All posts by jvargas2884

JoyRun: Deliveries For Friends by Friends

In the United States – a wave of community sentiment is developing among millennials, one in which many of the inconveniences of life can be, in part, alleviated by our fellow neighbor.  One such inconvenience is picking up a bite to eat or grabbing extra toiletries from the local pharmacist.  As a result, we get a new service / network platform that looks to address this common hassle – JoyRun.

JoyRun is a new service that allows all community users to set up “runs” to any location in a given area.  Once a run has been posted, everyone in the community can see it, request an item be purchased on their behalf and then have it delivered to their home.  In exchange for this service, the person making the trip, can charge a nominal fee of $2 or $3 per person.  The result is that within an hour’s time or less, student’s working furiously on their assignments can get food, toiletries or any other important item delivered to their home for a nominal fee.  Those making the run, often can make $15 to $20 a trip that can span less than an hour.  Better yet, all the money is exchanged via the app, so you won’t have to deal with change at all.

JoyRun is primarily focusing on college campuses to establish its core consumer base.  To join the JoyRun movement – individuals must possess a valid student email address to join their college’s community.  Once confirmed, users are asked to create a profile and update their payment information – and the runs can now begin.  Once assigned to a community, individuals can request to opt-in to a “run”, ordering items from a predetermined menu for a given restaurant, they can start their own run to either a specific location or to an unspecified location, or they can request a run be made on their behalf to a specific location – offering a set compensation for the favor.  In all, it’s another example of crowd-solutions to a common life hassle.  After delivery and payment of your items, community users can rate their experience, thus quickly separating the good “runners” from the mediocre ones.

In terms of monetization, the developers of the app are currently allowing transactions to occur without a fee, however, as the community matures, that is likely to change, and one can expect to pay a transaction fee to JoyRun directly.  Another form of monetization is advertising, as well as featuring certain restaurants and small business to a given community – either through specials or premium prominence within the app. 

Overall, I think the app has a very strong chance of becoming successful – however, it must be cognizant that continued and consistent community involvement will be crucial.  In order for users to want to use JoyRun, they must have users who will conduct runs during peak times on a college campus – and college students can be flaky to say the least.  Furthermore, JoyRun will become even more successful if it gets major support from local business who will be the major driver of product diversification and convenience to the end consumer. 


It looks like JoyRun will have a bright future and I look forward to using it more myself.



Consumer technology traits in determining mobile shopping adoption: A review


In the new digital age, the cellphone has become a crucial transaction point for online retailers, constituting 7% of total e-commerce sales.  New convenient apps and shopping environments provide mobile users the flexibility to buy through their phones, and this is set to continue to expand in the near future.  Retailers, travel apps and other non-traditional ecommerce companies now accept payment via app, but is enough being done to ensure the convenience and user satisfaction of this process is being improved?

What was Studied?

In “Consumer technology traits in determining mobile shopping adoption:  An application of the extended theory of planned behavior” – researches look at the key characteristics of the online shopping environments to determine which ones drive the most significant value in terms of consumer adoption.  The researchers look at three key factors of shopping environments: technology self-efficacy (how much control is given to the user?), level of experience of use (how much experience do I need to perform well in the environment?), and consumer technology innovativeness (how savvy is it at making easy complex tasks?) through factor analysis to understand – which of these key characteristics drove adoption and consumer satisfaction.

Approach & Results

The method used in the analysis was a factor analysis of a Theory of Planned Behavior Model.  The model took measures of each of the three factors (from a 1 to 7 scale based on previous academic literature) to calculate the extent of which a given technology or platform would be used / adopted by an end user.    The data was then compiled to understand how each of the three key factors explain the adaptation curve.

Per the study, self-efficacy followed by innovativeness proved to be the main contributors of adoption – with customer experience having the least significant and impactful relationship.  Much of this is likely due to the expectations of the mobile shopper.  Convenience and expediency seem to be highly desired traits of mobile shopping platforms as it is probably being done on the go, on a small screen, with limited functionality and ease of use.

Implications & Conclusion

When considering the possible implications of this research, clearly, providing users with the ability to do what they intend to do via your platform is crucial.  This means aligning the technology and the environment so that expectations are in line with actual functionality.  Furthermore, focusing on ease of use, simplicity and speediness, without sacrificing productivity will also enhance the overall user experience and interest in the shopping platform.   To conclude, robust verification and regular examination of shopping platforms will bring about significant innovation and spur on future growth in mobile sales as the users, providers and platforms that connect them become more sophisticated and adept at making a deal.


Reference: Yang, Kiseol. (2012) ” Consumer technology traits in determining mobile shopping adoption: An application of the extended theory of planned behavior,” Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 19, Issue 5, September 2012, Pages 484–491.

In Managing Teams: GroupMe

Are you spending a spring term abroad in Europe or the States?  Are you just starting your first year of college or graduate school?  For those young people venturing off into a new stage of life, often, studying and meeting new groups of people require being absorbed by a new social platform.  Discussing events or topics that involve everyone’s attention becomes difficult until you introduce GroupMe.  GroupMe is a relatively new chatting application from Microsoft that mixes the best aspects of group chats and social media, with functional tools like calendars, notes and photo galleries.  It makes the entire experience of coordinating nights out, discussing where to go next or discuss possible weekend trips infinitely less complicated.

The app works by first creating profiles of each individual prior to being able to use its functionality.  Once a user profile is created, you can have direct chats or group chats with anyone on the platform, similar to other messenger apps.  Also, like other messenger apps, it stores the names and numbers of your friends that have GroupMe, and creates a pseudo buddy list that you can refer to when creating new chats or groups.

Once you create a chat, the conversation is completely private and can only be shared by someone else inside the group.  As such, everyone in the group chat is an admin and has full rights to everything that is being displayed in the chat – primarily the name of the group chat and the image of the group chat.  Admins do not have control over content that they did not produce, only individual users have content editing privileges over their own content. 

Once everyone is chatting away and making great evening plans or discussing fun events coming up the following weekend, users can get organized by creating calendar events with images, links to facebook, location and directions, as well as, additional notes to inform everyone the price and/ or dress code.  These events then ask everyone in the group if they are going or not, thus creating a guest list for the organizers to utilize.

The fun is enhanced even more with the apps photo sharing feature which in addition to sharing it with the group – the uploader can “Meme” the picture – superimposing text over the picture to add to the laughs!

Monetization of the app comes in two forms.  First, it can use the data from the vast number of subscribers to fine-tune other applications to serve their needs.  Apart from the data, the ability to cross-sell into the platform ancillary services, like mobile skype, photo editors, and organization apps can add significant value to the customers and make substantial profit for the developer.

Overall, the app is a fantastic way of organizing large groups of people aimed at organizing events and sharing good times with each other.  It also benefits from the fact that in order to have a chat with these people, they do not have to be your friend or part of your buddy list, which in other apps can prove to be difficult.  One are of functionality that the app lacks is the ability to share files over the platform.  Only images are allowed to be shared between groups – thus study groups are hurt by this, as presentations and articles have to be shared outside of the app.  As such, this makes the app less than efficient in student groups being able to utilize the app for their basic needs.