Jesse Bendit

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On May 2, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on Airbnb vs COVID: The battle for community and connections! :

Great post – I think you’re point around Airbnb really enhancing its brand as a big value add going forward. I had experience with Airbnb vs. VRBO and the service and ease Airbnb showed in allowing cancellations / reimbursing was impressive. Although there is obviously the short term cash hit, I think the brand value added by this is huge – I would definitely choose Airbnb in the future over others because of that. Even more, I think they can do other things to differentiate themselves in a post COVID world – e.g. demonstrate what they are doing to ensure cleanliness and safety for users. If they can also do a better job on that than others, I think they can become the travel stay of choice for many users.

I agree with a lot of the points above that ClassPass will need to compete in the online world, especially since the offline world is likely changed significantly in the future (and even if it goes back to more normal, there’s probably a long time to get there). To capture significant growth, I think that online growth will be important as well – I like your point on the brand positioning being an important factor during this time. I wonder how and if they can translate that to building up that online presence in the future in a way that might continue to differentiate them as a partner to the studios? I’m excited to see what they can do with the opportunity, especially as so many people are looking for new ways and places to exercise – I think there’s a lot they can do to be even more successful and look forward to seeing what happens!

Really great article – I find it interesting to think about how normalized video dating (without meeting) can become and advance dating apps even further in the future. Thinking back even 10 years, these apps were not yet normalized, so I could see this being the next step in their advancement. I also agree with the point around monetization, but I don’t know if it’s different that it was in the past – apps have had trouble monetizing the meetings since they lose their value once the connection is made, and the same fact exists if people use video to complete that “meeting”. On the other hand, since they could potentially have more users, more connections all over the world, they might be able to charge more for the use, so I see some opportunity. Will be interesting to see what happens!

On May 2, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on ClassPass – COVID-19 not a threat, just an occasion to innovate and bond more with partners & clients :

I agree with a lot of the points above that ClassPass will need to compete in the online world, especially since the offline world is likely changes significantly in the future (and even if it goes back to more normal, there’s probably a long time to get there). To capture significant growth, I think that online growth will be important as well – I like your point on the brand positioning being an important factor during this time. I wonder how and if they can translate that to building up that online presence in the future in a way that might continue to differentiate them as a partner to the studios?

On April 21, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on Nike – just Do it with Data science and Demand sensing :

I agree with Alli’s point above on the use of data for product design and planning. I think being able to fill demand is really only the start of how this data can be useful – so much time, money, and resources are currently invested in designing new products using traditional ways of trying to predict the market, demand, and preferences. However, if Nike can use their increased consolidation of data to automatically design products that fit certain demographics and needs, then they can create an even greater competitive advantage (on both the cost and revenue side – being able to cut down costs on design side and increase revenue by increasing demand). This creates almost the flywheel we’ve discussed in enabling them to capture more data from more consumers, more preferences, and become even better / more efficient at design, eventually separating themselves from peers who can’t catch up. It will be interesting to see how much they can execute on this concept and really make data a part of every aspect of their business.

On April 21, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on How Well Does Spotify Know You? :

Great post! I was interested in your comment at the end that Spotify has the technology to create new music and remove artists – I wonder if / when this technology will ever totally replace the musical artist? With the data, can they eventually design music that is more individualized and appealing based on the user? I’m somewhat skeptical of this in the short-mid term because so much of music is the choice of words, energy, etc. and until AI is at a place where it can truly understand those nuances, I don’t see them being totally disintermediated (which I don’t see Spotify as at the forefront of this technology). So artists (in my mind), despite changes to the model / earnings potential for other reasons (COVID being a great example of killing concert earnings), I see as safe from now from AI replacing their creative value.

On April 21, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on How data analytics is revolutionizing the NBA :

Interesting article – I wonder, do you think the NBA needs to make changes to the rules based on the use of data? A good example being the increased use of the 3 pointer, which has obviously changed the game tremendously – should the 3 point line be moved back or removed altogether to encourage certain types of players or shot selection?

On March 24, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on Zocdoc: The Yelp for Medicine? :

That’s a great point and I totally agree! I know that a lot of the highest quality doctors sometimes won’t even take insurance, don’t need referrals, etc. because they have such high demand so they might be less likely to put on Zocdoc.

I like the telemedicine idea to help add more value for all doctors! Also, somewhat what I mentioned in the article – a big way WebMD makes money is through doctor subscriptions because they have doctor only portals with info. If Zocdoc can add on more supplemental services that add value to doctors other than just reviews, than this can help attract the best talent and I think they need to do that to keep / grow the number of doctors.

On March 24, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on Zocdoc: The Yelp for Medicine? :

I think a big difference between Yelp and the medical space is that for doctors, there are so many different types and insurance also becomes a big issue. So while I’ve used Google reviews to look at doctors, I think for that initial finding of doctors under your insurance, Zocdoc is a lot more helpful, which keeps people coming back. I also think that the benefit of being able to schedule on Zocdoc is attractive for both doctors and user, + doing paperwork, so these add value that Google currently is not.

I do agree with your point though that there are other platforms that can replicate ratings and that ratings on Zocdoc because of industry dynamics might not be as numerous, so this makes it a bit harder to generate as strong of network effects. But overall, there are some aspects of Zocdoc that help to create that moat.

On March 24, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on Boatsetter: Democratizing The Sailing Experience :

Love Boatsetter and have used it in the past! I think you identified a few of the issues that are most apparent to me. First repeat usage vs. moving off platform – you mentioned repeat usage is low, which makes the risk of moving off platform low, but I wonder if the repeat usage is low because users are in fact moving off-platform / contacting the boats they’ve used in the past directly? Also, I think a lot of the value / margin of the business comes from repeat usage and limiting the CAC + cost to setup / serve customers – how do you view the long term profitability of Boatsetter (that requires more coordination with captains, owners, pickup, gas, etc.) vs. an Airbnb? Last, I think one of the most interesting parts of Boatsetter is what you mentioned around its ability to cover costs of ownership – I totally agree here and wonder if it makes ownership more likely because people can now afford it by renting out boats OR less likely because people now have access to boats on the few occasions they desire (since you mentioned their only utilized 1% of the time anyway)? Interesting post for sure and great company to use!

On March 24, 2020, Jesse Bendit commented on A “Plaid”form worth paying (a lot) for :

Do you think that further expansion of Open Banking could potentially hurt Plaid’s growth? In a lot of the geographies where Open Banking is furthest along, banks are being encouraged to create their own APIs so that FinTech startups can access the information directly, which would allow these companies to ultimately cut out Plaid or other competitors to easily link into these APIs to create single sources of bank data – do you think this presents a risk to Plaid’s competitive moat or is their data / information differentiated enough that they will continue to be relied upon above using banks or other startups?

I believe that CarGurus already has a P2P sales option (https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/sell-car/) – this is typically just a small part of online marketplace’s business because its a one time fee (maybe a few times if they need to renew) versus ongoing and larger subscription fees for dealers (who value higher because they are selling many cars) + buy upsells (enhanced listings, or in the case of competitors like AutoTrader – vAuto, websites, etc.).

Andres – what’s your opinion on whether or not CarGurus can continue to differentiate itself on its IMV? A lot of companies have moved in similar directions of giving more transparency to buyers, so do you think this slows down CarGurus’ growth? And dealers typically do not like too much transparency (TrueCar is a perfect example – they lost a significant number of dealers in a single quarter because they were showing too much information) – how does CarGurus continue to differentiate without pissing off paying customers (e.g. dealers)? I totally agree with you that they have really done a great job growing and adding value, and think it’s sustainable, but definitely a competitive market and wondering how you see them innovating more in the future!

On February 12, 2020, Langley commented on Mirror: digital disrupter in fitness and beyond :

I agree with the first comment that I struggle to see Mirror winning this market. I think it’s advantage is its trendiness (and the amount of marketing spend that overloads our feeds), but I’m not sure why the Peloton app can’t replicate a lot of the main things Mirror is doing in terms of bringing people classes. The other health and fitness monitoring is nice, but think ancillary, and for the steep price that Mirror costs, I think there are other ways users can get this information. There are some other products like these trying to enter the market (e.g. Tonal) and my opinion would be that having some equipment is what you’re paying for since virtual classes are pretty easy to replicate themselves. Time will tell though!

Great post – like a few of the others, I wonder about their ability to scale, but they might also be able to do well as a smaller, more cost efficient player. The large banks have so many resources and so much money to invest, it doesn’t seem like a big stretch for them to be able to copy many of the things Monzo does (maybe not quite as well on existing platforms though). But given the overall switching costs of changing banks, which might be more mental than actually difficult, it seems hard for me to imagine Monzo becoming the “winner” of banks, even just in the UK. Banks also offer so many other services that might make it difficult for Monzo to replicate themselves and make it harder to fully disrupt the industry. Definitely seems they are doing great though in the areas they focus on!

On February 12, 2020, Langley commented on Venmo – Winning a Larger Share of Consumers Wallet :

I’m interested to see if Venmo eventually turns to using it’s balances to do some lending similar to banks. I can’t imagine the current revenue streams you mention are enough to make it profitable (as discussed by others above), but also wonder if they have the capabilities to overcome regulatory items to lend in that way. I also wonder whether those same regulatory hurdles will make the international expansion piece difficult – seems like there are already incumbents in a lot of the other countries because it’s a model that is very difficult to get the approvals necessary everywhere quickly, which slows Venmo down.