I’m always fascinated by firms that capitalize upon practical inefficiencies and piggyback on existing products or services. In both public and private realms, middleman firms pop up to smooth out the rough edges of transactions. Two recent examples: Tax prep software and parcel shipping apps. The recent kerfuffle over TurboTax’s price increase highlighted its dominant position in … Continue reading Exploiting the Usability Gap
Google recently announced that it was expanding Google Fiber, its gigabit internet service, to four new regions, for a total of 18 cities. Although the Fiber initiative has been around for a year or two, the recent expansion to a number of larger regions – including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Nashville – makes it seem as … Continue reading Now With More Fiber!
I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of business, especially technology, with liberal arts such as literature and philosophy. Despite the emergence – and necessity – of STEM studies, it is clear that the study of liberal arts informs everything from product design to supply chain management to marketing. Steve Jobs phrased the dynamic particularly well at the 2011 iPad 2 Introduction: There … Continue reading The Necessity of Liberal Arts
At the closing bell on Friday, Facebook edged up to just over $77/share, putting its market cap at some $200 billion. It’s an incredible run-up, clocking a nearly 90% gain in one year. I think Facebook’s success, at least on a stock market level, is due to a few things: 1. Obvious exuberance in the … Continue reading You Know What’s Cool? $200 Billion
Starbucks and Uber just inked a deal which integrates the latter’s transportation functionality into the Starbucks app, allowing user to select Uber as an option for navigating to the closest store for their caffeine fix. This new feature is thanks to Uber’s release of its API to a number of firms, allowing them to bake in this sort of functionality … Continue reading One Espresso for the Road
Same day delivery is obviously where it’s at. Amazon recently expanded its Prime Shipping option to include $5.99 same day delivery options. Google teamed up with Costco, Target, and Barnes & Noble to roll out its Shopping Express service. And now Uber, a transportation provider, has rolled out same-day delivery for basic items in the … Continue reading Another Day, Another Delivery
James Robinson writes in PandoDaily today about his fleeting love affair with fitness trackers. He notes that these one- or two- function bands are great at giving one a sense of quantified self, and perhaps some short-lived motivation, but not much more than that. In the long-run, they’re destined for the desk drawer, along with the … Continue reading Sitting, Waiting, Watching
Bill Gurley has a great article on Uber’s valuation – actually a response to Aswath Damodaran’s piece – that raises some of the various markets Uber seeks to enter. He points out: When I used to travel to Los Angeles and Seattle on business I would use a rental car. Today I only Uber. It is materially … Continue reading Uber Cool Evaluations
Yesterday, the corporate marriage between Apple and IBM made headlines. Basically, IBM will bring its enterprise know-how and analytic engines to Apple’s hardware and customer service party. The partnership is a shot across the bow for most other firms, including Microsoft (the consummate enterprise partner ), Google/Samsung (whose Knox enterprise security feature aims to allay privacy fears in the C-Suite), and, of course Blackberry, for whom Apple’s move is less a warning shot than a nail in the coffin. Continue reading “The Prize in Enterpise”
Several months ago, I wondered why American Express didn’t offer some sort of tailored “$5 off $25” perk at Uber. After all, Amex is pretty aggressive when it comes to targeted promotions, and actively inks deals with retailers that cater to the tech-friendly and mobile-oriented crowd – the same crew that gets its lifts in Uber. In recent months, Amex has offered deals at iTunes, Dunkin Donuts, J. Crew, and Zappos – all brands that try to tap into the mobile audience. And, as I experienced firsthand, Amex’s app uses geolocation to provide targeted reminders of nearly-redeemed offers.