Sharat Akasapu

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Thanks for the article, EL. Fintech is really interesting space in my opinion because it doesn’t seem like there is a specific technology, whether it’s digital investment management or robo-advisors, that serve as true competitive differentiators from the other firms in the space; this technology can and has been duplicated by the other big firms and players in the space. Furthermore, it’s difficult for a new company to truly break out as a viable company in this space because customer acquisition is so expensive!

In the future, I foresee any new interesting technology would be either quickly duplicated by big firms (such as Blackrock and Fidelity) or being quickly acquired and adopted into parent company (such as Futureadvisor). I think this will be how they get experienced and elite developers to work for them.

On November 30, 2017, Sharat Akasapu commented on Blood Donations in a Digital Age :

Great article, Pratik! It’s so great to see technology being used for mission-based initiatives that really help people in need. I noted down a few things as I read your article that I’d love to share:
1) I didn’t realize that 50% of the blood donations come from these community blood centers! Although Red Cross might be worried about losing market share, I guess as a consumer I don’t really care where the blood is coming from; as a consumer, it would be great to see these organizations compete to eventually increase the size of the overall pie of blood donations rather than take away each other’s share. Hopefully that’s not what they’re being incentivized to do!
2) I donated twice to the Red Cross and while the process itself was pretty easy, I have been incredibly annoyed by their solicitations ever since; they used to call me three times per week asking for donations. I felt bad because I was busy and couldn’t donate, but I felt even worse saying no! From a customer/donor experience, they are ironically driving me away from donating. I like the digital app approach, at least for me, because it is familiar to what I would use to do this.
3) Facebook’s Social Good team recently released a feature that enables people and blood banks to request blood donations in disaster areas. I hope the Red Cross is partnering with them on this because they get WAY more distribution working with Facebook than they would asking people to download a specific Red Cross app.

Thanks again!

Great article, Georgio. To answer your last question, I don’t think the majority of retailers will bring this capability in-house. It seems the software and framework Optopro has built is quite sophisticated to bring in a variety of inputs to calculate the likelihood of a return being used to generate more revenue in the future. Given that this isn’t a retailer’s core competency, as long as retailers are coming out ahead using their software, I believe they should continue to focus on the core operations of their business rather than build out sophisticated algorithms to calculate the likelihood and manage this process.

What could be interesting is if other software companies that help manage and optimize deliveries, such as Narvar, either buy this company or build out their own technology in this space; this company already has broad market penetration through a relatively cheap initial product and could easily get into this adjacent space, especially since software development is a core competency for them.

On November 30, 2017, Sharat Akasapu commented on Blockchain and Burgers :

Thanks for this article; I never thought about how blockchain technology could be applied to fast food!

I wonder whether Wendy’s could turn this into a competitive advantage for them or whether this will just be standard by which ALL companies in the future track their inventory and raw materials. It would also be interesting to find out how much they’re investing in this technology. Clearly, when a Chipotle-like event occurs, the long-term reputation risk to the brand is very difficult to overcome. The team at Wendy’s must have done the math to say that given the expected value of this event occurring to us (probability * cost), we think the investment in this technology is well worth it to quickly identify and prevent food contamination issues.

The last thing I wonder is whether consumer would pay more for a burger for Wendy’s if they knew exactly where it came from and that there was 0% chance that it was contaminated. I don’t eat beef, but maybe I would pay a little more for a chicken sandwich!

On November 30, 2017, Sharat Akasapu commented on The Doctor will Skype you now — The Digitalization of Medicine :

Thanks for the article! My previous employer offered Telehealth services, though I never took advantage of it. Certainly, this technology and service can help patients in rural areas to get access to healthcare. But as you mentioned in the article, 80% of the US still lives in non-rural areas. I wonder how these services can attract patients to adopt Telehealth rather than drive to the doctor. I think it is possible, but it will take time. After all, we now get into cars with strangers and sleep in strangers’ homes.

I would also add that trust and verification is going to be critical in this space. What’s to stop a random person to just setup a website to deliver telehealth services via a staff of “doctors”. The brand of the company delivering this is going to be a critical piece in gaining patients’ trust to adopt this new delivery method of healthcare.

Great find, Miguel. A family member got me a Daniel Wellington watch a while back, which has a similar model. A few things I’d note relevant to your article:
I wonder how much they are investing in speeding up delivery capabilities and whether this is really the best use of money. For a more expensive product, such as a $250 watch as shown in the image above, I’d be willing to wait a bit longer for the product. Additionally, I love the fact that they share the details of the watch’s production; not only does it provide transparency, it also makes me more connected to my new watch and the company.
I also question in a world where it’s easy to setup a website on a ecommerce platform (Shopify, Wix, etc) and relatively easy to source product (Alibaba opens up manafacturing), how do direct-to-consumer brands not only get the attention of consumers, but also survive in the long-run? I would think that they have to invest more than the next player when it comes to building their brand while at the same time investing significant amounts in product innovation. But I wonder if that’s enough…

Thanks for sharing!