Breakout sessions

Breakout sessions

Beyond bitcoin: The business case for blockchain
Christoph Burger, Senior lecturer at ESMT Berlin

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the hype of today's financial and technology news. But there is a veil over the risks and benefits of blockchain, its underlying technology. What are the main characteristics of this technology? How can it benefit businesses? What are the implications? This session – for blockchain experts, amateurs, opponents, and enthusiasts – will address blockchain's development, its business applications, and its challenges.

Complexity in the Age of the Machine
Francis de Véricourt, Professor of Management Science, ESMT Berlin

The machine is increasingly outperforming humanity at solving very hard problems, from playing the ancient Go board game to discovering new drugs or diagnosing cancers. Although the rise of the machine is mostly perceived as a technological disruption, it is at heart a radical shift of mindset to tackle complexity. This session will explore what leaders and decision makers need to know about the nature of this alternative perspective on complexity, how it radically differs from traditional approaches as well as its most fundamental limitations.

N=1: Targeting the individual customer
Johannes Habel, Associate Professor, Program Director, and Co-director, Hidden Champions Institute (HCI)

Donald Trump used it, the Brexit proponents used it, and companies are increasingly exploring its benefits: Microtargeting, a method that allows marketers to automatically profile individuals and customize their offers accordingly. In this interactive session, you will learn what microtargeting is, how it works, and how far technology has progressed already. We will also try to look into the future of microtargeting and discuss its ethical ramifications.

Nothing is for free: Data-driven optimization of (freemium) business models
Stefan Wagner, Associate Professor of Strategy and Director of PhD Studies, ESMT Berlin

Freemium pricing is pervasive in the mobile apps market, where consumers strongly favour apps that are free and monetized through in-app purchases rather than advertisement. It spans news publishing, music streaming, consumer software, online gaming, online retailing, professional networking platforms, dating sites but can also be found in tangible products such as Tesla vehicles.  While the basic freemium design is the same across platforms and products – the combination of free and paid-for content – there is nevertheless wide variation in the specific implementation of freemium pricing. Despite the wide-spread use of the freemium pricing model and the observed enormous heterogeneity in its implementation, little is known about its effectiveness or how consumer demand responds to such type of pricing. In this session, we will discuss major drivers of the profitability of freemium models and will look at how experimentation can help firms to optimize the design of freemium based models relying on experimentation.