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On December 14, 2015, Brad commented on Need a Hotel, Tonight? :

Really interesting post Sijia (I like how you led with a personal experience demonstrating the need). I had many of the same reactions as Tobi. While reading, I kept asking why the big OTAs were not simply adding same-day booking inventory, especially if it truly was 15% of the market (and growing quickly with a disproportionate amount of valuable customers). I think Hotel Tonight has survived so far by staying under the radar, but it doesn’t seem like they have any true barrier to entry that would keep the OTAs out in the long term. If the OTAs do choose to compete against Hotel Tonight, I imagine an advertising battle ensuing which Hotel Tonight would be unable to win given the massive advertising budgets of players like Expedia. I do really like the simplicity of the HT app and user experience though.

On December 14, 2015, Brad commented on American Apparel: Factors leading to its recent bankruptcy :

Great job Yezi, I really enjoyed reading such a thorough review of AA (the level of misalignment here would make for a great case). After looking at what makes AA unique (local mfg, mix of trendy and basic, provocative advertising, social mission, young demographic, premium price point), it almost seems as if the company initially chose an “a la carte” strategy of admirable attributes rather than carefully selecting attributes that interlocked together. For instance, I tend to think of “Made in America” as an appeal to nostalgia/wholesomeness, which obviously conflicts with their desire for controversy and selling to a young demographic. I completely agree with your view that their local mfg ‘advantage’ was not fully realized due to the fact that half of their SKUs were basic products. This makes me wonder how much more profitable this product mix could have been if AA did not commit so publicly to being American-made, allowing them to potentially operate two separate mfg models (basic overseas, trendy locally).

Not not interesting. It sure seems that their “fully automated” facilities can operate at a scale that provides significant cost and speed advantages (high throughput allows for investment in technology). However, you note that they also have 2 thousand clinical testing facilities around the country. How do these smaller facilities relate to the larger “factories”? Do they serve merely as places to receive specimans that are then sent to the factory, or do they also test specimans? I’d be interested to know how they determine what is suited for the “factory.” I also like how you mention the recent patient data breach. The main question I often ask when thinking about companies that rely on monetizing data is “who owns the data”? It seems their business model moving forward may be at risk if data ownership is ever legally challenged. Idk though, just a thought I had.