[X] Under Management

Photo: Fabian Blank

AUM 101

I’m a U-M girl in a U-M world

Tim Curry as a not so great concierge in Home Alone 2. Be better than him.
  • [Attention] under management: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently framed their competitive set as (drumroll) Fortnite and Youtube.⁷ At first glance, it’s odd that Hastings positioned the company against these time-sucking forces instead of other streaming services — but content is only valuable if it keeps an audience watching. With a whopping estimated 10% of television screen time in the US already owned by their platform, you can bet that Netflix is scheming to bring even more of your spare attention under their management, one original baking competition at a time.
  • [Movement] under management: If you’re old enough, you’ll remember 1) how hard it was to get a cab at 1am on the Lower East Side and 2) that brief period when it seemed that the ridesharing giants could go one of two ways: double down on owning the car ride, or expand their product line. Rather than bring cars under management, Uber and Lyft made the enlightened move into shared bikes and scooters to manage the way we literally move through life.
  • [Inquiry] under management: Google set out to organize [read: manage] the world’s information, and its search function does so beautifully. Our brains now instinctively translate our burning questions into just the right string of words to produce the most precise results. Just me? Okay. The brand has also become a verb. ‘Nuff said.
  • [Imagination] under management: For generations, Disney defined collective fantasy through the screen, in theme parks, and in your McDonald’s happy meal. What comes to mind when you hear the word “princess”? That the image I immediately jump to is one of their sparkly creations is a testament to how much of my imagination they still have under management — and I don’t believe I’m alone.
  • [Almost everything] under management: Amazon, soon.
Pro tip: a green shell is one way to take the lead.

[Life] Under Management

  1. Let’s stay physical: As far as I can tell, actual life will continue to be defined in both digital and physical realms. Until we go full on Matrix, concierge brands will have to design and execute for managing some [thing] across both. Brick and mortar can never really die, only reborn.
  2. User-centricity, maniacally: A good concierge and a strong brand both anticipate what users need, perhaps even before they realize they need it. To achieve this requires a little mania in the hunt for information and insights, to understand the contours of the complex “job to be done.”
  3. Fewer doors, more powerful doormen: As more of life comes under management by fewer brands, the chosen few will have a ton of power — something we’re already seeing play out. For this very reason, mechanisms for accountability and integrity will be crucial to protect consumer power and keep brands on their toes.
  4. Identity matters: If the idea of brands as concierge recognizes that “jobs to be done” have grown more complicated, then it should also recognize that the consumers “hiring” them are growing more diverse — and design and deliver against that. Let’s get intersectional, friends.
  1. Real talk moment: Can we agree the same John Doe you’re trying to hook onto your closet-in-a-box subscription service may also be the John Doe who is deciding whether his company gets hooked onto your cloud object storage service? The line between the consumers (aka decision makers) for B2B and B2C enterprise is faint, at best, so here I am referring to both.
  2. Investopedia on AUM
  3. Robinhood recently came under fire for launching free checking accounts that sounded too good to be true, and were also not insured… they soon backtracked and made nice with the SEC and other watchful eyes. Whoops.
  4. Merriam Webster defines concierge [noun] as a usually multilingual hotel staff member who handles luggage and mail, makes reservations, and arranges tours; or broadly: a person employed (as by a business) to make arrangements or run errands.
  5. Owning the demand is a pillar of Ben Thompson’s aggregation theory. Thompson argues that winning in the Internet era is through owning the customer relationship, which gives a brand power over suppliers — this disrupts business models previously based on controlling distribution.
  6. Jobs to Be Done is an idea popularized by Clay Christensen. It’s meant to help people better understand customer behavior, shifting the focus to the true why of customer choices. “People don’t simply buy products or services; they pull them into their lives to make progress. We call this progress the “job” they are trying to get done, and understanding this opens a world of innovation possibilities.”
  7. CNBC. “Netflix says it’s more scared of Fortnite and YouTube than Disney and Amazon”, Jan 17 2019.




CA-born, BK-living | Interested in humanity, culture, and technology | Formerly consulting and innovation | Always strategy www.jodichao.com

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CA-born, BK-living | Interested in humanity, culture, and technology | Formerly consulting and innovation | Always strategy www.jodichao.com

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