Thank you for this article Yarden. The first thing I did after reading it was to download the Sephora app! I had no idea all of this exists! Sephora has a very hard task in front of them – selling cosmetics online without trying is much harder than selling clothes. For this reason, I am very impressed with what they have done. Integrating mobile into the shopping experience does not seem as a major edge for the company as everyone seems to do it these days. What I am impressed with, is what they used the technology for – i.e. helping to create customized personalized recommendations. This is particularly useful for people who like cosmetics and do not mind spending on them but tend to stick to a few basics. This also creates an element of trust. Suddenly as a customer you do not rely on recommendations from a sales representative, who is naturally biased based on personal preferences, but from a ‘computer’ that create a program just for you. This creates huge opportunities for cross recommendations Sephora can offer after collecting customer data.
Thank you for this post Gustavo! As you know I am very passionate about the topic and love the company. I think to your points, there is still room to growth for TalkSpace. This is positive for the society and the company itself. To some of the comments to your blog post, I agree that talking to someone via texts or video will never fully give you the same experience as having an in person therapy. However, many people do not have access to therapy. This can be due to their financial situation but more importantly, because they do not want to admit they might have an issue. The hurdle to reach out to set an appointment with a physical psychotherapist is much larger than doing a quick (and cheap) appointment online. It is also much more anonymous. Unfortunately, many people still consider mental health as a sign of weakness so being able to be anonymous can play a big role in the value proposition of TalkSpace. Finally, finding a right therapist can take a long time. People often try at least 2-5 therapist before they settle to commit to regular therapy sessions – a key to getting healthy. TalkSpace reduces this hurdle somewhat as you can try 10 different therapist within a couple of hours.
Great post! I personally don’t know if the company will be ever able to access the market that SoulCycle and other spin studios are serving. To begin with, and as you pointed out, the $2000 price point is a huge hurdle for growth. Psychologically, it is easier to spend $30 a month than a one time $2000. But the price is not the biggest problem for me. First of all, attending spin classes at any of the major spin studios (some cheaper than soulcycle) give you the ability to spin anywhere at any time. I personally used 5 different SoulCycle studios in the same city depending on my schedule and I am sure a lot of people do the same thing. Secondly, spin is much more about the atmosphere of group exercise in a dark room with loud music – something that is very hard to recreate at home. Finally, you need to have a big apartment to be able to fit your own spinning machine, which in big cities like New York or San Francisco can be tricky. Given all the above, maybe Peleton’s target market should be suburban areas where access to standard spin studios is limited and where the size of real estate is naturally bigger.
Great post! I actually had no idea you can order fuel on demand (would have been a life saver when I had a car). From a user standpoint, I would be willing to pay even higher premium for the convenience. I am also surprised by the amount of competition in the space. As for the business model, I understand that they do not store the fuel so the initial CAPEX is low, but it is not as low when you compare it to any other on demand service. This in turn should limit future competition. I also wonder how they manage supply and demand. If they do not store the fuel, the supply has to closely track demand. How do they track it? Do they have an ability to forecast hourly demand based on seasons, time of day, neighborhood etc. Similarly to what UBER is doing with predicting areas of potential demand for drivers to position themselves where they can have the highest success rate, can Filld distinguish its business model by using advanced forecasting to lower its inventory costs?
Great post Vincente! I actually agree with what La Caixa is doing and would argue that there is no need for banks to directly compete with fintech startups. It does seem that just doing mobile banking is not enough to call itself revolutionary, but at the end of the day such banks do it to enhance their current user experience and not to compete with startups. In fact, when you look at the now over hyped fintech space, the majority of startups (particularly robo-advisory) are phenomenal technologies that cannot and would not exist without a support of a larger platform. Goldman Sachs is a great example of a bank that capitalizes on it and cheaply acquires such startups for its technology as an additive to their standard operations. I am not very familiar with La Caixa exactly strategy on that front, but I believe that their strategy is not to compete with fintech to attract millennials. After all millennials is not where the stock of money is and banks need to adjust to better serve current customers, while preparing for the flow of money from millennials over the next 30 years or so. For this reason, I also do not believe banks will ever disappear or be overtaken by wealth advisers. In fact, this reminds me of times when e-banking was first introduced and a lot of people worried that physical bank branches will disappear. Instead, as we learnt with time, the branches simply became much more efficient and could focus on where they can add the most value – human relationships.
Great post! I think it is interesting to see how different the eco initiatives are in luxury brands vs. high street. It seems to me that, while mass market brands use sustainability as a PR mechanism, luxury brands do it for economic reasons. LED lights give electricity savings in a long run and future lack of high quality materials is a genuine threat to the business model of LVMH and the likes. However, I do not think they will move towards eco conscious fashion line unless for PR purposes. Another interesting luxury brand is Stella McCartney. She was one of the first (if not the first) luxury brand that made it a company strategy to be eco friendly by not selling anything made out of real leather. I personally find it astonishing how popular her luxury synthetic leather handbags are given their price point is as high as other luxury leather bags.
Great post Sonja! The topic of California drought is close to my heart as I experienced it first hand while living in Orange County. I did not know Blue Diamond is pioneering such product, and although I agree with some of the risks Ryan mentioned, I am very optimistic. As you mentioned, this is not only a California specific issue but a global one. It is indeed said that we, as a society, needed a drought to innovate but it is an amazing progression nonetheless. Necessity is the mother of invention after all. My question now is whether such innovations would suffice to reduce the amount of water used significantly and if this is enough. For instance, one issue with California is that currently it is using 60% of water from ground water reserves versus 40% a few years ago. However, as of now there is no state-wide policy limiting the use of ground water.
If almonds will continue to be produced at a current rate with no laws around water sources and no success from initiatives such as the one described, almonds will continue to be a drag on water supplies in the state.
Jenna – great post and a very fashionable topic! I am personally becoming more and more skeptical of the real intention behind selling sustainability within fashion. Is it just PR, sustainability or both? H&M sustainable lane is sold under H&M “collection”, i.e. off the runway high quality products. TopShop is doing the exact same thing. The more I see it, the more I view it as yet another marketing tool. An ability to charge premium prices for products that arguably positively affect the planet and then mark them as off the runway. What if it is a marketing tool that allows high street retailers to brake into higher margin high fashion products?
Building on Jessie’s point of Patagonia, another interesting brand is The Reformation. They are fairly new (only a few years old) company headquartered in LA. They sell products that are more fashion forward than Patagonia but their differentiated selling point is using materials and production processes that supposedly reduce the use of natural resource and CO2 production as compared to other brands. Every garment they sell comes with a description on how much water/CO2/energy was saved (vs. standard production) during production, as measured by an internally developed scale. They also pride themselves on refreshing, redesigning and reselling vintage clothing as a secondary line. The company is growing at double digits and is very popular with stores across the country. I guess my question to you girls is – are people truly buying into the sustainability story or is it just en vouge to buy sustainable clothing these days?
Great post and a very interesting topic affecting many countries, particularly within EU. The Paris Climate Conference agreement stating that each European country has to produce 15% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 has a lot of implications for politics. As you mentioned, it is always easier to focus on short term popularity among voters than promote policies that support long term growth and sustainability. In Poland the current party in power just passed a legislation drastically limiting the growth of wind farms and inherently protecting the coal industry. Do you see such legislation coming through in Spain? Do you think EU should enforce more power or fines for countries that fail to meet the 2020 “green targets” in order to push the local political agenda in the right direction?
This is a very interesting article! I wrote about the extent of coal industry in Poland and it seems to resemble the situation in Columbia. Aside from negative climate implications of coal production, do you foresee negative economic implications for the country if the industry were to shrunk? For example, in Poland the government fears high unemployment if coal mining were to be shut and as a result, just released a new legislation aiming at protecting the local coal industry. Do you think Columbia might take a similar (short sighted) path to preserve the industry?