Jack Q Ma's Profile
Jack Q Ma
Thank you for sharing. I have been particularly curious to follow the reactions of local food businesses. They really did differ a lot – from shutting the door and not doing much at all, to completely revamping service to pop-ups+delivery+meal kits+cooking lessons. The entrepreneurial decision making and ability to mobilize and take advantage of the digital tools have been crucial. As much as I hope all hardworking small business owners and their businesses survive this crisis, I do have to say some seem more capable and agile than others.
Very interesting – I’d look to Chinese internet startups for what to do in the COVID-19 era, not only because they went through it first, but also because they are always ultra-fast and creative. The customer service with a focus on helping us pass home quarantine time was particularly interesting and one that I haven’t seen US counterparts take advantage of just yet.
Very interesting point Nicholas. Thank you. I agree that algo hackers and content creators are an important part of the ecosystem. However, from the perspective of a selfish and cautious social media user, I’d rather the platform remains fun, irreverent, and less salesy (TikTok is known to deprioritize business/brand accounts to some extent). But as a business school student I bet this likely won’t last!
Totally! I think the algorithm does build in some surprise factor – and they don’t always work.. Sometimes that random video in the middle of the stream is really just a bad production or a terrible fit for your interest. This may also have something to do with the platform trying to keep/lure back in new content creators, by giving their early/mediocre videos more views.
I totally see your point. In fact I didn’t catch the Snapchat trend, and initially “dismissed” TikTok as just another fad like the way I see Snapchat. But I’m now thinking it may be more than that. I think the key difference is TikTok is more than just users being social by sharing life updates; it is more of a Youtube with a much easier creative process and an automated distribution system.
Interestingly, I do believe most providers prefer/dream to have their own brick-and-mortar store one day! Even though some of these Beaver providers can/do make a lot of money and afford to take taxis between jobs, there may be a different drive in all of us other than money. Most if not all of them still want to manage a staff and a store. Blue-collar vs white-collar I imagine!
I am an occasional Instacart user, and previously a Peapod user and Fresh Direct user. I love in-person grocery shopping too and now have learned to like browsing digitally on these apps. To me Instacart is great in the breadth of selection – specialty stores, bulk/membership stores, even alcohol. It is more of a fun experience, whereas Peapod and Fresh Direct are more for weekly routine purchases.
I wonder if Amazon or Doordash or Uber would acquire Instacart. Will be interesting to discuss who would be the most ideal acquirer and whether the FCC will/should approve.
I agree with you that going on Groupon (even if just once or at the very beginning) could have significant brand damage, especially for certain categories of services like performances. Others such as beauty services, fitness studios, are a bit more immune to this effect. Groupon just doesn’t yell premium or even quality, when it comes to the performance category. For upcoming new artists like Ali Wong several years ago, it may also make more sense to start out on a digital platform (YouTube, Netflix, Instagram) because the recommendation and audience matching are so much more sophisticated and effective than O2O platforms like Groupon.
I love the business model – the name Too Good To Go sums up my belief precisely. However, as you mentioned, scalability and sustainability are big issues for platform businesses, regardless of whether we personally see the value in the service at first glance. I think the app could potentially benefit from having more of an exploration function built in, e.g., smart/varying recommendations for buyers to keep things fun and interesting, or recommendations combining recipes with local availabilities.
Agreed! There is much the platform can still do to help improve efficiencies, e.g., preventing appointments from running over, limiting the bookable map area based on previous appointment, etc.
Very much agreed! I also think the viability of this business comes partially from the fact that the founder conveniently had an upstream business!
I enjoyed reading this post because I myself have been quite confused by Peloton’s strategy. In fact, when I first tried Peloton (at its studio in NYC) in 2017, I was already confused about why I needed one account to sign up for class, and another (on a different site) to log in on a bike. That particular issue was probably minor, but to me it was a symbol of Peloton’s want-to-do-it-all strategy. I personally won’t buy the bike, because it is really just an expensive bike with an iPad attached. However, I would be open to using the app for workout videos (if they were free), or ride on one of their bikes when I stay at a hotel that partners with Peloton. Maybe the company should spend some more time to think about their digital strategy, so that it actually lives up to the number of times the word digital was used in their S-1 prospectus.
Thank you for the post! I enjoyed learning about what Burberry has been doing differently, in the world of traditional luxury brands. They really did take a risk, compared to many of the other luxury brands. I worked directly and indirectly with many of Burberry’s peers (in a broad sense) while at Alibaba, and I would say most of them were a lot more risk averse, or quite stuck up with their “high-end” brand images and actively avoiding going digital because it’d cheapen their brands. While Burberry is in a middle range position among luxury brands and thus going digital would be an easier decision than for say, Hermes, I still think Burberry was bold and strategic, and it paid off.
I find this piece very interesting because I also observe Visa & MC as losers in the Chinese market. Some of the reasons they are losing to the local homegrown options are the same, but some different. In both markets, it seems that the proliferation of smartphones allowed the two countries to leapfrog over the traditional consumer banking / credit card stage, and the citizens become very comfortable with online payment methods – they are not only fast but also cheap (to merchants). The other reason Visa & MC are losing is more structural – in India it seems like the government had an important role in pushing the homegrown option, and in China, the super apps (Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Taobao) gave users an incredibly easy introduction to their built-in payment functions.