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On March 22, 2020, Petra commented on Zencare: Modernizing the search for mental health care :

Super interesting and very well written blog! I agree with all your scalablity concerns. It seems that the value proposition they are offering is not that strong making it susceptible to disintermediation. Maybe they can strengthen their competitive advantage but providing services beyond just “matching”. For example, they can add proprietary online self-help online courses (for a charge) or maybe plan meditation trips somewhere. I love the idea of digitizing mental health services and would love to see Zencare succeed!

Loved the blog very well written! We always talk about having a first-mover advantage but Friendster is a clear example of how sometimes being a first mover in the market comes with bigger risks and hence, bigger costs to pay. Your lessons learnt are on point and I would emphasize the importance of scalability for any startup. They should have focuses on the technology and satisfying customer needs before expanding geographically.

Very interesting article! I have used a similar service in Lebanon and I really enjoyed the convenience of doing a manicure at your own home. I do see two major risks however to their business model. First, they are extremely exposed to disintermediation risk. Once you get used to a service provider, what prevents you as a customer to call them directly especially if you can save 20%? Another risk I see is the availability of supply i.e. service providers (as you have also mentioned) as they scale. Not sure how attractive this gig is for providers since they have to pay for transportation and split the revenues with Beaver. May be net net it’s easier for them to just work at a traditional B&M spa and maybe one day own their own.

On February 11, 2020, Petra commented on 23andMe: Losing at digital privacy :

Wow, as a 23andme user, I am really concerned! I wonder if sharing information with pharma companies would be negatively perceived by customers though. At the end of the day, the pharma company will (ideally) use the data to invent new medications and advance science. At the end of the day, these customers did provide consent..

very well written! I wonder if this is a truly “winning” business model though… it seems to me that their value proposition is not that differentiated and could be easily disrupted by other competitors. How can they ensure a sustainable competitive advantage?

Very well written blog! I wonder what the implications on CRM be now that Sephora is omnichannel. How are they tracing the behavior of customers who are interacting with Sephora at multiple touchpoints (offline and online). If a customer added a product on their wishlist and then visited the store, will the employee at the cash register remind the customer of these products? I guess the next step would be to maximize value of being omnichannel as opposed to cannibalizing its sales.