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On November 23, 2015, Ximena commented on Birchbox: using data for personalized discovery :

Thank you for your post. I think one of the interesting things that the company does in terms of big data is the match between the detailed profile a customer sets up at the beginning of the subscription and the personalization of each box. The question is the accuracy of the data provided, remember that the output of a model is only as good as the inputs. If a woman does not understand her skin type, or hair needs the products received can be the wrong ones. An interesting example of a beauty company trying to improve the inputs is Sephora. They provide in person consultations supported by technology such as color skin recognition to understand the best make up colors for your skin. Information that can be later used for targeted marketing. I wonder if the brick and mortar store is a step to improve this experience. In addition, I wonder if they can create and capture more value from brands, for example giving them more feedback and working together to come up with products that solve customer pain points.

On November 23, 2015, Ximena commented on Data and Analytics Creating Value for Hulu :

Thank you for your post! I really enjoyed reading about Hulu and their strategy. I used to pay for the content on Hulu, but I just stopped doing it a couple of months ago. The reason for this is that most of the shows they offer can be accessed for free after a week they have aired and the non-advertisement service has a higher monthly fee than Netflix. This makes me question what is the real competitive advantage for Hulu, and how can they compete with larger players? Netflix for instance has a better recommendation system and has leveraged it to create and predict content success. How can Hulu differentiate? is there a way to create a competitive advantage using advertisement? Is there an interesting business model to lower fees or make it a free service and get revenues through targeted Ads?

On November 22, 2015, Ximena commented on Waze – using driver data to build a better map :

Thank you for your post! This is a great example of Data-driven Value Creation as well as crowdsourcing. I have two questions for you. The first one is related to more uses for the app. Do you think that the app could include delivery services, most beautiful routes to get to a location, or even use the crowd to alert local government about roads that need to be improved or fixed? The second question is regarding law enforcement. Do you think Waze should stop showing police location? for example in Latina America some drivers use it to avoid police officers when they are driving and have had alcoholic beverages.

HC, I really loved your post. Thank you so much for sharing it. I believe Nextdrop is a great example of how digital innovation can offer simple and easy to implement solutions that can change the life of millions of people, especially when governments are not capable of solving the problem. I am curious to know your thoughts regarding other areas where the crowd can help to improve life conditions without the need of a smartphone, for example, can the crowd help inform the location of public transportation in developing countries? How about other areas like microfinance?

On November 1, 2015, Ximena commented on Is Crowdsourcing the Future Of Film? Not really :

Thank you for your post. I really enjoyed it. I agree with the challenges you see regarding content creation, but I wonder if we can take a wider view on crowdsourcing. For example, I believe crowdsourcing can be a safer way to do sequels (i.e. you can secure funding for the movie before actually deciding to produce it). In addition, you could also use crowdsourcing as a differentiation factor of a movie, what if spectators could choose different endings for a movie, so people can have a personalized experience while watching the same a movie. I know this is a tough industry, but I am convinced that there are several areas where crowdsourcing could add value.

Thank you for your comments. I do agree that the case method tends to work better for people with experience, but what if we use crowdsourcing to replace the “experience” needed. For example if I am, as you said Angela, getting ready for a US constitution class, as a student I could use forums online and leverage the knowledge of other students across the U.S. I do understand this poses challenges (e.g. content curation), but I do believe that this is where education is going in the future, and that we need to invest in it to build these skills.

On October 5, 2015, Ximena commented on Handy: Turning Product Into Platform :

Great post!
Although I agree there is a disintermediation risk, I still believe that there is great potential for this business especially for people that do not have recurring cleaning services or that just moved to a new city because it reduces the research required to ensure safety or a minimum level of quality. I also think they are doing a great job by partnering with Airbnb to facilitate property management for hosts. By leveraging Airbnb’s network they can probably become profitable.

On October 5, 2015, Ximena commented on Just Venmo me. :

This is a really great example about network effects. Have you considered how they compete with other apps such as Google Wallet, Square Cash, or even PayPal? Do you think this is a winner-takes-all game or is there is space for multiple platforms to be profitable? Although Venmo differentiates on its social aspect, I wonder if this is also a weakness that will eventually hurt growth because of security concerns.

Great post! I find this a very interesting business model, and I am impressed about how the founders managed to convince designers to provide products for the platform. I wonder if RTR will be a profitable business and how much it really benefits from network effects. You could argue that the more people use it the more commoditized it becomes and it ends up losing the aspirational part of its value proposition. On the other hand, if it becomes really successful, it could take away value from designers as people would only rent and not buy their products.

On September 14, 2015, Ximena commented on Digital Matchmakers Win! :

Great post.
I found impressive how the way we interact with technology has changed so much the way we interact with people. I agree with you comment on how dating apps simplify the process of finding someone. I wonder what is the level of satisfaction of these products and which of them are here to stay vs which are just in fashion for a few months, and if so, what is the strategy that match.com needs to follow to remain active in the industry with so many recent disruptions.

On September 14, 2015, Ximena commented on Viber: Who needs a cell phone plan anyway? :

This is a great post. I think the telecommunication companies have realized this change in behavior a couple of years ago and that is why in most developed countries they offer unlimited calls and they charge for data (speed or usage depending on how developed the market is). I am curious to see how transition is taking place in emerging markets where companies do not offer unlimited calls. I agree with you that it was a wise move to differentiate from competitors like Skype in order to penetrate the market. Additionally, with so many applications available, consumers are now a little more selective when downloading apps, which can give a small advantage to Viber as one of the first movers. Nevertheless, I do think that WhatsApp and other widely used applications pose a threat to Viber because of the number of users as well as the investment capabilities to improve their technology.

On September 14, 2015, Ximena commented on Squaring off the Competition: How Square is Changing Transactions :

I really enjoyed your post, and I agree with you your assessment of how square is changing the way we generate transactions. Furthermore, coming from a developing country I can see huge potential to increase non cash transactions in regions where smartphone penetration is high, but there is low banking penetration (e.g. most countries in Latin America). I wonder which company will win that battle in emerging markets. The question I have for you is if you think that square will be able to remain as the winner of this new market or competitors like Amazon and PayPal will take a large portion of sales with lower prices.

On September 13, 2015, Ximena commented on Airbnb has truly challenged the status quo of the travel industry :

Thank you for your comment! I think technology will continue to promote the growth of the sharing economy. Every day new companies are creating channels to increase utilization of assets in all industries. There are countless numbers of startups that are trying to imitate Uber and Airbnb business models, and I can almost imagine a world were ownership becomes overrated. Nevertheless I believe that the winners will be those who can generate trust among its users.