Excellent post! This past September my brother and I separately bought tickets to the same Red Sox game–he used SeatGeek and I used StubHub. We ended up getting similar seats, but his tickets were much cheaper than mine. From that point forward I will always use SeatGeek. I am really impressed with SeatGeek’s use of data analytics to help fans find the best seats, but worry that it will struggle to capture value in the long run. There is nothing stopping a user, for example, from using SeatGeek to get an idea of the marketplace, thinking about the purchase, and then buying the cheapest seat directly from StubHub, Ticketmaster or another vendor. This is what many users do with Kayak and Hipmunk, and is why those models are struggling.
Thanks for this post! I am a frequent Airbnb user and like hearing more about the company and its strategy. I too agree that creating a predictive algorithm to recommend a room or unit’s price is an excellent way to capture more value. Last summer I used Airbnb to find a full apartment in a nice Seattle neighborhood. The price was only $75 a night and everything about the listing was great. I told the host as I was leaving that he could raise the price considerably and still attract a lot of guests; he said that he obviously wanted to make more money, but did not want to price everyone out. I bet now he relies on Airbnb’s price tips, which I assume allows him (and Airbnb) to make a little more money. Airbnb needs to be careful, though, to keep both hosts and guests happy by striking the right balance in price.
Thank you for posting about hockey! It is good to see the NHL-SAP partnership; hopefully this will generate more interested in hockey in the States by attracting the data-focused, Moneyball crowd to the sport. During the TSG Hoffenheim case, we discussed whether soccer teams could use data analytics like Billy Beane did in Oakland with baseball; the majority of us believed soccer teams could, although the data are less straightforward than in baseball. Since hockey is similar to soccer, I think that hockey teams should also use data analytics. This partnership will make doing so easier, and perhaps we will see more models of how to value players, like the one here: https://github.com/auerifher1Ew/iceHockey_2015_summer/blob/master/evaluateNHL.pdf.
Thanks for sharing this idea! As an avid sports fan, I understand the desire to want to play a more active role in a franchises’ roster. However, I am not sure that a franchise would want to listen to the crowd here. If the goal is to win championships, I would leave roster development to the experts, who know how to scout and analyze relevant statistics. And if the goal is to make money, I would worry that a small but vocal minority would dominate. Some players have cult followings that are not necessarily representative of the average fan.
Plus, many fans are fickle. They like a player one day and then throw him under the bus the next day. Can you imagine this type of platform in Philadelphia? The crowd would turn into a mob and might even (further) deter plays from wanting to play there.
I would recommend other ways to gauge fan interest in players. Franchises can use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to see how generates the most buzz. And there are always numbers like jersey sales.
Thanks for sharing! I completely agree with you that more professional sports franchises you adopt the 50% + 1 rule. I share your same concern that there might not be enough fans to pay the membership fee. This is why I think the 50% + 1 rule is better suited for smaller markets (and potentially single professional sports team markets) where the team is already a part of the community fabric; a place like Green Bay, Wisconsin, home to the Packers–the only community-owned professional sports franchise in the United States–is ideal.
There are notably some legislatures in Congress who care about this issue. Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon periodically introduces the Give Fans A Chance Act, which “would require that owners give 180 days’ notice of their intention to move a sports franchise, and allow members of the community or other interests the opportunity to make proposals to buy the team during that period. It also would allow the league to play a greater role in determining whether the team can be moved using factors such as community involvement and whether there is a viable offer to buy the team in the community where it resides.” Check out the text here from the 112th Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3344:.
Thanks for posting this about this topic! I had no idea this happened, but I guess if it were to happen anywhere, it would be in Iceland.
In my opinion, democracy is crowdsourcing; therefore, what Iceland did was just further experiment within the realm of democracy. Quasi-randomly selecting 950 citizens to form a National Forum is a nice thought, but it is not that much different from how many democratic countries today select their national assemblies. Yes, perhaps the citizens in the National Forum are less susceptible to capture by special interests, but an ideal democracy would pass laws to prevent this from happening.
It is also worth pointing out that there already is crowdsourcing in many other countries through ballot initiatives. For example, many states in the United States (Washington, Oregon, California, etc.) allow citizens to write state constitutional amendments and other laws, and if enough signatures are gathered the entire state will vote.
Really enjoyed reading this. For the longest time Venmo did not accept my credit union, so I was a pain at dinner whenever it came time to split the bill. Even though I was eventually allowed to join Venmo, much to the delight of my friends, I am unsure how Venmo will perform in the future. All Apple has to do to crush Venmo is make Apple Pay peer-to-peer and have it automatically installed on every iPhone. Venmo has the name recognition and even became a verb (“Venmo me!”), but it needs to do more if it wants to be viable in the next few years.
Thanks for sharing this. I had not heard of Soul Cycle until I worked in New York this summer and saw the crazy cult following it had. I think the most intriguing thing about Soul Cycle is all the extra value it captures through other products: apparel, water bottles, smoothies, etc. The problem with Soul Cycle, though, is that it is relying solely (pun intended) on its brand name. There is nothing proprietary (that I know of) about it, and it is very easy for competitors to enter the market. Soul Cycle definitely takes advantage of network effects, but I am still not convinced that is is more than just a fad. Great post!
Very interesting piece! I had actually never heard of Fasten until this, but now I am very intrigued. As a consumer, I really do hate Uber’s surge pricing–especially last winter during the snow months when it seemed like there was a permanent surge. I share your sentiment that Fasten will be able to compete with Uber in Boston because of user and driver multi-homing. When I need a ride and Uber is surging, I without hesitation switch to lift to see if it is cheaper. Boston is a great entry market because there are so many young university students. It is interesting to think what Uber will do when it decides it needs to crush Fasten. I doubt Uber will mess with its labor cost structure, especially since its independent contractor model has already come under significant fire. As you mentioned, Uber’s best first best is to initiate a price war and dry up Fasten. The rewards program is a good option because it will stop users from using Fasten in Boston but Uber everywhere else. I see this now as a race to see how much money Fasten can raise (and how quickly). If I were the CEO I’d continue guerrilla marketing and expand aggressively beyond Boston.
Yeah, the BBM push is an interesting move. My initial take is that it is way too late, but we’ll wait and see!
Great topic choice. One of my best buddies from undergrad works at an SF-based start-up called Medisas that is seeking to disrupt Epic. Because Epic has such dominant market share, much of their work consists of trying to convince individual hospitals or hospital networks to switch from Epic to them. The problem is that while nobody really likes Epic, they are unwilling to switch (it is the devil they know). Many doctors are hostile to electronic records in the first place, and they are very reluctant to have to learn another platform once they have already learned Epic. However, Medisas (and others, I assume) are making progress, even if it is incremental. If I were Epic, I would monitor these start-ups closely, but not making any drastic changes as of yet (a la SAP and the cloud). But I would be concerned once younger doctors enter the workforce, since they will demand a more user-friendly product like Medisas as opposed to Epic.
I tend to agree with CC24 that Snapchat could easily be eclipsed by a copy cat product from the likes of Facebook or Google. What Snapchat has right now is a strong brand, but that is really it. There is nothing to stop a competitor moving into this space and trying to win over young users that are new to social media. In this era, the popularity of social media apps like Snapchat is unpredictable, and it is difficult to say with certainty that in two years (or five, 10, 15…) Snapchat will still be widely used. It could just be another fad. Will that 13-14 year old demographic continue to use Snapchat into adulthood? This space changes fast, and Snapchat seems particularly vulnerable.
Thanks for writing about the post office! I used to work as a legislative aide in Congress, and I dealt a lot with post office issues. The graphs you posted are very telling, and the post office’s recent struggles make me sad. As the first comment noted, it is difficult to compare the post office to a private corporation because of its ties to the government. The post office, unlike nearly every other corporation, is frequently used as a political pawn. For example, it would save the post office money to close many rural offices that serve sometimes less than 100 people. However, most congresspeople would never let this happen in their district, so these closures never happen. Perhaps, therefore, the best way to save the post office is to make it less vulnerable to the whims of an increasingly disfunction and self-interested Congress.