I'm Not A Robot

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On May 2, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Harvard Business School – Time to Embrace The New Reality? :

Thanks, Yael! I assume you are an HBS instructor? From my experience in VR, I would find any traditional classroom experience to be a good fit, especially if you can make a model of the stadium seating arrangement. The best way to get familiar is to give it a shot! Oculus Quests are only $400, and I highly recommend the investment.

On May 2, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Harvard Business School – Time to Embrace The New Reality? :

Thanks, Chris! I would love to see them explore ways that VR can create SIM experiences that are not possible on a laptop to augment an in-person experience once that becomes available again. Imagine doing the Everest challenge.. from Everest! In VR!

On May 2, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Harvard Business School – Time to Embrace The New Reality? :

Thank you! I agree, the value proposition is greater for people who are out of work trying to upskill as they prepare to re-enter the market in two years. I think that the international class reduction is also a big factor, and may be one reason pushing HBS to stay virtual for even longer, at least optionally, exploring a hybrid in-person / Zoom in classroom model. I do hope that at least some people at HBS are looking into VR as a potential solution as well to consider, as it has a lot of exciting up-sides for them during this crisis and for HBS Online in the future!

This is a very fascinating area! As you mentioned, these apps are well positioned in this pandemic to support their users needs. I also was impressed with the founder of Bumble’s offering of funds to other female businesses to support them during this time. Bumble appears to be the only one which offers videochat built into their app, and I wonder if they can use it to do additional analytics on their users to provide an even more intimate dating app experience. Apps which gain more insight into their users could do a better job matching them with potential matches, or even giving them advice. They could also experiment with connecting people with a dating coach, or give each other advice on their dating search. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to about your relationships, and they could engage their users even more with this service over video. As far as seeking another source of revenue, they could look into turning special concepts like Love Is Blind into app-delivered experiences which require an entry fee before gaining access to a set of people who you can only communicate with over audio or text. Or, they could offer special in-video call services like games, karaoke, or live music which one user could buy to impress / woo the other. These alternative dating groups or date experiences could be an option which people are interested in paying to try.

On May 1, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Shopify: A Pandemic Proof Platform? :

I also saw this development by Shopify to release a shopping app and was impressed! I tried it out and it asked me to share all of my gmail email contents in order to know what shopify store fronts I had bought from in the past. Even though Google had apparently approved it and a third party audit had been done and I am normally pretty liberal with data sharing, this was too much for me. Why couldn’t they just use my email to identify what shops I had emails from? Also, their app appears to be a new version of “Arrive” which had been used just for tracking packages. If I were shopify, I would aggressively use their wide presence among SMBs to try to compete with Amazon as a more shop-friendly platform competitor and not only have an app, but also a standalone website. Their app is new, and has a long way to go to promote discoverability of new products across storefronts, but if anyone can compete with Amazon, maybe it’s Shopify!

On April 30, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

This is a wonderful example of a throwback innovation brought to help the present! A couple challenges however which I wonder how they will overcome:

Bathrooms – When I have gone to drive in movie theaters in the past (they did still exist!), when people had to go to the bathroom (often right at the worst time in a movie), there was a row of porta-pottys that were available. I don’t imagine that this is an option in a social-distanced time.

Security – Movie Theater Parking Lots aren’t known for their security. Unless tickets are free and they plan to make up money in food fees, they would need to develop some way to prevent unwanted cars (or people on foot!).

On April 21, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Nuance: an AI solution physicians love :

Thanks for sharing, Joe! I didn’t realize that Nuance was moving into radiology image analysis. I agree that they have definitely built a strong brand and goodwill in the medical space, but I wonder how they have navigated data-ownership questions. Right now, I don’t believe they own note data by default for people that use their software, but I imagine they have their foot in the door for partnering with hospitals on data-sharing agreements. I would have expected Nuance to move more in the direction of Siri for Healthcare by enabiliing smart commands for controlling the EHR, but it still will remain to be seen how doctors see Dragon gaining more opinions over what is written than just doing what it is told.

On April 21, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on K Health: Your new primary care doctor? :

Thank you for sharing this information, it was very interesting! I read the study that was referenced that cited a 85% accuracy for their symptom tracker (https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2019/10180/_A_patient_like_me____An_algorithm_based_program.57.aspx). There are many aspects of this study which I personally am skeptical about. On average, they report that patients only answered 3-4 questions total. Also, at the end of the dynamic questionnaire, they receive a list of possible diagnoses and if the self-reported diagnosis was included, this was counted as a successful diagnosis, not necessarily the top diagnosis. Ultimately, it seems like this symptom tracker appears to be a minimal part of their actual medical impact, and somewhat of a gimmick to attract users to their actual service of tele-health.

To make more of an impact, they should move their note-analysis software to be physician-facing to provide medical decision support for determining diagnoses, tests, and treatments.

On April 21, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Skywise: Airbus bet on big data :

It is interesting that airlines would be willing to do Airbus’s job for them in sharing their internal data fully, while only getting anonymous data from others. I think the data privacy aspect if going to be key and if a competitor comes along and offers a third party solution that doesn’t share their data with Airbus, they might be able to switch easily. Also, I know much of this data is required to be disclosed publicly (routes, maintenance, etc), and I wonder how much they share in this platform which isn’t already public.

On March 24, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Practo – India’s home for health :

Thank you for sharing about this service! I hadn’t heard of it before. I know in India there are so many private healthcare providers and most consumers do not have health insurance, so there is a much greater need for direct to consumer advertising (which is everywhere on the streets). I also have heard many medical practices communicate with their patients over WhatsApp today. I think that is the biggest competitor for them and why they can’t afford to charge commission. Time will tell whether they really provide enough value to their users over such an accessible alternative or if they might have to expand into other value-added services in this space such as owning their own doctors and being on the platform themselves, or providing quality control measures.

On March 24, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on WeddingWire: with you till you say I do! :

I have tried The Knot and Wedding Wire and found Wedding Wire to be a superior offering personally. They seem to incentivize their vendors well to respond quickly and enable price transparency and price competition on quote collection in a way which helps to combat the “wedding tax” on services that would have been cheaper if it wasn’t for a wedding (cake, photographer, DJ, etc). It’s interesting how they try to encourage you to document which vendor you chose, and I wonder what they do with that info when it comes to charging vendors. Transactions with vendors are also outside of the platform, but can be voluntarily documented and shared by users but would be hard to charge a fraction of.

On March 24, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on OpenTable: Restaurant Reservations Made-Easy :

OpenTable is a great platform that I have been a satisfied user of in the past. I didn’t know that they were partnering with delivery services, and I am skeptical that they can provide enough value to these delivery services to demand a fee. The areas I have seen OpenTable growing have been in building the software restaurants use on-site for seat assignments to enhance their data capture and increase switching costs. I also would be interested in seeing them expand into payments for in-store meals (maybe you give your card ahead of time and pay in the app). I haven’t seen many people cross over into in-store payments, and they might have what it takes to crack that space.

On February 11, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Allbirds of Prey – From Zero to $1.4B DTC Darling in Five Years :

I love my Allbirds 🙂 They have a great store on Newbury Street!

On February 11, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Mirror: digital disrupter in fitness and beyond :

I would disagree, I would predict Mirror will be a total loser in this market. This is primarily because of the disconnect between their questionable value proposition and high cost. Their website claims that they offer “THE NEARLY INVISIBLE HOME GYM”. However, there is no gym equipment included in the package at all, visible or invisible. They should say, “Gym equipment not included.” Fancy marketing aside, they are offering an oversized digital screen with significant glare that lets you watch a remote instructor. Odds are, these affluent customers who have $1,495 in loose change, already own a smart TV which can play any videos, live or recorded, which they desire. The ability to simultaneously look at one’s self only adds value to people who have a positive body image or find their negative body image motivating (a rare few), and only reduces their value proposition. It reminds me of the compelling ad for Planet Fitness (from 2018) called “Mirror Guy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2afTmPt9egw which highlights the selling point that their gyms don’t have any mirrors.

Hopefully, despite the curated glowing reviews on their website, consumers will see through the marketing before regretting their purchase of this overpriced screen with limited utility.

Thanks for the article! This definitely seems like an uphill battle trying to create a new market for UAM, and I am skeptical that the business model will be sustainable without a significant user base. There is a lot of headline risk that any incident will damage their reputation and willingness to try it out significantly, including the recent death of Kobe Bryant on a helicopter. There is likely a small audience of wealthy people who want to commute into or between big cities, who may prefer the flexibility of a subscription service to reserve spaces on helicopters. A subscription service may provide more stable revenues for now, while they see if a broader market exists.

On February 11, 2020, I'm Not A Robot commented on Coursera – Revolutionizing Education For Anyone, Anywhere :

Thanks for sharing about Coursera! I have been familiar with them as they partnered with my college university, and some of my engineering classes were taught in person while simultaneously being offered online to people who didn’t go to my school. I think it’s very interesting to see how they have used their partnerships with universities to supercharge their credibility as a brand, but I wonder what the universities will think about Coursera competing with them by offering their own bachelor degrees. Do universities earn ongoing royalties for courses their professors create, even if they are used for these other degree programs? Is there an IP concern about who owns the courses that are developed?

Coursera has found success as a platform for hosting learning in the education, business, and government markets, but do they create their own content? To truly succeed, they must become more than a commodity and win going forward, they must become a brand which consumers think of on their own terms.