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On May 5, 2018, m_watson commented on Johnson & Johnson: Embracing Digital Transformation :

Ting, great post! Super interesting how J&J approaches digital innovation in medical devices. Two quick thoughts. First, I was thinking about the partnership with Google and how they structure the data sharing. It would be critical that J&J still owns the key consumer and product data to inform their future products.

Secondly, I wonder how J&J, because they have a strong consumer brand, should be thinking about digitization across their whole portfolio of products. Could they actually aggregate health and medical data and serve the whole health of a consumer? I’m sure there are data challenges with that, but interesting to think about how this data can be shared across their products.

On May 5, 2018, m_watson commented on Florida Power and Light: Disrupted by Data :

Hi Molly! Great post. Piggy-backing on the post above, I wonder how FP&L, before going straight into an acquisition can try to experiment and partner with a lot smart-energy and smart-grid startups to understand what is the right business model and value proposition for FP&L. But, I bet the organization is not very friendly to this small stage experimentation, so it would take the digital group or leadership to ensure that they build and learn from these partnerships.

On May 5, 2018, m_watson commented on Pernod Ricard: digitalizing the world of premium drinks :

Iryna, great post! Interesting to think about how an alcohol company should think about digitization. One quick thought – How does Pernod Ricard think about how digitization impacts their distribution channel? With new companies popping up like Drizly to deliver alcohol or cocktail boxes that have alcohol included. As much as these start-ups probably seem small in the scale of the company, it is probably really important that they experiment in working with this new D2C type platforms to ensure that they aren’t left behind.

On April 9, 2018, m_watson commented on Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) :

Great post! I think the data collection and sharing of data here is so interesting. I wonder how many partners have actively added to the shared data bank or if companies primarily want to hold onto any data they have in order to monetize it for their own good. For example, Sidewalk Labs – Google’s arm focused on developing solutions for cities and urban development has created “smart city kiosks” that provide wifi and collect data on both internet usage, as well as measuring congestion, gas leaks, air quality. (https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/01/sidewalk-labs-smart-city-kiosks-go-way-beyond-free-wifi/) I wonder if Google would really want to open that data to anyone to build on top of – or if they want to own it themselves so they can monetize and personalize their services based on that.

On April 9, 2018, m_watson commented on Nielsen: What people watch, what people buy :

Great post! An interesting challenge I think Nielsen faces in the age of digital marketing and particularly many different digital video platforms is the fact that they are no longer the only source of that data – now Facebook, YouTube, Hulu can actively track video views for every advertisement and clicks to websites. So brands now are using Nielsen data but also compiling that data with these other sources of analytics to inform their marketing strategy. Interestingly, they started including Hulu and YouTube TV as part of their data package this summer as a reaction: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2017/hulu-and-youtube-tv-now-included-in-tv-ratings-announces-nielsen.html

On April 9, 2018, m_watson commented on Allstate Drivewise: Keeping our Roads Safer :

Great post! I find this such an interesting use of analytics and insurance. This has also spread to health insurance – I know Oscar and other health insurance companies have their patients wearing FitBits to track that data. I totally agree with you that the predictive nature of these products is hard – in aggregate, you may be able to see if someone is more likely to have a health condition or for car insurance, get into an accident, but there also may be other external factors that these analytics aren’t taking into consideration. And do you get penalized just for being likely to have an accident or a health condition even if it doesn’t happen?

On April 9, 2018, m_watson commented on AltSchool: Learning about Learning :

Hi! Great post. I think the potential for just having more transparency on analytics and student performance in the classroom can massively inform instruction and increase student ownership. I also wonder if through all of this data collection AltSchool might be able to identify different types of student learners. Today, we think about visual learners versus physical learners or auditory learners, but it would be so interesting to see if you could apply an unsupervised machine learning algorithm here to see if you could cluster students in any other way based on how they learn and if that might provide some important insights to teachers.

Ting, I had the same thought. Given that it sounds like the documents that refugees are translating might be relevant to the much larger community, I wonder how they can leverage that single translation to share with the broader community. Or maybe this could even turn into a monetization strategy where governments (or other organizations) pay for documents to be translated such that they are relevant to the refugee population and then they can get the data on the usage of that document etc. Since they are building their own app, I wonder what forms and such can be brought directly into the app – maybe with a crowdsourced translator as someone to help explain the form and its use? There seems to be a lot of opportunity here to help the refugee population.

On March 26, 2018, m_watson commented on IKEA: crowdsourcing ideas to co-create a better everyday life :

Ting, this is super interesting! I was wondering for “Product Ideas” – how big the number of furniture designers / creators there are in the world. This obviously requires a high level of expertise to engineer furniture in addition to the design creativity. I wonder if similar to Tongal, they could almost un-bundle the design / creative element and then the engineering / construction portion. Then maybe you would get more engagement from the broader creative community, such as interior designers.

Lama, this is super interesting! I was in the ed-tech world before business school and definitely agree there is opportunity to better tap into the crowd for tutoring. Khan Academy, in some ways is addressing this problem – as students can easily look up the concept that they are struggling on, watch a video to help them answer the question and post in the comments if they have more questions. People can upvote answers, but may not get responses in real-time. Another company, Zeal, shifted into this space delivering on demand tutoring via video, but in-order to control the quality of the teaching, hired tutors to work virtually instead of crowdsourcing the answers.

Tied to that, one of the concerns I had was with ensuring high quality of tutoring: other 6th grade students might not know the right answers, or explain the concept in the same way that the teacher did – creating even more confusion. Some ways to solve that might to have HS / college students answer these questions instead of grade-level peers. They could even potentially get paid through the network and they could get rated based on their knowledge of different topic areas. You would have to gain scale quickly on the tutor side to make this work. Alternatively you could create mini-networks within schools where teachers could tap individuals as experts and a platform could then allow other students to reach out to them for support. This could also help teachers in real-time when many people in a classroom need help.

On March 5, 2018, m_watson commented on Twitch: the ESPN of Esports :

Thanks for the post! I don’t know much about this industry and find this fascinating.

I’m curious if with their revenue sharing, and clearly high investments into developing a higher quality product if Twitch has been able to be profitable with this current model. It seems as though they need to keep investing in the quality of the platform to maintain marketshare, need to keep the platform free to users to compete with YouTube and share profits with their broadcasters to keep them on the site as well.

But, with Amazon as a parent company, it may not be important for them to be profitable. Maybe this will get bundled with Prime, or power other live video experiences across the Amazon platform that will drive more value for Amazon overall than being profitable on the platform itself.

On March 5, 2018, m_watson commented on Can OpenTable survive, or is it losing popularity? :

Thanks for the post! Always interesting to think about a platform that I interact with often as a consumer.

I think there may be an opportunity for OpenTable to defend their position in restaurants by making their ERM software stickier. Right now, its just the front of house software, so it can be easily replaced and not massively disrupt the operations of the restaurant. But if OpenTable can build out additional software systems to support the kitchen – such as ordering software, or help the kitchens time the execution of dishes, that may deepen their relationships with restaurants and increase stickiness of their product.

On March 5, 2018, m_watson commented on 2U: The Education Platform That Got It Right :

Thanks for the post! I think this is a great example of a platform company in the education space that is often not discussed – instead people look to Coursera, which has struggled to define a really strong business model. One interesting challenge that the online course education space has faced is that there seems to be strong multi-homing on the university side. When MOOCs launched, many universities were hesitant to fully commit to platforms and therefore have content across many of these different sites. For example, Harvard is both on EdX and on 2U, Stanford and Penn are on Coursera as well as EdX. So I’m curious how that is impacting 2U’s strategy to have the best partnerships and content to bring students to their site.

On February 1, 2018, m_watson commented on Making Lemonade out of Insurance Lemons :

Rachel, great post! I’ve seen ads for Lemonade, but didn’t really understand how it works until now.

Super interesting that Lemonade is coming in and disrupting insurance using a mobile platform almost the same way that Esurance disrupted traditional insurance with the first direct insurance purchasing over the web. Esurance was bought by Allstate back in 2011, and I wonder if that acquisition limited their ability to nimbly respond to the shift to mobile – creating an opportunity for Lemonade to enter. Given that Esurance was acquired and insurance companies need to maintain their volume as a key element of their business – I wonder if Lemonade will have the same fate and be bought by a larger incumbent.

On February 1, 2018, m_watson commented on Fitbit: From Winner to Loser :

Great post! Fitbit’s rise and decline also reminds me of Garmin, the GPS company that began with GPS’s for the car, which got disrupted by Google Maps on mobile devices. They then shifted into wearables with GPS enabled (for runners etc) and have also expanded into other verticals such as marine navigation (with an acquisition Oct 2017) and aviation where GPS is still critically important. From a low in 2016 ($32), Garmin’s stock has been able to rebound ~2x ($62) as they’ve refocused on their core competency (GPS) and looked outside of consumer products. I’m wondering if Fitbit can do the same – their heart rate and health technology may be valuable for hospitals, health insurance companies, and/or healthcare clinics.

On February 1, 2018, m_watson commented on Amazon | To Go Or Not To Go :


Great post! I was thinking a bit more about what their long term strategy with Amazon Go would be. I agree with all the points about rolling it out to Whole Foods. In addition, I do think they could really disrupt the traditional convenience store experience. With both the “GO” technology and their ability to predict what goods people need and are looking for, as they already do at their distribution centers, this could massively transform what a “convenience store” really means. Could they use pop-up stores as a mechanism to support their last mile of delivery? It will be really interesting to see what direction they decide to move in.