[ALGN – Align Tech, SDC – Smile Direct Club] Brand, scale economies, and vertical integration

Below is a transcript of a podcast I recently recorded.  It has been lightly edited for clarity.  You can find the podcast by searching for “scuttleblurb” on Apple or Spotify. So Align technology is the company behind the Invisalign brand of clear liners. And so those are the clear removable plastic trays that are used […]

Chewy and Zooplus

Like many online retailers, Zooplus converts incremental profits from its growing scale into growth through investments in price and Google keywords.  But cutting prices is a blunt tool as it reduces profits from all existing customers, and spending 80% of your marketing budget on Google eventually hits a limit.  There are no volume discounts on […]

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[VEEV – Veeva Systems] Beyond CRM

Salesforce.com disrupted enterprise software and then invited others to do the same.  Sometime in the early 2000s, the company exposed its internal development platform – the infrastructure, databases, and APIs used to support salesforce.com – as a service, force.com, that third parties could leverage to build their own apps for faster and cheaper than they […]

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[BOX – Box; DBX – Dropbox] Opportunities and competitive challenges

Dropbox and Box both originated as file sharing and sync (FSS) vendors in the mid-2000s but have since traveled along different trajectories.  Box began migrating upmarket in 2008, complementing its core document storage solution with add-ons demanded by compliance-sensitive large enterprises….things like: Box Shield, which prevents a user from downloading a file infected with malware, […]

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[FLT – FleetCor; WEX – WEX Inc.] Beyond fuel to B2B payments: part 2

I left Part 1 noting that even as FleetCor insists on its relevance in a world of electric vehicles, it has diversified away from fuel cards, investing first in adjacent verticals like Tolls and now in more far off areas like account payables.  Through its $1.2bn acquisition of STP in 2016, FleetCor has come to process 90% […]

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[FLT – FleetCor; WEX – WEX Inc.] Beyond Fuel: Part 1

With Visa and Mastercard, the feedback mechanism between issuers, merchants, and consumers is well understood. As I wrote in a previous post: If you wanted to build your own payments network to compete with Visa, you’d need to win over the issuing banks.  Of course, you won’t get the issuers if you don’t have merchants […]

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Thoughts on the S&P Global / IHS Markit merger

On the surface, the combination of S&P Global and IHS Markit appears both inevitable, given the frenzied consolidation of financial market infrastructure in recent years; and straightforward, given that both companies are built on data.  Smash the companies together, cut duplicative costs, cross-sell datasets, and combine the datasets into new products.  Easy.  But the deal’s […]

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[TWTR] Twitter

One possible explanation for why Twitter has been slow at developing new products is that for many years this was a muscle it didn’t have to exercise.  Twitter got so big so fast, receiving national attention in SXSW less than a year after it was separated from a failing podcasting directory in 2006, that its […]

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