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On April 30, 2017, Natalie commented on Jaunt – Making the Shift from Product to Platform in VR :

Great post Dan! I have watched a bunch of Jaunt videos on an Oculus Rift headset, and they are very cool! The Jaunt camera is great for recording live events such as concerts and sporting events, allowing fans to watch the event as if they were on stage or on the sideline. I have also heard that Jaunt’s software has significantly shortened the time required to stitch together the images captured from each camera to prep the 360-degree video for VR watching, improving the lag problem of prepping a video after an event. I agree that Jaunt should try to be a platform rather than just a camera product, but I wonder if Jaunt will be able to be a consumer facing brand or if Jaunt will stay behind the scenes of its content partners.

Great post! I find it fascinating that you used the word “drug” to describe the video game treatment. I have heard that ADHD is over-diagnosed and the typical drugs are over-prescribed, so I like the idea of a treatment with fewer side effects. I also wonder if this video game could be used to diagnose diseases such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s since it is tracking the players’ real-time performance.

On April 30, 2017, Natalie commented on Augmedix: Humanizing Healthcare Through Google Glass :

Great post, Seanna! I love the idea of increasing the doctor/patient connection during the appointment while allowing doctors to be more efficient and see more patients. I have definitely experienced talking to a doctor’s back as he types notes. Does the doctor see the medical records on the Google Glass while they are speaking with a patient? And is the Google Glass recording and saving the appointment for later review?

I agree that this seems like a winner take all market with no multi-homing, so Augmedix needs to sign on more customers to prevent a competitor from winning the market. The investor list is impressive and confirms that healthcare providers see value in the service. I have also heard that Augmedix has great employees!

On April 6, 2017, Natalie commented on Peloton: Using digital scale to revolutionize fitness :

Great post Michelle! My old boss in New York owned a Peloton bike, so I have heard all about it! I think the ability for a rider to see their data during and after the class is a key differentiator (and the reason I prefer Flywheel to SoulCycle). I love your ideas on how Peloton can use all of the data it is aggregating in the cloud to continue to improve its classes and recommendation engine for subscribers. This could make the subscription service stickier, even though the high upfront cost of the stationary bike and relatively low monthly subscription as compared to a single Peloton/spin class or gym membership probably keeps churn low.

Great post Julia! The sensational headlines are horrifying and definitely got my attention!

I can see real value for food manufacturers to ensure that their food is safe going out the door rather than having to recall a product after it has hit the market. Companies could avoid both monetary as well as reputation risks of the recall. For a food manufacturer to catch contamination or other product issues, I feel like it would need to send in a test of each batch of supplies as they come into their plants. To the extent that you know, how quick is the turnaround for these tests and can the tests be done on site as to not disrupt the product process and timing?

On April 6, 2017, Natalie commented on OpenDoor: applying big data to home selling :

Great post Meili! Is the analytic approach from OpenDoor supplemented by people/OpenDoor employees to ensure the accuracy of the pricing output? I am worried about the accuracy of these granular inputs into the model if they are being self-reported by the seller and not an expert that understands the model.

Also, how does OpenDoor turnaround and sell the house? I would imagine that they would need to employee realtors to show the house to prospective buyers since I don’t think we have gotten to the point where people would be willing to make such a large purchase at the click of a button, especially because home buying is so reliant on subjective qualities.

Is this available in New Jersey?

On March 21, 2017, Natalie commented on Glossier: “What’s Your Dream Face Wash?” :

Great post Lulu! I am impressed with what Glossier has been able to do in such a short amount of time. It also seems like it would be super difficult to reverse engineer a product based on the criteria that you listed above, but I am not a chemist. 🙂

It is really interesting that Glossier’s engaged fan base in turn helps the company capture value as loyal consumers of the products that they help create. Since the products have been such a success and there is a waitlist, I wonder if some of the fans that contributed to the products had trouble buying it when it was released. Does Glossier recognize the contributors in any way, such as guaranteeing the product for them when it is released? This could encourage even greater engagement.

On March 21, 2017, Natalie commented on I’m not a Robot! :

Great post Andrea! I had no idea that I was helping to digitize books every time I types those words, and I would assume that most consumers were also not aware. This is an interesting example of crowdsourcing with a crowd that does not really know that they are involved in the project. This probably helped with the accuracy of the digitization because people thought they needed to type both words correctly in order to move on. Also, the crowd does not really have a choice to opt out, since they need to type the words in order to reach the next webpage. This probably makes crowd management much easier.

Great post Onaizah! I hadn’t heard of hit record before, but sounds like it can really help solve the pain point of many people trying to work in Hollywood.

Have they tried to scale the company beyond Joseph Gordon-Levitt and HitRecord on TV? I wonder if other shows or even a movie would be interested in using this platform for creation of if it creates too many inefficiencies by having the dispersed crowd working on the project. I also worry about the economics. If the $50,000 per episode were split evenly among the 426 HitRecord artists that worked on the episode, they would each make $117. It seems like there are either too many artists involved in the project or the revenue needs to be substantially higher to support the structure.

I will definitely be interested to see how it goes!

On February 26, 2017, Natalie commented on HotelTonight: A Trendsetter Tries to Keep Up :

Great post, Julia! HotelTonight solves such an important pain point for hotels of having unsold inventory. It is all upside for them to fill up their rooms at any price. And on top of that, it is interesting that HotelTonight charged 5% less than OTAs to gain a foothold in the market. However, I wonder if hotels are worries about priming customers to wait to book until the last minute in order to get a good deal. If it is not a holiday weekend or some big event happening in a city, what would stop cost-conscious consumers from changing their behavior to book last minute hotel rooms in order to get a better room rate? Do you think this is a big concern for hotels?

On February 26, 2017, Natalie commented on Roku: From Product, to Product Platform, to Software Platform :

Hi Bipul, thanks for the comment! Great clarification on the aggregation of content. Roku compartmentalizes the “channels” so users need to enter each channel in order to view the content and see the recommendations. Some streaming device competitors, including Amazon Fire TV, have taken the approach of aggregating all of the content from different apps and showing recommendations (as of September 2016) on the home screen instead of having to enter the app. The streaming services were one of the main barriers for this in the past because they wanted to control the user experience, but this may be the beginning of a shift. I would be interested to see if Roku follows suit.

Roku has been completely independent from Netflix since the spin off in 2008, so there are no longer conflict of interest issues. That was the rational for the spin off and why it was such an important decision that has allowed Roku to grow its platform.

On February 26, 2017, Natalie commented on From Product to Platform: John Deere Revolutionizes Farming :

Great post! Really interesting that John Deere, as the incumbent with a long history as a product company, has been able to launch this platform to stay ahead of the competition! By opening up their platform to other 3rd party developers, they are in effect making MyJohnDeere the go-to platform for ag tech. I could see this being a winner-take-all market with no need for farmers and other users to multi-home on other platforms, especially since John Deere has a head start in aggregating big data that will create really strong direct and indirect network effects.

Great post Onaizah! I actually had never heard of Amazon Homemade, so they must not have done a good job promoting it to consumers either. It is an interesting lesson that even strong platforms needs to adjust their business model as they try to enter a new segment of the market. Sellers would likely be open to multi-homing on Etsy and Amazon if the commissions were similar. I wonder if Amazon could not lower the commission to compete more closely with Etsy as to not cause issues with their marketplace sellers.

On February 3, 2017, Natalie commented on Wayfair: Are Customers Really Ready to Buy Furniture Online? :

Great post! I believe that Wayfair’s thesis that brands are not important in furniture and home decor have been proven and that customers instead value a broad selection of products. Wayfair is well positioned to capture a substantial portion of the value as more furniture and home decor purchases move online. The marketing investment is meant to build the Wayfair brands so it is the top of mind as people invest in their homes.

Additionally, Wayfair is doing really interesting research in the augmented reality and virtual reality space that could make it easier for customers to make these big-ticket purchases online. For example, imagine having the Wayfair app open, browsing to find a new dining room table, and being able to view the dining room table in your dining room using your phone’s camera and augmented reality. I also was able to test a virtual reality headset sponsored by Wayfair last year that allowed you to look and walk around a virtual room that was decorated with Wayfair products. It was amazing! These new technologies have great use cases in the furniture and home decor e-commerce space.

Great post, Julia! I actually did not realize how huge TripAdvisor is, with 390 million average monthly unique visits! I spent a lot of time on TripAdvisor recently planning my vacation in January and noticed the ability to book restaurants, hotels, etc. directly through the website. It is interesting that TripAdvisor is earning a commission from OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline for direct bookings rather than being considered an OTA itself. Has the ecosystem changed with the launch of TripAdvisor’s instant booking capability as new value creation or is TripAdvisor inserting itself as a new player in the ecosystem trying to capture a piece of the existing value?

Thanks for the post! I have done the Kayla Itsines workout using the PDF, and had not seen the app before. While the workout has been all the rage for the past few months, I was skeptical of her ability to capture value with the PDF model because of the ease of sharing the document without paying for it. I like your suggestion that the PDF was just a teaser for the real product, the “Sweat with Kayla” app.

The app seems to solve most of the pain points I had with the PDF, for example knowing how to properly do the exercises and running the timer separately. I agree that churn will be a big issue for the app, as users may not continue to pay $20 per month. However, I will definitely check out the 7-day free trial!