Above the Crowd

Author Archive

A Deeper Look at Uber’s Dynamic Pricing Model

March 11, 2014:

Over the course of the past year, many writers have offered their perspectives on Uber’s dynamic pricing strategy. Perhaps the only consistency is that people have deeply passionate views on this topic. However, there are still many misperceptions about how the model works, and the purpose of this post is to clarify some of those misperceptions. I am an Uber investor and board member, and therefore expect that many will dismiss these thoughts as naked bias. But consider that as a result of my role I have access to more information that might enable a deeper perspective. I also have ...

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On Bubbles …

January 24, 2014:

Over the past few months, many journalists have begun to ask the question that no one really wants to hear; “Is Silicon Valley in another technology bubble?” It’s a dangerous question to ponder – especially out loud and especially here at ground zero. Silicon Valley thrives on optimism, and anyone waving the bubble flag is auditioning for the title of nonbeliever or party pooper. There is another reason it is dangerous to predict the arrival of a bubble. It was 1996 when Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan first uttered the now historic phrase “ irrational exuberance .” Even though things were frothy ...

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Stitch Fix: Reinventing Retail Through Personalization

October 17, 2013:

Early this year Amie Fineberg, who has been my amazing assistant for over 10 years, mentioned that she and several other employees at Benchmark had fallen in love with a new ecommerce service, and that I might want to check it out. The company, which the founder cleverly named “Stitch Fix,” had a remarkably unique offering compared to other women’s fashion experiences. Customers are first asked to fill out an in depth profile to help identify their size, style, and preferences. Then, on the customer’s requested date, the company sends a personally styled offering (a Fix) of five items (previously ...

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Conversion: The Most Important Internet Metric of All (Revisited)

October 2, 2013:

Over 13 years ago, in March of 2000, I wrote a blog post titled “ The Most Powerful Internet Metric of All. ” The key thesis was this: if an Internet company could obsess about only one metric, it should be conversion. No other metric so holistically captures as many critical aspects of a web site – user design, usability, performance, convenience, ad effectiveness, net promoter score, customer satisfaction – all in a single measurement. Yet despite the remarkable power of this metric, it is alarming how few companies today truly understand conversion and how to optimize it. As such, it is time to pound the table ...

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Transitioning To a Mobile Centric World

July 17, 2013:

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” — Freewill, Rush If you happen to be a sports fan (I am), one of the coolest features to emerge in our lifetime is the ability to program your DVR remotely. The game is about to start, and you forgot to record it. No problem — you can simply talk to your DVR remotely. It’s like magic. When you get home your game is there. DirecTV has supported this feature for some time, initially on the Internet via the browser and more recently via their smartphone application. Ironically, the smartphone ...

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