have more than 10 million app downloads. Any sales implications are questioned though.

On September 14, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Ocado finally makes online grocery retail work :

It is very interesting how many players are trying to crack this area and how the e-commerce, delivery system and brick&mortar will interact in the grocery shopping area going forward.
Is there a chance that Ocado will enter brick&mortar as some of the digital players did before (for branding purposes, or to serve as pick-up locations in sparsely populated areas)? Or is there a chance that Tesco will acquire a better digital delivery platform and will launch a price war against Ocado?

Thank you for a new piece of information, Vlado!

On September 14, 2015, Emilie Valentova commented on Minerva – not your ordinary university :

Thank you for the article, Jenny!

I see that Minerva could be a really successful product for Executive Education within a relatively short time horizon.

With regard to Ivy League college students, I am still hesitant, at least in the short term. An essential part of the higher education is a personality transformation – moving to a different city, state, country, living without your family and friends. Focus and motivation can be strengthened by the physical presence, the “nostalgia” of the school and its buildings, alumni legacy. Have you considered what the impact on the graduate student profiles would be?