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On April 30, 2018, MHS commented on Private: Aaptiv: The Netflix of Fitness :

I really like your recommendation about using Uber like ratings for the instructors on the platform to help users sort through all of the content and ensure high quality on the app. It creates a positive incentive for users to rate content for you, and the feedback could be used to help instructors improve on the content.

I’ve used things like Aaptiv on multiple occasions, mostly because some instagram account or trainer I like has gone on to create their own platform. I find that I switch quickly because there isn’t enough content, or I don’t think it’s worth the monthly recurring cost once the trial runs out. There is so much fragmentation in the market – I wonder if Aaptiv could operate as a platform for the one-off individuals who want to offer their own platform to their followers. The could create their own sites “powered by Aaptiv” and share in the profits. Also, they could have the option to release their content to the wider Aaptiv audience to expand their reach beyond their own following.

Loved your non-traditional post Pasha! One thing that immediately comes to mind is something I’ve been getting instagram ad targeted for – digitally connected yoga pants. It seems like IoT will eventually get into everything…essentially these pants send information to an app on your phone, and communicate through subtle cues (vibrations) at different points of your body to correct form. While I’m sure they aren’t perfect, you can imagine a world in the future where the clothes we wear to work out will be able to hold us accountable to form! I completely agree that motivation and accountability are strong arguments for why we still need in person training. But, for some the self motivated population, these could be a good stand in! I’m sure there are many ways that trainers could use such connected devices to communicate with their clients remotely (perhaps even getting a visual of what the client is doing as if they’re there in person).

On April 30, 2018, MHS commented on Brewing a Successful Future at Nespresso? :

Great post! I used to work with Nestle, I miss the free Nespresso at work! I’m really interested in the IoT angle of the Prodigio machine. I’m wondering if they could expand this to become a B2C play. With companies trying to keep millennials happy with office perks, I can absolutely imagine an office IoT play. Offering high quality coffee, easy automated reordering of pods, and cost savings by only ordering the pods that people like (rather than those value packs with flavors like decaff that we always have too many of). Also, perhaps the machines could automatically turn off at non-peak hours to save on energy costs.

On April 9, 2018, MHS commented on Tinder romance algorithm: just keep swiping :

“Multiple recent studies suggest that matching algorithms are just slightly better than random matching” … encouraging 🙂
I wonder if Tinder and other dating apps are about to account for changes in taste, or if they just continue to show you things based on what you’ve liked in the past. For example, in each relationship you learn what you like or dislike, which you take into account for consideration for future partners – but how would an algorithm capture that personal learning if it is showing you things based on historic liking trends? I wonder if there is a subtle way to work it in. I’ve noticed instragram’s explore feature (which shows you posts based on what you’ve tapped on in the past, likes, accounts you follow, and friends) allows you to mark if you’d like to “see fewer posts like these” to help correct what their algorithms think you’ll like.

On April 9, 2018, MHS commented on Nielsen: What people watch, what people buy :

Interesting post! I actually worked for Nielsen for 4 years before school on the Buy side working with two big CPG clients to help them understand and use all of the data they bought from us. While my clients revenues flowed mostly through the grocery, super store, and drug store channels, I’m interested in how Nielsen will adapt to the changes in consumer behavior with the rise of Amazon and online shopping. In the US, Nielsen captures sales information from cooperating retailers POS data (point of sale), and through the household panel (a group of ~100K sample households who scan every bar code of items their household buys). The POS data is closer to whole than the projected sample household data, but it misses sales from non-cooperating retailers – like Amazon – who are becoming a growing share of the consumer wallet. While Nielsen has been the one-stop-shop to get all your data historically, with changing consumer habits, I’d imagine more CPG companies are having to go to multiple sources to view and analyze their sales data and customer demographics. More sources, more data, more challenges to marry the data up and analyze it…doesn’t sound fun! I wonder what Nielsen will do in the future to remain competitive as retailers become protective of their data, and as consumer habits continue to evolve.

On April 9, 2018, MHS commented on Stitch Fix: A Marriage of Art and Science :

Interesting post! I still wonder to what extent algorithms will be able to fully satisfy needs that can’t be fully quantified by data. Sure it’s perfect for fit, color or material preferences, and visible features. But, how could an algorithm capture that a particular suit makes someone feel confident enough to nail an interview, or that a new style helps them communicate to the world that they’re adventurous or a risk taker? It seems like you could get enough data to accurately reflect what styles might appeal to someone, but with fashion I think there are elements you can’t capture. So perhaps it will make the selling and designing process more efficient for brands, but I don’t think that the technology (today at least) will be able to distill the full personal experience of fashion.

On March 26, 2018, MHS commented on Reddit – Democratizing Online Content :

Great post, though I do disagree that content is easy to find. In my experience (n=1) Reddit’s search functionality is pretty horrible.

I am interested in how or if Reddit will make any attempts to protect content generated on the site in the future. As a Reddit lurker I’ve noticed more and more content from Reddit is copied and reposted to Buzzfeed, Instagram, news sites, and any social media. This is hardly a new phenomenon, but given the value of the crowds and contributors, I wonder if there is a way in the future to have some protection for sites with crowd generated content.

On March 26, 2018, MHS commented on Is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk breaking down? :

I’m surprised that Amazon ceded the users so easily to other platforms rather than the fixes you recommend. Perhaps the platform was not generating the value that Amazon requires of other projects. It seems like access to a crowd of individuals was much more valuable to people hiring Turks, but when the Turks acted together as a crowd, it started to detract value. It’s a little troubling what this could lead to if you play it out – that companies may look for ways to keep the Turks from being able to identify each other, coordinate, or argue for their interests. I’ll be interested to see how this continues to develop in the future.

It’s great to see a CPG company venturing into the digital space to refresh relevance with consumers. I’m interested to see how long this type of promotion will continue to be relevant. To some extent it’s “giving the people what they want” but I wonder if it crowds out actual product innovation for the brand if this is the main focus. Many successful breakthrough innovations in CPG space were non-obvious with consumers never knowing they needed the product before it existed. Maybe this type of engagement works to build connection with consumers online, where they are, and perhaps generate a few ideas for flavor extensions, but I’m skeptical about how much potential it has for true innovation.

On March 5, 2018, MHS commented on Tidal: How to Lose the Music Streaming War :

It’s interesting how badly Tidal did given the fairly public history of how music streaming platforms have performed overtime. Given the lack of success of their model, I wonder if a content play makes more sense for them at this point since clearly users don’t want to pay for multiple platforms, they just want the one service where they can get the most for their money. I wonder if there are ways that Tidal could partner with a platform to provide access to their exclusive artists’ content for a fee. For instance pay a few dollars more per month to Spotify or Apple for access to Tidal’s artists. Perhaps it could attract the users Tidal was targeting, and perhaps compensate the artists who were boycotting the platforms before.

On March 5, 2018, MHS commented on Is #FakeNews disrupting Social Media platforms? :

Very interesting post on an alarming topic! I’m interested in how the consumers/user’s voice will be accounted for in the discussion of fake news going forward. From my understanding, when FB was accused of minimizing conservative voices prior to the election, and took steps back in curating the news, which led to many of the problems we saw with fake news shared on the platform during the election. It’s hard to know who the ultimate “police” of news should be when these organizations have so much power. Clearly FB has some level of obligation given the power that the site has in influencing public opinion, but do we want corporations to be making these decisions for our society? It’s problematic to me no matter who we decide will be the arbiter of the truth….but I like to think that increasing the power and education of the consumer/user would be part of the solution to keep such powerful organizations in check in the future.

Great post – it reminded me of a Planet Money podcast about the economics of gym memberships ( which talks about how gyms make the most money if they have subscribers who never actually show up. While ClassPass is a completely different model, it seems like they have a similar problem with the economics not working out because of all their super users working out too much. I wonder if adopting gym membership pricing schemes (yearly deals vs. monthly costs) would attract a similar user who signs up to feel good about themselves during resolution season but never shows up after February.

On March 5, 2018, MHS commented on Etsy – Can You Scale Heart? :

It’s interesting to see the proliferation of sites that have come up to compete with Etsy’s success. I’m curious about the potential for niche players to enter the market. Focused platforms around bridal events, interior design, actual art – seem like possible outgrowths from the concept. I’ve personally struggled to wade through the products on Etsy on multiple occasions as it’s hard for the site to accurately categorize the thousands of unique hand made products into a searchable format. Also, unless buyers already know a specific seller on the platform, it’s hard to find items that fit your particular aesthetic. Unlike a brand like West Elm or Ikea, where consumers know essentially what the types of products will look like, searching through buyers on Etsy for something like pillow covers is much more time intensive. I’m just curious how or if they’ll attempt to solve this problem in the future or if it’s just a function of selling many unique products from many sellers.

On March 5, 2018, MHS commented on Just the Ticket: The Evolution of SeatGeek :

Great post – it reminded me of an older podcast from Planet Money on pricing problems that artists run into on tours – the mismatch between what people are willing to pay, and supply of tickets (leading to scalpers). Do you think that SeatGeek would ever try to share data and advise on pricing for artists or sporting events to help lower the scalping problem and allow performers to capture more of the value that people are willing to pay to see them preform?

On March 5, 2018, MHS commented on Roku: The little player dominating Apple and Amazon :

How defensible do you think that this neutrality play is? At the moment, it seems like another player could enter the market, and it doesn’t seem like having a neutral strategy is that significant/unique of a competitive advantage which Roku could maintain. It is very interesting though that Roku has been able to compete successfully with these tech giants with so much brand awareness and equity.