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On May 1, 2018, DF commented on Goldman Sachs – A Technology Company? :

Thanks for this post, Brittany! The situation you’ve highlighted with “lower skills” jobs being lost to tech innovations is a situation being faced by many companies. One of the key issues that companies need to think about is their attitude toward talent development. Do entry level employees feel that the company cares about their development and will help promote them up the ladder if they show promise? In many companies, the mindset around lower skilled employees is still one of “spot-market hiring” rather than investing to create the talent they need to fill the middle skills jobs. And so, while companies can and will benefit from the increasing pervasiveness of tech, they also need to revisit how they think about talent development in order for employees to feel like they can adopt such innovation without giving up their jobs and careers.

On May 1, 2018, DF commented on Florida Power and Light: Disrupted by Data :

Molly, thanks for the great post! I agree with your diagnosis that many energy and utilities companies are still playing catch-up with digitization, especially because the organizational structure they have worked so hard to build is the barrier to the transformation they badly need. I think an effective way to speed up transformation is to create a digital group that works with all the parts of the organization simultaneously to identify opportunities and to develop and implement solutions. Once the digital efforts become more commonplace within the organization, then each team can internalize their “sustaining” digital efforts, and the digital team can be responsible more for the moonshot digital ideas.

On May 1, 2018, DF commented on BCG: Digitally disrupting … or disrupted? :

Thanks for the great post! It seems to me that we are underestimating the brand value of these consulting companies. While information is becoming more easily available, this is leading to new problems like sorting through the wealth of information and knowing which to trust, how to synthesize, and communicate it. It seems to me that consulting firms will still be relied on for information, but more for secondary research than primary. Additionally, projects will likely become less of diagnosis and more around implementation. This will mean consulting firms need more hands on deck, so the fresh college graduates who were getting their hands dirty in number crunching will likely be getting their hands dirty in the field.

Interesting post, SAG! I am curious about the sustainability of Lenddo’s value creation. Financial institutions are rapidly digitizing and getting their hands dirty in data. Similarly, many online lending companies are gaining traction that use similar metrics to measure someone’s creditworthiness. What is to prevent the institutions Lenddo is serving from building their own capabilities or subscribing to an online lending platform?

On April 9, 2018, DF commented on Tinder romance algorithm: just keep swiping :

Thanks for the inside look on Tinder. To your point about competitors such as eHarmony, etc, geared towards long-term relationships – I think Tinder actually has a better business model set up. The eharmonnys of the world are like the marriage counselors of the world – if you do a good job, you make yourself obsolete. Also with that kind of model, you’re attracting people who will probably go on fewer dates and therefore not generate much data. In comparison, Tinder is probably a stickier platform because people on it are looking for short-term flings and they are also generating a lot more data, giving Tinder a bigger data advantage over many of its competitors.

Thanks for the great post, JLuo! I remember hearing about this when it happened, and I think given current happenings, now is a ripe moment to talk about the big questions around big data. I agree that companies need to be vigilant about what data they are feeding their products, what their platforms are enabling, and how they are changing/highlighting certain aspects of human behavior. But I’d go even a step further in saying this needs to be a conversation involving social scientists and policy makers as well – collectively, we need to think hard about what freedom of speech means in this digital age and where we draw lines. How much data is too much data and what are the tradeoffs we are willing to make? Part of the problem regarding the rapid pace of technological change is that we don’t even know what tech is capable of – 5 years ago, it would have seemed crazy to think that the platform people use to share cat memes would be caught amidst allegations of international politics and election rigging. I don’t pretend to have the answers but these are big question our generation will have to answer.

On February 1, 2018, DF commented on Spotify loses itself to music :

Fascinating read! This made me think of two options:
1. Could Spotify take a Netflix approach and try to create its own content by partnering with artists and going around labels? Instead of established artists who are tied to record labels, perhaps Spotify could try to find fresh talent and create music to at least somewhat decrease their dependence on these labels. Of course, you mentioned the AI-created music idea too, which is probably not too far off.

2. Could Spotify generate more revenue from ads. Especially as a business with network effects, it should be able to attract advertisers with high willingness to pay. Ad revenue is usually much higher than subscription revenue (ask Facebook), and this could even help them lower subscription fees and attract even more users.

On January 31, 2018, DF commented on Losing at the Census Bureau is as easy as 1, 2, 3… :

Great read, Hans. I’m curious about the idea for a national ID – isn’t that what a social security number is? Also it seems to me that issuing a mandate for national IDs in this age when people are increasingly suspicious of mass surveillance could be difficult. Partnering with the private sector like phone companies or banks also seems like a stretch since all companies want to keep their data as private as possible to 1) maintain customer trust, 2) preserve any competitive advantage from the information, and 3) to avoid going down the slippery slope of revealing more and more data to the government (think Apple’s reasoning against the FBI last year). I do see the advantages in having a national ID system if the SSN doesn’t already fulfill that role, but BBOP has made me reevaluate just how hard it is to make any operational changes in the government, and so my hesitance is mainly a reflection of those concerns.

On January 31, 2018, DF commented on Fitbit: From Winner to Loser :

Hi Pumchanut, thanks for writing this fascinating piece on Fitbit. It made me think of Under Armor – also a fitness and sport brand – that started by selling clothing with a some comfort advantage, but essentially no other competitive advantage, and that too in a saturated market. But it did really well simply based on the brand it created. And yet Fitbit not only created a new market, but competitors also had to cross a higher technical hurdle to compete with them. And yet it seems that they did not create a strong enough brand message around its differentiation points, which is why the likes of Apple were able to strong-arm them. This makes me reevaluate the role of marketing and brand management even for technologically superior products that are first-movers. If you don’t have a strong enough brand (like Apple), your product should be very cheap (like Xiaomi). Especially for daily-use tech products, it seems like consumers prefer either (perceived) luxury or commodity, rarely an in-between.