Stéphane V

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On April 21, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Darktrace: Cybersecurity of the Future? :

Thanks for this article Vikram. Darktrace’s value proposition and approach to fighting threats seem really innovative, especially the fact that it doesn’t require a lot of human intervention. I wonder however if, in the long term, hackers will also be increasingly sophisticated and will be able to build AI-powered malware that could potentially mimic a “normal behavior” in order to bypass these systems. Maybe it’s a real threat! Or maybe I’ve just watched too many sci-fi movies…

On April 21, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Artrendex: AI Invades The Art World :

Very interesting post, Jo. This makes me wonder if there is any future for art created by machines, such as the AICAN algorithm that you mention. I think that people tend to love what is new and completely disruptive. A piece of art made by an algorithm sounds like a very intriguing novelty, and that would explain why the Portrait of Edmond Belamy sold for such a big amount of money. But when it becomes the “norm” and AI capabilities get more democratized, will people still be interested?
If I take a negative perspective, one might fear that this has the potential to destroy the art world, by creating tons of new artworks and making the distinction between human-generated and AI-generated art increasingly hard to make.

On April 21, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Legacy Furniture Bohemoth IKEA, All In On AI :

Thanks for the post! I always find it fascinating when big traditional companies put new technologies at the core of their value capture strategy, and it was indeed smart to acquire these capabilities externally rather than developing them in-house.
I do not necessarily see the fact that IKEA can be associated with high-tech as a big risk. I really wonder, however, if that initiative is efficient at capturing more new customers as opposed to enhancing the customer experience of people that would have bought their furniture at IKEA anyway.

On March 24, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Starbucks: From Coffee Machines to Machine Learning :

Thanks for your comment, Tiffany. That’s an interesting point, and surprisingly I could not find any concrete evidence of Starbucks using A/B tests to improve the user experience. I can however definitely see how this can be tricky in a non-digital context, such as measuring the store experience. In a physical environment, there are so many factors to control for (location, store size, popularity…) that I wonder if it is even possible to conduct a proper A/B test as you would in an exclusively web-based experience.

On March 24, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Duo: Your New Data Driven Language Teacher :

Great article, Tiffany! I’m impressed by all the ways Duolingo incorporates data analytics in its product to optimize the user experience and maximize retention. I guess one thing that would be interesting to understand is how Duolingo strikes a balance between prioritizing progress (by making lessons harder, more challenging) and focusing on retention (by making sure the user doesn’t give up). At the end of the day, it’s not in Duolingo’s best interest to make users multilingual too fast! I agree that the solution to keep users (once they are comfortable speaking a language) would be to have more AI-driven ‘practice’ features, that simulate human conversations.

On March 23, 2021, Stéphane V commented on BCG – Putting Data at the Forefront of Consulting Services :

Thanks for the post Shekeyla! It’s interesting to notice that digital technologies have incentivized the consulting industry to become more specialized, even the traditional ‘generalist’ consulting firms are moving this way.
The inception of BCG Gamma is a great example. I wonder how consulting firms could also take advantage of the data that clients share with them to enhance their internal data analysis capabilities and improve their predictive models and their own internal processes.

On March 23, 2021, Stéphane V commented on 23andMe… and ~10 million other DNA samples :

Very interesting article, Julia! I did not know this company, and I find the business model fascinating, despite the ethical concerns that naturally come with the collection of health/genetic data. I simply wonder how biased the data collected can be, given that people who are aware and can afford such services might not be very representative of the entire population.
Moreover, as genetic testing is a one-time thing, it might be an interesting opportunity for the company to explore ways to incentivize its customers to make multiple transactions over time, maybe by testing for some diseases or offering more comprehensive services that require multiple samples.

On March 3, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Clubhouse – The Audio-Only Platform :

Great article Pranav! I find it fascinating how a new platform emerges, just based on the fact that the format is innovative. I see a lot of potential for this app to be better monetized in the future (and thanks for suggesting a few ways to do so).
While I do not think it will ever be an important source of revenue for creators (at least if they keep all conversations unrecorded), I can see it as a new way to promote one’s work. In other words, it might enable artists/creators to ‘acquire’ new people in their community based on their interests, and monetize this community on other channels. If this is achieved, I do not see creators moving away from this platform anytime soon.

Insightful and well-written post, Omar! I did not know that 78% of users were male (although that doesn’t really surprise me). But given that it is a known fact, I am truly wondering why Tinder is not doubling down its efforts to grow the female population, and not just by using monetary incentives. They could for instance introduce a Bumble-like feature or some options to filter undesirable profiles to improve the reliability of the platform. Everyone would benefit from that: lonely men would feel less “exploited”, Tinder could leverage its more female-friendly approach in their marketing strategy, and women would feel safer using the product (thereby potentially increasing retention and decreasing multi-homing).
But maybe I’m just being to naive here… (I’m not completely familiar with these apps) 😀

On March 3, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Exploitive Platforms: How Tinder Exploits Lonely Men to Make MASSIVE Profits :

Insightful and well-written post, Omar! I did not know that 78% of users were male (although that doesn’t really surprise me). But given that it is a known fact, I am truly wondering why Tinder is not doubling down its efforts to grow the female population, and not just by using monetary incentives. They could for instance introduce a Bumble-like feature or some options to filter undesirable profiles to improve the reliability of the platform. Everyone would benefit from that: lonely men would feel less “exploited”, Tinder could leverage its more female-friendly approach in their marketing strategy, and women would feel safer using the product (thereby potentially increasing retention and decreasing multi-homing).

On March 2, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Bumble: Monetizing Empowerment :

Thanks for this post, Vikram. I second Kanako’s point and find it interesting that Bumble thought it was a good idea to expand in friendships and business networking. I wonder if some people will not abuse the system and use these features to circumvent the rules and use it to date anyway… If that happens, there might be a big risk of the value proposition being completely diluted.
I guess a solution would be to rebrand those two features and push them to users who already found a long-term relationship, thereby increasing consumer lifetime value, while appealing to a completely separate customer segment.

On February 11, 2021, Stéphane V commented on ViacomCBS: Here to Stream, Here to Stay :

Great article! I find it fascinating how ViacomCBS managed to leverage the combined brand values of CBS and Paramount to offer a high-value subscription service, hopefully competing head to head with other major players in the space.
One thing that concerns me is the seemingly increasing reliance on past successes (ie. “iconic titles”), allegedly making it a strong competitive advantage. I am not sure this will be a big enough differentiator in the long-run, as people are deciding which VOD service to subscribe to (or keep subscribing to). Iconic titles may be enough to acquire initial customers or occasional users, but I doubt they provide enough value in terms of retention. If that’s true, the streaming war may eventually come down to who has the biggest budget to produce enough quality new content… and in this case, Paramount+ already is lagging a bit behind.

On February 11, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Seemingly made for COVID, Nintendo rides the crest of the pandemic wave :

I think Nintendo did an amazing job at taking advantage of famous franchises that people love to encourage people to play more during the pandemic. I understood that playing video games can be a bonding activity with family and friends, and that can make a huge difference in a time where leisure venues are closed.
Think makes me wonder whether other consoles, like Playstation or Xbox, suffered from that. On the one hand, people were more at home and had more opportunities to play, but on the other hand, Nintendo seems best positioned to appeal to the numerous casual gamers and people quarantined with their family.

On February 11, 2021, Stéphane V commented on Redfin: The Dream Quarantine Makeover :

Great article! I am also thinking that features like 3D visualization / virtual tours are nice-to-haves, but I don’t really see them being very compelling features for such high-cost transactions post-covid. Only repeat home buyers might find value in those features, but for first time home buyers, services like low listing fees are the biggest differentiation.
Therefore, I am a bit worried that the barriers to entry in this digital-driven real estate sector are actually quite low. Traditional real estate agencies, with a strong reputation, might easily try to replicate Redfin’s value proposition, harming its market share in the long run. So I think that unfortunately, this 2020 success was more of a one-time temporary win.