Ivan Salas Orono
I think Slack has done an amazing job of aligning the customer promise (a fun, easy and productive way to interact with coworkers) with the operating model, which includes integration with Dropbox, Twitter, etc. What concerns me most about the company is that I don’t think its competitive advantage is particularly sustainable. It should be relatively easy to copy, and much of the value comes from the other companies its integrated to.
Furthermore, given that whole companies need to adopt it, I don’t think the “networking” effects will be as strong. With Facebook, if all your friends are on Facebook, you get no value from signing up on MySpace. However, with Slack, if all the other companies I know and work with use Slack, there stil doesn’t seem to be a tangible benefit to using it.
I am amazed by the success of this company! I would think with its low barriers to entry that they would face stiff competition which would erode any advantage it had. However, they’ve proven over time that they are able to create a unique experience that customers value enormously.
Many toy companies nowadays are not only in the physical toy business, but also the interactive games business. It is common for a kid to buy a toy which comes with a certain code that can be input into the company’s website, and BOOM… the toy is alive online in a game! Kids love it, and will likely demand it from all toy companies in the near future. This might be a bit difficult for Build a Bear given how customized each toy is, but if they are able to make it work, they will continue to keep their advantage!
Wynn is doing an excellent job at delighting guests through design, customer service, and giving guests a number of entertainment and F&B options. However, I feel that the company puts itself at a huge risk given the level of investment in real estate. Furthermore, it might make it difficult to scale in the future given the huge investment that is required for each hotel.
Wynn might benefit by moving to an Operator model, similar to more typical hotel companies such as Marriott, Starwood or Hyatt. They can partner with investors who are interested in developing a hotel/casino. Wynn can provide design support early on, and then manage the casinos after opening. This will allow Wynn to focus on what they do best, gives them the chance to increase its portfolio, and reduces the risk related to the cyclical nature of gaming.