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On May 1, 2018, Sairah commented on Brewing a Successful Future at Nespresso? :

Thanks for the post. The struggles that Nestle faces reminds me of the struggles that Sephora faces. At the core, they need to add differentiated services to ensure that customers stay within their ecosystem and continue to purchase Nespresso capsules. However, the large difference here is that Sephora has strong relationships with its key brands (helped by the fact that are all owned by LVMH). Nestle, on the other hand, depends on customers to make the initial Nespresso or Prodigio investment. Thus, Nestle is at greater risk of losing to competitors if they are able to catch up to the digital upgrades in the new machines. This may not be difficult, especially as customers may not require significant bells and whistles for their product in a world where so many companies are offering data to consumers. For instance, some consumers may find it easier to maintain all their shopping needs (and thus reminders, re-orders, etc) within Amazon.

On May 1, 2018, Sairah commented on BCG: Digitally disrupting … or disrupted? :

Great post – thank you! My concern is whether management consultancies will continue to use their current business models in the new future of work. If AI and data become increasingly important and the opportunity for consultants’ value add lies in digital transformation, teams need to be more nimble and volume needs to be the larger play. Given the current dependency on human capital, BCG may have a hard time with the very digital transformation it wants to advise its clients on. In addition, many traditional companies have been slow to adapt on the digital transformation front to date. I wonder if BCG’s traditional clients will continue to support BCG or move to more specialized agency services to help with the digital transformation.

On April 30, 2018, Sairah commented on NBCUniversal: A Path to Going D2C :

Thank you for the post! Super interesting. I don’t think moving into the distributor space is as easy as it sounds. There is a heavy technological investment required and many of the incumbents now (ex: Amazon, HBO, Disney, and Netflix) are creating great content while providing exceptional user experiences. While I agree that content will ultimately win, given the costs of adding new subscriptions to consumers, experience in the streaming service is still important. Consumers may be hesitant to sign up for an NBC subscription if the experience is lacking, which may ripple and hinder NBC’s investment into content. As a strong content player, which holds significant value on its own, NBC may find more success in doubling down on being the premier content producer and selling its content at higher values.

On April 11, 2018, Sairah commented on Correlation Ventures: Taking the “Gut Feel” out of VC :

Very interesting idea! Thanks for sharing! I agree with you that the biggest barrier here will be getting VCs to buy into the technology (ironically). I think many VCs already have anxiety about how much value they’re adding to the business. This idea really needs to be pitched as one where the VC can better organize and evaluate the deals based on multiple factors and then analyze the information/recommendations presented to them and make a final decision.

It will fundamentally change the VC industry though — it is certain that these algorithms also have some bias in them and only certain types of businesses might succeed. It might be necessary to give VCs autonomy in some of the input factors as well.

On April 11, 2018, Sairah commented on Nest: One step closer to creating our modern-day JARVIS :

Thanks for your post! It’s interesting that Nest is pushing the industry to think about performance based revenue models. While I think it makes sense for businesses, I wonder if the average consumer will adapt to this type of model. Businesses are usually much more stable and long term contracts based on cost savings make sense. However, especially with increased urbanization, people are less likely to stay in one location at a time and it might not be palatable for every day consumers to use performance based models. However, unless Nest can find a way to bring its price down further, it will need to find more creative ways to stay relevant.

On March 28, 2018, Sairah commented on Volition: Democratizing Beauty :

Interesting post, thank you! I wonder if Volition will face the same problems as Quirky. While the manufacturing process may be less intensive, I think there is still significant knowledge and investment needed in the process. Additionally, the crowdsourcing of ideas brings a lot of variability into the manufacturing process.

Thanks Julia – great post! I would love to hear more about the demand side of this platform. How have customers been responding to this product? My guess is that people wouldn’t use this service during the day (while at work) because of the need to microwave and that food delivered warm in the evenings would still have higher demand for consumers. I do think the opportunity to try high quality food from a high ranking chef creates a lot of value, though. CookUnity will need to ensure an optimal experience for its first users so that reviews on chefs can accumulate quickly to help sustain demand.

On March 28, 2018, Sairah commented on Wikipedia: The Ultimate Crowdsourced Knowledge Tool :

Thanks for your post Liza. Wikipedia is definitely a very interesting concept — that so many people are willing to fact check and contribute information onto a website for free is an incredible indication of the power of crowdsourcing. I do worry about the future of Wikipedia, though, in a world where people are increasingly trying to monetize content. Furthermore, I wonder how much incentive people have to manage the misinformation or inaccuracies of an article that seems to provide enough information to make it “believable”.

On March 7, 2018, Sairah commented on Remind: creating and monetizing an edtech platform :

Great article. Yes, Remind has become a favorite amongst many teachers. However, there are a plethora of new products being marketed to parents and teachers. I think besides Google, some of the biggest competitors Remind might face in the future are existing learning management systems — which can integrate assignments, student performance, and reminders for parents all in one platform (as long as they provide a stellar user experience). Another problem that Remind needs to address is translation — not sure if they’ve done anything on this yet. However, immigrant parents might have the largest barrier in understanding their children’s performance if English is not their first language.

On March 7, 2018, Sairah commented on Seamless: The Cost of Convenience :

Great post! This echoes the issues we saw in the X-Fire case with Amazon, where retailers cannot afford to stay off of Amazon because it has become such an important source of business and expanded their customer base. However, the dine-in experience will always be important in ways that shopping might not. People want to go out and eat with their friends/family or want to take a break during their lunch hour. These trends can be alternative methods for restaurants to market, and thus pushing people searching for their restaurant directly to their website to purchase directly from the site and cutting out Seamless. So, it appears Seamless would be the platform for finding new restaurants in the area. However, other competitors like Yelp Eat24 and UberEats might help to push Seamless margins down.

On March 7, 2018, Sairah commented on Etsy’s battle against Amazon :

Thanks for sharing! It appears that artists currently prefer Etsy because of its favorable conditions and priority towards sellers. However, Etsy may be threatened as consumers have increased demand for cheaper prices and become impatient to wait in the on-demand economy. Today, consumers expect that these products are pricier and take longer to deliver. However, these ‘unique’ products can easily become commoditized over time by offering a few types of products on Amazon that are unique and then learning from the types of styles and tastes consumers want for particular occasions and partnering with a few manufacturers who iterate on the design of types of products demanded (example: change up the offering of banners, posters, goodie bags, etc).

On February 1, 2018, Sairah commented on Venmo: What’s Cash? :

Thanks for a great post! Glad that Venmo is finally finding a sustainable way to monetize by moving into the retail space. This may amp up the competition from banks though who may feel that Venmo is encroaching too far, especially if consumers are holding large balances on their venmo account and foregoing transactions on cards. Definitely want to reiterate your concerns at the bottom — Zelle may be a new service but it has already moved $75B in 2017. Further, Zelle has the advantage of being bank to bank transfer — meaning the money shows up in your account the same day or the next day– which can be valuable for customers who want to keep a minimum balance in their bank or for customers who want to manage their pool of money from one location. Additionally, Zelle is offered as the default service amongst banks now. Even for those die-hard venmo users, the switching costs to Zelle are so low that circumstances that compel you to do a bank transfer once or twice might be enough to get you to see no additional value in using Venmo.

On February 1, 2018, Sairah commented on Stitch Fix: Personalizing Fashion with Data :

Great post – thanks D! Definitely think the Stitch Fix’s business model is an interesting one and they do seem to be creating a lot of value if the issue for consumers really is time savings. But a few questions related to consumer behavior that I think Stitch Fix needs to better address before it can be labeled as a ‘winner’: how large is the market for Stitch Fix? Will most consumers actually be willing to change their shopping habits to have someone else do their shopping? Will consumers be willing to give up the experience of shopping with their friends or shopping for stress relief? Are consumers taking away part of curating their own identities by allowing others to essentially curate their style over time for them? On this last point, so many Instagram bloggers have found success in helping women learn and explore their styles.

Interesting post – thanks Saurav! I also think BenevolentAI can be the winner here because it’s an early entrant and AI works better as it progresses (given that it builds on accumulated knowledge). However, it seems that BenevolentAI is a winner in incremental drug improvements but can it make more groundbreaking discoveries? Will the additional revenue from incremental drug improvements be enough to keep pharma companies competitive. If not, then biopharmaceutical companies might begin to see negative consequences from this investment if other companies are creating the “blockbuster” drugs.