Where Implementation Meets MBA

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 | Tags: | Comments Off on Where Implementation Meets MBA

When I was debating whether to pursue an MBA or remain comfortably nestled in the extremes of startup life, one of the primary arguments against MBA pursuits came from my bosses: “you or someone like you would be much more valuable to me with two more years of this type of experience than you would be with those same two years spent in business school.” The answer made sense to me in a kind of vacuum, yet did not explain away the fact that all of my bosses had MBAs, and most of their closest business connections had MBAs, and that none of...

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Navigating the World of Digital Mapping

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Navigating the World of Digital Mapping

To the cursory observer, online map services like Google Maps or Bing Maps may seem like simple tools, simply placing a searchable compilation of points of interest on a scrolling set of map images. In reality, it’s a very complex business with immense potential going forward, with demand coming from transport electrification, autonomous cars, consumerization of ground logistics (UPS -> Uber/Lyft), and broader use cases for unmanned aerial vehicles, among other areas. Mapping entails digitizing the physical world, so every map service...

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Poshmark: Feeding Your Shopping Obsession

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 comments

What is Poshmark? Poshmark is a platform that allows users to buy and sell clothing and accessories from each other’s “closets”. Although items are shoppable on desktop, a user can only sell goods through the mobile app. Users can post items to sell “in less than 60 seconds”, and Poshmark makes 20% commission on all items sold. Although Poshmark provides the shipping label for sellers, the buyer is responsible for paying the standard shipping price of $4.99. With over 700K users, Poshmark has raised $47.2 million in outside...

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Cyber Security – Whose Responsibility Is It?

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 | Tags: , , , | 2 comments

Have you ever experienced identity theft that forced you into a zero-cash state for an amount of time that feels like forever? Or have you ever wondered how that app knows you so well—your habits, your route to work each week, your interests? The more we shift towards personalization, the more data is collected about your every move.  And that’s borderline cyber stalking, no? This makes cyber security ever more important. What is it, you ask? According to TechTarget: “Cyber security is the body of technologies, processes and practices...

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A look at the P2P payments market

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 | Tags: , , , | 3 comments

There has been a lot of activity in the market for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments lately. While the concept of P2P payments is not new (one could argue it started once upon a time with the barter system), multiple products are trying to capture a share of this market today in the world of mobile. PayPal’s latest quarterly earnings report notes that $2.1 billion of payments were processed through Venmo in Q3–2015, growing at the rate of 200% a year! Venmo is just one of the products, although arguably the most popular, and competes with many...

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Online vs. Offline vs. Online AND Offline?

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 comment

I’ve found the recent trend of online retailers opening up offline retail stores very intriguing, given that in the past few years, there has been a lot buzz around ecommerce and about how online stores were going to reduce and eventually obliterate the need for brick & mortar stores. In a bid to not be left behind, big box retailers such as Macys, Walmart and Target had made a significant investment in increasing their ecommerce presence and capabilities. However, just recently, it was announced that Amazon, the world’s biggest...

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In Honor of Small Business Saturday…The Barbershop Gets Modern

Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 | | 2 comments

While living in Milwaukee, there were parts I liked about going to the barbershop; however, there were parts that I really disliked. The parts I liked: the environment, the community interaction, and the relaxation The parts I disliked: appointment setting, waiting, and the transaction 1)      I could make an appointment by phone, by setting the next appointment after a completed appointment, or by physically stopping by the barbershop. Phone – First, I had to find time to call during the working day.  Second, I had to call when the...

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Drones revolutionize e-commerce in Africa?

Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , | 4 comments

I first came across Jumia when I was in Nigeria this summer following conversations with a fellow HBS student who was interning at Jumia. He was there to review their Nigeria operations and then go help the company launch in Kenya.  Jumia wants to be the Amazon of Africa, and it is no surprise that majority of the founders are former Amazonians, who started the company in Nigeria in 2012 with funding from Rocket Internet.  Today Jumia has warehouses in 10 African countries. The Jumia founders have seen the potential of e-commerce in...

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Is Facebook eating the media, or saving it from itself?

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 | Tags: , , , | 4 comments

Facebook, it is argued, is eating the media. With the launch of autoplaying native video and lightning fast-loading Instant Articles, Facebook isn’t just letting publishers share their content with readers – it is hosting the content itself, and in doing so, shaping how audiences experience that content. The trouble for the media, it seems, is that once Facebook controls both publishing and distribution, it will have even more power to control publishers’ traffic and access to audience data – and therefore their monetization as...

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Our World of Solipsistic Startups

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 | | 3 comments

“Make something for yourself,” the founder and CEO of Evernote, Phil Libin, exclaimed in a crowded auditorium at Harvard Business School’s annual entrepreneurship conference. If you are the ideal customer for your own startup, he reasoned, you are much better equipped to approximate market fit, evaluate quality standards, and make the best possible product. As I glanced through the list of companies that recruit on campus and the stack of cases I read in my tech and entrepreneurship classes, I noticed that many of them, including several...

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