Pretty cool product, Daniel, thanks for sharing! What a cool mission statement: “democratizing wellness by making AI-powered wellness and mindfulness accessible to all.” On top of the Warner deal you wrote about, I wonder if this company could become an attractive acquisition for one of the leading competitive music streaming services (Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify) because of the uniquely personalized experience that it offers the user. I agree with Omar that, for better or for worse, this tech fundamentally changes one of the most basic human experiences.
Great blog post, Vikram! Thanks for sharing. How much does it cost for a company to buy these products? Is this suite of products considered a substitute or a supplement to anti-virus softwares like Kapersky or Norton?
Super interesting blog post. I’ve recently noticed stronger voice recognition software in customer service calls with robots, but this is the first I am learning about how AI can enhance conversations with a real customer service agent. So many US companies outsource their customer service hubs so this kind of reporting system could be hugely beneficial for companies seeking performance metrics. Do salespeople get any kind of reward for top performance or punishment for poor performance? Is there any incentive for them to pay attention to these ‘report cards’?
Juan Carlos, I learned a lot from your article. Thank you for your post! One thing that has struck me about SpacEx in recent years is their push in the 5G arena. This is one company (along with Google, Amazon, etc…) that is outspending traditional aerospace and defense orgs in the 5G space. Typically, the military is the first to build out / get the next generation of advanced communication technology… not tech firms. So, talk about shift in market dynamics. In January of 2020, SpaceX successfully launched its fourth satellite compatible with 5G. It will be one of their thousands of global 5G network satellites SpaEx will launch in the coming five to ten years.
Almas, this line was absolutely shocking to me: “It is capturing the facial emotions and reactions of viewers such as smiling or laughter at an extremely more granular scale. After it was tested in 150 shows, it has generated 16 million data points measuring reactions of 3,179 people.”
This reminded me of our discussion in class about how TV broadcasts could rely on one single metric, essentially, to understand viewer engagement: Nielson Ratings. Does Disney sell this data?
Intrusive data gathering is becoming a big problem in the streaming space. In 2018, two Democratic senators asked federal regulators to investigate the business practices of smart-television manufacturers amid worries that companies are tracking consumers’ viewing behavior without their knowledge… In fact, one study uncovered that Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and other companies have expanded the surveillance infrastructure that operates in the background of streaming services…Research suggests that even when viewers try to shield their information, it is sometimes tracked without their permission and shared with tech giants like Facebook, Google and Netflix. This will certainly be a growing problem moving forward in this space….
Really fascinating piece. Thank you for the great read Almas!!
Very thought-provoking blog, Pranav! Thanks for sharing.
This platform strikes me as a national security risk waiting to happen. I am seeing this as anideal platform for hate speech to thrive or even terror groups to gather. If the average user can be invited to the app to start a conversation of their choosing, and then invite their friends, whose to say the next attack on Capitol Hill won’t be the next viral Clubhouse chat? Does the company have a plan to defend against this? Is all audio archived or transcribed?
Thank you for your comment, Daniel! I appreciate your thoughts on attracting younger viewers to visual (video) news. One of the chief crises of our time, in my eyes.
This is the golden question that so many news organizations can’t seem to figure out, so I am glad you asked. My belief is that the key is in platform partnerships that promote long-form content. Netflix users are sitting down to watch an average of about 3.2 hours of Netflix video per day on the streaming platform. This kind of viewer, not a Quibi viewer, may be more compatible with “60 Minutes” product. Might “60 Minutes” have found success on Netflix or HBO Max, instead of Quibi? I venture to say yes.
This was a great read. Thanks for posting! Like Pranav, I am curious to learn more about why the app promotes multihoming in its business model.
I am also curious to know how these second hand clothing platforms have impacted brick and mortar consignment stores. Generation Z and millennials are the primary drivers of second-hand clothing e-commerce. I imagine in-person consignment sellers and shoppers tend to be older, and thus, less technologically fluent anyway. But in time, will they still work with consignment stores or donate to thrift stores?
Needless to say, second-hand clothing could be risky during a pandemic. What kinds of health & safety standards has Poshmark had to engage in, if any? I see on their website that “non-medical grade fabric masks are allowed on Poshmark.” Used masks? Interesting….
This post was a great read, Max! I have worked for Zeel’s on their website and content over the past few years so I can offer some insight on how they’re managing during Covid-19.
Before Covid-19, Zeel’s app brought in only about 75% of revenue. Revenue from corporate wellness contracts brought in the remaining approximately 25%. Corporate clients included: Comcast, Match.com, Zappos, Fox Sports, Facebook, Tinder, WeWork, Twilio, Thrive Global, AngelList, Pfizer, Hyatt, Four Seasons, Cooley, Hilton, Rosewood, Stamps.com, Hawke Media.
When Covid-19 hit, fear of touch obviously skyrocketed and revenue plummeted. Solution: Zeel networked together individual 1099 providers, and aggressively negotiated contracts with new and existing corporate partners to offer remote wellness via zoom. Their first deal was with Comcast, who signed on to buy 50 hours of online yoga and meditation for remote employees. Existing corporate clients and some new ones signed on, which slowly started to bring in revenue.
Zeel also got a call from a renowned large multinational corporation. The company, whose name is not yet disclosed, expressed concern for their exhausted factory workforce which was working 12-hour days of hard labor packing boxes and loading trucks. This company asked Zeel to send therapists to their distribution centers in remote parts of the country. Zeel networked together providers in specified rural areas to meet the needs of this new corporate client. But the next challenge was that it was against public health guidelines to be less than six feet from anybody. To overcome that hurdle, Zeel offered self-guided stretch in-person. The signing of this contract ensured that the last thirty minutes of each of the company’s 40 thousand laborers would be spent on a mat, six feet apart from a Zeel therapist, mask-up, stretching. This one contract brought in about $5 million over a ten-week period, which shored up Zeel’s finances and allowed us them keep their doors open during the pandemic.
Zeel has returned to 70-80% of demand and revenue is increasing month over month. (At-home massage became permissible by law over the summer 2020 months on a state by state basis.) Nonetheless, Zeel is far from making a full recovery. Possible explanations for this include childcare issues for therapists and fear of infection transmission during appointments. Finally, the publics’ acceptance of welcoming strangers into the home for massages, on the consumer side and on the provider side, may be permanently reduced as a result of the pandemic. So Zeel is looking into new verticals…New verticals would utilize the existing Zeel app and the existing framework for booking appointments.
This was a spot-on write-up of the Sadie Hawkins of dating apps. I imagine Bumble leadership had has to grapple with sensitive conversations around gender inclusivity in recent years. How have they navigated this?
I second your point that Bumble has a bright future. Just last month, Bumble’s CEO became a rare female billionaire. Bumble is one of three female-founded firms to IPO in past year, according to Bloomberg…!
DocuSign undoubtedly solved one of the greatest problems of the pandemic by providing official digital signatures for users. But what is more valuable to bad actors than access to signatures of more than 500,000 customers and hundreds of millions of users in over 180 countries? Arguably nothing. So it goes, DocuSign was hacked in 2020. The company claims that signatures remain secure and untouched.
74% of consumers say they have no control over the personal information that is collected on them, according to the 2020 report “Privacy and Security in a Digital World: A Study of Consumers in the United States.” Through that, consumers may feel unaffected by or even indifferent to these data breaches, so DocuSign will probably continue to grow as expected. But personally, I will be steering clear of uploading my signature to an insecure system, and I will stick with this: “Electronically signed: Cristina Gallotto.”
As Zoom was becoming a household name at the onset of the pandemic, the company was also grappling with a class action lawsuit that many users are blissfully unaware of. Zoom was quietly sending user data with Facebook, even for Zoom users who do not have a Facebook account, in violation of California’s Consumer Privacy Act. Zoom allegedly removed the data-sharing feature in newer versions of the app, but questions into the company’s use of data remain. When companies in the technology arena grow as quickly as Zoom has, typically privacy, data responsibility, and security suffer. I think it is important that we continue to keep an eye on Zoom’s privacy policies and data usage because, to your point, the use-cases for this app are expanding from business meetings and academic and into private social meet-ups and more.
Read the full complaint here: https://www.cyberscoop.com/zoom-lawsuit-facebook-california-privacy-ccpa/
In the world of content creation, HBO has been a disruptor since the late 90s. From “Sex And The City” to “The Sopranos,” HBO aired more violence and nudity than any other network had ever dared to engage in. That calculated risk is embedded in HBO’s corporate culture, and continues to field the company’s success in the streaming wars. Traditionally, HBO has always been the network to push the boundaries.
After writing my blog on ViacomCBS and learning about its revenue losses from theater closures, this line of your blog struck me as particularly interesting:
“In December 2020, Warner Brothers announced that all of its 2021 blockbusters would be released on HBO Max at the same time they reached theaters.”
At first glance, it seems that the primary motivation for WarnerMedia’s move was to threaten or take business from the movie theater industry. However, perhaps this move was meant to supplement the financial losses to HBO due to theater closures.