Jean Grey

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On May 2, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Deloitte X : How to Reinvent Consulting :

In 2017, Deloitte reported its second consecutive year of double-digit growth. One year before, David Sproul, Senior Partner and Chief Executive of Deloitte, had alredy commented on the secret-sauce recipe: “We’ve invested in developing our capability across emerging business disruptors, such as blockchain, crowdsourcing and robotics, working to ensure we can help our clients position their businesses for future growth.”

Many have relegated Deloitte to the Big 4 group, distinct to the big 3 BBM management consulting firms, but now that the industry is re-accomodating itself, it will be very interesting to assess whether being able to invest in anticipation in disrupting technologies will allow Deloite to emerge as a winner in the Digitalization Era with enhanced capabilities to solve consulting clients changing problems. Or if instead the BBM trident will be able to catch up an defend its predominance.

https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/deloitte-reports-fastest-revenue-growth-in-10-yrs.html

“Tell me how your consultants do your expenses and I´ll tell you how digitized you are”

I can´t agree more on the importance of consulting firms to integrate their digital expertise into their organizations. Many practices and tools used today by consultants are starting to feel “old”, and despite that excel spreedsheets won´t be replaced from one day to the next, still keeping a todo list out of #Slack, dashboards out of #Tableau, and project plans in PPT slides feels like a slow reaction to new technologies.

More and more clients will push for new capabilities that will force them to adapt, but shouldn´t trying to leap-frog to remain competitive be a key priority among consulting firms in the first place?

On May 2, 2018, Jean Grey commented on BCG: Digitally disrupting … or disrupted? :

Building on MMidd´s and Taka´s comments, I tend to agree that Consulting firms will continue to play a relevant advisory role,IF they are able to adapt to the new technologies and still tackle their clients´ key problems (which might be shifting, for ex. to Digitalization). The key questions for consulting companies, is aimed at the heart of their competitive advantage, and is if their actual pool of talent will be the appropiate one to solve for these new issues.

And I believe the answer to be somewhat balanced. On on side, consulting recruitment practices have allowed such companies to capture some of the brigthest young professionals, many will probably adapt (and quickly!) to these new trends, but maybe this will also open a new window of opportunity (or challenge!) to embrace diversity further and amplify the skills that will be valued in future candidates. On the other side, there are clear capabilities that these companies lack. On this last issue, McK has been playing a stronger hand in acquiring Big Data companies, to step in more aggresively in the Digitalization play. BCG is doing some efforts in the same direction, as seen in this post. Bain, at least publicly, has not yet deployed a very clear strategy on how will it be positioned.

Which consulting company will win in advising on distrupting strategic solutions for digital companies is yet to be discovered. And who knows if new players won´t emerge. What is your bet?

This is really interesting! I wondered if we couldn’t rethink the value capture strategy as cost saving. By immediately connecting and geolocating a crime scene directly with the patrolling team on the road, this could save time and resources (administrative, processing, comms, etc.).

I believe there is also potencial public benefits from lowering “crime reporting” barriers: increasing the # of reports, allowing to create better “crime maps” and targetting resources more efficiently to the most vulnerable zones. On the flipside, there is a need to curate the data, report “false alerts” and do it in a way that will allow the app to learn and become more efficient (categorizing crime types, assigning different levels of danger or urgency, etc.), and also continuously monitor that there are no blind spots or biases in the inflow of information!

On March 27, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Show me the Waze to go home :

Awesome Post Hans! Thanks!

I mirror some of the comments above and I was also wondering what are your views as we evolve into Smarter Cities and (Self-driving) Cars, regarding how should mapping work? Do you see it becoming a “public good” and having a sole open-platform maps where all companies can push and pull data? Or do you still see diffenent actors like waze, google maps, citymapper, etc. compiting to become the best navigating apps?

Also I wonder how algorithms can evolve with machine learning in anticipating future traffic flows according to the “recommended” routes that apps like Waze usually suggest. Do you think that real time data and machine learning will be able to adjust to drivers or self driving cars decisiones more quickly and efficiently and adjusts routes recommendations to all other cars to make ETA the most effective? If so, how can we monetize this value creation?

On March 27, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Avocado Oreos? – Crowdsourcing in the CPG World :

Thanks for the post! I agree with many of the previous comments regarding long-term sustainability for crowedsourced innovative flavors. But my question is whether it should be an issue at all. Specially for small twicks that do not affect production lines operations (ex. changing the color or flavor of the oreo filling) why can’t this be a way of promoting “temporary” or season flavors vs aiming for embedding innovation in the product creation process (closer to what Ben & Jerry does). Another interesting aspect to evaluate around this could be the stregth of the brand, and if consumer loyalty towards stronger brands could better support these types of strategies.

On March 5, 2018, Jean Grey commented on MercadoLibre: Leading Latin America’s E-commerce Revolution :

In the short and mid-term I not only believe that MercadoLibre will survive competition from Amazon, I believe that it will continue to grow stronger in the region and become a very hot and tempting acquisition target for Alibaba! MercadoLibre strong network effects are hard to replicate[1] given it’s first mover advantage in Latin America and the understanding of the local market and business environment (fragmented markets, low credit card penetration, costly and complex distribution networks, etc.). Also, it looks like in Brazil and Mexico MELI is fighting Amazon, which makes me feel it is unlikely that any of these players will be willing to back up of the most important markets in LatAm. There is an argument to be made around e-commerce being at its early stages of development in the region, which could mean potentially that at first the entrance of AMZN could help further develop the market while MELI continues to grow… but I don’t think this is a sustainable equilibrium for a “one player wins all” industry in the long run. Mobile and payments have been key for MELI to win in LatinAmerica, but as the world continues to develop MELI will need to continue paying extremely close attention to its clients and quickly adapting to the region’s needs… and also pay attention to Amazon moves, cause who knows if Alexa won’t soon come and slap MELI on the face!
[1] https://seekingalpha.com/article/4101761-alibaba-acquire-mercadolibre-expand-latin-america

On March 5, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Netflix: the rise of a new online streaming platform universe :

Great post Yrina!
Netflix is an exceptional example of platforms that have succeeded, and I find its search engine recommendation among the platforms’ most outstanding features, but in the World of FB, TW, IG and SNAP my question is if they are maximizing such feature at its full potential.
While Netflix has proven very good at understanding our own tastes and recommending related content, in the era of social media, I have observed people wanting to know and see things that they care about, but also things that their group of belonging or even influencers care about. I can easily see Netflix’s next step in evolving its content recommendation algorithm being in line with becoming a social media platform, where users rate and recommend content, that others can see and also decide to watch. “Follow me on Netflix”, “Sign up to Katy Perry’s watchlist”, having experts verified profiles organizing livestream community movie-sessions, or even customizing your Netflix profile are things that I could see happening soon, that could reinforce the power of the network and could also provide space for new revenue streams. As with social media, there some consequences that we should beware, for example: content homogenization and virality! But why shouldn’t Netflix leverage the thing it is best at: analyzing its users watching behavior to push for relevant content?

On March 5, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Charging Towards Change: The Future of Transportation :

Thank you MMidd for the article! Do you think that EV charging platforms are a winner takes all strategy? If yes, do you believe that ChargePoint’s platform will win? I have my doubts!
There are a few things that are important for EV’s charging technology, such as convenience, speed, and efficiency. And in that line, Tesla’s Supercharger network has an edge in almost all dimensions! Tesla’s current superchargers will give you in 20-30 minutes over 200 miles of charge – enough for 3 hours on the road[1]. A ChargePoint DC Fast charger, will charge vehicles “quickly” at a rate of 40 miles of range in 15-30 minutes [2]. Also, the merger of Tesla and SolarCity might suggest that maybe Tesla is in the game for providing an overall solar solution to its clients: solar rooftops, EV charging in-house and the Tesla car! And why not think of the AI for smart houses that will optimize energy consumption overall. If this was the case I am not sure of ChargePoint’s competitive advantage here.
I believe that local network effects are really strong, and that current multihoming is providing opportunities for many players to emerge, but if solar decentralization profit pool will concentrate in the charging network, then I can imagine players like Tesla will start competing more intensely.

[1] https://electrek.co/2016/09/14/the-very-good-chevy-bolt-reviews-are-in-but-everyone-forgot-to-ask-the-most-important-question/
[2] https://na.chargepoint.com/faqs#F30

On March 5, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Charging Towards Change: The Future of Transportation :

Thank you MMidd for the article! Do you think that EV charging platforms are a winner takes all strategy? If yes, do you believe that ChargePoint’s platform will win? I have my doubts!
For EV, there are a few things that are important in EV’s charging technology, such as convenience, speed, and efficiency. And in that line, Tesla’s Supercharger network has an edge in almost all dimensions! Tesla’s current superchargers will give you in 20-30 minutes over 200 miles of charge – enough for 3 hours on the road[1]. A ChargePoint DC Fast charger, will charge vehicles “quickly” at a rate of 40 miles of range in 15-30 minutes [2]. Also, the merger of Tesla and SolarCity might suggest that maybe Tesla is in the game for providing an overall solar solution to its clients: solar rooftops, EV charging in-house and the Tesla car! And why not think of the AI for smart houses that will optimize energy consumption overall. If this were the case I am not sure of ChargePoint’s competitive advantage here.
I believe that local network effect are really strong locally, and that current multihoming is providing opportunities for many players to emerge, but if solar decentralization and profit pool will tend to be concentrated in the charging network, then I can imagine players like Tesla will start competing more intensely.

[1] https://electrek.co/2016/09/14/the-very-good-chevy-bolt-reviews-are-in-but-everyone-forgot-to-ask-the-most-important-question/
[2] https://na.chargepoint.com/faqs#F30

On February 2, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Stitch Fix: Personalizing Fashion with Data :

Lovely for time-sensitive customers and basics-fans like myself, but how do we prevent the ultimate commoditization of fashion? What are relevant inputs that will allow AIs — or designers? — to find that ‘perfect fit’? Isn’t there a special bond with that one piece that you found in the middle of that rag, and that now you can’t live without?

While I think many retail and fashion search engines are putting lots of resources in finding the perfect outfit for YOU, by basing that recommendation on other (past) purchases/searches (ejem… I HATE AMAZON’S RECOMMENDATIONS — when will they understand that if I bought a pair of Nikes 2 months ago, I won’t be needing another pair any time soon!), I would suggest they should be thinking more outside the box!

The question they need to answer is when and what you need to buy! What is the root cause of our impulse purchases?
Wouldn’t it be great if those AIs could uderstand some of the following variables?:
– Occasions: When is our birthday, or when did we broke up a relationship, first day of a new job, or a promotion, the date for our salary deposit, our best friends weddings, our anniversary
– WTP or Budget: This can usually be an input or derived from other purchases… but what if AI knew what credit cards you hold, which discounts apply to each of them, where you accumulate miles, when its paying cycle closes, and optimized for all that!
– Role models / Influencers: Who do we like, look up to, wanna imitate? Which famous do we follow on IG? Which firend would we take as a shopper advisor? Which are the brands we enjoy, the places we frequent, where do we do our hair? What musician or sports person drives you crazy?
**Spoiler alert — For all that info JUST CONNECT TO ACCOUNT TO YOUR IG/FB!**

I believe there is a huge opportunity in understanding psichology and behavioral economics for fashion recommendation algorithims! Come on AI, come appeal to my emotions!

On February 2, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Netflix: The Media Killer :

Is Netflix an OTT content distribution leader? YES. Is OTT the way we are gonna want to consume content in the near future? Probably. Will Netflix win the battle? Well, most of us will have a Netflix account… Is Netflix in the undisputable path to operational and financial success? I have my concerns.

Again, my argument is for companies to focus on what they do best. As a Big Data company, Netflix revolutionary search and recommendation engine was chapter 1 of Netlflix’s distribution success story. Now, from that to generating content — I don’t know. Studios have been standing on Hollywood’s backyard for ages for a reason. And if I were to be making decisions on Netflix’s management team I would (re)focus my attention in bulding innovative revenue sharing models and partnerirng with great studios (rather than embarking in creating my own original content — which by the way then I need to promote) and doubbling efforts in leveraging better Netflix’s community to improve the recommendation algorithm (for ex. what friends enjoyed watching, follow some profiles and see what they are watching) — Netflix has social network potential!

On February 1, 2018, Jean Grey commented on Amazon | To Go Or Not To Go :

I keep on struggling with AMZN’s decision to buy Whole Foods. Is this another Bezos move to resemble Musk, first by getting into space exploration and now through this retail high end disruption? Whole Foods is to grocery stores what Tesla is to electric vehicles, and neither seems to make sense for lower income segments. I keep on thinking if a Target acquisition wouldn’t have made much more sense for Amazon.

But let’s deep dive on Amazon getting into groceries. I understand, consumables (repeat purchases) are key for Amazon’s core customers! Got it, now, where exactly has Amazon core capabilities to serve these customers? Not where the company is playing now. Amazon Go aims at transforming the in-store experience, but with limit inventory and high-end products it just loosely stands in between a cool — and overpriced – supermarket store and semi-fancy prepared food delivery model (that is not even an uber eats model). Where in groceries is also Amazon competing? Amazon Fresh, again not yet a proven (profitable) model. Where should Amazon be competing in groceries? Where it excels! As it core Amazon is an operations and technology company. Imaging if it could become your “food” inventory management company? I envision amazon having an app where you can input your family size, your food preferences, your budget, and the recurrence or time of the week in which you would like to receive your food orders. And then, amazon does the rest, and recurrently send you your orders home. Imagine now that the company, because of high household penetration can pool and align the timing of the orders of your entire building… and Voila! Economies of scale.

It may be true that Bezos holds a revolutionary plan for B&M, that I yet not see. For now, it just seems like back to stores feels a little old school and not within AMZN’s competitive advantages.