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On December 13, 2015, JCSS commented on Oscar: consumer-centric health insurance :

Great question! It’s a very valid concern in my opinion as well. Most “deep-pocket” insurance providers are trying to integrate and provide lower-cost services (such as the 24/7 nurse hotline) and streamline the sign up process like Oscar. To me, one of the major competitive advantages of Oscar is simply the customer experience, especially the ease with which one can sign up, locate and set up appointments with in-network providers, and understand pricing quite transparently. One would think Aetna or United Healthcare should certainly be able to create similar experiences but their websites still seem bulky and complicated. It will be interesting to follow and see if a new player in the market can survive the complexity of the industry. Thanks for the question though I’ll keep thinking on it as I follow the company.

On December 13, 2015, JCSS commented on Dr Lal PathLabs: Achieving scale in Indian diagnostics market :

Thanks for the great post, Mohit! Indeed, a 20-22% margin on a diagnostic lab business seems extraordinarily impressive. Do we know what their reason is for going public? I ask because the facts that they have been around since 1949, are well-distributed across India, and have a relatively enormous free cash flow despite 20% top-line growth all would suggest very little need to go public.

Anish, great post and thanks for bringing OYO to my attention! I’ve always thought finding high-quality but affordable hotels in India was far more difficult and frustrating than it should be. Even well-rated hotels through sites like Tripadvisor can be hit-or-miss. I often find myself spending much more than I want to for brand-name hotels in order to be confident in their quality. I’m surprised that I had not come across OYO before.

In response to the comments on AirBnB above, I agree that OYO’s competitive advantage is certainly their quality guarantee. My initial thought from the comparison to Uber was the fact that there must be strong competition. However, like you pointed out Anish, being a first and fast mover with extensive funding is certainly tough to go up against. With the hotels themselves making the capital investments and without the expensive regulatory burdens seen often with Uber and Ola, I agree they have massive potential ahead.

Did you come across any plans for international expansion Anish? This certainly isn’t a problem unique to India and I’m sure small or budget hotels feeling the pain of AirBnB competition would be strongly compelled to join forces with OYO.

Great evaluation of SpaceX’s inner workings, Ian. I couldn’t help but think that Elon certainly fits the mold of “Leader as a beacon” from our LEAD frameworks too. Back to TOM though: Particularly thought-provoking were your comments on SpaceX’s culture of innovation, especially the fact that “Elon stresses instead bounding one’s imagination and decision-making only by physical laws, and especially not social constructs or potentially arbitrary industry norms.” Since SpaceX essentially started from scratch, I assume it has been easy to eschew industry norms. With such a capital intensive business, however, I imagine sunk costs become more and more difficult to ignore and abandon over time. I hope SpaceX’s pace of growth and innovation continues and that we get the chance to watch a mission to Mars in our lifetime.