You ask: “How can a community-based brand maintain trust as it grows beyond start-up size?” I think a helpful approach may be to open retail stores throughout the country. This gives customers an opportunity to give feedback and share ideas with the company in person (rather than over-sharing online), and it also has a host of positive effects for Glossier, including free advertising, new customers, etc.
Align’s stock price has declined nearly 50% in the past few months – from almost $400 in September to ~$250 today. Part of this decline comes from a perception that Align is not that different from its competitors – and as a result, its margins may face pressure in the future. What do you think Align can do to differentiate its products?
I’m concerned that Hinge’s use of machine learning will lead to less fulfilling relationships and lives. I worry that Hinge will optimize to show users “safe” choices, people who Hinge thinks would like each other. These people probably will like each other, and maybe they will get married. But we often are happiest in relationships with people quite different from us, people who challenge us, people who we would have never thought we would end up with had it not been for some random chain of events. I’m worried that Hinge’s algorithm optimizes efficiency and “good” at the expense of great.
You ask if consumers will accept a piece of “art” that has been printed. I think consumers will have almost no problem accepting printed jewelry – practically, it’s not very different from traditional wax-casted jewelry. I think a much bigger barrier for consumers will be switching from “natural” jewels to synthetic stones. The romance and story behind where the gem came from will still be important…but I think how the sausage is made, once the pig has been slaughtered (so to speak), will be less important for consumers
Gattaca (spoiler alert!) ends on an uplifting note, though the world it depicts is certainly dystopian. As inequality of every stripe grows in this country, what do you think are the critical steps we can take to avoid a Gattaca-like future? I wonder if we would in aggregate be better off *not* knowing our relative advantages, disadvantages, and position vs. our fellow man – if we’d treat everyone better if we knew less about each other. If 23andme started saying: your DNA/ epigenetics says you have the potential to be x% smart, y% conscientious, etc…I think we’d be better off as a society without that information. But it may be hard to stop.
Great article, and always fun to hear about a firm that is able to “beat” the market.
I actually have a question in response to one of your questions. You ask what type of regulation would be most effective at preventing flash crashes in the future. My question back to you is: why do we care about flash crashes? Presumably the algorithms will adapt (organically or through human intervention) to profit off of, and prevent, future flash crashes. And even if the algorithms don’t adapt, and we keep having these crashes – what’s wrong with that? The crashes happen very infrequently and self-correct very quickly, so it’s not as if they destroy investor confidence in the stock market. And regulation rarely has no negative side effects…