Jon Staff

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On November 22, 2015, Jon Staff commented on HypeMachine: Using Data and Aggregation to Surface The Next #1 Song :

Great post. How do you think this plays out, if successful, over the long run. Where can record labels add value? Will the music bloggers and other content creators keep their independence or be converted to the “dark side” once their influence becomes apparent.

On November 22, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Slice: ‘data exhaust’ and creating value from byproducts :

Slice seems to me like its getting a lot of value from a consumer (access to tons of private data) without providing very much value in return.. but maybe I just don’t see the value in order tracking, price monitoring, etc. as others may. How has adoption been? Do you think Rakuten acquired them for the product or the underlying technology?

On November 22, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Uber-izing Hotel Pricing: Duetto :

Interesting. It raises a good tension between data and marketing. You can likely sell every room in a hotel every night given the right price, but sometimes that price will below the price the hotel finds “on brand” (hence of course, Priceline). Had Duetto built in any ability to use opaque pricing to drive the booking of the last rooms? The Ritz would of course rather have a couple of empty rooms than sell any for $50 a night.

On October 31, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Betabrand: Because the Market Demands Bicycle Suits :

Clay just wrote a post about how Quirky (the crowdsourced hardware company) fell apart because they released too many expensive to manufacture products. Presumably clothes have way lower upfront man’f costs, so does it really matter that the clothes are targeting niche groups? Isn’t this the future the internet promised… instead of a few things for the masses to pick between, everyone gets something almost entirely custom to them?

On October 31, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Quirky to a Fault :

Interesting – I followed Quirky early on and thought it was cool. I didn’t know they had recently fallen apart.

It seems like the problem is that manufacturing is so costly to set up. Do you think when 3D printing gets good enough to produce end-user quality products for a decent price something like Quirky could be resurrected? It doesn’t really matter if you have a catalog full of niche items if they are all variable cost right? Or maybe 3d printers will make third parties like Quirky unnecessary…?

On October 31, 2015, Jon Staff commented on ArcBazar: A marketplace for crowdsourcing architecture and design :

I love this concept. I’d be really suspicious of adverse selection here. The fees are “low” but not super low… it seems like for a small project they suggest at least $1,250+. Thats great if you get an awesome design that you end up building… its also a huge waste if you get crap. I wonder how they navigate around that problem, if at all.

I also notice that these are architectural “concepting” competitions. I wonder if/how they can expand into other parts of the architectural stack, such as finished construction drawings, engineering support, permitting, etc. to give folks a one stop shop for getting their project done.

On October 4, 2015, Jon Staff commented on How AirBnB Might Ultimately Fail :

With a title like that, how could you not click? 🙂

I agree that a lot of these service businesses are subject to cutting out the middle man, but I think the difference here is that services is a local need and Airbnb is a remote need. I need a cleaner to come on a regular basis, so I pay Handy and he comes once. Once I verify he does a good job and seems trustworthy, I hire him outside of the platform. Most people renting on Airbnb will not return to the same city for quite a while, let alone want to stay in the same home. Next time I travel it will be to a different place and Airbnb will be needed to provide the same service: connect me to a decent house with a good host.

The other reason I am optimistic about Airbnb is that they are building up barriers: they have technology to verify identities of host and guest, a great customer support team to rebook me if something goes wrong with my rental and, on the host side, guarantee my place up to $1m. Those are things I wouldn’t want to give up to save 3%.

On October 4, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Get In Ma Belly: How A Little Blue Card Helped Out Mom & Pop :

Nice job.

Sorry if I missed this – What are the network effects present between retailers? If I own a coffeeshop, is there any reason I want the c-store using Belly? Enough so that I try to recruit my friend the c-store owner to sign up?

Also, on the social sharing part on the user side I’m curious to see how long that holds up and if there is any data that this provides “social status among friends” rather than being viewed at best as a favor friends are doing for each other (let’s tolerate this social sharing because we both might get free milkshakes) and worst as spammy.

On October 4, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Lending Club – Pioneering P2P Lending :

Hey Christine – great post. I’m curious the extent to which network effects are actually at play with Lending Club. Is there data that more users help others make better investing decisions? Do more users make costs lower and therefore everyone benefits?

On September 14, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Letterman prompted into retirement by digital changes :

Yes, good point re: SNL, though I’d say anecdotally that SNL hasn’t built a digital clip distribution machine yet. If I watch SNL, its usually the whole show, not parts of that. I wonder if that has something to do with the content, or just their grasp of how to distribute it. NBC does both Fallon and SNL and from my limited knowledge of how these shows work, the shows are responsible for the content but the network chops them up and puts them on Hulu and so forth… which makes me wonder if it is actually the content of SNL (given that the same NBC team may be putting both into the digital ether).

On September 13, 2015, Jon Staff commented on The Boston Red Sox: A Game Changer? :

Very interesting. I’d never thought about the value an app could provide inside the stadium. The seat upgrades idea seems like a huge opportunity!

What do you think happens when virtual reality really takes off? Do you think the Sox and others will still be able to convince people to pay, travel to a place, sit there for three hours next to strangers, and pay high prices for concessions? Is there something timelines about that experience or will a digital solution just turn out to be far superior to an century-old way of entertaining ourselves?

On September 13, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Go Craig Go – Craigslist is a winner :

I’ve always thought of Craigslist as a necessary evil – the old digital world still hanging on by a thread that I use reluctantly due to its refusal to update with even the most basic of features. For example, only recently did they add some filters when searching for a used car (year, model, etc.). They refuse to let you search nationwide, even for stuff I’d be happy to pay to ship.

Those gripes aside, what do you make of this graphic that basically says Craigslist has already been “disrupted”, piece-by-piece

On September 13, 2015, Jon Staff commented on Venmo: Rapidly Replacing Cash in the Pockets of Millenials :

Interesting read. I’ve always wondered how Venmo makes money. I’d heard rumor that they re-invest your Venmo balance somehow, before you cash out and transfer the funds to your bank. Have you heard that? Any truth? If true (or possible) I’d be curious how big of an opportunity that is.