Omar Aboulezz

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On April 19, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on An Algorithm…with a Record Deal? :

Holy cow, I had no idea this level of intuitive technology already existed. It’s crazy to think that this software can aggregate data from disparate sources stored on your phone and play appropriate music. I like where this technology is going in terms of it’s potential impact of improving the quality of people’s life. What does concern me is the creation of music without human input. This feels like a loss, not a gain for humanity. The implication of algorithmic music (or really any artistic) generation that concerns me is the disruption of a basic human cultural activity. I’m all for the ML algorithms matching music to mood, but protest ML creating art for us and hope that trend doesn’t continue. Thanks for sharing!

On April 19, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Gong: Conversation Intelligence Platform Sales Leaders Rave About :

Gong provides immediate feedback to Sale’s people which is of incalculable benefit. Usually sales teams have a few superstars, ut its difficult to capture and share that secret sauce. Yet, Gong has created a product which has finally allowed this to happen, democratizing the knowledge required for salespeople to optimize their results. I do agree that the primary challenges with the product lie with the linguistic and cultural nuance. I wonder whether this challenge will be tackled by entering new markets? Where does the data that trains the ML come from? Existing customers or previous R&D?

On April 19, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Scale: Labeling the Future of Data :

As I read this post, what kept coming to mind was how easy it would be to imitate this service. You referenced this in #3 above, differentiation, which I agree with. How much of a threat do you think it would be for companies to develop their own data labeling services in house. This seems like a fairly easy task that can be outsourced to low wage areas like we saw with Affectiva.

Data prep is a necessary part of the ML process and can be considered a part of the digital supply chain. Super cool to see a company try to make it its own niche. I think this service can help smaller companies, but will be under threat from larger well resourced companies.

On March 23, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Whoop: Operationalizing Fitness Data to Help Athletes :

That could potentially happen, although I wouldn’t be comfortable with this data out there. For example, if advertisers know that you slept poorly on a specific day, thus reducing your will power, they may aggressively market on that day. I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be handing over that kind of information.

Separately, I do hope focuses its investments more on the product than on marketing efforts to continue to stay upmarket.

On March 23, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Whoop: Operationalizing Fitness Data to Help Athletes :

Yeah the lack of a screen is actually a selling point for some people. When I workout, I have my phone on which acts as my personal coach, displaying live heart rate, strain, and calories and coaching you on when you’re pushing past the optimal limit. Personally, I don’t want another screen on my wrist but can totally understand why folks would want that based on the wild popularity of the Apple watch.

Yeah, I read about Flo selling data and immediately asking my girlfriends at the time to switch apps since I found that to cross a line of medical privacy that was unacceptable. I hope whoops stay principled on this point!

On March 23, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Whoop: Operationalizing Fitness Data to Help Athletes :

I agree that this product certainly does target more intense athletes. This definitely overshoots for most consumers. I really hope whoop continues to evolve up market as I see applications in sports, outdoor work (construction/mining/forestry) and the military. Furthermore, I hope that they can one day make deals with insurance companies to reduce people’s premiums based on how well they take care of themselves!

On March 23, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on The Business of Predicting and Winning Elections :

Holy Guacamole! There is an obscene amount of data collected, aggregated and used to predict voter outcomes. This is quite scary to think about. The implications on having free and fair elections and the impact on American democracy can be substantial. I guess, gone are the days when candidates tried to persuade with policy or rhetoric. With how polarized the nation has become, the independent voter has become far more important and thus this data becomes far more valuable. I hope this doesn’t turn into the most techy and well funded party (probably democrats although it appears that historically republicans have been ahead of the curve) always wins. That’s not good for democracy.

Do you think this kind of data collection and analysis is a net positive or negative for American democracy?

On March 23, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on How Instagram Keeps Users Scrolling For More :

Julia this was a [Insert Fire Emoji Here] blog post! As a total Instagram addict, I was always curious about how the app worked.

In terms of the ethical implication of the impacts of social media on mental health, I totally agree that there have been negative consequence. However, I also recognize the positives, in terms of people’s ability to stay in touch/keep up with lots of people’s (admittedly deeply curated) lives. Furthermore, the targeted advertising can also do A LOT of good. To provide one personal example, I’ve been dealing with chronic back pain since 2013 and more or less gave up on every healing. Then one day Instagram, through targeted advertising, marketing Laser assisted spinal decompression therapy which has helped me live with less pain. I am grateful for the data collection and targeted advertising. On the other hand, I also ordered a pull up bar off Instagram adverts which turned out to be a total scam. I think Instagram needs to vet their advertisers more closely to protect their customers as that experience has resulted in me NEVER purchasing off Instagram again. I see an advert for a product I like, then try to find a safer/more reliable source like amazon.

I see Instagram, and social media more broadly a lot like the fossil fuel industry. Using fossil fuels has done immeasurable good for humanity, however, the unchecked externalities can no longer be ignored with climate change. I really appreciate the addition of this section because it’s a conversation that needs to be had!

On March 23, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on SpaceX: Enabling Space Exploration through Data and Analytics :

This is SO cool! Thank you for sharing this Juan Carlos.

1) I was under the impression that the cost reduction by a factor of 10 was due to reusing boosters, and due to NASA’s inherent organizational inefficiency in spreading it’s operations around several states for political reasons (spreading around federal dollars more equitably). How dose data play into that?

2) That digital twinning concept is SO COOL! Has SpaceX created simulator/models that are able to capture all the dynamic conditions involved in launches?

3) Would be thrilled to buy you a beer or coffee to discuss this stuff further!

Thanks again for an awesome post!

No no, I think you’re onto something. I do think they should try to solicit more female customers, but there are cultural and reputational roadblocks (Read: Misbehaved males). I’d like to see tinder be more honest about the actually benefit of its features as I believe they mislead their customers.

I think Tinder’s competitive advantage is its size/scale and it’s name recognition. It kind of has a notorious hook up reputation at this point, but the fact that it is profitable certainly means they can continue to innovate and create new features/services.

On March 2, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Bumble: Monetizing Empowerment :

Yeah it’ll be interesting to see how bumble choose to evolve moving forward. Bumble’s value capture is fundamentally very similar to Tinder, although they do a lot more partnerships and advertising from my experience. The thing is, a new generation of eligible 18 year olds comes of age every year, so there will always be new customers replacing churned ones, but there are limits to the ultimate market penetration. I think the biggest boon for dating apps is the fact that young adults are delaying major milestones like marriage, giving these apps a much longer time horizon to capture value.

Yeah, I believe a different Match Group product (the match group owns most dating apps), Match, does exactly that by asking users a bunch of questions to get to know them and assigning combability percentages among users. It exists, but it’s more work and thus has lower adoption.

I’m fairly certain, given their success, they don’t need a change in strategy. They’re generating huge revenues, stable growth and fat profits. Bumble’s branching out may not necessarily pan out for them.

Yup. The deeper point I was making was that guys are plowing dozens if not hundreds of dollars on features/services that empirically provide almost no value. Tinder is basically a snake oil salesmen who’s product gives you worse that casino odds of success.

While, I would hope that there would be a mass exodus from Tinder, the reality is the primary users are 18-25 (Gen Z) who are notorious for having issues meeting people. They go on less dates, have less sex, drink less, etc. and thus I sense will become even more reliant on platforms like Tinder.

Fun fact, almost all dating apps outside of Bumble are under the same ownership, the Match Group. You’re absolutely right though, these app generally extract their value from males who don’t get a lot of success on these apps.

On March 2, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Patreon: The Platform for the New Age of Creators (for Now?) :

I think it’s worth mentioning too that Patreon has a major free speech problem. Several conservative content creators have been de-platformed leading to other services filling that space. The company’s clear political bias track with other major technology platforms, so this is not necessarily unique to Patereon. Notable public figures have chose to leave the platform in solidarity with free speech advocates and I personally believe that this is another major long term risk to Patreon.

On March 2, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry? :

I have never personally used OnlyFans but one of my closest friends back home is a gay Pornstar and absolutely LOVES only fans. I have first hand knowledge of how this platform has not only empowered him to generate an alternative income stream, but also build his personal brand of celebrity. I am personally very long term bullish on OnlyFans because it is so empowering to its creators. Thank you for sharing this article and the details!

On March 2, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on DoorDash: Winning the restaurant food delivery war? :

Wow, I had no idea DoorDash as so successful. I typically only use Uber Eats for ease of use being a long time Uber user. This got me thinking about my decision not to multi-home my food delivery services. There is no rational reason why I wouldn’t other than laziness and UberEats’ random and very generous promos they pass along from time to time. I’d be curious to know if DoorDash similarly uses 15-40% off promotions to entice user the same way UberEats does. I may give it a try after reading this. Regardless, I really hope that DoorDash and the food deliver sector in general finds ways to be mutually profitable with their local restaurants becuase these are excellent convenient services. I personally feel a lot of guilt when I order food because it erodes the restaurants margins.

On March 2, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Bumble: Monetizing Empowerment :

Bumble is one of the few apps that isn’t owned by the Match group and in my view is best positioned to have long term success. I say this for a number of reasons. Firstly, the users on Bumble from my experience tend to be more engaged and sticky. Secondly, the demographics are more favorable when it comes to capturing value since it’s an older crowd. The number one risk with this service is that many women are afraid to make the first move, and thus don’t use the app at all. I am long term bullish on this platform as long as it doesn’t begin to emulate the exploitative tactics of the Match group apps like Tinder!

On February 10, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on Stripe: Increasing the GDP of the Internet :

I always wondered which company processed all these e-commerce transactions, mystery solved! Stripe sounds appears to have been uniquely well positioned to benefit from the change in context resulting from the public health crisis. The pandemic has forced countless businesses to accelerate their digitization efforts, with Mckinsey study indicated business digitized 25-40 times faster. This means that Stripe has the right product, at the right time, uniquely positioning it to erode away market share from the market leader PayPal.

On February 10, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on A Digital Vaccine Passport will pave our way to the Roaring Twenties :

WOW! This product’s capabilities are truly impressive. Clear is clearly (pun intended) trying to demonstrate it’s customer value proposition and leveraging interconnected digital capabilities to help society get moving again. I wonder what the competative landscape will look like. Governments, transportations services (airlines, trains, uber, etc), and services businesses (restaurants, entertainment, tourism) can all benefit from having the capabilities that Clear has developed.

I wonder about the following questions:
1) Will these services catch up, become mandatory? I believe there is a strong chance it could be legally mandated to use both and private public services.
2) Will the market be fragmented, an oligopoly or will it be more of a winner takes all market? An argument can be made that having a single service that everyone uses can make things easier for government and businesses, however, the free market may come up with several specialized solutions.

On February 10, 2021, Omar Aboulezz commented on DocuSign: Keep your business deals going :

Given the ongoing mutations of COVI19, health experts have been speculating that the virus will become endemic. Thus, contactless document signing will also provide a safe way to securely agree to terms and sign documents. This safety will be driven from both its digital security, but from the physical security the product enables. I am long term bullish on this product.

I have personally used Docusign on numerous occasions over the past few years and can attest to the product quality. It’s user interface is intuitive and makes document signing VERY easy. However, it also becomes VERY easy to just sign and initial a contract without actually reading it, which is something many people (including myself) do (when was the last time you read the user agreement before an iPhone update?). I believe the frictionless nature of the product makes businesses and transaction more efficient, but there may be some customer protection features that need to be put in place to ensure informed consent when signing. Furthermore, precatory actors may use Docusign to scam people, again, due to the quick sign/initial features.