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Pokemon GO was definitely a game changer for AR. Even though the game has fallen from grace, as you mentioned, I think they learned a lot and paved the way for broad acceptance of AR as a technology people can actually understand and use on their own – even if it is at a very basic level. I hope that they come back with a more in depth version of the game!

On April 4, 2017, NP commented on Netflix: Reinventing Hollywood with Data :

I imagine Netflix will keep this data close to them for now. However, I do see a world where they would release this data to content producers in a select way. Not provide all data, but selectively the data that is relevant to the show they are working on. Because I agree this data could help producers create better content.

On April 3, 2017, NP commented on Big Data and Retail :

Wow this is really interesting I had no idea Target ever did this. All retailers are trying to predict what consumers will buy. Ad targeting is all about ROI so obviously they want to target you with ads on things they think will make you convert. However, my one concern with something like this is that if we get to a place where we use too many predictive analytics, will consumers miss out on interesting new things that they may want but are never exposed to? Or will new products/categories find it hard to break into the mix since they will likely be under-advertised?

On April 3, 2017, NP commented on FiveThirtyEight and the Big Data Fail: Election 2016 :

I agree Nate Silver took a lot of heat for not getting this right especially since he is seen as a data guru of sorts in journalism. However, his miss made me realize that maybe he shouldn’t be relying on third party sources for data inputs. We’ve all heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”. There are multiple theories and explanations behind why the polls were so off on this election, but if I were Nate, going forward I would want my own data that I collect and vet (especially for something as big as an election). Now I understand this is A LOT of work, but as you said, no one is doing the type of work in journalism that he is doing. Collecting his own data would only make his data inputs stronger. And since he is a vetted source and people respect him, he could sell that data to others as an unaltered raw data set that doesn’t have any biases.

Really interesting post James. The government is a treasure trove for any data enthusiast! I’m surprised to see how well Palantir is actually doing with the government. They are bringing real innovation to government intelligence through big data. My major concern here is with their ability to work with other governments though. Are they restricted to working with the US government? Companies such as Palantir that have large data sets usually learn things that they are then able to transfer to other clients. I imagine if they worked with China, the US government wouldn’t be so happy about it and would probably be nervous about data breaches. I think the government still underestimates how valuable big data is and they might find out how big of a threat it is if it gets into the wrong hands.

On March 20, 2017, NP commented on Quantopian – Crowdsourcing Investment Algorithms :

This is definitely an interesting business. It reminds me of Covestor which allows you to invest alongside other professional investors, such as fund managers, and they take a percent of your profits. A couple things concern me about companies like Quantopian and Covestor. The first is that there is limited downside risk for them and other non-professional investors could really get burned if they aren’t doing their own diligence. In a world of new complicated financial products, the limited regulatory oversight seems concerning for their business model. Someone could lose a lot of money and sue them for not disclosing the risk properly. Second, as investors all pile into a strategy, the returns diminish – as you mentioned. If someone truly had a monumental strategy/algorithm, wouldn’t they keep it for themselves or sell it to someone else who has capital for a big return? Sharing it would get them their 10% profit share, but that seems small compared to what someone else who stands to make more would be willing to pay. It makes me think that the best ideas may not make it onto the platform and that only the mediocre ones do.

On March 20, 2017, NP commented on Sounds of the Crowd :

Great post. I wish I used SoundCloud more than I do but the reason I don’t is because music discovery takes time and effort. I am a believer in having crowds curate music but I feel like SoundCloud still has some work to do on figuring out how to take that data on curation they are getting and turn it into something of value for the passive listener on SoundCloud. If they are trying to capture value, I would think the best way would be to maintain their current ecosystem of artists and active curators but then charge the passive listeners. However, passive listeners need to get value out of the service for them to be willing to pay. I think it would be interesting if SoundCloud released a Spotify Discover Weekly type feature that customized and curated new music for each individual listener. This would increase engagement and make it easier for a passive listener to discover new artists and music on the platform. For active curators, I think it would be imperative to keep their service free since they add so much value to the service overall. If they suddenly went away, the service would be less valuable to not only passive listeners but also the artists.

Fantastic post Andrew. I think about how our government could be improved with technology all the time! It’s true that the system of government we use has barely changed in 250 years. That’s amazing to me given the fact that any other industry would have been disrupted and changed by a new comer multiple times over in that time period. Government is ripe for disruption and I think your idea has merit. Even though people may not be able to vote on every single law being debated, creating a simple app that shows what’s on the floor this week and obtaining proxy votes from constituents would help a congress person decide how they should vote. If anything it’s getting people more involved outside of just elections.

On February 26, 2017, NP commented on Uber: Revolutionizing transport – one ride at a time!! :

Great post Sidharth. I’m very excited to see where Uber will end up 5-10 years from now with the advent of autonomous vehicles. Its interesting to see what was a two-sided marketplace turn into a massive transportation company tackling a variety of logistics issues. Network effects really turned Uber into what it is today and I think they will be even more important as they roll out autonomous vehicles which will initially be an expensive technology bet. Uber Pool made on demand ride-sharing a reality and added massive efficiencies in the market. This requires a large number of people on the platform though and I wonder if fragmentation in the market will prevent one or more of the market competitors (including Uber) from reaching the network scale they need to successfully implement their future ideas.

On February 26, 2017, NP commented on Craigslist: a platform eroded by platforms :

Great post Sonali. Never really thought about Craigslist being slowly eroded like this. However, I believe Craigslist still has staying power due to the fact that its built such strong network effects. The brand recognition alone is so strong and the marketplace is very robust. The fact that it is completely free has allowed it to build a lot of trust in consumers eyes who don’t see it as a platform that’s trying to make money off of them. However, there are services like AirBnb that have probably had huge impacts on certain categories of their business. The question in my mind is if there will be an AirBnb-eque unicorn in each of their major categories to the point where they become irrelevant…

On February 26, 2017, NP commented on DraftKings – Making Fantasy Sports a Daily Activity :

I do agree that DraftKings creates value by allowing people to play fantasy sports much more easily. Traditional fantasy sports requires you to sign up with a pre-existing network while this platform has allowed the use of the internet to create networks online with strangers and lower the barrier to entry for playing. Networks effects are hugely important in this platform since the more players there are the better it gets. I believe this might be a risk though since the top fantasy players may dominate and drive away ones that are not taking it as seriously. Though in the near term I guess their biggest risk is regulation. Will be interesting to see what happens in this market…’s growth over the past couple years has been quite impressive. I agree that they’ve done a great job of not just creating a simple product that puts music over any video, but rather built in tons of social features that makes it so sticky. My only concern with apps like this is that there are so many “hot” apps that were huge and dead in the water now. Advertising is a popular monetization method for social media and it sounds like they will take that approach. However, do you think they will be able to keep the lights on and pay all the licensing fees the music publishers will ask for as they become more popular? I’m worried a path to profitability will be difficult for them.

On February 2, 2017, Nupur commented on Can Adidas win Back North America? :

I agree that Adidas marketing has been on point lately. It almost feels like they’ve decided to abandon Nike’s marketing approach of getting superstar athletes and instead focus on superstar entertainers and influencers. In a world where social media is so important, it wouldn’t surprise me if a Kardashian would add more marketing value for them than a top tier athlete – despite them being a big shoe company! Kanye is a perfect case of an entertainer and social influencer being the perfect marketing tool. Kanye got to design his shoes and Adidas got lots of earned media along with it – the deal seems win-win. Do you think Adidas should still compete head on with Nike or go further down this fashion driven approach they seem to be following?

On February 2, 2017, Nupur commented on HBO: Content Now Or On The Go :

Great post Natalie. Totally agree that HBO has been doing a “winning” job in the media world while so many others are suffering. HBO Go’s success really showed HBO the power of going over the top (OTT) and reaching consumers directly. As a consumer advocate, I love that they decided to offer HBO Now directly to consumers without a cable subscription. This definitely allowed them to reach younger audiences that didn’t want to sign up for cable and hence could not get HBO. However, at the Time Warner corporate level, I am more concerned about this decision since I worry that it might lead to cannibalistic cord cutting eventually. And more cord cutting means less subscriber fees for their other cable networks which are important for them too (CNN, TNT, TBS, etc). A way around this would be for them to go OTT for all their cable channels as well – though I’m not sure if the OTT subscribers’ revenue gain would make up for losses on the cable subscriber fee side. Just like other cable networks, they benefit from bundling and once the bundles are broken its going to be hard to pick up the pieces! Do you think Time Warner should go OTT with all their cable channels?