Very interesting post, thanks for your insight! Regarding data analytics, I am a bit surprised by the decisions Tinder took, based on the results data analyses show. First, in order to create “scarcity” hence value for the swipe, I would think they should rather limit the supply rather than the offer: instead of limiting the number of “swipe right” per day, which would definitely would prove frustrating for the customer, they should rather limit the number of profiles visible per day, a bit like Hinge – that creates more addiction to the app rather than frustration. Secondly, I don’t think putting a price difference for under 30 years old customer. I wonder how they can check the true age of a customer, and also think it is a bit discriminatory.
Very informative post – and amazing dashboard! That is a great example showing that data analytics can help government or general interest organizations to improve common good. As more and more data is being collected by government, analyzing it and drawing results leading to informed policy decisions would be one of the greatest achievement of the “big data” era we are currently in. That is the reason of the existence of websites like data.gov . Nonetheless, I would be curious to know how public leaders, who usually have a say on the way these bike-sharing programs are run, would react facing the results provided by data analytics: would they go along with decisions in line with what data results show? Or would they do otherwise? The power of numbers vs the power of politics….
Great post about a TV series that is definitely one huge success for Netflix. Although, I wonder to which extent data can help make such decision to bid so much money on a series. Indeed, I assume that although the British version of House of cards was well watched, it must not have been a majority of Netflix customers. Hence, the population from which is extracted the data might have a rather high error rate. Was Netflix extremely confident in its data analytics metrics, or did it simply take a risky bet? In any case, it definitely was a smart decision.
The idea of direct democracy, largely discussed notably by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is established under important constraints, enabling the political system to be operational and manageable, and those are largely found today in the contemporary Switz democracy. Two of these constraints go, in my opinion, against the application of the crowdsourcing technic to the public debate, and organization of our democracies: a limited geographic scope (scrutinies are organized at the town level), and a limited number of votations in a certain period of time: without these two limits, not only the system would not be logistically manageable, but one could fear new decisions/regulations/laws would be passed without allowing the necessary time for reflexion before passing a law that is sustainable in time and benefiting to the whole society. The sensational, emotional, instantaneous aspect of social media would indeed not allow this pattern. Finally, crowdsourcing laws would prevent a key mechanism for the well-functioning of every society (even the most democratic ones), being the reason of State. No one wonders then why most societies have instead chosen a representative political system…
Very informative on a definitely out of the beaten track industry. I agree that it seems like the regulatory hurdle and the weakness of network effects on this market might make it difficult for an independent platform like Local Motors to take off and disrupt the traditional car-making industry. However, the added-value its product brings to the consumer might make Local Motors a great acquisition target for an institutional car manufacturer.
Interesting post, about an app that definitely represents a new generation of “live social medias”, attracting younger generations than the millennial one, initial target of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and its contemporary neighbors. The “live stories” feature of Snapchat rightfully tackles one of the main issues of crowdsourcing, consisting in delivering a comprehensive and synthetic yet representative content to the user when so much content is available – similar to the issue Facebook faces in the organization of the user’s homepage, when the user has 2,000 + something friends). A key question remains value capture from all this traffic generated on the app, something Snapchat is apparently still trying to figure out.
Very interesting post. This company is spot on in terms of value proposition, considering the booming demand for caregivers in Western aging societies. Although, one thing that worries me about Care.com’s operating model is about safety: the customer only has access to background check information about the caregiver if they pay a premium fee – that means that a free user of the service is exposed to bad quality service, which can be fatal when it comes to care service. I would be interested to know how they will bring more safety and security to their service, and if they encountered problems in the past related to those issues.
I think that what “killed” Napster – because it made it very vulnerable to legal condemnation – is that the content could be downloadable, and not just available in streaming (like Spotify today, for example). In that situation, there is no way to properly remunerate intellectual property, that is to say the artists. A monthly subscription and a streaming model might have saved Napster from the legal battle.
Your post is extremely informative, as it raises the question of the utility of ride-sharing app in China, a country with very specific characteristics when it comes to transportation, due to its size and its demography. As a former long-term resident of PRC, I totally understand you when you say that Didi Dache taxi subsidies have increased the average waiting time to get a taxi due to the fact that it lowered the taxi market barrier to entry, opening it up to a category of population which would have otherwise taken the bus or the subway. That was the same situation in Beijing, where the taxi fare did not change from 2008 to 2013, in spite of a high inflation rate during those years. Once the fare was adjusted, taxi lines became short again… This drives me to what I think is the fondamental question for ride-sharing apps: given the fact that taxis are much more affordable in China than in the West (even compared to the local average income), isn’t Uber in a position of capturing more value by fixing a higher tariff? I think that their product offer is differentiated compared to that of the taxi that they don’t even operate in the same market, as opposed to European cities where taxis and Ubers are rather in a price war.
Thanks for your post Charles. Indeed, as Airbnb was locking down an agreement with the City of Paris earlier this year, European medias automatically drove their attention in direction of Uber, who did not take the same approach and is currently facing some serious judicial problems: http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/29/uber-france-leaders-arrested-for-running-illegal-taxi-company/#.grjkql:YTJt
Like for the hotel business, most European taxi markets have enjoyed a monopolistic situation for years, which drove down their competitiveness in terms of pricing, quality, and accessibility (there has always been a serious shortage of taxis in Paris). Online digital platforms enable the “sharing economy” system which is a solution to these monopolistic situations. With the public opinion supporting them, I do not believe European governments will make war to these innovating companies for long….
Very interesting post with very innovative propositions! I find them all valid in essence, but my only concern is that in many cities, Airbnb is starting to get competition from local/national/regional online rental platform, and I doubt they would put the same constraints on landlords as Airbnb if the latter was to implement your suggestions. What I mean is that Airbnb might lose its competitive edge and its interest for many apartment/house owners who want to occasionally rent their place (and not professionally do short-term renting). In cities like Paris or other European capitals, in which the majority of Airbnb business is done, the majority of “hosts” are casual owners who decide to rent their place when they go on holidays. As much as I love all your suggestions, I doubt Airbnb would decide to implement them, as it would take the risk of losing these “occasional” hosts.
WeChat is a wonderful tool of communication in China, and its popularity among Chinese users is obviously undeniable. Although, the collusion between Chinese social media companies and the Chinese authorities can’t be ignored, and is a key driver to WeChat’s success. The Chinese social media market is heavily regulated by the Chinese State and considered as a protected market in the Catalogue of investments, preventing international social media companies to step foot in the Chinese market. Instead, Chinese social media companies flourish in the domestic market (WeChat, Weibo, QQ, etc…) in total collusion with the Chinese administration. The sophistication and easy-to-use technology of WeChat is undeniable, but one needs to acknowledge that its tremendous success in the country with the largest number of Internet users in the world also stems from other reasons.
Very interesting and well-documented post. As much as I understand the need for modern journalism to reinvent itself in order to remain profitable, I can’t help but believing that it is indeed a job, which requires professionalism and expertise, to be a newspaper journalist. I see a dichotomy between purely informational news, which I agree are now available through an ever increasing number of channels and which cannot anymore constitute the added value of a respectable newspaper like The Guardian. However, The Guardian would remain competitive by providing in-depth investigations and political analyses, in line with its traditional political positioning, publishing demanding intellectual and political reflexions by professional journalists that would contribute to the enrichment of the public debate in the UK, in the West and in the world. That way, it would also remain relevant for our political societies…