James Eckfeldt

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On May 2, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Formula 1: Speeding towards esports success? :

Thanks for a great read Colm! I was very happy to see your post Formula 1 given that I’m an avid fan who was devastated by the postponed season start this year. I applaud the way Formula 1 reacted to the pandemic by doubling down on E-Races with notable drivers such as Charles Leclerc, which maintained fans engaged and generated positive media mentions for the sport. However, same as you, I’m of the opinion that the E-Sports interest will die off post COVID given that it’ll never replace the risk and emotion that racing conveys in real life. The temporary pivot was super innovative though!

Thanks for a great read! I was an avid Houseparty user until the whole security scandal broke out with people reporting getting their social media and bank accounts getting hacked. After that I deleted the app and never used it again (and most of my friends and family members did the same). This proves to me how flimsy Houseparty is in light of the wide range of competitors out there such as Whatsapp, Zoom, or others. I don’t believe the gaming component is a true differentiator given that anyone can replicate that angle, so I’m very bearish on Houseparty once coronavirus subsides and life goes back to normal.

On May 2, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Teladoc Health: A Clear Winner During (and After) COVID-19 :

Thanks for a great post Loti! I also wrote about Teladoc and am on the same page with you. I believe telemedicina is here to stay now that it has be “forced” to be mainstream by coronavirus given the removal of bureaucratic hurdles that were holding it back before. Moreover, the mass market has now experienced telemedicine and is aware of the clear benefits it brings to the table over regular doctor visits. The one thing I would add is that Teladoc should exploit the SaaS vertical now that hospitals all over the US and the world are fast tracking telemedicine projects. This would diversify their revenue streams and provide a sticky, predictable source of income for the future.

On April 19, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on K Health: Your new primary care doctor? :

Thanks for a super interesting article! I had never heard about K Health and founding super cool and useful. I believe K Health is generating a lot of value for users in the sense that they provide a fast, reliable and cheap way to get diagnosed without having to go to a healthcare center to see a doctor (which usually takes a long time and is a hassle). Moreover, given the current COVID situation, this is especially valuable for people, it’s a very intelligent use of AI to make healthcare more convenient and accessible. I believe a good course of action moving forward would be entering countries where there is universal healthcare offered to citizens by the government. This would be a great way to gain access to a captive audience and avoid the whole competition side of things from private insurance companies launching similar offerings.

On April 19, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on How Well Does Spotify Know You? :

Thanks for a great post Ali! Most of the time I ask myself the same question and continue to be amazed by how well Spotify knows my music tastes and how accurate their recommendations are. I believe Spotify’s amazing success stems from using AI and data to create value on both sides of the platform. As you mentioned, they do this both for artists and for listeners with incredibly useful and curated features. As they gather more and more data, I only see their competitive advantage increasing. It will be interesting to see if this will be enough to keep other competitors from catching up, such as Apple music for example. In the end, the platform with the most artists will win in the long run, so keeping them happy is especially important.

On April 19, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Macy’s: reinventing customer experience through data analytics :

Thanks for a great article Andres! I’m a bit of a skeptic regarding how useful these measures taken by Macy’s will be in the long run. Seems to me that they’re playing catch-up with Amazon at this point. By this I mean that the technology and AI solutions they’ve implemented are not sources of a competitive advantage, given that most (if not all) reputable online retailers already have them (they’re kind of a must to compete in the space). I believe Macy’s will have to be more innovative in the solutions they’re implementing and take more risks in order to generate the results they’re looking for.

On March 16, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Meet Glovo: The App That Will Deliver Anything to Your Door :

Thanks for the great blogpost Loti! I saw the rise and demise of Glovo in Peru very closely. A couple of years ago, you could see the Glovo colors everywhere on the streets, it was truly impressive and they provided an amazing service. However, as you well mention, delivery has become increasingly competitive and commoditized, which gave space for regional players to enter with a copycat approach. I was in Peru recently and now you see the Rappi colors everywhere on the streets (the Colombian Glovo), while Glovo’s yellow and green is nowhere to be found. Rappi, a highly capitalized company, expanded aggressively in Latam by subsidizing players in the platform and cutting prices. Although not sustainable, they were very successful in driving Glovo out.

On March 16, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Drizly: A refreshing business model in the delivery app landscape :

Thanks for the interesting blogpost Megan! I’m a regular Drizly user and I love the company. As PZ mentioned, their narrow focus on alcohol might allow them to escape the radar of other large players (i.e. Amazon), but I do believe that this is a temporary thing. Should Drizly become large or profitable enough, rest assured that large players will start looking into that market. On the flipside, given that alcohol is a highly localized line of business in terms of retail, I believe the true risk for Drizly is in local apps in attractive markets that will be able to avoid the high fixed costs of running a nationwide operation and inherent complexity. Evidence of this is the wide range of smaller competitor apps that Drizly is already facing. Protecting against this via incentives may prove to work, but multi-homing will always be a constant threat.

On March 16, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Gojek – A Motortaxi for Every Need :

Thanks for the great blogpost Bastian, I had never heard about Gojek. What they’ve built in Indonesia seems to have all the qualities of a strong, defensible platform. The way I see it, the largest risk with this type of platform is their vulnerability to multi-homing, which doesn’t seem to be an issue here given their super-app status which creates value on both sides of the platform. I agree with you on their limited potential for international scalability, and I believe that building a regional or global cluster on top of their local cluster would not bring many benefits to the platform as a whole, rather than individual benefits for each local cluster.

On February 12, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Allbirds of Prey – From Zero to $1.4B DTC Darling in Five Years :

Thanks for an interesting read Leo. Even though I’m an Allbirds fan and own 2 pairs myself, I do agree with Petra on this. How defensible is Allbirds value proposition in an era where D2C is already the new thing? Agree they have a superior quality product and first mover advantage, but I don’t see why other competitors couldn’t enter the space and become the “new hot sneaker brand” with some sort of differentiating attribute such as Allbirds’ wool component. With the entry of more and more D2C retail brands, Allbirds might end up losing share to new, more “in” brands that consistently enter the space.

On February 12, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on Mercado Libre: a winner in Latin America :

Thanks for an interesting read Andres, it always makes me happy to read about international business successes and even more if they are from LATAM. Even though Mercado Libre has proven to be very nimble and successful in overcoming the great number of challenges in the region, I wonder how well positioned they would be to respond to the entry of a large incumbent such as Amazon. I guess it’s only a matter of time until they enter the region, so will their logistics capabilities be as advanced as to compete with Amazon’s state of the art warehousing and distribution centers? Only time will tell. Maybe they’ll end up focusing on their fintech products instead of going head to head with the global e-commerce giant.

On February 12, 2020, James Eckfeldt commented on 23andMe: Losing at digital privacy :

Thanks for an interesting read Kendra. As Petra mentioned, I too am concerned as a 23 and me customer. I guess it’s ultimately on me for not reading “the fine print” when agreeing to submit something as important as my genetic information but I agree that it was never clear to customers that our data would be used by pharmaceutical companies until 23andMe publicly partnered with GSK. Also, the claim that it will be deidentified is very difficult to prove and there are no guarantees to it. I wonder what the impact on revenues would have been if 23 and me would have been more direct with consumers in terms of how they would use their genetic data.