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Such an interesting application! Thanks for writing about this.

This subject made me think about the ethical implications of VR/AR, both from a patient safety perspective as well as a data privacy perspective. This seems like it should be a tool that is used in combination with careful doctor oversight … I worry there are liabilities stemming from the possibility that vulnerable patients could misuse the technology, potentially worsening their conditions. And regarding data privacy, I would want to feel confident if I were a user that my personal data was being sufficiently protected. I would worry that a technology company doesn’t have to adhere to the same data regulations as those in the healthcare field do. And given that mental illness / depression is still somewhat taboo in society (even though it shouldn’t be!) I suspect a number of users would feel similarly wary of privacy protections.

On April 30, 2017, KylaW commented on Augmented Reality Is Here To Save Your Job! :

Really fascinating post! I definitely learned from this so thanks for writing.

1. Makes me think of your last Data Robot post. You had positioned the product as a pure replacement for the data scientist while the company’s marketing video has positioned the product as an augmentation tool to empower the data scientist. I’ve been thinking a lot since then about how many jobs can truly be automated (vs. those that will require some sort of human discretion). Obviously no one knows exactly what that ratio will look like, but I do wonder if we will see a world in which humans are working in close tandem with robots as opposed to being totally replaced by robots. In that type of world, I can see this company thriving.

2. I love the notion that the real value here could be in the data. The VR/AR note doesn’t talk a ton about the value creation through data collection, but I wrote my post on VR in education, and I imagine a ton of super valuable teaching & learning data could be captured via VR platforms (making the value creation story about more than just the headset and content).

On April 30, 2017, KylaW commented on TheWaveVR: Reimagining Live Music :

This is a super interesting application of VR. I’m a huge musichead, and I always wish i could watch live music more frequently. As such, this is definitely something I would take advantage of.

That said, I do agree with Alexander’s comment above. What I love most about live music is the palpable feeling of excitement around you when the first beat hits, the feeling of being jostled in the crowd, and the ability see the exhilarated looks on your friends faces. While I definitely see value in what’s currently being offered, I think there would need to be a very high level of technological sophistication for VR to completely replace a real-life concert going experience (and I’m not sure the technology is there yet).

Hey – thanks so much for your comment. I really really appreciate a former teacher’s opinion, and I think the points you raise are incredibly valid. A couple thoughts for what they’re worth…

•I think skepticism around edtech often stems from past tools that have been poorly implemented. I worked with school districts prior to school, and I often felt that school leaders didn’t have a clear theory of change around the use of new technology. They wanted smart boards because it was the “next hot thing” but didn’t have a clear rationale for how the smart boards would improve student learning.

•Secondly, many edtech tools in the past have been used to augment and reinforce the what I believe is a very traditional, potentially outdated way of teaching (e.g. the smart board reinforces a model in which you, the teacher, stands in front of the class and conveys all the same content to children at a singular pace). But I believe that children need to be able to consume content at their own pace, should have access to content that is tailored to their interests, and need to learn to work in groups to create and build things. I truly believe that classrooms going forward are going to look really different than the classrooms we grew up in and/or taught in (Summit Learning and AltSchool are already experimenting with incredibly innovative models). Technology, if used well, can enable a fundamental classroom reimagining (rather than being a bandaid on a broken model).

•Lastly, I’m not sure I subscribe to the notion that under-resourced schools have “fundamental issues” that need to be solved before they can introduce technology. Technology can and should be a solution to those fundamental issues, rather that a treat that comes once those issues are taken care of. All children deserve a “whole child” education experience, and it’s often the most disengaged students that stand to benefit the most from innovations in the classroom environment.

Thank you again for your thoughts!

On April 9, 2017, KylaW commented on VIBE – Analyzing Morale in the Modern Age :

Thanks, Andrew. Really interesting. And dovetails nicely with our Platform module — this definitely adds value/stickiness to Slack’s platform.

My initial reaction to the idea was an exasperated “why can’t managers just do a better job of talking and developing relationships with their team members????” The idea of a manager sitting behind his or her computer looking at numbers rather than just walking out of their office and being with the people seemed a little ridiculous to me. But I’ve come around and agree entirely that 1) it can be a directional tool, not a complete replacement for in-person judgement; 2) it can be great to understand macro sentiment if you’re at a large company. As a nexecutive of large company, you would obviously hope that you hire the right middle managers that will understand moral, but that’s obviously not always the case; and lastly 3) I think we are increasingly moving to a remote workplace model. More and more companies and teams will stretch across multiple locations. This can be a really great tool in these instances where you really can’t just walk out of your office and talk to teammates.

Thanks for the thoughts, Sonali!

While some of the outrage directed at InBloom was, in my opinion, unwarranted and paranoid, there are definitely things InBloom could have and should have done differently to address concerns. This was definitely still a failure on the part of InBloom. In terms of your point above, there should have been a lot more education to parents about the use cases of the data. That type of messaging was directed at the schools who were deciding whether or not to use InBloom, but InBloom should have recognized that parents also have a voice in the decision process. If parents understood exactly how the data would be used in the classroom and how it would improve learning for their child, they may have been more open to it. Other tactics mentioned above include developing unambiguous and accessible privacy policies, galvanizing a number of different edtech companies to adopt sector wide data standards, and treating districts as partners in the communication process (e.g. working with districts to make sure parents’ concerns are addressed).

On April 7, 2017, KylaW commented on Crisis Text Line: Saving Lives Through Data :

Thanks so much for writing about this, Lauren! Since your discussion in class, I’ve been thinking a lot about the comment above regarding regulatory hurdles and data privacy concerns related to this model. I wrote my post about a data company in the education space that failed because there were such strong pro-privacy political winds working against it. My hypothesis is that parents and legislators feel particularly strong about student data, because students are considered a vulnerable population that need to be protected. I imagine you could say the same for users of the Crisis Text Line. Do you know if they’ve faced strong political/legislative obstacles, and if so, how they’ve been able to assuage those concerns? (There may be learnings for the education space!)

On April 7, 2017, KylaW commented on One Robot to Rule Them All :

Thanks, Bansi! I’m super interested in how technology is going to transform jobs requirements and workforce retraining in the future. Daniel Franklin of the Economist spoke on campus yesterday about his new book, MegaTech, which outlines what he thinks technology will look like in 2050. Someone asked him about the impact of technology on jobs, and he believes the people who will succeed in the coming economy are those that have strong empathy and emotional intelligence (skills that are harder for computers to replicate). Thought it was an interesting, related idea.

My actual question 🙂 is related to what Rahul asked in class today. Is this a replacement or complementer? You seem pretty confident (based on your data background) that it’s the former, however the marketing video you shared does frame DataRobot as a tool that supplements and empowers the data scientist. Do you think this is simply a tactic to avoid threatening the professional identity of key stakeholders (e.g. data scientists may be decision makers’ in company’s purchasing process) or do you think the company really believes this product is better in combination with human judgement?

On April 6, 2017, KylaW commented on Next Big Sound – moneyball for music? :

Love Next Big Sound! Great post. I have two questions/musings…

1) It’s interesting to me that they’re entering into the book publishing industry. I’d heard of Next Big Sound when they were first getting started, and I was under the impression that the founders were music geeks. This would lead me to believe the company’s core competencies are around music sector expertise / networks as opposed to data analytics capabilities. Do you have a sense for what their core strengths are as a company and whether you think those strengths will transfer to the world of books?

2) I believe they got acquired by Pandora in 2015? Did your research reveal any intel on how Pandora planned to integrate products / share data across the two products?

On March 21, 2017, KylaW commented on Quora – Crowdsourcing human knowledge :

Love the Quora example. Particularly because, as others have noted, it’s a fascinating incentive structure — people do tend to use Quora to build street cred and a positive reputation in a professional capacity. I think it’s a fact of life — humans like to show other humans how much they know.

My concern about Quora stems from something that Megan Wu mentioned in her Wikipedia post … Wikipedia has discovered that many of their contributors are male. I would not be surprised if the demographic of Quora commenters also skews white / male / silicon valley. It makes me wonder the following two questions: 1) Is the Quora content fundamentally flawed in that it’s heavily biased towards a certain demographics’ viewpoint? and 2) What can Quora do to better encourage diversity of thought and perspectives on the platform?

On March 21, 2017, KylaW commented on Wikipedia :

Great topic! Wikipedia, as an example of crowdsourcing, makes me wonder about the validity of crowdsourced data. Wikipedia undoubtedly adds value in use cases in which you quickly need moderately accurate information, but I’m sure professors would frown upon a student submitting an academic paper with Wikipedia citations. The current level of accuracy obviously works for Wikipedia, but I do wonder whether crowdsourced information is appropriate for other applications in which verification and accuracy of data is of the utmost importance (ex: data that’s helping to navigate self driving cars)..

On March 21, 2017, KylaW commented on Glossier: “What’s Your Dream Face Wash?” :

Hadn’t heard about Glossier until a couple weeks ago, and now I’m seeing the name pop up everywhere! Thanks for helping me better understand the allure.

My question pertains to the definition of “crowdsourcing.” I thought about this quite a bit during our Nivea case as well — what do you think is the distinction between intense customer focus/engagement/surveying and crowdsourcing? For example, companies like Amazon are known for being obsessed with customers, surveying customers, and really taking customers’ voice into considering, yet no one has described their efforts as “crowdsourcing.” Would be curious to get your thoughts on this in the context of Glossier.

As an avid food orderer (and common multihomer to Lulu’s point above) I found this post fascinating! Thanks for writing. I’m also really curious, given your assertion that network effects are strong and multihoming effects are weak, whether you see this as a “winner take all market.”

My take is …. while I agree that network effects are high, they also seem to me to be intensely local. I could see multiple players doing well by focusing in on and capturing different regional markets (sort of similar to what we’re seeing with ride sharing right now).

On March 4, 2017, KylaW commented on Making Higher Education Accessible – Coursera :

Enjoyed the post! I actually wrote about Coursera as well and am eager to see where they go. Would be curious, like Noorin, to hear your thoughts on network effects and multihoming effects in this business. During my research for the post, I had a hard time parsing out much this business actually benefits from strong NE. You could argue that as long as each MOOC has the core set of courses that most people look for, amassing new content might not actually benefit users that much more. And no MOOC has really yet differentiated itself in terms of offering more content. I also struggled with high user multihoming would be in this world. Now that MOOCs are experimenting with pricing models, perhaps multihoming will decrease, but as of now I hear about many people jumping from one MOOC to another fairly easily. I’m curious to hear which quadrant in the “network effects / multihoming effects” matrix you’d put Coursera.

Really loved this post. Thanks for sharing in class!

Your mention of education efforts in class triggered an additional thought on my part …. I thought the “future of farming” video was fascinating, but the main farmer character didn’t really resonate with me in terms of being representative of John Deere’s core customer. I’m from a small farming town in MN, and the farmers in my town (granted they’re not running large, commercial sized farms) tend to be traditional, not tech savvy, and love rolling up their sleeves and being outdoors. I did wonder if perhaps the shift to platform is actually ahead of the market, and I was not surprised to hear you say in class that adoption has been low. Will be interested to 1) see if JD’s “farmer education efforts” can help them cross the chasm into mainstream farmers; and 2) how quickly that will happen.

On March 4, 2017, KylaW commented on Craigslist: a platform eroded by platforms :

Thanks for the great post, Sonali. I’ve often been baffled by how long its taken competitors to come in and threaten Craigslist’s dominance, because the UX is SO horrible. I know, I for one, would be willing to pay a small transaction fee to upgrade the UX. My question, however, is about multihoming in this context. This seems like a situation in which multihoming effects would be high. If I’m trying to sell my living room couch, I’m probably going to post on Craiglist and whatever other platform options are available (assuming the posting process isn’t insanely arduous). It seems to me that this these high multihoming effects should have encouraged new entrants to enter sooner. I’m curious, if you have an opinion, on how multihoming works in this context and why the effects weren’t high enough to offset the local NE and low price point?

On February 8, 2017, KylaW commented on OfferUp: The used goods marketplace of the future :

Super interesting Bipul. I’ve always wondered how Craiglist has been able to maintain its dominance given its poor user experience. Obviously there are network effects, but Craigslist is SO BAD and switching costs are low for users that the network effects don’t seem insurmountable. I think this could be a great example of amazing UX winning out. A couple thoughts / questions.

1. In contrast to the comments above, I believe that Offer Up and Craiglist offer a pretty different value proposition from ebay. I think of eBay as a market place for fairly new / recently lilquidated items, and I think of it as fairly globalized. it’s not a platform I would use to sell my old couch to other people in Cambridge, for instance. In that sense, I don’t think of Ebay as a competitor. I’d be more worried about the FB threat as you allude to above.

2. I’d be curious how the class conversation today about indirect vs. direct network effects impacts your thinking on Offer Up. Right now it seems like as they continue to amass users on both sides of the platform, they develop indirect network effects. But as Professor Lakhani mentioned, platforms really want to think about how they move from indirect to direct effects. Any thoughts on how Offer Up could do that, and create more stickiness on one (or both) sides of the platform?

Thanks again for sharing.

On February 7, 2017, KylaW commented on Penguin Random House :

Thanks for posting! I think the publishing industry is following a similar narrative to the music industry so its been interesting to watch them both adapt to the digital revolution. To continue the comparison, I think the record industry also went through an interim “not yet a loser” phase at which point it was still a stamp of approval or a gatekeeper for “good music.” People trusted the record label’s brand so consumers were more likely to purchase music that had a record label’s stamp of approval. However, with various other channels (youtube) and a proliferation of music blogs, consumers know have some more codified channels through which to discover self recorded music from new artists. The record label’s relevance is, I believe, continuing to wane. I wonder if the same will happen to book discovery, decreasing the Penguin CVP and putting them squarely in the loser camp?

On February 7, 2017, KylaW commented on Sephora: Staying Relevant in Brick and Mortar :

Ravneet! Thanks for sharing more about Sephora in class. Really interesting to see how Sephora is bridging the divide between brick and mortar and the digital world. As a Sephora customer myself I can see the value created by the digital initiatives you’ve outlined. However, I’m still somewhat concerned by their ability to capture that value. I’m not sure there’s much keeping a customer from partaking in the in-store innovations to discover products, and then purchasing those same products on Amazon at a lower price point. I definitely understand your point that Sephora has developed great customer loyalty, and I also believe there is an immediate gratification from buying the product in-store, but I imagine there will always be a subset of price sensitive customers that will go to a player like Amazon that can offer the lowest price just by virtue of their scale. Thanks again for sharing – looking forward to testing some of these things out.

On February 2, 2017, KylaW commented on The New York Times – A Casualty of the Digital Revolution? :

@DK-22 and @James S

Thanks for reading! Definitely agree that the verdict is still out (hence the “Loser en route to victory” thesis) but I also don’t think that despite valuable assets, value capture is as forthcoming as some may posit. First of all, the idea that a national story isn’t news until NYT features it, in my opinion, doesn’t reflect reality and is perhaps just a function of living in a tight knit echo chamber; and 2) NYT has a lot of smart people attempting to monetize and has yet to find real, viable revenue streams. I really hope, like you guys suggest, that they’ll get creative and will overcome this very serious hiccup, but I certainly don’t think we can call them a winner quite yet.
Thank you again for thoughts. Really appreciate the perspective.

On February 2, 2017, KylaW commented on The New York Times – A Casualty of the Digital Revolution? :

@DK-22 and @James S

Thanks for reading! Definitely agree that the verdict is still out (hence the “Loser en route to victory” thesis) but I also don’t think that despite valuable assets, value capture is as forthcoming as some may posit. First of all, the idea that a national story isn’t news until NYT features it, in my opinion, doesn’t reflect reality and is perhaps just a function of living in a tight knit echo chamber; and 2) NYT has a lot of smart people attempting to monetize and has yet to find real, viable revenue streams. I really hope, like you guys suggest, that they’ll get creative and will overcome this very serious hiccup, but I certainly don’t think we can call them a winner quite yet.
Thank you again for thoughts. Really appreciate the perspective.