JB

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On March 5, 2019, JB commented on Who said Journalism is dead? :

Thanks for the post and offering a glimmer of hope for high quality online journalism.

I agree that while helping online newspapers reduce fixed costs via the Arc platform may help them survive, it mostly seems like a promising -yet limited- first step. For starters, as mentioned by KMH’s comment, there’s the value capture component between Arc and the other papers. Furthermore, reducing cost may be insufficient given the loss of revenue in the industry. As long as the industry is financed mainly by online ads, it will be hard for multiple outlets of high quality journalism to survive. The best alternative to-date are paywalls, but I’m not sure how many people will subscribe to more than 1 (if any) paywall newspaper, especially with all the free content available online. Nonetheless, I hope Arc is step in the right direction to make the industry more economically viable.

Great post on an important industry that’s often overlooked. I wonder how the internet ad industry will evolve over time. I believe click rates are extremely low, people both dislike ads and ignore them almost automatically, and also dislike ads that are ‘creepy’, in that they know so much about the customer (although some call these ads ‘more relevant’). Given the negative landscape, I wonder if the online ad industry will re-imagine itself to be more customer friendly, or if more sites will attempt to monetize with something other than ads.

On March 5, 2019, JB commented on Why is Your Car Screen So Last Century? :

Very interesting post! I think the different time cycles for producing technology items v/s cars is super interesting, and as you mention explains why the infotainment system always seems 3-4 years behind similar consumer products.

This will definitely be an interesting market to keep an eye on. I wonder if OEMs will invest in building their own systems, partnering aggressively, or a mixed approach (mirroring). I would think the most customer-friendly outcome would be for infotainment systems in which you can log in directly to your Apple account, and immediately have access to all your iPhone-like functionality, but without the need to have your iPhone with you. As you also mention, these infotainment systems may become increasingly complex are cars become more automated and people use their car for productivity purposes. I agree the OEMs have to think about this carefully going forward.

On February 24, 2019, JB commented on VIPKid – “Ubernization” in EdTech :

Extremely fascinating article, and an excellent example of value creation enabled by this platform. My main thought:

I wonder whether this will expand beyond teaching English to Chinese students. While an excellent first use-case, I see potential for massive opportunities to expand to other languages and subjects. Seems like a great alternative for kids and parents to learn in a quality, cost-efficient manner.

Extremely interesting article and a potential threat to some of the U.S’s largest banks. My main thoughts on this:

1. I wonder whether Lending Club will expand beyond personal loans. As you mention, banks stay away from these loans (either because they are unprofitable or they have poor data) and instead prioritize mortgages, credit cards, and car loans. I am curious to see how effective this model translates to new lending products. I think it will ultimately come to Lending Club’s ability to develop new credit risk models as they have already done so in personal loans.
2. I also wonder the competitive response of large banks. I would think banks are increasingly improving their algorithms beyond a simple FICO score, but am curious how the credit models between banks and Lending Club compare. Right now, most unsecured lending by banks is via highly profitable credit cards, giving Banks a strong incentive to keep the status quo. It almost seems like a case of disruptive innovation, in which Lending Club is sneaking up on bank’s highly profitable unsecured lending (credit cards) by offering customers a better rate, and that by the time Banks react it will be to late to recover their market share lost to Lending Club.
3. While personal loans are funded through investors lending on Lending Club, I can only imagine Banks have a far superior cost of funding advantage, mainly because of their access to basically free deposits. I wonder whether Lending Club is devising a strategy to overcome this inherent disadvantage.

On February 24, 2019, JB commented on Fitbit Care: Improving Care Delivery in a Digital World :

Very interesting innovation in the extremely important Health Care industry. A solid move in terms of preventive medicine to save costs within the system. My main thought:

I am trying to understand the strength of the network effects of this platform and whether it will give Fitbit a sustainable advantage. To some extent, the more people use it, the better the data and treatment options available, costs may decrease, and more medical providers and coaches can sign up. Alternatively, I can see a competitor establishing a similar service from scratch without much difficulty (especially given how fragmented the healthcare industry is). I’m curious to what extent Fitbit is increasing the stickiness (or network effects) of its products to defend from other players from entering the space.