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Great post – thanks for sharing! I think you represented the strengths and weaknesses of this technology comprehensively. I had the same reaction as Kemi and Tommy… this is well intended and has the potential to make hiring managers aware of some of their own biases, but I probably would not go so far as to market the tool as a “de-biased” algorithm. Particularly when it is trained to identify future leaders with similar personality types and instincts as past leaders. There is still a lot of human judgment involved when this system is used for hiring, and I think there is a risk that we actually automate the status quo, rather than boosting diversity.

On December 4, 2019, KO commented on Sky Media and The Future of Recommendation Algorithms :

Interesting post! It does seem that live event coverage (e.g. news, talk shows, sport events, Academy Awards, etc.) is one of few areas that Netflix has not been able to figure out with its on-demand streaming format. It makes sense that traditional media companies would want to protect this space, and strategically invest in the entertainment value of live programming. I thought the example you shared about how Sky is using AI to tag guests in video of the Royal Wedding was powerful in this context – interactive viewing of live events could help companies like Comcast continue to compete with Netflix.

On December 4, 2019, KO commented on Hopper: Using AI to Plan Your Next Vacation :

Great article! I am also really impressed by some of the performance stats that you mentioned. The level of engagement, in particular… it’s incredible that Hopper has its users visiting the application every four to five days. It makes me think that Hopper benefits from some of the inherent anxiety around securing a good airline price. They seem to have made price monitoring satisfying, exciting and even addicting. It’s a powerful service and I think they have a lot of opportunity to expand their offering.

On November 13, 2019, KO commented on Wayfair – The E-Commerce Challenger :

Interesting post! I think Wayfair should absolutely be worried about Amazon moving into furniture categories and amassing large amounts of data. That diminishes Wayfair’s edge significantly. However – I like the company’s emphasis on personalization. It seems to me that creating innovative shopping experiences, and advanced tools that help customers make purchasing decisions (beyond the now ubiquitous “recommended for you” and “you may also like” product recommendations), is a powerful way to keep customers loyal to your platform.

Great post. You highlighted adoption challenges for this technology, which did not surprise me – it seems like this is yet another industry where we see an “art versus science” tension. Farmers are wary of automation and perhaps concerned that it diminishes the value of their own experience and judgment. I imagine that John Deere will need to invest a lot in educating the farmers on how this technology can enhance their crop yield and business. This feels like a powerful tool, though, and I would guess that those farmers who do adopt data analytics will have an edge.

On November 13, 2019, KO commented on 23andMe, who does it profit? :

Interesting post, Corine! I agree with the earlier comments… DNA data is about as personal as it gets, with the ability to provide information about your health and identity, so I think there is something concerning about this business. I imagine that the majority of the purchasers of these kits did not pay much attention to the terms of the privacy agreement, perhaps because it is hard to imagine at this point that our DNA data could be used against us. I think 23andMe will need to take incredible care of the sensitive data they have already collected, ensuring it remains secure and anonymized, if they do not want the public to view them as exploitative in the future.

On October 17, 2019, KO commented on Old Clothes, New Strategies: ThredUP’s Evolution :

Great post! I like this business model – particularly that ThredUP has found creative ways to partner with other retailers. I think consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, and retailers need solutions that signal they also care about the environment. ThredUP seems well positioned to help retailers in this regard, whether that means selling some of the clothing they have collected back to retailers, or simply selling retailers their data.

On October 17, 2019, KO commented on StockX – Trading Exchange for Sneakers :

I also don’t know that much about sneakers and found this post really interesting! StockX seems like a very thoughtfully designed platform. I am wondering how Nike and Adidas feel about the fact that this reselling market is becoming so well established, and they are not the ones capturing the value? A platform like StockX definitely reinforces the “cool factor” of these shoes, but it seems like the sneaker companies are leaving a lot of money on the table.

On October 17, 2019, KO commented on Would you rather lead a light or a heavy company? :

Interesting post! I’ve never used Instacart, but I definitely understand the appeal of having groceries delivered to your door. I agree with your concern about the sustainability of this platform, however. Particularly now that there is some reputational risk for the retailers who partner with Instacart, I wonder if grocery stores will feel more pressure to figure out their own last mile delivery networks? Especially the big retailers like Costco and Publix. And if the big retailers leave the platform, will customers still see enough value in using Instacart?

Thanks for this post! It makes sense to me that McDonald’s is embracing more digital technology. The use of self-service kiosks for ordering, in particular, feels like a natural fit. I’m intrigued to learn that McDonald’s will be using big data to engineer the menu, too. I have no doubt that advanced analytics of this kind can help generate additional efficiencies in the restaurants and drive up sales. I wonder if McDonald’s will face any controversy for this usage of big data? How would consumers feel if they knew that customized menus and promotions drive up the average order size, for example? Particularly when McDonald’s is fighting to demonstrate a commitment to healthier eating. Or maybe customers won’t care and will find value in the personalized experience. Will be interesting to see!

On September 24, 2019, KO commented on Carvana:The new way to buy a car :

Great post! This is an interesting business. I agree with a couple of points that have already been made in the comments here. My own sense is that something is lost when the consumer cannot test drive a used car before making the purchase… even with such detailed reporting on the condition of the car, it can be hard to know how it drives, etc. However, your research suggests that there are plenty of people who feel differently and prioritize convenience (and/or the Instagram-worthy “car vending machine” moment). I am also wary that this business is trying to present itself as a technology platform, when it is still asset heavy. Carvana may have eliminated some of the overhead associated with a car dealership, but I would think IT expenditure, customer service and logistics costs are significant.

On September 24, 2019, KO commented on Peloton’s Fast Clip :

Great post! I’m not a Peloton user, but I do think the product is innovative and I can understand the appeal, especially for customers already accustomed to paying high prices for boutique fitness classes like SoulCycle. I remember learning how important the instructors are to the SoulCycle experience, and I imagine the same holds true in the case of Peloton. It seems that connecting riders with the very best instructors, and incentivizing the instructors to build and maintain a large community of online riders, will also be important to the sustained success of this platform.