Thanks for this post, Bipul. I agree with your third point that expansion into non-gaming VR segments could be super lucrative for Unity, especially given their “write once / publish many” engine that allows developers to plug into every platform seamlessly. I wonder what a similar Unity-powered model looks like for original television / film content creators, for example.
Great post! I would love to see GoPro come downmarket as you suggest to make their tools more accessible to the everyday consumer. I worry that they are moving too slowly here, especially with some of the newer products to hit the market that could capture too much early market share for GoPro to make up ground (e.g., Kodak Pix Pro VR Camera at $449 and the LG 360 Cam at a <$200 price point).
Love the idea of a social component that helps encourage users to stay in the game for longer. I think they tried to bake an early form of this into the original product with the Lure Module that people could use at a Pokestop to increase spawn rates thereby keeping you at the Pokestop longer and also drawing more people to a given Pokestop (not that I have ever used Pokemon Go myself…). Social + these types of retention tactics = network effects, which play into the current sponsorship business model.
Gotta catch ’em all!
Anecdotally I’ve heard that people have found their “new favorite bra” through True&Co. and Third Love – though to be totally transparent, I have not shopped at either site myself. I think the closer we can get to smarter, more personalized fit, the better off we’ll be.
As you say, my research indicated that many women are indeed wearing the wrong bra size; a lot of this has to do with inconsistency in the market among fit models and spec sizing coupled with a lack of precision in measurement. True&Co. has enough information in its database at this point to make an argument that they are even more precise than an in-person measurement – and certainly less embarrassing / invasive – because they take into account a number of factors beyond cup size and band size (e.g., shape, comfort of current bra). They also ask about brands you currently wear and how those brands fit – this is important because it helps them understand the market landscape in terms of fit.
I think your point is right that there are other retailers doing in-store measurement that probably have the resources to build data sets like True&Co.’s and might be able to just replicate this – and do it better. Will be interesting to see what PVH does with True&Co.’s data and if they can do the same thing across one or more of their brands.
Agree with you that they are unlikely to limit users to its app, since swiping/matching is essentially the fuel for their growth engine.
Small thing – they are very unlikely to be acquired, since they are owned by a public company (Match Group), whose majority stakeholder is IAC. They would have to spin off first, then get acquired, which would be hard.
They have and probably will continue to acquire smaller companies. Last year they launched a new fund, Swipe Ventures, to invest in similar and related businesses. They are one of the fastest-growing consumer apps of the last five years, so I think they’ll probably be around in another five.
Exactly. Think they could “own” fit online, which is really valuable
Thanks for another interesting post in the healthcare space. How does Propeller make sure to keep patients engaged? Sometimes when people get ahold of these kinds of devices, they feel novel for a short period of time and then wind up in a drawer collecting dust. Is there the potential for Propeller to generate some kind of recurring revenue stream w the device or their anonymized data platform?
Good question. I think bras were an interesting place to start because nobody is really “reinventing” intimate apparel in the same way that nobody was trying to fix the old-school mattress business (enter Casper). This wouldn’t work anywhere where customers will not reward you for exceeding their expectations; seems like today, people are willing to settle for “just ok” intimate apparel but will shell out for really well-fitting items. Don’t think this works uniformly across all categories, though.
Great piece. It’s been interesting to watch Opower also use data to encourage consumers to get people to care about saving energy. In 2012, Facebook partnered with Opower and the NRDC to create a social application that would not just allow Opower to access the data about neighbors’ energy usage and call the customer, but also allow individuals themselves to track their own consumption relative to the people around them (playing up that competitive dynamic). Was a cool, innovative way to motivate consumers to take action and leverage this massive database. Will be interesting to see what Oracle does here.
Great post. Really thoughtful approach by Google. Glad they are doing this, since for the first many years of the company’s existence, they were fixated on top schools, high GPAs, and perfect SAT scores, which offer only limited insight into a candidates’ potential for success on the job.
Very interesting post. I saw that Microsoft is testing a new “social” bot (Zo) that has a limited range of discussion. Do you think this type of anti-abuse measure makes sense for bots that are meant to be social, since natural human expression does include potentially controversial topics like politics?
Thanks for the Q! I think their use of constraints – a multiple-choice quiz (instead of free-form reviews) and humorous hashtags (written by comedy writers!) – was an attempt to keep the community light and helpful versus slanderous and malicious. Lulu’s founder said publicly that the majority of ratings on Lulu were positive, with over 70% of ratings at an 8.0 or above.
Moderators could help these kinds of services but might take away from the platform’s property of full disclosure and transparency – the main value creator for information seekers. Hard to know – and probably varies depending on the platform. I think some of this has to do with the subjectivity of the topic (vs a pizza place you review which is / should be inherently objective).
I think the idea that Quirky should have partnered with larger manufacturers/distributors to produce its inventions is right. Plus, it would have allowed them to plug into the existing customer service and QA functions of those established companies, instead of trying to go it alone (which just resulted in recalls and the customer service issues that GE claims damaged its reputation).
Alice, ty for this post. This model and community seem to be very important – one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and during that time, she relied heavily on the other women in her online support group (esp during chemo and radiation). Beyond existing work with the FDA, what kinds of complementors exist for PatientsLikeMe? For example, how could other types of partnerships help PatientsLikeMe create additional value using its 38M+ data points?
Thanks for this post. WeChat is *much* more than just a messaging app and has morphed into something that looks closer to a mobile portal through bundling / Mini services. Reportedly, one in five WeChat users (http://www.shanghaidaily.com/business/it/Over-100m-users-pay-through-Tencents-WeChat-and-QQ/shdaily.shtml) is set up for “Payments” by entering credit card credentials to his/her user account. I am eager to see how valuable those credentials are to WeChat, especially as they explore the offline-online model of allowing people to process payments at brick and mortar locations by simply using WeChat Wallet.
Hi Bipul! Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think you are right that one of the reasons to carve Messenger out of Facebook is bc the core product was becoming very complicated – even so, I think that one of the main drivers behind the decision was to grow Messenger without forcing people to use Facebook, thus opening the Messenger platform up to anybody in the laggard cohort with a phone number, even if he/she does not want to have an account on Facebook. This holdout group is important especially as messaging is projected to become more significant than traditional “social networking” in the coming years.
I think now is probably the time to test which features are particularly sticky on Messenger. FB has been testing M.ai for a while but only a couple months ago began testing “M suggestions” which use context from conversations in the app to suggest the right things. M is still in small scale testing and this is the early days of Messenger bot integration. My take is that Facebook will use this opportunity to observe user behavior, determine which in-app capabilities are most beneficial, and phase out the ones that are used less frequently before spinning Messenger off into multiple platforms. I could see a world where M.ai is its own “thing”, but FB would need to know more about why people are using M and how they are using it before that would happen.
I liked your post on FB’s ad platform. I’m sure you’ve been following some of the more recent critiques on FB ad measurement in the last few months/years, with the company admitting to overstating video views back in September and some of P&G’s more recent public feedback. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/business/media/facebook-takes-steps-to-improve-advertising-data-after-criticism.html).
Tinder is an interesting company and is basically driving most of Match.com’s growth right now (they are one of many dating companies owned by Match). In the last earnings call, Match CEO Greg Blatt talked about two projects that he felt were key to Tinder’s continued growth: 1) alternative sign-up to Facebook, in order to expand the top of the funnel and open the platform to more users and 2) the roll-out of a web application.
I see the rationale behind #1 (unlock access to users not using Facebook, or who prefer not to auth with FB), but harder to understand why #2 strengthens the platform in an increasingly mobile world. Thoughts on why this company would invest critical resources into building out a web app, especially when its first 50M active users were captured through a mobile-first largely millennial audience?
Congrats on joining Yelp post-HBS!
As Yelp continues to expand its platform and integrates with different kinds of businesses (e.g., Whittl, delivery.com, Peek, others), which new verticals do you think offer the greatest opportunity for growth given that you mention local players like Angie’s List already dominate in some markets? Also, how are they planning to eventually scale the platform? I know it launched back in 2013. Is the platform open to all developers, or just a select group of alpha partners?
Hello! Thanks for the thoughtful Qs.
“We think that the bigger opportunity to go after is to provide our community with both tools rather than try to combine them together and try to make it one size fits all.” – Zuckerberg on WhatsApp & Messenger
It seems like people get different things from Messenger and WhatsApp, so there was likely some strategic advantage to keeping the two distinct for at least the first several years after the WhatsApp acquisition and the continued development of Messenger. I don’t actually think it was obvious back in 2014 (when WhatsApp was acquired) that Messenger would take off the way it has (good article on this here: https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/20/one-billion-messengers).
I think this all comes down to product differentiation and multihoming, as you suggest. My understanding on WhatsApp is that people use it – and trust it – for their private conversations. My sense is that people do not have the same perception about Facebook, especially since Messenger chats are mined to target ads. Zuckerberg has said that the plan not to combine the two is international; that the messaging space is very large so even in countries where one of the two apps is growing fastest, the other one is also growing quickly as well. He’s said “WhatsApp is much more utilitarian… very basic and focused just on the feed and having a simple tool that people can use.” while he’s described Messenger as “more focused on expression and creativity.”
Great post. Just stopping by w a quick comment.
We had Mark43 as a case last term in Mitch Weiss’s Public Entrepreneurship class. One of the reasons that the class was particularly excited about it is that information management systems are a legal requirement for all police departments. To your fourth point, this makes software – even a brand new solution – especially digestible when compared to more expensive legacy options. Many police departments, for example, had/have to obtain grants in order to afford these pricey systems. Seemed like Mark43 had figured out a way to adopt a better pricing model that works for cities and deemphasizes the need to cut back on a line item to make room for the software – critical when selling into this vertical.
Edit: do you think Alexa will (not “is” will)
Do you think Alexa is will really be able to take hold across mainstream markets (not just a zeitgeisty / niche thing) and if so, how long will that take? I wonder if drones and other devices are still stuck in the fun & hobby category – seems like the ‘robot acceptance’ curve is still steep for many consumers.
Thx for this post – was glad to see it here.
I am curious to know what you think about the way that all of the different content formats Trump employed, in addition to highly refined ad targeting and “dark posts”, also contributed to Trump’s digital strategy. Pew did some research* which found that Clinton, Sanders, and Trump were all posting online at similar rates, for example, but that Trump consistently received a bigger response to his posts – leading to greater virality, more earned media.
Do you think that content types and formats played a role, or was Trump’s team just better at making the ads work for him?