Marissa Mayer’s Convoluted Yahoo Strategy | Re/code

The only solution that will work for Yahoo is an innovative, game changing product.  We can’t be surprised at the trail that’s going to be left behind when someone is off hunting for one:

…manifested itself more critically in a herky-jerky series of strategic moves that have swung Yahoo to and fro. It’s included an intense focus on media by making big bets on digital magazines to pricey video deals to a questionable race to compete with giants like Google in search.It has also been characterized by a lot of seemingly disjointed acquisitions that appear aimed more at bringing in talent to the company than any cogent direction.

Source: Marissa Mayer’s Convoluted Yahoo Strategy | Re/code



Cable companies cut ads because of Netflix

Increased competition decreases prices consumers. In this case, the price consumers pay is watching ads:

Major TV networks are so scared of Netflix they are actually starting to show fewer ads. Companies like Time Warner, Fox, and Viacom have begun to reverse the trend of trying to shove as many ads in your face as possible.

Source: Cable companies cut ads because of Netflix – Business Insider

“we don’t believe in mobile; it doesn’t have the same franchise potential”

Mobile game marketing costs are too high, gamers churn before breaking even from a monetization perspective, and distribution is controlled by celebrity brands (e.g. Star Wars, Kim Kardashian) and App Store featuring from Cupertino and Mountain View.

That said, a relatively mature mobile gaming incumbent making casual games is a little different. Candy Crush is addictive and the barriers to adoption are very low — a baby could understand how a match-3 game works. Virality is part of the game’s DNA, encouraging players to share with their Facebook friends to get in-game boosters…

From my short stint as a banker in my former life, I could have rationalized the acquisition in my Excel spreadsheets to a bunch of earnings-accretion seeking corporate development guys. But as a gamer I see a short-termist attempt to show Wall Street some growth, but not much in the way of real innovation on a platform where an old school console publisher is arriving late to the party.

Source: The King is Dead. All Hail the King! — Medium

Mobile App Developers are Suffering–The Root Cause: Adoption Barrier Too High

Good assessment on mobile app economics and keys to solving:

Ultimately, the fate rests in the hands of the platforms themselves, as they alone control the implementation of these discovery protocols. As developers contributing to these stores, we must do our part to vocalize our concerns and push for change. Let’s keep pushing and hope to see the changes we need. If the status quo continues, expect the overall app quality to stagnate and developers to move on to other platforms that have a less skewed power law.

Source: Mobile App Developers are Suffering — Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking — Medium

Facebook average revenue per user is up sharply – Business Insider

The company’s ad business now generates $9.86 for every user in the US. That’s a sharp jump from the $6.64 average revenue per US user that the ad business generated at this time one year ago.

The spike in US ARPU comes as Facebook has ramped up its video advertising business, with new auto-play video ads that command rich advertising rates. Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app has also started weaving ads into the service over the past year.

Source: Facebook average revenue per user is up sharply – Business Insider

Facebook Messenger: “It’s primarily powered by people, but those people are effectively backed up by AIs”

Haven’t tried it but probably useful.  Not impressive given that it’s powered by people. But the trick is in the data this provides to Facebook.

The idea here is, you can ask it any question, not just the set of questions that it’s capable of. The thing that’s cool about this is it gives us a much wider training set, like what are the things people actually want it to help them [with].”Facebook

In other words, making it human-powered versus machine-powered allows Facebook to get a more authentic glimpse at how people want to use the product.

Source: Facebook Messenger Assistant Powered By Humans | Re/code

QVC: The unlikely juggernaut of mobile shopping

This article is fascinating because QVC has been doing it for so long and now they’re doing it on mobile:

That attention to data may also explain why the 24/7 pageant of panini makers, flameless candles, anti-aging creams and ankle boots has, despite QVC’s fusty reputation, quietly outmaneuvered other retailers in remaking itself for the digital era.

QVC has seen online sales soar to 45 percent of its total U.S. sales by trailblazing on one of the most vexing challenges in retail today: getting people to buy, not just browse, on their phones and tablets.

With a strategy centered on “second screening” — the tendency to watch TV while also swiping and tapping on a gadget — QVC has become the fifth-largest mobile commerce retailer in the United States, according to an analysis by the trade publication Internet Retailer. In fact, it is projected to ring up a mobile sales haul this year that is nearly as large as Wal-Mart’s.

Source: QVC: The unlikely juggernaut of mobile shopping – The Washington Post



Why Homejoy Failed: reliance on Groupon for customer acquisition

The amount of capital you raise becomes a competitive advantage when you’re able to successfully engage in a war of attrition.

Former West Coast operations manager Anton Zietsman said that Homejoy was all-too aware of the challenges for startups and small businesses to attract repeat customers from Groupon. But he said they were forced to rely on it heavily because of intense competition with their chief rival, Handy, which employed a similar strategy.

Source: Why Homejoy Failed — Backchannel — Medium