Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan
16 juin 2020Jean-Charles' Newsletters

Jean-Charles' newsletter: n°24

Chaque semaine, je partage quelques articles que j’ai trouvés particulièrement enrichissants. J’espère qu’ils vous aideront autant qu’ils m’ont aidé.

Newsletter - 24

Cette semaine:

  • “Travaillez d’où vous voudrez”, la nouvelle politique du remote chez Alan.
  • Just Eat Takeaway rachète Grubhub sous le nez d’Uber.
  • Moats Before (Gross) Margins, une analyse intéressante sur la marge.

Certains articles sont en français, la plupart sont en anglais (je copie certaines citations en anglais). Ils ne sont pas tous récents et vont au rythme de mes lectures.

Bonne lecture !

Si vous aimez, vous pouvez vous inscrire, partager (par email ou le blogpost) ou encore me suivre sur Twitter.

📱Monde des technologies

👉 Snap a redesigné son app pour devenir le WeChat de l’ouest, centré sur la carte, la caméra, et les mini-apps (Techcrunch).

👉 L’histoire d’un hacker anglais (Marcus Hutchins) qui a été du bon et du mauvais côté (Wired).

👉 Just Eat Takeaway rachète Grubhub sous le nez de Uber.

  • All-stock deal qui valorise Grubhub à $7.3 billion (la capitalisation bourisère de GrubHub est de $5bn).

👉 Loom a levé $28m de plus (Forbes) :

  • Loom quickly enables workers to provide project feedback or walk someone through a proposal, without having to set an actual meeting.
  • Over the past year, the company has focused on building out its first enterprise offering, Loom for Teams, which officially launched last week. - The cloud-based program lets companies create a central library of Loom videos giving staff quick access training videos, presentations and more.

👉 Chris Cox retourne chez Facebook en tant que Chief Product Officer :

  • C’est un des employés de FB les plus early.
  • Il va gérer toutes les apps de Facebook dont Instagram, WhatsApp ainsi que la division marketing.
  • Il a été plus vocal que Zuck sur les questions politiques.

🏯Construire une entreprise

👉 Moats Before (Gross) Margins (a16z) : The myth of Gross Margin:

  • Many lower gross margin tech companies were not being well-received by the public markets, and an excessive spotlight was cast by many on company gross margins. (...) But over-rotating on gross margins is myopic because business quality is driven by more than margins.
  • Business quality is about defensibility. Defensibility comes from moats.
  • The markets will show you that companies with low gross margins can still be highly cash flow generative and highly defensible, and thus highly valuable. (...) In fact, many of the most valuable companies have low gross margins (as shown by Capital IQ, as of May 27, 2020): from Walmart and Home Depot to Disney and Netflix to Nike and Starbucks to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

Economies of scale:

  • Are your per unit costs improving while not degrading your unit economics? For example, you could push paid advertising to lead to high volume and scale benefits, but that paid advertising may be so excessive that your unit economics become unprofitable.
  • Another sign of emerging economies of scale is if your business has a clear pathway to negotiating power over your suppliers and/or buyers. Again, Amazon is the classic example, but another interesting possibility is Spotify.

Meaningfully differentiated technology:

  • Distinguish their technology enough to make it a true moat, they should be focused on differentiating their product and service in a way that matters. Doing so enables companies to charge more (“premium” pricing) and spend less on sales & marketing (the product “sells itself”). Moreover, customer lock-in can be higher because there is a perceived switching cost of moving to an inferior tech solution.
  • In the absence of IP, the clearest measure of differentiated technology is pricing power. Are customers willing to pay a higher price for your product than others? If so, you are likely selling a differentiated offering.
  • If asked, do your customers claim no one else can match your offering today, and that they would be willing to pay a higher price? Do they say that no one else on the market has the capacity to continue building the way you do?

Network effects

  • Determining if you have network effects. One is measuring engagement: does engagement (e.g., DAU/MAU) improve as the number of users grows?

Direct brand power

  • One way to combat having fewer percentage points of revenue to spend on strategies like outbound sales and paid marketing is to have built a killer brand.
  • Building a brand takes time and focus (and money!), but it’s ultimately valuable and can pay off well into the future. How do you know if you have a powerful brand? One metric we look for is increasing organic and direct traffic: do you have an increasing percentage of your traffic and revenue coming from organic or direct channels (vs. paid) over time?
  • Another metric we look at is decreasing customer acquisition costs (CAC): is your cost to acquire each customer falling or staying flat? Combined with growing organic traffic, flat to down paid CAC translates to declining blended CAC.

👉 Unlikely Optimism: The Conjunctive Events Bias (Farnam Street):

  • Why are we so optimistic in our estimation of the cost and schedule of a project? Why are we so surprised when something inevitably goes wrong?
  • The probability of a series of conjunctive events happening is lower than the probability of any individual event.
  • Broader categories are always more probable than their subsets.
  • This willingness to create a narrative with pieces that clearly don’t fit is the real danger of the conjunctive events bias.
  • “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Thus, the more steps involved in a plan, the greater the chance of failure, as we associate probabilities to events that aren’t at all related.
  • We often underestimate the large number of things that may happen in the future or all opportunities for failure that may cause a project to go wrong.
  • Often we focus too much on the specific base project case and ignore what normally happens in similar situations (base rate frequency of outcomes—personal and others).
  • Sometimes, assigning frequencies instead of probabilities can also show us where our assumptions might be leading us astray.

🏥 Santé

👉 The ELIZA effect et les premières thérapies par des machines (99%Invisible) :

  • He saw potential in ELIZA and started promoting the idea that the program might actually be therapeutically useful. The medical community started to pay attention. They thought that perhaps this program — and others like it — could help expand access to mental healthcare. And it might even have advantages over a human therapist.
  • Colby went on to create a chatbot called PARRY, which simulated the conversational style of a person with paranoid schizophrenia. He later developed an interactive program called “Overcoming Depression.”
  • Allison Darcy, founder and CEO of Woebot Labs, says that “transparency is the basis of trust,” and that it informs her work at Woebot, where they’ve created a product designed to address a lack of accessible and affordable mental healthcare.
  • Quickly, within the first five days, they had 50,000 users. Woebot was exchanging millions of messages with people each week.

💚 Les publications d’Alan et sur Alan

👉 "Travailler d’où vous voudrez” (Blog Alan). comment et pourquoi nous avons décidé d’offrir la possibilité à tous les employés d’Alan de travailler d’où ils le souhaitent.

👉 Running engineering during Covid-19 (Blog Alan). Alexandre nous raconte comment le COVID-19 a permi aux “eng” d’Alan de tester leur résilience et comment ils ont continué à offrir de la valeur à nos membres.

👉 Hôtels en Ville et “la vie d’après” : la réinvention hôtelière après la crise (Blog Alan). Colombe Guellerin nous raconte comment l’entreprise a géré cette crise inédite, qui a particulièrement affecté le secteur hôtelier.

👉 Alan parmi les 50 futures licornes (CB Insights).

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