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On December 14, 2015, Marlene commented on CVS Health: Fully Adherent to Its Prescribed Strategy and Winning :

Hey Emma, thanks for your comment! Walgreens and CVS appear neck and neck, and the Walgreens-Rite Aid merger is in line with the current strategy to maximize coverage as CVS is similarly acquiring Target pharmacies. Both are focused on acquiring more customers through physical presence and getting benefits from scale. I think you’re right on with innovation with regards to products and services. It will be interesting to see how they can differentiate themselves through the types of products and services. If CVS can increase the total customer base (people who prefer to walk in to a store and new online/mail order people), take advantage of higher margins on specialty drugs fulfillment, and increase digital traffic it will be able to combat these threats.

On December 13, 2015, Marlene commented on Airbnb: A sharing business so you can #BelongAnywhere :

Loved learning more about Airbnb through this post, thanks for sharing! C2C models and serving as a facilitating platform businesses seem to be doing really well in the digital age. Airbnb has done a great job signing on and servicing hosts to provide great inventory selection to guests. The focus on experience innovation and diversifying customer base provides tremendous opportunities for the company. While these synergies have created a successful platform to date, will Airbnb be able to maintain the balance between privacy and trust as they grow and innovate? Business travelers for example may be particular about location which may conflict with the existing policy of withholding the location of the property until after a reservation is made.

Great example of a company that benefits from network effects! At first it was surprising to learn that the company was started by the largest real estate agents. Agents usually value personal contact with potential buyers and similar sites like US based Zillow create a free to access and anonymous platform in which house hunters can search without ever having to contact an agent. The ads and listing fees have been successful for the company thus far, but I wonder if there is any interest in capturing value from successful deals through commissions, gathering user data through login requirements etc.?

On December 13, 2015, Marlene commented on Solar Mosaic: The Kickstarter of community solar :

Thanks for sharing the story of this platform to provide financing for such a capital intensive project! The low investment minimum of $25 and no downpayment by homeowners are interesting policies. It provides low barriers for the 2 sided market and I wonder how effective this has been in broadening the base of different investors and consumers and on the flip side, how does Solar Mosaic manage risk of default?