Above the Crowd

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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Grubhub and Seamless: Effecting The Elusive Private-Private Merger

May 20, 2013:

Today, Seamless and Grubhub announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge two of the nation’s premier services for ordering takeout online. As Benchmark is a large institutional investor in Grubhub, we were actively involved in the merger process, and we are quite excited about the potential of the two companies coming together. There are many synergies – different geographic strengths, different core customer bases, and different product strengths. And of course, we are afforded the advantage of greater scale. Despite that there may be many obvious reasons for any two companies to combine, most private-private mergers (where both companies are private entities) never come to fruition. Public-public, and public-private are ...

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A Rake Too Far: Optimal Platform Pricing Strategy

April 18, 2013:

In a casino, the term “rake” refers to the commission that the house earns for operating a poker game. With each hand, a small percentage of the pot is scraped off by the dealer, which in essence becomes the “revenue” for the casino. While casinos use the term “rake,” a plethora of interesting word choices exist which all describe the same thing – keeping a little bit of the revenue for the company that is running the service. Examples include “commission,” “fee,” “toll,” “tax,” “vig” or “vigorish,” “juice,” “the take”, and “graft” (although this last one is typically associated with ...

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