Leah H

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On April 29, 2020, Leah H commented on Peloton: Riding Quarantine into a Demand Boom :

Thanks Ali, super interesting! I’m a huge fan of Peloton and while I don’t own the hardware, I’ve been a subscriber of their app since January of this year. I used to use the app in Shad, but now I’m finding it’s a great source of at-home workout content. I’d say it’s very likely that I’ll upgrade to a bike or treadmill in the wake of Covid – so I’m part of that 10% that moves up market from their subscriber base! It’s great that they have been able to capitalize on a trend that’s bolstered growth for them while not changing much about their business model – which definitely seems to be an anomaly these days. I agree with your point around the TAM being capped out, and not a lot of room left to grow. I’m curious to see how they expand on double down on certain product offerings (new hardware?) to continue to allow for growth post-Covid. Will be very interesting to follow!

Thanks Jona! Super interesting to read about ClassPass’ response to Covid. All in all, it appears to be quite commendable. I generally agree with the comments above, but I disagree on the premise of the digital offerings becoming less popular once social distancing measures are relaxed. I don’t believe ClassPass created this digital response as a main product/offering for their customers. It appears to be a way to support the business in the short term, to keep the supply side of their platform alive so that post Covid, ClassPass is able to offer a breadth of in-person content to its subscribers. I think they’ve done a wonderful job understanding their value proposition, and working to bolster it and its partners throughout this challenging time.

Thanks for writing about June, Megan! I’m a huge fan of the team and think it’s awesome what they are doing. I agree with Ali’s comments above, it will be interesting to follow June post-Covid to see how they continue to engage mothers when social distancing measures have been relaxed. In the meantime, this is a great way to build critical mass in both supply and demand. I was recently reading about ‘death doulas’ – similar to birth doulas but instead of helping to bring a life into this world, they help people on their way out. This probably doesn’t fit in with June’s value proposition, but it is an interesting thought as a way to extend the overall LTV of a customer through additional offerings throughout a person’s life. I like that they are already working on building out their products horizontally – a great strategy!

On April 18, 2020, Leah H commented on Overjet – Transforming Dentistry Powered by AI :

Super interesting technology. As Sneha mentioned above, I’m also really interested in the intersection of these technologies & AI with the medical fields. It reminded me of our case last week – Zebra. I wonder how susceptible Overjet is to new players coming into the space to compete on this front – similar to the dilemma facing Zebra. There are definitely first mover advantages, but is an interesting thought for how to sustainably grow their business.

Wow – this is really cool. I’d never heard of this before either, but it sounds like a really cool tool that not only allows for value capture, but a ton of value creation for its customers and other stakeholders for human health. This reminded me of the June oven, which is able to cook based on photo sensing and AI, similar to what you’ve described above for Yes Health. Maybe a partnership between them in the future could be a great way to increase revenue and customer adoption!

On April 18, 2020, Leah H commented on Hello Barbie – AI Making Children’s Dreams Come True :

Super interesting – this reminds me a bit of my own childhood when ‘Furbies’ were becoming popular. I remember how fun it was to talk with them at first, but quickly how creepy they became. My parents actually had to put it in the storage room in our basement and we could hear it babbling all night! Straight out of a horror movie.

I think you elaborated on the privacy concerns really well, especially with the vulnerability to hacking. Even more concerning I think are the issues you raised around sensitive questions about gender, religion or self-esteem. These Barbies could have a significant influence on how children think – do parents want Mattel deciding that narrative? Something to think about for sure!

On March 20, 2020, Leah H commented on MasterClass – Mastering Scale as Edutainment Platform? :

Thanks for this – I thought your analysis was great! I’m always getting bombarded by instagram ads for MasterClass (although never converted myself), so interesting to learn more. I had similar thoughts to Megan – who are MasterClass’ true competitors? To me, it seems like anything that people might do to “better” or entertain themselves. You mentioned streaming services, but I imagine even things like yoga classes, the gym, books, or dinner with friends could be competitors/substitutes for this platform. While I do agree with you that they are a differentiated platform in their content and high production value, I wonder if a way to create more value is a way to better certify the students that complete courses. Maybe this isn’t possible in the arts, and maybe this would make the platform look a lot more like its direct competitors, but some kind of innovation might be necessary to sustain the platform by keeping users on it for longer. I also like Megan’s point above around having celebrities/talent sign agreements that limit them to MasterClass’ platform only – although unclear if they would be on board with this, and they would definitely have the leverage in this negotiation!

On March 20, 2020, Leah H commented on Zencare: Modernizing the search for mental health care :

Thanks for this – super interesting and thought your analysis was spot on! This space sounds incredibly nuanced – it actually reminded me a lot of dating platforms like Hinge and Bumble, and how they could face similar problems in their scaling. Specifically with highly clustered/local markets, and the realization that a successful use of the platform takes users off of it for good, in theory. Because of the nuances and challenges you outlined above, I think this might make for a slightly more defensible business. Because it’s challenging, it could deter many entrants (hopefully!). That being said, I do worry about their scalability – creating value by taking photos of the therapists and helping them to write personalized bios sounds manually intensive. Although, these efforts to make the platform stickier do seem to be in the right trajectory to better defend their business and reduce risks associated with disintermediation, multi-homing, and clustering. Looking forward to see how they scale & sustain!

On March 20, 2020, Leah H commented on Upwork: In Demand Talent On Demand :

Interesting article on Upwork! I think you hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph around sustainability – I worry that their platform is at high risk of disintermediation as well. It feels like they’ve tried to discourage it through their pricing model to freelancers, encouraging them to be stickier on the platform by charging less commission for the larger/more numerous transactions. Although, I agree with you that this will likely have the opposite intended effect. If I were a freelancer working over and over again with the same employer, it would be really easy to move off the platform and instead have no commission charged. I agree with your assessment that Upwork will need to fine tune how they provide value to both sides of the platform to better defend their business.

On February 9, 2020, Leah H commented on Flexport: Disrupting international freight shipment :

Wow – I didn’t know about this company but it sounds like a massive success story! This kind of digitization seems incredibly relevant in a world where people want full transparency in their supply chains – how are the products I order online or buy in store getting to me? I wonder if there is some opportunity for Flexport to ever offer digital solutions to other areas of supply chains. I’m thinking further upstream than shipping – more towards the manufacturing side of unfinished goods. One example of an industry that’s incredibly opaque and in need of transparency is the textiles industry. As Flexport iterates on their technology, maybe the next step for them is to disrupt other parts of the supply chain through digitization.

Building on Megan’s comment above, I wonder as more sports leagues and events partner with SMT, will they continue to sustain a competitive advantage as their product is no longer a differentiation point for their customers? I’m thinking of Clay Christensen’s theory of commoditization and decommoditization cycles. As SMT’s tech becomes commoditized, value is likely to move into other area’s of the supply chain – should SMT begin to invest R&D dollars in spaces they think the value will be in the future? And where would that be in this scenario? As well, tying themselves to the incumbent rocket ship is beneficial for scaling in the short term, but what happens when those incumbents are disrupted? I’ll be curious to see how SMT continues to reinvent itself and if it ends up a winner or loser for the long term.

On February 9, 2020, Leah H commented on Starbucks: Winning on rewards, loyalty, and data :

Really good point!

On February 8, 2020, Leah H commented on IKEA: Digitzing supply chains to win on customer experience :

Really cool, Megan! I saw that IKEA is also testing out a furniture leasing model in 2020 (for as little as $33/month for an apartment’s worth of furniture – crazy). It seems like this would fit nicely in with their new microstore “Planning Studios” for highly urban environments. I agree that their upfront investment in rethinking the user experience and digital supply chain will allow them to be much more agile when continuously innovating in their business.