Karl Njeim

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On April 21, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Artrendex: AI Invades The Art World :

Hey Jo! I loved reading your blog! It seems to me that the issue of AI art is a bit philosophical. Depending on your definition of art, people may or may not accept AI artists. I personally am conflicted. On one hand, there is definitely the “soul” of the artist that is reflected in their art somehow, part of who they are or what they were feeling at that moment, something which AIs cannot as of today do and may never be able to do if you believe in the concept of the human soul. On the other hand, you can definitely define a piece of art as anything that creates emotions in the consumer of that specific art (be it observer of a painting or consumer of other arts). In that case, I looked at some of the best AI arts in the below link. It is too good to be ignored, to be honest. I do not know. Too conflicted


On April 21, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Knewton Personalizes Learning with the Power of AI :

@Daniel, I do not think that you can compare HBS to K-12 education. HBS selects for very similar specific profiles that have the same educational/ professional experience and motivation in a way and that understands what they are getting into vs. K-12 education is required from all students regardless of their needs and interests and capabilities. On the other hand, the value of group teaching and education can definitely be unlocked through different routes (group projects and activities, limited sessions where all the class is there, etc.).

On April 21, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Knewton Personalizes Learning with the Power of AI :

Great article! I find the idea of personalized learning such an obvious solution to the traditional educational system, that to be honest is not serving everyone the same way. For students that are less capable in certain subjects, it becomes quite hard to catch up. And the expectation from the educational system to be one size fits all should also be adjusted to reflect the new reality that not everyone is interested in the same things/ capable of doing the same things. I think one key challenge that personalized education presents is how to assess students’ capabilities in a standard way, particularly relevant for high school students applying to universities – I guess you can still maintain standard testings such as the SAT and potentially other specific standard tests to be completed before joining a specific program (e.g. Math and Physics prior to joining an Engineering program).

On April 21, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on How Spotify Knows Your Music Tastes Better Than You :

Thanks for the post Stephane! I always wondered how Spotify recommendation software works. Lately, the “Discover Weekly” and even the “Release Radar” lists are so on point for me. They recommend some pretty niche tracks and artists and I just love it. And I definitely see the ML element in it as these lists keep getting more and more curated based on how I change the music I listen to. I am not sure though about the privacy concern that you raised with consumer’s music listening patterns and preferences. I think there is a point to be made here that because the consumers are not the creators of the music, there is less association of the preference to the privacy issues in consumers’ minds. At least this is how I see it. Additionally, I actually think that if they were to address those concerns in any way, they will lose a lot on the value proposition.

I really like your post Giulia. While the company focuses on microloans to its end customers, I believe there is a big opportunity to offer credit scoring as a separate service/ functionality. Such a service would solve a lot of problems in emerging markets that do not have developed financial industries. It definitely can bridge a gap in such a simple way. I also believe that the solution does not have to be extremely intricate and complex, given the maturity of these markets, something as simple as what they are adopting for creditworthiness assessment would be good enough to start with.

On March 23, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Entera: Tuned-in to what SFR real estate investors want :

I find it fascinating that this company made SFR real estate an investment class for institutional investors like stocks and bonds where they can easily sell and buy properties. However, I cannot but think of the ethical side to such innovation: prices of the properties will be driven higher than their actual values due to the bidding mechanisms. This will hurt local communities, making it impossible for them to buy houses that they want to actually live in! Actually, NYT in the article below gives stories of all these people that were not able to buy SFR properties due to institutional investors outbidding them and paying in cash, making their offer much less attractive. I believe that companies such as Entera need to consider the social aspect of their business and its impact on local communities, otherwise they will eventually face backlash.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/20/business/economy/starter-homes-investors.html

On March 23, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Siemens MindSphere: Gathering and Interpreting IIoT Data :

Thanks for the article Rolando. I always find it interesting when traditional industries adopt new technologies. I think some of the biggest challenges other than data security that these companies face is a change in mindset within the organization and of course acquiring the right talent to get analytical and technical capabilities to handle this data and everything around it. I can also imagine that the data privacy problem is even broader within those organizations, where there are not even any processes or any operating model designed to handle any issues that might occur with data collection, privacy, or other. That being said, Siemens can find an opportunity in creating training programs or consulting services to support its clients in resolving those challenges. Alternatively, Siemens could offer the entire suite as a service where the company would get reports directly from Siemens and does not worry about any of the technical and analytical know-how, but then the issue of data ownership and privacy becomes very important

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on SoundCloud – Pay me what you owe! :

Yes! Loved the article, John! I honestly was considering writing about Soundcloud because personally, I am an avid user of the platform! I always find gems of tracks and sets posted by some of my favorite DJs. I think the biggest problem with soundlcoud is that they started with charging nothing to listeners. When I was in Lebanon, I literally wanted to pay money because I would discover such good music there but there was no way for me to pay artists or the platform money, which I thought was a shame! As soon as I moved to the US, I created a premium account just to try and give some money for this amazing platform. I believe that moving forward, they really need to start monetizing on their subscribers’ base in order to retain their content creators. Honestly, they should charge people all over the world for using their platform – not just US and Europe.

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry? :

Yeah, you are on point. The video I attached actually explains that in detail. Actually, OnlyFans creators were very disappointed by Bella Thorne. But there definitely is an argument to be made that Bella Throne and other celebrities drove traffic to the website and there must have been a spillover for other content creators.

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry? :

Yes! That is true. I think the rise of different content sharing and charging is pushing Twitter and other social media to replicate some features of the model. I think Daniel wrote a post about another similar content-sharing company called Parteon. In his article, he mentions that as well. Totally on point

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry? :

Your point makes sense. I just do not see a reason why OnlyFans couldn’t do the same and lower their fees to retain those creators whenever competition is around. It would be much harder for creators to switch, unless it is for free, in which case the economics would not make sense for competitors.

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry? :

Thanks for your comment. I agree that there is a threat of a new competitor challenging the website – I do feel though that the bigger the platform and its subscriber base, the harder it is for other competitors to challenge it. Even if competition lowers their commission, OnlyFans can follow their lead and charge lower commissions in a way to retain creators. But the risk is definitely there. On the point of customer acquisition, I do not necessarily agree with you. Creators do not acquire customers through other channels, actually, it is the opposite. They usually acquire customers on OnlyFans and try to outsell them their other services through tips, etc. For some Personal trainers actually, Onlyfans is a way to get new followers on social media and actual PT work.

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry? :

Yes! The whole purpose of the platform is to empower content creators and shift the power structure towards them instead of production houses. Another value add is to have this “paywall” system where consumers cannot steal the content or content aggregators. Thanks for adding color with your friend’s story 🙂

On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on When Athletes meet Coaches and Coaches meet Athletes :

Thank you Tim for the article. It was an interesting read. I was actually considering writing on a similar app that matches personal trainers to any client based on their workout objectives and preferences in Dubai called FitlLov. One thing to consider for CoachUp is actually expanding their offering to amateur people that are looking for personal trainers only, not necessarily athlete-level training. Unfortunately, the prices that the app charges to trainers are quite high and that results in higher disintermediation risks. Another way to overcome this risk would be to offer some value-added services to customers (e.g. diet services, analytics, etc.) or to offer discounts on bulk purchases (10 sessions for lower prices). Highly recommend checking the FitLov website and offering, could be a nice way to mitigate some of those risks.


On March 2, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on BetterHelp: Democratizing Access to Mental Health Services :

Really liked reading your blog Marcos! A couple of thoughts came to mind while reading:
1. Covid impact on the platform performance: I feel like this is a great example of a platform that would thrive in a pandemic like Covid. Not only does it enable therapists to do their work under lockdown conditions, but also the demand for such services is much higher because of the pandemic and people’s deteriorating mental health. I would be curious to see if the pandemic drove their subscribers and therapists base up
2. Disintermediation risk: I wonder what the company is doing to avoid disintermediation risks. I feel like if you match with a good therapist, both of you would want to get off the platform and save money and ensure availability whenever needed. IS there anything they are doing to avoid that?

On February 11, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Nurx: Healthcare Finally Revolutionized! :

Yeah agreed that there is a risk of reversing all these relaxations. Somehow it feels counter progressive. Healthcare in general in the US needs disruption – the way it is provided today has a lot of customer pain points and issues across touch-points. While the risk is there, the move to reverse these progressive relaxations and regulations will be hard to execute.
Even if they did happen, I think Nurx offers a great example of how healthcare should be revolutionized to be customer-centric, customers should start expecting superior service from all their healthcare providers and move the entire industry forward.

On February 11, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Nurx: Healthcare Finally Revolutionized! :

Agreed that the barriers to entry are low. I think the strategy of Nurx is to specialize in certain diseases only and not go for width in services mix. That way they will be the leaders in certain areas only. Their customer experience is honestly what makes them so differentiated, very easy access to consultation and prescription and what have you – I literally did everything from home, did not need to go anywhere and it was so quick and so smooth. This CEX is something traditional healthcare institutions will find hard to replicate with rigid organizations and processes. I do believe that the pandemic helped them increase their customer base and break the barrier of telehealth prior to the pandemic and that the superior customer experience will keep customers coming back.

On February 10, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Redfin: The Dream Quarantine Makeover :

I really like your article! I truly believe that Redfin is revolutionizing an industry that is ripe for disruption. Traditionally, real estate agents were the gatekeepers for buyers/sellers. They were overcharging customers as Merill mentioned and often did not share enough information on comparable listings/ properties and on the characteristics of certain neighborhoods. Tools such as Redfin really help customers have a better understanding of different options and comparables with all the features that they care about (info about the neighborhood, previous transactions, etc.). Unlike Tim, I actually believe that the convenience of the process and available information that Redfin and other real estate websites offer is quite valuable for customers who traditionally did not have access to such info.
It is also important highlighting that Redfin relies heavily on data analytics for a lot of customer interactions as well as its internal operations: for example, an algorithm allocated agents to clients based on schedule, past experience, and customer satisfaction levels. Metrics such as closing rate and time were also tracked to evaluate the performance of different agents.
Redfin is definitely a disruptor fueled by the pandemic.

On February 10, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Udemy: Heading Towards the Perfect Storm :

Great read! I do agree that Udemy and other online learning platforms are winners of the pandemic. I do think though that the problems that Udemy was facing prior to the pandemic will reemerge post-pandemic. People will be busy again with their regular lifestyles and might not engage with the platform anymore. Personally, I am a user of Udemy and have bought around 15 courses if not more on the platform (prior to the pandemic), I barely completed 5 of them. One of the issues that I have with the platform is that their marketing strategy relies on constant heavy discounts all the time. I cannot remember one time where I went into the platform without a 90% discount on all courses or so. I believe customers eventually pick up on that and start viewing the company as non-professional where the courses are not worth their original price. This leads people not to buy any courses until there are discounts thus hurting their revenues. Additionally, a lot of the courses do look like they were recorded by non-professionals which also hurts the perception in customers’ minds about the quality of the education, even though the content might still be extremely helpful. I think if Udemy wants to continue on its success, they need to start providing discounts on specific occasions only and not constantly, and they need to improve the quality assurance on the production side. I still like the platform and I personally am an engaged user and will always find new things to learn about on Udemy. I still do not view it as a place where I would seek professional skill development, rather only for hobbies and personal curiosity.

On February 10, 2021, Karl Njeim commented on Drizly: Drinking the Pandemic to the Top :

As a frequent user of Drizly, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I would argue though that the success of Drizly will extend beyond the pandemic. I often find myself with no time to go shop for alcohol last minute and Drizly’s deliveries are very timely. Another great feature of Drizly is your ability to compare between different liquor stores and getting the best deal on your purchases that justifies the delivery fees basically. Additionally, in places such as Boston, where the weather can force you to stay at home (even without a pandemic), Drizly’s value proposition is very strong for end customers.
From a business model perspective, I believe that their asset-light and flexible model also sets them up for success:
1. Scalability: they are only an intermediary – they do not hold any inventory and so adding new liquor stores is relatively easy and straight forward
2. Liquor Store Retention: the fees they charge the liquor stores are based upon the value of the delivery, zone served, etc. ensuring loyalty from liquor stores and fair charges to accommodate for shifting demands
I think the value proposition of Drizly for both customers and liquor stores is quite strong. The change in people’s habits already happened and I think the change is here to stay.