A Blog by Jonathan Low


Oct 21, 2017

How Mobile Apps Are Creating Problems For Restaurants

Additional service offers but no additional staff to back it up. And location confusion. JL

Julie Jargon reports in the Wall Street Journal:

“People who place mobile orders feel bad about cutting the line.” They also felt frustrated. Customers often end up at the wrong location to pick up their order, because they tend to place orders while in transit, and the software selects the location closest to them to fill the order, rather than the destination they intended. “We have a highly mobile audience and they’re distracted.”

Facebook Tests Letting Brands Study People's Posts and Comments

Additional insights. What could go wrong? JL

Garett Sloane reports in Advertising Age:
Facebook's room for ads in the News Feed is almost maxed out, is making it possible for advertisers to mine what users post. The new insights tool could help give marketers a broader understanding of their businesses, with data that informs them about trends and the consumer mindset. Facebook has always been less interested in the content of posts than how people respond. That's partly why it was so blind to fake news; the company didn't see a problem because the content "performed" so well.

Why Investors Are Betting Bike Sharing Is the Next Uber

Urbanization, exercise and expense. JL

Erin Griffith reports in Wired:

In China bike sharing has exploded, thanks to an influx of venture capital and a model that eschews docks, making expansion cheaper and easier. Dockless bike companies scatter their bikes around a city, and customers use an app or scan a code to unlock them. Now come dockless US rivals. Investors are hot on bike sharing because the Chinese companies have proven it can be a big business. They’ve figured out how to enter a market, how to build internet-connected bikes that lock themselves, and how much to charge.

Why Surge Prices Make Us So Mad

Fairness. Or the perceived lack thereof. JL

Neil Irwin reports in the New York Times:

When you look at when and how dynamic pricing provokes outrage, you detect patterns. People’s perceptions of what is fair and just are not set in stone; they evolve over time. But companies looking to use variable pricing have to be cognizant of how important it is to respect those perceptions. Some short-term inefficiency can buy long-term viability. Successful variable pricing treat customers’ desire for fairness not as irrational rejection of economic logic, but something fundamental, hard-wired into their view of the world.

How Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM Sell AI As a Service

Value-added! For a price, of course!

The question which remains to be seen is what value is being offered to whom at what price.  And to what degree of differentiation. JL

Fast Company reports:

Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft have all discovered that the artificial intelligence they use to make their own products better can be turned into a service and sold to corporate customers as a value-added service on top of their booming cloud-computing businesses.

Oct 20, 2017

The Reason YouTube Doesnt Spend As Much As Netflix on Original Shows. Yet.

It hasn't needed to so far. But it's now ramping up. JL

Eric Johnson reports in Re/code:

“If you look at the core YouTube business, to be able to continue to grow that ... we have 1.5 billion signed-in users coming to our site every single month. That business is one where not one show is going to drive those numbers.”Instead, the most important driver of growth is the diverse “giant long tail” of creators who have carried YouTube this far. “You want to have enough of a budget that you can actually experiment, but not so much budget that you can hang yourself with it and get stuck."

Go Ahead, Eat That Cheesesteak

Notions of what constitutes fat - and healthy eating - are in flux. JL

Faye Flam reports in Bloomberg:

Recent research suggests the taboo on fat is grounded more in puritanism than science. People who had the shorter lifespans and higher disease rates were not the rich gluttons of the world who shirked the holy duty of personal responsibility. They were people from poorer countries who ate starchy diets -- most likely because that’s what they could afford.