• Alumni

Activity Feed

Really interesting point about police officer safety. I could easily see a scenario where this product could be used to more effectively carry out some type of crime – would Waze have any type of legal liability? It’s an interesting idea I’m sure they have thought through.

Business models that depend on “volunteers” to input data are also very interesting from a legal and ethics perspective. The company presuambly doesn’t have to compensate those people, but their business model depends on them to make it work. As an ethical idea, the company is essentially getting free labor to run their for-profit business. It’s obviously a mutually beneficial relationship for everyone involved, but some government agencies have cracked down on companies using unpaid labor (usually in the college intern context).

I also agree with MS – it seems like the value prop for Blue Apron is that they already save time by helping working professionals not have to go to the grocery (and do research on how/what to buy to make a good meal). Maybe with that data, they could transition to a subscription business where they provide great/simple/easy recipes and then customer use Amazon or some other food delivery service. That would mean de-verticalizing their business and focusing on one very specific part of the value chain.

Great article! I could see one of the shortcomings that new tech companies might have being security clearances for their engineers and employees. It seems like that filter may prevent some of the smaller companies from recruiting the best talent that can also work on some of the most transformative stuff that the DoD would be interested in.

It also seems to align with the DoD’s development of organizations like the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_Innovation_Unit), who are seeking to bring more commercial technologies to the DoD. In addition, I wonder if the DoD will open up more funding for companies to develop technologies that don’t have a commercial application and would only be viable if sold to the US Govt. For a company to set out and develop technology that doesn’t also have commercial application, seems very risky.

On February 25, 2019, James commented on Kaggle: Building a Market for Data Science (and Scientists) :

Great post! I’ve used Kaggle in the past to find datasets to use for online programming courses, but had no idea they were acquired by Google two years ago. This seems like a natural fit and good brand extension for Google. I wonder if they will more tightly integrate the platform with their other services in the future or if they just plan to use it for their “brand” and maintain it as a separate entity? Most press releases seem to suggest the later. Either way, this seems like a great addition to the Google portfolio and should help with their recruiting efforts and attempts to make sure they maintain their label as a leader in the data science community.

On February 25, 2019, James commented on Running out of Steam? :

Great analysis on some of the weaknesses of Steam. I would also add that the relatively new chat/voice platform, Discord, is threatening their current position (and has 200 million+ unique users). Discord has started to sell video games with a significantly lower take from the developer (only 10% – https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/14/18139843/discord-pc-games-store-revenue-split) and their CEO even made the comment, “Turns out, it does not cost 30 percent to distribute games in 2018″, which seems squarely aimed at platforms like Steam. Discord has a vastly different revenue model and therefore can accept a lower price, whereas Steam seems completely dependent upon game developers for revenue. It will be a long time before Discord, or any other platform, touches Steam in terms of sales or games offered, but it is interesting to see the indsutry standard of 30% slowly fading away in the face of new competition and business model innovation.

On February 25, 2019, James commented on onX maps: A GPS app for hunters :

This is a fascinating product that clearly solves an unmet need for the hunters out there. I could also see this app/platform increasing the adoption of hunting as a pastime for people who have always been interested but faced the barrier to entry of finding a place to hunt (or used to hunt, but have moved to new places that aren’t familiar to them). Ultimately, it seems like this platform may increase the “size of the pie” for the hunting industry as a whole, which is quite a unique value proposition and a good reason for several players within the industry to support it and push for its wider adoption.