Cherish Weiler

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On March 24, 2020, Cherish Weiler commented on Practo – India’s home for health :

Interesting article. I wonder about the ethics of “locking” clinics and doctors to a single platform. What if a customer uses a competitors system? Will it interfere with their ability to get treated? I see a risk of multi-homing here – whichever system a medical provider is using is the system the patient will engage with, up to as many platform as they need to engage with. And since the costs are low for the customer, it doesn’t cost them anything to be on multiple platforms. But then comes the question of how medical information is transferred, since I assume it’s not owned by the customer. I agree though that Practo may have the biggest competitive advantage in simple being the first mover in cities and countries. By not giving customers the opportunity to even know about its competitors, I think Practo could maintain it’s leader position.

Interesting, and congrats on the bike. I think actually one of the biggest advantages that Peloton has had was their first mover advantage and their investments in advertising (we’ve all seen the “woman records her Peloton journey for husband” – I guess there’s no such thing as bad publicity?). What I wonder is, if other companies were willing to bleed cash temporarily is there ANY way they could overtake Peloton’s advantage? I think about what’s happening now with Didi in China – what appeared to be a winner-take-all marketplace turned out not to be so. How defensible REALLY is Peloton’s ecosystem? The fitness industry sees so much turnover as consumers are constantly looking for the next “cool” fitness trend to be a part of. I think conversion will be near impossible – once someone’s made the $2000 investment, I don’t see them likely to switch. But if another new company can capture NEW users, they may stand a chance.

On March 24, 2020, Cherish Weiler commented on Upwork— the future of remote work online :

Great article – and good point mentioning the impact COVID-19 will have. I wonder too if it will make both employers and employees reevaluate the benefits of a marketplace like Upwork. I also think they’re in a tough spot in regards to market entrants and disintermediation. You mentioned Upwork offering credibility and this “personal brand” to freelancers to incentivize them using the service. But freelancers benefit from working with the same clients and building long term relationships with them. It gives the client piece of mind to work with “someone they know” and allows the freelancer to benefit from a steady stream of income. And as more freelancers join the site, the competition could easily push these freelancers off. I also expect COVID-19 will spur a wave of Upwork-like sites. It’ll be interesting to see how our gig economy develops post this pandemic.

It’s so interesting to see how e-commerce is approached abroad. I think one of the lessons I’ve learned is that outside the US, mobile is king. Mobile-first apps are critical for success in overseas markets. I also appreciate Mercari’s investment in building mutual trust, which is crucial for online marketplaces. I wonder though how much the Japanese culture plays into this. Was the effort easier, since Japan is known to have a strong culture of trust, or harder since the population may not be accustomed to providing such feedback? I also wonder why no other international e-commerce company entered/found success in Japan. Is there something about Mercari originating in Japan that makes it more accessible to consumers and more easily regulated by the government (or allowed for easier partnerships? My intuition is yes.)? Did international e-commerce companies even have a chance of success? With Ebay and Yahoo!Auction have been incumbents, it makes me think that YES international companies could have made it work BUT that they severely underestimated the political, cultural, and technical differences that would have been necessary to understand first.

Really good insights into what and why things went wrong here. As someone coming from tech, I’m completely shocked at the DNP’s willingness to hire an untested firm; it makes me wonder if the process was based more on political connections (Clinton’s 2016 digital campaign) as is common in politics rather than merit/past success as is common in tech. I understand the pressure the DNP feels to catch up – but isn’t it worse to rush things that will end badly than to invest the time and energy to do it right? How could the pressure have mounted to the this fevered “do anything to catch up” state? I also wonder, did it have to be THIS app? Couldn’t there have been another way to integrate technology that would have shown the DNP’s willingness to engage with users digitally? Also, where was the plan B?? So many questions that I would love to have the DNP answer.

It’s incredible how lack of a clear digital strategy AND capabilities can lead to such a massive failure, a failure that as you pointed out could have been quiet had it not been for this being one of the most important preliminary events of the 2020 election.

On February 11, 2020, Cherish Weiler commented on (Turn) Off the Press: The New York Times is Winning with Digital :

Excellent post – I find it more impressive that this type of digital innovation was able to happen in an industry that is notoriously slow to catch up with digital trends. I think one additional factor to the NYT’s success was the changing consumer behavior. There was a time when free content was what online consumers, especially young consumers, expected. Why pay for a subscription when I can get my information for free (and just a click away)? But NYT saw this trend changing – they knew free 1) wouldn’t last forever and 2) couldn’t beat quality. They were willing to bet on quality content AND on the consumers who first starting buying into the notion of pay-for-digital-content, who believed quality content creators deserved to be compensated. Now, that payment/subscription model seems to be the norm and NYT excellently set themselves up for success as more and more individuals are willing to pay.