Jennifer Yang

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On May 2, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

Thank you for sharing such an interesting post, Sneha! I really enjoyed reading about how EVO has taken a creative response to the COVID-19 crisis. While so much of the rest of the world is looking to leapfrog into the digital future with automation, artificial intelligence, and mobile technologies, EVO is demonstrating how innovation can mean returning to the roots of what makes a customer experience special. I can see this being a very popular proposition during this time for people who want to safely enjoying some semblance of normal recreation while also getting a new experience with the drive in theater. It would be interesting to see whether this revitalizes the drive-in theater market at a larger scale, even beyond the pandemic.

On May 2, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

Thank you for sharing such an interesting post, Sneer! I really enjoyed reading about how EVO has taken a creative response to the COVID-19 crisis. While so much of the rest of the world is looking to leapfrog into the digital future with automation, artificial intelligence, and mobile technologies, EVO is demonstrating how innovation can mean returning to the roots of what makes a customer experience special. I can see this being a very popular proposition during this time for people who want to safely enjoying some semblance of normal recreation while also getting a new experience with the drive in theater. It would be interesting to see whether this revitalizes the drive-in theater market at a larger scale, even beyond the pandemic.

On May 2, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on “Zoom by Day, Houseparty by Night” :

Thank you for sharing, Partha! It is interesting to see how recent marginal changes in lockdown measures have directly impacted Houseparty’s numbers so soon. I have only tried the app a couple times and can’t claim to be an experienced user, but it seemed to me that the games are fairly rudimentary and have a limited half-life. Given that it appears to lack a clear defensible moat, I feel that its success over the long term will be highly dependent on whether it can build a “killer app” type of game that is high quality, viral, and sticky. I don’t believe they are there yet, but it will be interesting to see whether they can accomplish this as an in-house project or via partnership.

On May 2, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on GMAT goes online- Taking the exam at-home during a pandemic :

Thank you for the interesting read! This seems like a step in the right direction long term for standardized testing. With so many digital resources available to replicate the in-person experience of taking a test (which, if I recall correctly, was simply the experience of sitting in the same room as a proctor overseeing multiple people), having to schedule and travel to the GMAC testing centers seems unnecessary. This could potentially also improve access for those who don’t have the means to travel to GMAC locations, or can’t take time off work to take the exam. With remote monitoring via webcam or screen sharing, I don’t see the other aspects of the online exam can’t be refined with time to replace in-person testing.

On April 21, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Tik Tok: Using AI to take over the world :

Thanks for sharing, Haoran! I also agree with dknab1892’s point earlier that Tik Tok reminds me of Vine, and I wonder whether Til Tok could make their platform more defensible by expanding beyond videos, or perhaps into more high-end video content along the lines of new entrant Quibi. It seems like they could be susceptible to the same issue Snapchat had in coming up with a novel and fun but ultimately reproducible technology, and they are particularly vulnerable without the social networking ecosystem that Facebook (for example) can leverage.

On April 21, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Duolingo – Learning the language of AI :

This is really interesting–thank you for sharing! Given this kind of precision in placing people based on their true capabilities, I wonder if this technology can be applied in other contexts to shift our education system away from standardized tests, which have drawn fire over the years for inaccurately representing people’s skill level. I am also curious to see whether Duolingo has normalized and compared the performance of those who were placed using this technology versus those without.

On April 21, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Affectiva: building AI that reads human emotions :

Thank you for sharing! I was curious about Affectiva’s technology from an academic standpoint because it’s a fascinating next step towards machines emulating emotion, once it can perceive or understand it. I wonder, however, whether there there is a robust pathway to profitability for a technology like this. As for now, it seems more like an interesting thought experiment more so than a killer application for AI.

Thanks for the breakdown, Andres! This is a really interesting company to read about. The question of multi-homing is such an interesting question for the new and used car market. Particularly with car purchasing being so infrequent, expensive, and high friction, I assume that buyers feel as though they have to multi-home; it’s essentially a part of the expected process. I’m curious to see how CarGurus can create a buyer experience so unique to the platform that it negates this.

On March 24, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Instacart – A Platform Thriving in a Pandemic :

Thanks for the interesting and timely read, Elisa! I agree with many of the sentiments expressed around whether the lift that Instacart is sure to experience with COVID-19 is sustainable long-time. On top of this, I am curious what the implications for the business are for the people they hire during the pandemic. While hourly contractors in other companies might be negatively impacted by COVID-19 can get a stopgap opportunity at Instacart during this time, I wonder how this could complicate Instacart’s ability to manage their capacity in the future.

On March 24, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on MasterClass – Mastering Scale as Edutainment Platform? :

Thanks for the interesting read, Rocio! I am very tempted to explore this platform but find myself wondering whether video is truly the best method of learning. If the platform lacks the same quality of interactivity and reinforcement learning that characterizes a more traditional EdTech platform, I imagine it would be difficult to retain much of the lessons being taught. As such, I tend to think this is a start-up that should aim for exit by acquisition, either by media aggregators like Netflix, or EdTech platforms like Coursera. Particularly with so many new video content aggregators cropping up (such as Disney+ and Quibi) and with such a crowded EdTech market, Masterclass may not have a defensible position if it plays in two spaces (education and video entertainment) passably, rather than excelling in one.

On February 11, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Venmo – Winning a Larger Share of Consumers Wallet :

I find Venmo’s product to be very useful as a consumer, but I’m curious what they would have done to become profitable or support their operations (outside of VC funding, perhaps) had they not been acquired. The path to monetizing their platform at a sustainable level does not seem very clear to me. Although they deliver a great product to a large user base, I just don’t see where they could make enough revenue to turn a profit. I would be interested in seeing what Venmo’s largest revenue streams are. As it is right now, however, they may not be very concerned about this because they have the support of PayPal’s resources behind them.

On February 11, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on The Louvre: Winning at Digital Engagement :

This was a fascinating read, Joe! I particularly enjoy the idea of bringing museum art to life through AR/VR technologies, and I am excited to see where the Louvre takes this idea, given the richness and significance of the art that it houses. It would be great to see the Louvre expand concepts like the “Petite Galerie” to their full collection, or at least the most widely know pieces. Wouldn’t it be grand to see what the Victory of Samothrace would look like in its original condition, through AR?

The data analytics piece of this equation is interesting as well. One potential benefit as well to tracking visitation and traffic is the ability to then distribute that traffic more evenly, thereby decreasing wear and tear or maintenance of the grounds, which could be a concern for such a highly visited tourist attraction.

On February 11, 2020, Jennifer Yang commented on Plaid: A $5.3 Billion Winner :

I’m curious about Plaid’s branding going forward, now that they fall under the Visa umbrella. As you mentioned, I had no idea about Plaid until the past year or so, although I may very well have been using their technology. While this is a good strategy for them to build traction in the early days by leveraging the trust that customers place in the companies that built these apps, I wonder if it’s a lost opportunity for them going forward in gaining consumer awareness. If they were to brand their services, would it even be under the Plaid name, or perhaps under Visa’s name? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.