Great post. Africa has truly emerged as a hotbed of mobile innovation, and a lot of companies (like Safaricomm) are finding that countries like Kenya are perfect candidates for beta and concept testing. Tala (formerly Inventure), for example, is a fintech company that aggregates thousands of unconventional data points to generate credit scores for low-income individuals and the unbanked in third world countries. When their operations in India (their initial target market) began to lose steam, they set their sights on Kenya. As you noted in your article, they found a happy blend of regulatory cooperation, cultural norms that did not necessarily equate money with cash, and a market that was eager to adopt unproven technology.
The availability of mobile technology is not enough to generate meaningful momentum — it’s willingness on behalf of potential consumers to trust technology and a firm commitment on behalf of governments to allow for digital exploration.
I’m going to have to agree with you here: this move is long past due for Netflix. As someone who suffers from the Paradox of Choice (more like Paraylsis, for me) every time I open up Netflix, I don’t see how adding downloadable content to the mix will further heighten that paralysis. The indecision that Netflix users feel stems from the vast variety of content that is available to them, not the manner in which they can ingest them. Keith’s point above — that “Netflix as a history of disrupting itself” — is worth keeping in mind. It may be that, in this case, it’s competition that leads them to disrupt their current business model.
It’s interesting that FlyWheel has embraced technology not only to provide customers with an easier and more transparent method of customization (I hate turning knobs on indoor bicycles to change resistance), but, as you pointed out, to also define its main source of differentiation: competition. Using technology to enable opt-in competition has far-reaching implications for its brand and customer value proposition. You can see see and feel it in the way their classes are run. While SoulCycle tends to emphasize “togetherness” and inclusive inspiration and motivation, there’s a distinctly competitive atmosphere in FlyWheel classes. As you rightly pointed out in the article, people respond better to different motivational tactics — I see Flywheel and SoulCycle being able to compete in a healthy way while still retaining and growing very different, but equally profitable, customer bases. It’ll be interesting to see how FlyWheel continues to harness technology to further differentiate its competitive advantage.
So…I just made an account on Stitch Fix. I’d love to take a peek under their algorithmic hood; that’s the only long-term advantage on which I think they can really compete. (That, and the fact that they employ part-time stylists who, as you mentioned, work for Stitch Fix much like an Uber driver works for Uber.) The internet is overflowing with companies that do what Stitch Fix does (Trunk Club, for example, and other monthly fashion subscription firms) — but no-one is blending the strengths of the sharing economy + deep analytics the same way Stitch Fix seems to be.
I’ll report back after my first shipment!
Fascinating. There’s an incredible amount of hypocrisy in politics, especially when it comes to global warming. But this is an especially dangerous form of hypocrisy: while the private sector has a major role to play in developing clean technology, harnessing efficient, sustainable fuel sources, and leading competitors by example, the buck ultimately stops with the government. The city of Miami, as you mentioned, will sink — or survive — depending on the actions of its government.
When political expediency begins to “trump” meaningful action against climate change, the effects aren’t just felt on Capitol Hill; they manifest themselves in our educational system, in our private sector, and in the choices we make at home.
Wow. I had no idea that a) we only wear an item of clothing an average of 7 times; b) that cotton and polyester release methane; and c) that the bleach used in clothing has that large of an impact after being tossed away. I’m a big fan of Cuyana’s business model, though I do think it remains a relatively inaccessible option for most consumers; if Cuyana hopes to make a big impact, it’s going to have to find a way to reach a larger, more inclusive option. (Take thrift stores, for example — I always just viewed them as a great place to buy a Halloween costume, but I never considered them through the lens you’ve presented in your post.)
Is there a way to democratize access to sustainable clothing? Or at least communicate the costs of simply throwing out old clothing instead of recycling? The cynic in me is saying: no, there’s no way people will curb their purchasing habits. What if we direct them instead to used, or recycled clothing?
Jared – thank you for a tremendous read and for introducing us to entomophagy. Insects are consumed around the world, and it’s about time that the West start getting over its aversion to bugs. I grew up occasionally eating grasshoppers — they’re considered a snack in rural Mexico, readily available in markets, and they’re really not that bad.
As other commenters have noted, the main challenge for Exo will be how to convince people to get over their fear of insects. Unfortunately, I see this being a very slow transition. I think the stats here need to be broadcast far and wide — the fact that crickets require 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein is, I think, more than enough to get at least some people thinking about at least trying an Exo.
I have to imagine that UberPOOL represents a step forward in minimizing urban air pollution. I think JJL has hit the nail on the head — ride sharing, especially in a future state when it is more common, is bound to minimize car ownership and, therefore, car emissions.
This actually reminds me of an environmental program launched in Mexico City in 1989, and that still continues to this day — “Hoy No Circula.” Under the program, car owners are not permitted to drive their cars one day a week (around 20% are impacted daily, Monday through Friday). The amount of people taking public transportation has obviously increased astronomically due to the program, but so has ride-sharing; I’d hesitate to say the two are mutually exclusive.
Great post! It’s amusing to think just how devastated we consumers feel about a potential “guacopalypse.” This is a great example of a cultural fad clashing head-on with the prospect and effects of global warming. I particularly like how you touched on how Blue Hill took their supply chain into their own heads — this is the same kind of vertical integration that we saw in the Ikea case. In addition to being a great branding opportunity, vertical integration really empowers (well, kind of forces) food companies to think about innovating how they source and grow their crops.