HC Watcher

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On November 23, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Visualizing Data with Tableau :

With such a crowded market, is there any sense this market might become a price war. The negative margins suggest that Tableau is going for the “price low to capture share” strategy (and capture value down the road) which is so popular right now in SF. This model assumes that once a customer comes to your brand they will not easily switch. I wonder if this is the case in this market, or if they have simply started a price war from day 1. I know my old company “multi-homed” and would readily switch from one platform to the other…

I wonder how the businesses reacted to the pilot. I could imagine that small business owners in popular areas, which receive benefits from foot-traffic in these popular areas, might have serious issues with this system. Imagine the local convenience store which suddenly finds that the parking near their stores is considerably more expensive that the rival 5 blocks away. Did they see a down-turn in business? Or did they find positive benefits: loyal customers were now able to find parking when before it was an issue. I would love to see how the broader parties (beyond the congestion obsessed city government) found the pilot

On November 23, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Freebird (+ data) Gives You Wings! :

Interesting read. I’m looking forward to see how this works out in implementation. For some customers, a $19 price increase for insurance per flight will seem “expensive”, especially if they only reap the benefits very infrequently. For others customers (aka business customers), the corporate AMEX means they have no skin-in-the-game when rebooking and therefore would be happy to take the $400 hit as and when it might be needed. As such, i’m really interested to see what the core customer base will end up being like.
I suspect their might be some selection bias – i.e. people traveling at critical times when the weather might be bad (Christmas from Boston for example). In these cases, Freebird might end being very much regret the choices it made when undertaking their analytics! Let’s hope (for Ethan’s sake), this company has some wings….

On November 2, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Glassdoor is leveraging crowds to better inform job-seekers :

Absolutely agree with comments above. In my experience, the site works great for slow moving industries. But when you start to look at “fast” moving industries – i.e. tech, consulting etc, then the data becomes out-of-date very quickly. It is hard to pick out the good from the bad in this case.

On November 2, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Funding Rush Hour 4: Crowdfunding Non-Blockbuster Movie Sequels :

Would be really interested to hear the writers / producers / artists point of view on this. I can see an argument that they would be worried these platforms stifle innovation – an argument i hear when studios only want to back big name sequels as it is at the expense of new or exciting ideas. I wonder if we are entering a world of Spiderman 17 being the only movie which becomes viable financially for major studios, and therefore big blockbusters become less common..

On November 2, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Spacehive: Crowdfunding Civic Projects in Great Britain :

I’m really interested to look into this to find out the geographical spread of projects and how that compares to wealth. I can see a world in which the regions which need the most projects also are the poorest, and therefore no-one from these areas has the disposable cash to invest.

I think some of the banking solutions in Africa might be really interesting. I’m not sure if they are “crowd sourcing” in the purest sense, but with near 100% usage in some countries, there are large possibilities!

On October 5, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Old School Network Effects :

I’m really interested to see not how this plays out for Harvard, but plays out for schools outside of the ultra elite. My belief is that “Harvard will always be Harvard” (hence why I’m a paid up member of the club). I think there will always be a high demand for the “club” who actually attended these ultra elite institutions for 2-4 years, as the lifetime social and monetary ROI is clear.

However, what will happen to the low to mid-tier players? Will people shun the uncertain network effects offered at a high price (the value prop of some MBA programs), and instead go for the online option – a low cost option without a network? If this happens, will the value of Harvard (and her peers) actually go up? If people who have gone to a physical college become rarer, maybe the value of that person goes up (even more of a unicorn) and the network becomes even stronger.

I agree with DD1 above – I love the idea of Lending Club, as a way to lower overall fixed costs in the market (by removing brick and mortar), however I’m not yet convinced they can “win”. As Lending Club has become increasingly similar to existing loan providers, I wonder if the market will just become a race to the bottom with price. I’m not sure why I would go to Lending Club over the Chase’s of the world if I saw similar rates available. No stickiness and price wars scare me!

I wonder if someone like Ledge might have a more sustainable position in the long-run – i read an interesting article about them recently. It looks as if they are trying to increase the “stickiness” by piggy-backing on the wildly successful and sticky Venmo. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/timconneally/2015/09/24/ledge-picks-up-where-lending-club-left-off/)

On October 5, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Snapchat at School :

I’m really interested to see how this one plays out. The current $10-20B valuation is completely hinging on the user base being a big draw for ad purchasers, and (as you mentioned) how “captive” these ad views area. However, the current giants of this market (FB and Google) offer advertisers something a little different: highly targeted ads based on the users shared data. I’m really interested to see if Snapchat can get the same level of targeting in their value offering. If they can, maybe MIT grads will soon be debating whether to ride on a bus to Mountain View everyday or live by the beach in LA….

On September 13, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Not so Frozen in Time – National Geographic :

Great post about an absolutely up-to-date news item (I was reading the Guardian’s tech editor opinion on the Fox deal only earlier today…). I absolutely agree with you that this is shocking news (excuse the bad pun) so anyone who loves the NGS brand. My only source of hope is how Fox has dealt with the WSJ acquisition. Rather than changing the WSJ into Fox News, the corporation looked to learn what it could from the newly acquired business and apply it to the goliath organization as a whole. Lets hope the flow of change goes mostly from NGS to Fox, and we don’t see photos of Trump in the jungle any time soon.

On September 13, 2015, HC Watcher commented on The Sonos Platform is Greater than Software or Hardware :

I’ll be really interest to see how Sonos reacts as HUGE competitors increasingly begin to win the “home-hub” market. If people control their home via a Google (NEST) or Apple (Apple TV) system, where does this leave Sonos? Would the technology be distinct enough for people to use a separate system? Will Apple/Google force people to use their own music steaming system, meaning Sonos is marginalized if not compatible? Will the home-hubs be platforms in which developers can build “apps” on-top? Difficult and clever decisions for the company will have to be made if they are not to become the Dell of speakers….

On September 13, 2015, HC Watcher commented on Weight Watchers: The Real Biggest Loser? :

Really interesting new perspective into the decline of Weight Watchers. My initial gut assumption of the decline in WeightWatchers was due to two points you raised in the post:
– increasing evidence the program is not effective, and certainly not effective for the cost and time input required
– the rise of other “fad” diets, which can easily be tried after reading one magazine article (e.g. Atkins, Paleo diet, etc).

But you raise a two great points:
– the new customers needed to drive the growth of the business are the Millennials. To Millennials, a network of support needing to be in a two hall feels old fashioned, and has been completely replaced by social network solutions such as MyFitnessPal
– the “existing” customer base could be being lost as they stop becoming “repeat” customers (I think I’ve read before that their model heavily relies on people repeating the program). I would love to see some statistics on what percentage of WeightWatcher drop outs are now looking for “tech” solutions rather than re-entering the program. That data would be a great confirmation of your hypothesis, and the likely final nail in WeightWatchers (oversized) coffin.

KMY, absolutely agree about the hyped valuation. The price has already fallen significantly since the IPO (but maybe we shouldn’t read too much into that yet due to the overall frothiness of the market in the Q3 2015).

I’m really interested to see how this one plays out. If this is a UI game / customer experience play as you suggest (now that a dominant business model seems to have emerged), then we are entering a whole new area of marketing opportunity in healthcare not seen previously.

P.s. I also like the HealthTap UI :). I wouldn’t write them off yet…