19 Nov 2015

Google and the Evolving App Interaction Model

Google - App Streaming

Google made some interesting announcements yesterday that could have a profound impact on the existing app interaction model and even how we think of apps. Google search now has the ability to search for app-only content, an outcome of Google's app indexing efforts over the past two years. More importantly, Google announced an experimental program to "stream" a limited set of apps directly from the Google app. This appears to be an attempt to make apps behave more like the web, in effect removing friction from the existing app paradigm.

28 Oct 2015

YouTube Red: Trigger For Cord Cutting?

YouTube Red

YouTube announced its first-ever subscription service last week, YouTube Red, with the usual set of (uninteresting) "premium" features -- ad-free videos and offline/background playback. The only interesting tidbit was that YouTube Red would also house "original" movies and TV shows starring well-known YouTube personalities. While it may seem mundane, this move has the potential to present a true disruption to the TV industry.

20 Oct 2015

Google's Amazon Problem

I have long been a critic of the "Peak Google" argument because it is based on a flawed premise -- that deep engagement and consequently "brand advertising" are somehow a threat to Google's model of transactional engagement. While I strongly disagree with that line of reasoning, there are other threats that Google faces within the transactional realm.

13 Oct 2015

On-Demand Startups and Unit Economics

Uber - Operating Margin

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that numerous online-to-offline (O2O or on-demand) startups in China had run out of cash in recent months. Fund raising and valuations, especially those for on-demand startups, have soared globally as burn rates grew in sync with risk appetite. During this time, startups spent heavily as user acquisition became the primary goal. It was only a matter of time before investors paused to look at financial health. Unfortunately, at least so far, there hasn't been much consensus on the way to assess the financial health of mobile commerce startups.

7 Oct 2015

Twitter Moments: Interesting Product with a Crucial Flaw

Twitter Stock Price

Twitter's stock price has declined by over 50% over the past few months because of slower than expected user growth and questions about the company's leadership team. In response, the company just unveiled what appears to be its most important product (or feature) in years, Moments. This is clearly an interesting attempt to attract new users (or "churned" users) back to the platform. However, Twitter seems to have ignored the lessons learned by other tech giants that rely on "deep engagement".

10 Sep 2015

iPad Pro and Apple TV: The Most Interesting Apple Products in Years

Yesterday, Apple unveiled two of their most interesting products in years. No, I'm not talking about the pink Apple Watch or the iPhone 6S. Rather, Apple finally made a concerted upmarket push into content creation and productivity with the iPad Pro. In addition, Apple also refreshed the Apple TV with a new interaction model and an SDK / app store which allows developers to build and distribute native apps. This obviously has implications for media and gaming, but it could also have a profound impact on advertising and commerce.

26 Aug 2015

Analyse Asia Podcast: From Alphabet to Uber

On the first anniversary of Bernard Leong's Analyse Asia podcast, we discussed the implications of Google's (or Alphabet's) recent corporate restructuring announcement, Apple Watch sales, upcoming Apple product announcements, the eventual fate of Samsung and, finally, Uber’s financials and ballooning valuation.

6 Aug 2015

Benchmarking Uber's Financials

Uber - Revenue vs. Operating Costs

Uber's leaked financial reports from 2012 to 2014 have spurred a polarized debate on late stage valuations. Optimists have pointed to Uber's strong revenue growth as a sign of business model validation. Meanwhile, skeptics latched onto the fact that the company's losses ballooned to hundreds of millions of dollars even as its valuation exploded. Both are strong, but incomplete, arguments because they lack a frame of reference. Uber's revenue growth does appear strong, but how does it compare with those of previous IPO stars? Are Uber's steep operating losses consistent with successful companies that preceded it? And what do these comparisons mean? These are the questions I hope to tackle in this post.

22 Jul 2015

My Apple Watch Estimates: 3 million shipments, 2.5 million sales

Apple Watch Shipment Estimate

After months of speculation, Apple finally released some vague numbers related to the Apple Watch. As a part of their fiscal Q3 2015 earnings release, Apple announced that revenue from "Other Products" including the Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV and other accessories totaled $2.64 billion during the quarter. This compares to roughly $1.69 billion in fiscal Q2 2015, before Apple Watch sales began. Combined with some comments from Tim Cook, this should help us get to a rough estimate of Apple Watch shipments (if not sales) for the quarter. We can then also compare this estimate with the third party data sources I highlighted in my last post.

13 Jul 2015

The State of Apple Watch

It has been roughly 3 months since the Apple Watch hit the market and, as we expected, we have received no hard sales figures from Apple. However, there have been multiple reports from third party analysts and analytics firms that give us some sparse data about its progress. Joining these disparate pieces of data may give us some insight into the current state of Apple Watch demand.