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On April 29, 2018, KZ. commented on How Can the U.S. Military Win in the Digital Age? :

Thanks! What a interesting topic. As everything from information to decision-making process are moving online and heavily reliant on data and technology, I think having a dedicated Cyber Force is necessary to develop expertise on this front. From an organizational standpoint, I wonder what do you think about having a dedicated cyber force within each amy unit versu have one separate and independent cyber force. The former would have less frictions in sharing information and less likely to encounter strong resistance if it’s part of the unit itself.

On April 29, 2018, KZ. commented on Wayfair – A Zillion Things Home :

Thanks for an interesting read! Other than what was discussed above, I’m curious about what internal capabilities and culture Wayfair has built in order to manage successful transformations. If there’s any resistance at the beginning and how did the founders/management solve it. I wonder if there’s any generalized lessons based on its success.

On April 28, 2018, KZ. commented on BCG: Digitally disrupting … or disrupted? :

Thanks for an interesting read, Rain. Indeed the widespread application of data analytics and machine learning has upended how businesses approach problems and how and/or they would prefer to hire external consultant to fulfill the job. It would be also be interesting to see how consulting would change its hiring strategies (generalist vs specialist, strategist vs data experts) in light of the change of customer demand.

On April 9, 2018, KZ. commented on Netflix: Your Data, Your Show, Your Experience :

Thanks for an interesting read Sean! I agree with you that Netflix is pioneering in using art/science approach in content creation. Amazon tried to produce a similar themed show to House of Card, Alpha House, but only saw it achieve 7.1 ratings (vs 9.1 rating of House of Card). Some analyzed it’s because Amazon tried to use data all the way from sourcing ideas and creating plot, while Netflix approach is data-driven on initial idea-sourcing but more art/brain-driven in concept and plot creation phase. In general, the ability to create successful original content is vital especially when Netflix and Amazon video tries to expand internationally, because international content rights are hideously complex and having your own exclusive IP saves the headache.

Thanks for such an interesting read, Jesse! It’s amazing how Spotify uses data to its advantage in providing personalized services and increasing its power in negotiation. I wonder if they have the potential to gradually move up the value chain – from music-streaming to the music-creation, like what Netflix did with House of Cards, if the argument is when you have enormous amount of data and the channel as well as customer base to relentlessly test, it’s really hard to miss. However, the example of Amazon says otherwise – they completely replies on user preference data and created a show called Alpha House, which fell short and landed at 7.5 on the curving (vs 9.1 rating for House of Cards), marking it as a completely average show. I guess there’s more art and nuances into it when it comes to creating content than predicting the next hit. It would be interesting to see if Spotify will make the move.

On April 9, 2018, KZ. commented on Spotify may know you better than you realize :

Thanks for an interesting post! Inspired by JZ’s comment on crowd-sourcing and also the example of ReCAPTCHA, if Spotify could truly mobilize and empower users to label the music by themselves, it would save Spotify huge efforts and time and that Spotify could now focus only on verifying user labeled data instead of doing the work from ground up.

You are right. There is a pretty powerful navigation map in China, which belongs to Alibaba’s mapping unit and is also known as Gaode Map. The map has 700 million users (vs DiDi has 450million users). DiDi has partnered with Gaode Map to use the latter as its default navigation map for drivers, so I guess there will be certain extent of data-sharing involved. What makes it more interesting is that DiDi in end 2017 has applied for license of producing its own map. Some said DiDi is preparing to make its move into autonomous driving and the ability to accurately map traffic lights and different road conditions as well as accumulate data in the same time are vital. It would be interesting to see how that plays out.

On March 26, 2018, KZ. commented on Show me the Waze to go home :

Thanks for an interesting read, Hans! I was on a Lyft during the weekend and the driver said he only uses Waze because it’s the most accurate navigating software. He voluntarily participates in submitting information to help others and he believes others will help him. I guess there’s a strong sense of community among users.
I think Waze has the potential to become the default navigation software for drivers. Its value proposition is evolved around helping drivers navigate more easily and accurately – that does not limit only to getting from point A to point B but also how to get services like food, gas, bathroom more conveniently when on road.
One minor concern I have is how to optimize the way drivers volunteer information to Waze, because it’s dangerous to tap your phone while driving. I, as a passenger, was worried when my Lyft driver attempted to do that.

Thanks for an interesting read! I had a post about Duolingo’s translation services – in which Duolingo monetizes the translated content crowd-sourced from its users.
One of Duolingo’s challenge going forward is how to best meet the demand with quality translation in a timely manner. I think they could learn from Tarjimly’s proprietary algorithms, not the piece about geo-locating translators or enabling real-time chat, but how to better match demand of translation with the user who has the best suitable linguistic capabilities and participation rate.

I think Tarjimly can also learn from Duolingo’s monetization model – free for users (in Tarjimly’s case translators and refugees) to encourage participation; charge organization who will benefits or have cost-savings by having the translation done by Tarjimly.

Bummer! The link is expired.. but I’ll definitely add that to my books list. I also find von Ahn a great innovator and wanted to learn more.

On March 26, 2018, KZ. commented on Avocado Oreos? – Crowdsourcing in the CPG World :

Thanks for an interesting read! I really like yours and SLA’s point about the key to success is control when companies try to crowd-source ideas from the public. Partly it’s because what’s perceived popular does not necessarily align with the interest or image of a brand. And partly I think companies should keep in mind that there’s a “silent majority” in social media who is not as vocal but contribute a great deal in actual purchases. So companies should be careful about the ideas from the crowd and implement gate-keeping processes before adopting the ideas.

I agree. I also think it would be interesting to learn the data of 1)% user graduating to next level each month, 2) user churn rate% and 3) participation in translation by each level to identify who are the hyper-engaged user and how to retain them.

I myself was surprised to learn about their monetization model – very smart and interesting! To your point about the type of content Duolingo should choose for users to translate, I agree that they should act under the premise that it still contributes to user’s learning experience in a natural way. Mechanisms to filter suitable content or to create more categories/themes that would fit with different content should be something they have to keep in mind when monetizing translations.

On March 5, 2018, KZ. commented on Grab Billion Dollar Opportunity in Southeast Asia :

Thanks for an interesting read Taka! For most developing countries where credit card is not as prevalent, mobile payment seems an interesting opportunity to fill the gap and replace cash-based payment. But I think who has the power and capability to develop the untapped mobile payment market is under question. In Alipay and Wechat Pay’s case, they each has a very stronger user base developed from social media and e-commerce. In social media, peer to peer transactions are usual so payment method derived from the specific need seems natural. So is e-commerce. I wonder how much paying for transportation accounts for the total transaction need of a person, and how sticky is the habit of using the payment method or app derived from that.
More importantly, the two tech giants both have strong capability to build out offline presence, striking partnerships with merchants and retailers beyond where they started off. You mentioned that Grab could leverage its network effect but only when the other side of the platform, which is merchants, is brought on board can I see the possibility of cross-side effect. And I question the capability of offline execution when Grab is facing eight entirely different countries with different retailer presence and customer preferences.

On March 5, 2018, KZ. commented on ZocDoc: Finding a doctor when you need one! :

Thanks for an interesting read! On the point of building more value-added services, I wonder they could offer consultation services by phone or email so patients are more likely to stay in the platform once engaged in conversations with doctors. Other than that, in other countries, I’ve seen examples whereby the platform offers ranks or medical tips on top of appointment services, increasing the use case and stickiness of the app.

On March 5, 2018, KZ. commented on MoviePass: A Platform for Burning Cash :

Thanks for an interesting read! I just recently became an user of movie pass and saved lots of money. While it creates values for consumers, I agree with you that MoviePass hasn’t yet found its monetization model. It’s not proven to theaters that how much incremental traffic that MoviePass has helped to drive so a revenue-sharing model is not feasible yet at the moment. Although the CEO puts emphasis on the data it collected, one would argue Amazon prime video or Netflix would have far more data points. Recent news suggests MoviePass wanted to partner with studios directly so it can unlock more value, I’d be very curious to see how that will play out and help it monetize.

On March 5, 2018, KZ. commented on Yelp: Re-accelerating Growth :

Thanks for an interesting read! One big question for me is what Yelp can do to reduce the multi-homing effect and increase user stickiness to its platform? Now they are primarily an information platform but I believe in order to have sustainable user growth, they have to keep innovating and expanding their services to create more value, for example moving more toward a service platform, offering reservation services like OpenTable does and more exclusive activities such as Yelp-restaurant week, Yelp-discount, Yelp-recommended list to try etc. The goal is to further differentiate and reduce multi-homing hence Yelp is the go-to-place if you want to eat, buy and enjoy home/beauty services.

On February 1, 2018, KZ. commented on Fitbit: From Winner to Loser :

Thanks for an interesting read! I think essentially Fitbit failed to defend its technology and idea from competition and “like-me”s. I wonder if it’d be feasible and effective for them by partnering with gyms and making their product compatible to treadmills etc., so as to create a defensible use case that others can’t copy.

On February 1, 2018, KZ. commented on Sad Snaps :

Thanks for an interesting read! I think the fact that over 50% Snapchat’s users fall into 18-34 age group requires Snapchat to innovate quickly and frequently enough to entice this key group of customers. The customers are digital savvy and are highly likely to muti-home on different social apps. For Snapchat to survive or turnaround the situation, I think the only way is for them to come up with innovations that solve key pain points and are truly different from competitors. But given the quick turn-around of employees and brain drain, I think it’s very challenging at the moment.

After reading Amazon’s post, I also wanted to add a few thoughts. With Amazon GO store in the picture, how would grocery shopping experience be shaped would be a very interesting question. Looking back, grocery shopping has evolved from personally performing the task to outsourcing to someone else. I believe that in the future, the grocery shopping experience would be a mixture adopted by different customer segments. Less digital-savvy and price-sensitive customers would shop at traditional stores offering the lowest cost. Digital-savvy and busy working class would outsource the task. Grab-and-go system definitely streamlined the shopping experience by saving the time spent waiting in lines. But still customers need to go to the physical location of store and choose from limited offerings in the store. I wonder how much would the Go-like store replace the traditional retail store and which customer segment will be more easily to converted into Go store shoppers.

Thanks for an interesting read! I also agree that Starbucks did a great job integrating its offline and online offerings and providing customers a seamless experience. Although they launched the mobile wallet much earlier than Apple, Apple was able to partner with many offline retailers and make Apple Pay accessible to a wide range of services. I was wondering if Starbucks should do the same in the sense that they should create more use cases for their mobile wallet instead of limiting it only to Starbucks-related product purchase. In that case, Starbuck can extend itself to more aspects of consumers’ life and increase customer stickiness in the long run.

On February 1, 2018, KZ. commented on Amazon | To Go Or Not To Go :

Thanks for an interesting read, Juan! I’m also curious about how Amazon Go’s experience would shape or change the overall grocery shopping experience. How to scale the Go store experience quickly is critical and licensing would be the quickest way to achieve that. Though the fixed cost of developing the technology was already incurred by Amazon, I wonder how much it costs to equip a store with all the sensors and cameras and how easy it is to make adaptations on existing retailer stores, since most retailers have already massive footprint and it would make more sense for them to adapt existing stores. I’m concerned that potential licensees would be deterred by the upfront cost. So if going down the licensing route, how to make it financially viable and attractive to potential licensees would also be something Amazon could consider.