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On December 9, 2015, APSwiecicki commented on BlackBerry: How to Destroy $75 Billion of Value :

Thanks Vitali – good analysis.

One additional observation I have around Blackberry not directly touched on above, but a derivative of some of the factors you talked about around poor market understanding & reactionary R&D, is that Blackberry really missed the boat on attracting a developer community to create applications. Applications have been increasingly important to consider in phone purchases for both the consumer (games, music, etc.) and corporate (think Mobile Iron, Citrix GoToMeeting, etc.) segments.

While deficiencies in software and hardware can be corrected, and competitor products can be imitated (pretty commoditized / Blackberry still has decent brand equity / etc.), I think developer network and application offerings can be pretty difficult to replicate -> it’s a vicious cycle when you don’t have the users to attract developers, and then without developers you can’t get users!

Thanks Steve – really interesting article. Definitely agree with your analysis that Hostess has done a fantastic job of aligning its business and operating model in its turnaround. A couple of interesting thoughts I had as I was reading through the article:

1) On business model – I wonder how sustainable this model really is in light of the health trends going on in the US today / dying out of the older customer base which experiences the “nostalgia” for the Twinkie’s of their childhood? Additionally, how much of the brand’s recent resurgence has been due to pent-up demand from their absence?

2) On operating model – Curious what the reaction of retailers was to the shift in distribution strategy and the impact on Hostess’s results. I’d imagine that with DSD Hostess provided additional servicing to the stores (doing re-stocking themselves) and also were able to secure preferential distribution and displays given that company employees were actually in store. I’d imagine that DSD, while costly, would be helpful for demand given the impulse-driven nature of this purchase.

No need to answer any of these questions obviously, just a few things that I’ve been chewing on reading your post.

On December 9, 2015, APSwiecicki commented on GameStop: Learning from Blockbuster :

Thanks Gonzalo. One interesting aspect of the Gamestop business model for me relates to trade-in games. I.e. I think a lot of customers buy from Gamestop today because they have old physical game copies which they are able to trade in for money to then go buy new games (either physically or digitally). It will be interesting to see if people continue to buy from Gamestop as the stock of physical video games declines over time.

Also of note – I think downloaded games are only 20% of the market now meaning Gamestop still addresses the other 80%. But, as we saw with PC games in the late part of last decade, I wouldn’t be surprised if downloadable content is 100% of the market 5 years from now. Key to their success will be executing on the factors around network, obtaining digital purchases in-store, etc. you highlight above.