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On December 14, 2015, Sierra commented on Ibstock Brick – No longer a commodity? :


It appears Ibstock has an very advantageous market position relative to other brick companies, I am curious as to whether it is only the brick companies they see as competition? Are there other building material substitutes, such as concrete or even a faux brick substitute that provides the same look and feel? And if so, how does Ibstock differentiate its business and operational models relatively?

Similarly, I wonder how Ibstock views future company growth. Given what appears to be an effective operational model, do they have international aspirations? Or is their competitive advantage relevant only in the UK?

Thank you for your thoughts.

On December 14, 2015, Sierra commented on ASOS: Leveraging Network Effects in High Street Fashion :

ASOS has clearly created a model that has enabled them to identify and replicate popular trends and get them in the hands of consumers incredibly efficiently. As I think about the popular current culture of ‘fast fashion’ which includes Forever 21, Zara, ASOS, etc. I wonder how long this fashion ‘throw-away’ mindset in twenty-somethings will remain popular, and I can see a world in which the pendulum swings the other way and individuals focus on buying fewer, longer-lasting articles. I’d be curious to know how ASOS is thinking about the future and whether or not their current model is sustainable should fashion culture shift?

Similarly, I wonder how ASOS thinks and addresses clothing quality. Given their low price point, my guess is that they often have to sacrifice on fabric quality to maintain margins.

On December 14, 2015, Sierra commented on Manicube – The $15, 15 minute, in-office manicure/lifesaver :


I absolutely love this concept–what an incredibly creative way to deliver a needed service to women in a convenient and efficient manner. My main question is how are they able to ensure a timely delivery of their service? Do they employ enough manicurists who are ‘on line’ often enough to meet demand? If they are not able to effectively deliver on demand, I worry they will struggle with user adoption and loyalty.

I also wonder if there are opportunities to create ‘blocked times’ at employers, to maximize the efficiency–as in the employer could help facilitate sign-ups for a 2 hour block (or some other amount of time) in which the manicurist would come and be able to serve 8 individuals consecutively. In other words, I think there may be a ‘batching’ opportunity here!

I’m also very curious about how this operational model may be applied to offer other in-office services–such as massages (as mentioned in a previous comment), eye brow waxing, perhaps even a quick hair trim?! The options are endless!!

Thank you for sharing!