Backyard grills pursue subscription model

What does a backyard grill have in common with an iPod?

Weber’s SmokeFire incorporates two innovations, neither of them original, but both defining the future of the outdoor grilling industry. The new model incorporates a Wi-Fi app to not only monitor temperatures, but to access an inventory of recipes and provide guidance throughout the process. In addition, the grill leader is adopting a wood pellet convention, made popular by competitor Traegar. CNet

dis-rup-shun: The marketing team at Weber has been paying close attention to the tech world and has effectively differentiated a no-tech product, taking the Apple iPod/iTunes model to heart. The new grill takes a “systems” approach, incorporating ever changing content (recipes and how-to instructions) and proprietary wood pellets to turn the grilling business model into a razor and blades, or iPod and iTunes model, turning grill buyers into “subscribers” who come back regularly for pellets and recipes.

Spotify shares down on Amazon Music expansion

Amazon announced that its free, ad-supported music service would be available on iOS, Android and FireTV devices. Previously the service was available only on Amazon Echo. Spotify share were down nearly 5% after the news. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Apple started the mad rush to expand services with its announcements of several new services and service bundles earlier in the year. Other companies, including Google and Amazon have followed rapidly with the knowledge that consumers, in most cases, will not pay for multiple services beyond streaming video. There is only so much room on a credit card for subscription services. Cable and Telco providers taught, some time ago, that bundling services is an effective way to differentiate and both Apple and Amazon are in the unique position of being able to bundle both devices and services in creative ways. 

Google Stadia provides a unique gaming experience

Google’s Stadia service enables people to play games on any connected device — moving the experience to wherever the player is. The company has developed an ecosystem of controllers that enable fans to get as serious as they wish about Stadia and different types of pay models provide something for everyone. Shooter games, however, are not well suited for a clloud architecture, and may hobble adoption. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Game players are like any population — they can be segmented in a variety of ways. It is unlikely that Google will successfully batch the majority of gamers onto a single platform, even with many variants of that platform. The question, then, is can Google capture the widest part of the bell curve of game players with Stadia, and will the variants of Stadia help capture the generalist game player market, or confuse and frustrate the target market. As Google is prone to change directions quickly, fans may be reluctant to invest heavily into an offering which seems to be doing so much for so many segments.

More private space companies land on NASA’s partner list

NASA has added SpaceX, BlueOrigin, and Sierra Nevada to its growing list of contractors vying to carry cargo, and eventually humans back to the Moon by 2024. These companies join nine other NASA approved vendors, who will compete for various slices of the Moon mission pie. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Envision an environment in which multiple carriers are competing for Moon tasks, just are airlines compete today for certain routes with different planes, seeking to find the optimal mix of capacity, load factor and profitability. This aggressive competition should result in the U.S. most quickly returning to the Moon, but it is important to remember that most of the private contractors are multi-national companies and will, eventually, be eager to serve customers in many countries, leveling the field. NASA is wise to engage multiple parties and gain the speed, financial and hopefully, safety benefits of competition.