Agree with the article and all comments! It seems to be just a fad. In a market with fierce competition from cash-rich giants, its unlikely that anyone would pay Houseparty to resolve its monetary challenges. The hacking incident definitely sent me and all of my friends away from the app, probably never to return. And there is growing competition from other gaming apps creating social experiences as well. Psych is one gaming platform that my family moved to after the houseparty scare. This family connection is possible during lockdowns when people have more free-time with lesser work, no school, extra members to help with housework. Once life goes back to normal, its hard to continue finding time to spend together. People will default to the originals – Whatsapp, Facetime, Facebook.
Great article Alli! It’s interesting to hear this perspective. I researched Variis by Equinox and SoulCycle and felt the same things. Price war at some point seems very likely. What I really like about Peloton is the 90-day free trial that they have released, as opposed to a $40 monthly offering from Variis, which has caused an outrage. Peloton can win this through the community building that they are replicating online and the more virality the app has, higher chances of customers sticking to the app. As SoulCycle ramps up the delivery of its own bike, we’ll have to wait and watch whether Peloton sees a drop. Post covid, I would be more concerned about the need for everyone to be ‘out and about’. People are longing for the in-person and social experience. With multiple physical competitors forced into the online world, they would become omni-channel and flexible for customers. If Peloton remains online, it remains at-risk. If it moves to studios, it needs cash!
This has been a well-debated topic around me since we heard of friends giving GMAT/GRE online. It would be interesting to understand the reasons for the format change when vigilance is provided either way. Especially with the AWA section being removed, which in my opinion is the least easy to cheat on. It seems like a rushed attempt to get things going in a crisis, and not well thought out. As soon as you mentioned vigilance, I screamed “Bias” in my head! Be it algorithms or people, there is a very high chance of some communities being systematically questioned more than others. I’ve used Respondus recently (not the same thing, but I assume it would be similar), and I myself was wondering how can they possibly ensure ethical behavior?! It is a good attempt, especially for people who need to give the exam and don’t have a convenient option, but the technology needs to become 10x for this to feel as safe as the exam center. It could be used for training materials or continuous evaluations/low stakes exams though. GMAT defines the future for most of us, and seems too risky to be taken online.
Great article! I do think sharing the listening patterns and data collected with artists can help them improve their creations and drive demand. Although this may squash creativity. In the hope of getting more hits, artists will tend to release similar songs that have been proven to work in the past. Another tension I see with the model is financial. While Spotify charges users $10 a month, it pays artists and labels for each play. Superusers, in this case, become loss-leaders. And as the product better recommends songs that users love, the time spent listening on Spotify will increase. It remains to be seen whether their stickiness can help them negotiate better terms with creators or does this drive their financials to the ground.
Interesting read! Its always hard for an incumbent to reinvent, but I like the steady and cautious approach JPMC is taking. In addition to the Smart Contract application, I do foresee an extension of it in creating contracts through automated systems as well. We’re seeing increased usage of chatbots across all industries, but I would be wary of biases perpetuated by such AI, particularly in the banking context (ex. loan approvals going to certain populations). I would be curious to see how they handle such scenarios. The fear around AI is the replacement of human jobs, so I would underline your comment on upskilling employees to stay relevant – not just in the banking world, but digital too. Another risk I would have is the growing number of fintech companies that are entering the mortgage, micro-loans, payments/credit space. Brand and consumer trust will play to JPMC’s advantage to tackle this. Rolling out digital offerings before startups gain public trust will be key.
This is super interesting! I completely agree with the risks and opportunities you have identified. If I understand this correctly, they have initially used some knowledge base to label words, and are using historical data to improve upon the degree of bias on those labels. But as you have identified, this is just the beginning of the hiring funnel. Decisions in the later parts are presumably biased and it concerns me if the end result is being fed back into the system. That would add bias back. If they only consider metrics like the number of diverse candidates who applied, while helpful, might be driven by other factors that the system does not capture. Do they use human intervention, or let the algorithm run with the data it keeps generating?
I also see opportunities for them to partner with Microsoft and Google to add textio as a plugin into their doc products. The current offerings of these companies aren’t as sophisticated and it can be used as selling point as the productivity wars heat up.
Loved Swiggy! Another advantage of the app was that it built multiple (1000+) cloud kitchens that help small mom-and-pop dining businesses to open without capital investments. Also, Swiggy is trying to solve for the delivery fees that most customers are deterred by by offering monthly subscriptions (Swiggy Super). This makes the user more sticky and reduces the impact of multihoming.
The concern, as you mentioned, is that Zomato and UberEats are working together now. That expands their market share immensely with Uber (probably) having more money to burn. Zomato can also build great restaurant relations since it has its own wholesale arm that supplies ingredients and runs successful loyalty programs (Gold). It seems like Swiggy will lead in the low-end market and Zomato captures higher-end, resulting in low margins for Swiggy in an already unprofitable industry.
Love the platform and the article! I did not know about Etsy moving into large-scale manufacturing. This will definitely be a blow to users who use the platform to buy unique items not found otherwise. I agree that it will not hold much ground against Amazon if it continues down that path.
One other growth path could be to expand globally. I don’t believe they have operations outside of the US. Mixing cultures together, exposing these interested users to different handicraft artifacts from around the world might keep them engaged and provide the growth Etsy seeks. If expanding is not an option, I agree with London that they should separate the brands.
This was a super interesting read! I found their relationship-building approach with delivery and restaurant folks very unique and something to try in other e-platforms as well. In an attempt to avoid the race to the bottom like in most other food-delivery platforms, relationships will be key in maintaining market share.
Cross-side network effects are the strongest here. Customers can drive people onto or away from the platform. Given their standard revenue streams with added services, I wonder if they are putting a strain on their finances for the long term. If Uber decides to slash delivery cost down to zero, most customers will try to order there (multi-homing and price-comparisons). How is the company approaching locking-down customers?
Interesting read! While in some ways, it makes me uncomfortable, but it seems to be a winning idea for simple and common diseases. One advantage I do see is easier communication, especially for reproductive ailments that a lot of people are uncomfortable sharing in person. One thing I am wondering about is the danger of patients not being able to communicate their needs. The only sense that the doctor can use is visual inspection (might not be as clear on video call, but ignoring that). How do other elements of touch, breathing, temperature come into account? How is the company making sure that the digital process is not abused to get unnecessary prescriptions? An opportunity I see for this technology might be outside of the US where regulation is not as harsh. A lot of rural places in other countries are in desperate need of doctors who are unable to reach them. This could get them help, even if cursory and create a new market for the medical world all together
Great insights into the various levers Macy’s can use! As we evaluate how digital can play a role in bolstering Macy’s into a promising future, I feel experience is the biggest piece that it can influence to beat Amazon. Inspiration can be taken from the beauty and eyewear industry. Investments in AR have pushed these industries ahead in providing virtual trials without having to go to the store. While this might be a technological challenge right now (as was for beauty a few years ago), building features for customers to try out different products on their body types might be a differentiation. Easier alternatives could be more seamless integration on the online and offline platforms. Sephora uses beacons in its stores. These devices emit notifications to customers’ phones informing them about latest offers, products that are available near them. Reminders can also be sent for products that are added to your cart on the app. Opportunities like these would help create delightful experiences for customers and keep the brand top-of-mind.
Interesting blog! I really liked the connections you have drawn from millennial life that explain why grocery delivery might be the need. But this demand has existed for quite some time and the reason that other players have moved away from it is because the economics of the business have not yet worked for anyone – including Amazon. It has captured a lot of the market in urban areas for sure, but it is at a huge cost. It would be interesting to see what cost optimizations they can make and how much volume they would need to hit to stop relying on Amazon’s other businesses to keep running. Drone-delivery might be an answer!
Thanks Krish! I would want to explore a little more as to why PayTM specifically could take advantage of the crisis and not other existing online payment platforms such as Freecharge. How was it better positioned to grow almost overnight?
Responding to Sneha, I do think a part of the answer lies in the funding that PayTM has received, especially the backing of Alibaba. PayTM is trying to replicate Alibaba’s model by trying to become a platform more than a product today and is diversifying into various industries (hotel bookings, online retail, banking services, investments) that can keep the user hooked onto the app.