I too think that Walmart has a lot of potential in the digital space, but my biggest concern is around logistics: retail + online = difficult logistics. One of Amazon’s greatest assets is its logistics know-how (http://www.joc.com/international-logistics/logistics-providers/e-tailer-amazon-reshaping-logistics-we-know-it_20160329.html), and I wonder how long it would take Walmart to catch up, assuming that is even possible.
A second major challenge I see prevent Walmart from growing its E-Commerce business is the fact that the majority of existing Walmart customers currently do their online shopping at Amazon.com (53%!) as opposed to just 19% that shop online at Walmart.com (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/behindthestorefront/2014/04/04/wal-marts-in-store-shoppers-prefer-amazon-com-not-walmart-com/). An inability to convert existing customers is a concerning leading indicator that leads me to believe it may be more fruitful for Walmart to market and sell their products on Amazon.com, leveraging Amazon’s B2C logistics, rather than try to compete.
Handshake looks like a shining example similar to ITC eChoupal, in which the middle man is providing value to various stakeholders within an ecosystem (though the true value delivered to employers will be tested when they eventually put a price tag on this!)
While it is clear that they are providing efficiencies that did not exist in the job search market, I wonder whether there are simple ways to make this process better if we take a look at other “matching” companies. Specifically, I wonder whether anonymity, or a degree of this could be beneficial to all the stakeholders involved. Consider any dating website (eg. eharmony.com, okcupid.com), in which it the company facilitates more direct and open conversation by protecting its users with a username/degree of anonymity. People are more comfortable filling out their profiles honestly. I think that anonymity on their platform could enable a higher degree of interaction between job posters and job seekers who have questions that they may be unwilling to ask in a public setting.
I think that your point pulls out a lot of the key privacy and data concerns relevant to a potential Cocoon buyer. However, I wonder whether the biggest challenge for early adopters will be behavioral. I wonder whether there is in fact a major overlap between technologists and people concerned about security, or whether individuals concerned about security prefer to opt for more human-intensive solutions (ie. security guards, walls, barbed wire etc.) If the latter is not the case, then perhaps a good growth strategy would be to partner with and piggy back on the growth of other IOT home appliances/utilities such as Nest.
All this being said, there’s definitely lots of potential for this technology given the rapid growth of the home security market in the US (http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/home-security.asp), which constitutes the majority of the global market, and which I would expect to grow even more rapidly after this past election cycle.
Education is a super hot topic these days with many emergent models, so I’m glad to see this post–thanks, D. When people talk about education, lots of debate emerges around how to define success: is it improvements in test scores, attendance, more equitable allocation of resources? Your post seems to suggest that edX can offer the latter, but I wonder whether online education can result in better outcomes via not only more interactive exercises but more importantly simply through staying relevant in a time where most people are consuming information via video.
It would also be interesting to take a look at the best way to market something like this given its contention with our existing educational infrastructure (ie. all of the people employed by the public and private school system). It is clear that, should online education prove to be a more effective and accessible way of learning, the key challenge will be convincing. As Michelle Rhee taught us in DC (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/education-of-michelle-rhee/), it’s very difficult to change the entrenched (but not necessarily bad!) institution of public education. Perhaps the key to scaling this technology will be learning how best to onboard/not disintermediate our current teachers and public school system
As already mentioned, interesting read and . I once was a licensed real estate agent and have thought about the differences between many of the points you mention early on as easy to automate vs. those that you listed as difficult to automate.
While it seems there are a lot of tools out there to help agencies market their listings and manage the back office (http://www.capterra.com/real-estate-agency-software), I wonder whether RentHop could provide value – added tools to help automate some of the “easy to automate” tasks that using up agents’ time? For example, in your description, it seems like a lot of the set up in a transaction (ie. collecting documentation, the initial matching of buyer preferences and budget with availability as a simple task to automate) is easier to automate than the iteration that takes place in the showing setting. Perhaps reducing this set up time would free up agents to give more showings.
Super interesting technology (agree with Wincent on the puns!) I think there’s tremendous value in this form of data and analytics, and I think it’s definitely the right move to go with big farms first in order to build brand equity/legitimacy. I think it will be equally important to have their input in the R+D of the tool. I wonder, however, how this data/analytics can be integrated with solutions so that when there appears to be a problem in the soil, for example, farmers are enabled to take action on that problem via the tool itself eg. placing orders through the technology or the technology providing recommended action steps. Just some next generation thoughts!
I too had no idea that Alphabet was Alphabetting so big on renewables. I do wonder what their investment thesis is and how the returns will look in the long run. Early in the post, you discuss the fact that Alphabet has been carbon neutral since 2007; I wonder whether they expect to generate significant returns from this (is it actually cheaper for them to this, and if not how long will it take?) or whether they are only trying to set an example for the rest of the market. I also wonder whether other tech giants have followed suit on sustainability as a result of Alphabet’s leadership.
I did not know this product/ start up existed! Stellar post. I wonder whether there are any competitors growing other sources of protein in a lab. I agree that convincing the consumer that their product is equally good is going to be the key challenge, so quality will be a key driver of this company’s success. In order to accomplish this, I think that they could go beyond getting endorsements from chefs and actually partner with them as a part of their R+D pipeline, similar to what Indigo Ag did.
I love Stella McCartney and loved your post!! It takes an interesting new perspective on what it means to be a luxury product. However, I’d point out that the thesis that sustainable and luxury are aligned seems at odds with the fact that Stella McCartney chooses not to market itself as sustainable. Do consumers view the two as at odds with one another, or do they already understand that Stella’s products are sustainable, causing Stella to in turn focus on the luxury angle?
Great find with this product, and love the concise and clear post! Similar to @Petey, this got me thinking about the the drivers a customer’s purchase decision today vs. 10 years down the road as he/she begins to more strongly feel the effects of climate change, and how that might affect ThinkEco’s branding strategy. I think that the really compelling aspect of this product is that in both world’s, it’s more expensive for consumers to be environmentally un-friendly. I think that they should focus on communicating the financial reward of their product rather than the “Thinking Eco” impact. Saving $ is something that environmentalists and non-environmentalists can unite around!
Great post on a super interesting topic! As a website, it’s a tough problem for David Cairns to meaningfully address. Responding to the question posed at the end of your post, I’m thinking that they may be able to develop partnerships with travel agencies and online review sites such as tripadvisory as a trusted resource for sustainable travel. Perhaps the contributors to their sites could offer ecotourism of this fragile ecosystem.