Will Kenney

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On December 14, 2015, Will Kenney commented on TripAdvisor: Rapid product development and content generation :

I really liked this post, Aki!

It sounds like TripAdvisor’s edge over its competitors lies the quality and robustness of its user-generated content. 300,000 reviews per day is an incredibly large number. It’s impressive that such a large fraction of reviews can be vetted without any human touch. Do you know if TripAdvisor also has concerns about users being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of reviews? And beyond the daily human/algorithmic filtration of reviews, what bigger measures does it take to encourage the production of high quality content?

I would be really interested to hear more about the sorts of A/B tests that have led to larger changes and about how the team decides whether or not to implement a heavily debated new product. I like your point about A/B testing being much easier on a web application than on a raceboat, but it does seem that the might be reason to worry that too much testing might make for a worse user experience for the unknowing test subjects.

On December 14, 2015, Will Kenney commented on Redefining how WeWork :

Really interesting post, Andre! I also spent some time working in a WeWork space in Manhattan. Based on my experience, it sounds like you nailed its story.

WeWork is a cool-feeling place – I don’t know if any space better captures the 2010s tech startup zeitgeist – but from what I saw, its value proposition really falls apart if it can’t provide some sort of community. As Sophia noted, common spaces were in high demand, and most desks were in open workspaces where it was difficult to hold long phone calls.

For a tech startup with very limited resources, WeWork’s closest competition seems to be founders’ apartments. (Or, if we’re going for a true tech founding myth, founders’ garages.) The WeWork space provides a bit more legitimacy in the eyes of customers/clients/collaborators, but it seems that the community there is really what should convince small outfits to pay rent. Established communities also seem to be WeWork’s first mover advantage, given that it probably wouldn’t be particularly difficult for new entrants to borrow their model.

Given the downsides to the open and shared workplace setup, it seems that in order to succeed going forward, WeWork will have to be very thoughtful about how it provides, allocates, and prices private and semiprivate spaces for meetings and calls. Were you able to get a sense of whether (and how) its approach to these spaces has changed through its rapid recent growth?

On December 14, 2015, Will Kenney commented on Zappos – Powered by Service but Stunted by Recent Changes? :

Nice post, Eric. I’ve been a Zappos customer for a while now, and while I’ve always been pleased with their quick shipments and strong customer service, I didn’t realize what was going on behind it all.

Thinking how Zappos is placed so efficiently close to UPS’s hub, I first wondered how long Zappos would be able to compete with Amazon on logistics…until I saw in Dan’s reply that Zappos is actually owned by Amazon. Aside from their e-retail and shipment prowess, Zappos and Amazon seem like very different outfits. Even if it wasn’t for that scathing recent NYTimes piece, I don’t think “fun” and “quirky” are the first words many would use to describe working at Amazon. Do you have any sense of whether Amazon’s ownership has led to changes in Zappos’s approaches to employee atmosphere and vendor relationships, both in terms of overall efficiency and the levels of personal satisfaction for everybody involved?