Thanks for sharing! I’ve worked in the same industry as you, consulting, and wondered about the value of experts. I agree that they are tremendous in getting a lay of the land, understanding industry dynamics, and assessing strategic positioning of players. Sometimes their opinion get aggregated to inform growth projections and inputs for market maps. While this used to be the predominant way to get an estimate, newer data vendors are popping up every day. With their ability to observe the markets by aggregating thousands of data points, I wonder how long we will resort to using a few experts to guide our recommendations.
Similarly to Jen, I wonder if Venmo is truly profitable, or if it relies on subsidized payment processing through Braintree/Paypal. It may be anecdotal, but I don’t know anyone who uses either Venmo Offers or Instant Transfers.
Another puzzle for me is Venmo’s newsfeed. How does it generate user value? And how did we become so complacent with our privacy to be okay with out daily transactions to be on display by default? PSA: If you haven’t sent your transactions to private, you might want to go into settings and do so 😉
Thanks for putting this analysis on Fitbit’s gloomy outlook together. I struggle a bit with the lack of efficacy of fitness trackers. While multiple studies have shown that the current product simply has no lasting impact on consumers, I wonder if that is due to poor design. I imagine the product managers there optimize by engagement metrics (especially post-IPO) rather than health outcomes for the users. To be fair, the later is extremely difficult to achieve and might require longitudinal healthcare studies. Not really the bread and butter of silicon valley PMs.
I’m with you. I don’t believe that many other companies will follow Allbirds’ footsteps (haha) and iterate on their product design based on customer feedback. It seems too expensive to be a leader and experiment, when you can simply be a fast follower and copy whatever worked. As Matt points out above, there are currently a ton of copy cats in the market that Allbirds is litigating against.