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On April 26, 2018, MMidd commented on Wayfair – A Zillion Things Home :

Great post, and especially pertinent since many HBS students go on to work for Wayfair after graduating. It is great that Wayfair is continually improving through digital transformation. However, I wonder if that is disruptive innovation or incremental innovation. It seems to me that it might be the latter. I am curious is Wayfair has the organizational processes and culture to allow them to disrupt themselves. This could include a culture focused on exploration (rather than exploiting their existing processes) as well as allowing nascent business areas that may be slower to grow and “move the needle” to prosper.

On April 26, 2018, MMidd commented on Digital Disney: Transforming the Happiest Place on Earth :

Thanks for the post. When i first figured that with creative acumen and ability to explore and innovate that they would be well equipped to handle digital transformation. This is a great example of how a companies resources, processes and priorities can hamper digital innovation. Outside of the case study you provided about Maker, I would also be curious to explore how Disney can leverage data and AI to better target the content for their major films and tailor it towards what audiences want. This is very much an art, but data science could strengthen the creative content that disney delivers

On April 26, 2018, MMidd commented on BCG: Digitally disrupting … or disrupted? :

Great Post. And given the number of comments, it has obviously piqued the interest of our classmates. I actually think that the digital transformation will actually make the role of strategy consultants more important. Many companies will need to radically reinvent themselves, and in walks BCG. However, i actually wonder whether firms like Accenture and others that specialize more specifically on technology might be well positioned to take market share from the big three. Reading your post made me think back to flashion, and the need to treat data and AI as both an art and a science. perhaps BCG is best positioned to become the artist, leaving the science to others.

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

Interesting Post. I love the idea of tracking student progress with data and increased granularity. I think that this is especially valuable to parents, who might otherwise just have student teach conferences twice a year and see an occasional exam score and report cards. I can understand why it is a challenge to perfect the algorithm, as no parent wants their child to be the guinea pig in a new technology. In addition, i worry about a curriculum being too technology based, as i think there is something very valuable about kids interacting with one another, rather than being totally engrossed with a device. Of course, this could just be integrated as a part of the curriculum to address this concern.

On April 9, 2018, MMidd commented on Predictive Maintenance of Elevators :

Very interesting post. I am not sure how you came across this company, which has such a niche and mundane value proposition that is at the same time has huge opportunities for value capture. Getting stuck in an elevator is among the worst nightmares of any claustrophobic. We take for granted that elevators just work, and it is easy to overlook the hard work that goes into making sure that they do. I love this idea because it is seemingly simple, it is not a “sexy” market with tons of competitions, and the market seems massive. I can’t even begin to guess how many elevators there are in the United States alone.

On April 9, 2018, MMidd commented on Using Machine learning to protect wild animals :

Interesting post Ting. I can see how there is a lot of value in using machine learning data analysis to be able to monitor such remote areas. Currently they are using a huge amount of human labor, which i can imagine is expensive for cash strapped conservation groups. This technology seems like it would be more practical in some geographies than others. For example, it would be easier to capture images in the Serengeti plains than in the densely vegetated areas of South Africa (where it is difficult to see animals and poachers alike), thus limiting the scale of the value creation. I also think that it could be a huge challenge to use artificial intelligence to accurately identify poachers (as opposed to conservation workers, biologists, etc in the bush) and even more challenging to identify them in time for intervention.

This is such a cool idea. One this that shocked me is that there are far more translators using the application than refugees themselves. I love that there are so many people who are excited to volunteer their time for this purpose. But also curious about how to increase the scale of impact that this can have by increasing the number of the refugees using the app. One question is what percentage of refugees have smart phones than enable them to use this service (perhaps most do?) Or perhaps this is where aid workers come into play for the more immediate translation needs, but what about the continued translation needs of refugees if they do not own their own smart phone.

I think it is great that it is possible to connect with a translator within 60 seconds, but I wonder if this is one of the most important metrics. Other key considerations should be the quality of the translation, the time required for each individual translation, etc.

It is wonderful to see technology being leveraged in a way that can really help a massive problem facing society today.

On March 26, 2018, MMidd commented on Wikipedia: The Ultimate Crowdsourced Knowledge Tool :

great post eliza. It is easy to take Wikipedia for granted, but this article was a fun way to step back and really think about all that Wikipedia has accomplished. They were among the first to successfully leverage crowds at a time when the internet was still new and uncertain. Now that Wikipedia is so established I am wondering if they can utilize its strong user base and value proposition to launch any sort of B2B opportunities or other adjacencies to capture additional value and reduce the need for user donations.

On March 25, 2018, MMidd commented on Farmers Business Network | Disrupting One Farm At A Time :

Very Interesting. I was chatting with a VC in the sustainability and he purported that FBN is one of the only start-ups inn the AgTech space that is actually thriving. One question is whether the network effects are confined geographically, since so much of crop yield is determined by localized factors such as weather and soil conditions. 6,000 farmers across the country might not provide enough density for the data to be meaningful. Another question is whether there are any sort of online to offline opportunities to further build trust and community between small farmers. I will curious to track FBN in the coming months.

On March 3, 2018, MMidd commented on Etsy’s battle against Amazon :

I agree that I do not believe that Handmade by Amazon will be able to squash Etsy. I am personally an Etsy store owner, and I think that one of the primary value propositions that Etsy offers is a sense of community among the artists. Artists network and communicate with one another on a regular basis. I do not believe that this is a community that Amazon could recreate, even if they wanted to. I also think that many of the artists would be put off by Amazon’s values

Great post Eliza. Their product almost seems too good to be true to solve the home buying pain points. And maybe it is. Opendoor reminds me a lot of the used car platforms like Beepi, etc. Unfortunately, I believe that many of those companies have gone out of business. I think that their primary challenge was inventory management. I am curious how Opendoor will be able to deal with this, as inventory management in the housing sector seems much more difficult than the car industry. I am curious what insurance they have in place to help them withstand downturns in the real estate market.

GROW is obviously a very powerful platform, and there are strong learning effects as more data is added. I wonder how GROW can enter markets where employers might be less comfortable with the idea of an algorithm and data making their important hiring decisions. GROW should research different business cultures to understand their respective willingness to embrace data driven hiring decision in deciding which markets to enter. GROW could consider offering some sort of consulting services to help companies best utilize their product. I wonder if there could be an opportunity to use a similar product designed for universities to help assess applicants.

Fascinating post. This is a great illustration of how powerful digital technology can be in transforming a less “sexy” industry, with a much larger impact than the more trendy digital technology that gets most of the press. Shipping is such an importunate aspect of the global economy, so having a digital innovation that optimizes the ship building process is incredibly cool. Also, I love that this incumbent took the initiative and didn’t let themselves be disrupted by an outside tech firm.

I am less convinced that Mobike is a winner. I think that the general concept of dock-less bike sharing is a good idea. However, what differentiates MoBike from all of the companies crowding this space. When I was home in Seattle for winter break the city was covered in piles of bikes – oranges, yellow, green, blue – all representing a different company trying to become the leader. Is MoBike doing anything unique to create more customer value than its competitors?

On February 1, 2018, MMidd commented on Starbucks: a tech company or your neighborhood coffee shop? :

I am a native Seattleite and a Starbucks loyalist, so I am biased towards thinking that they are eternal winners, which you are artfully shown in your post. I would be curious to see if Starbucks can leverage their digital capabilities to start to recreate the neighborhood coffee shop community of their roots. They could use their platform to create digital new digital communities around coffee, bringing a new layer into the coffee drinking experience.