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On May 5, 2017, Rahul commented on Vuze Camera – Create your own VR content :

Thanks for your comment Lulu. Its in FBs best interest to promote VR adoption and content ever since it acquired Oculus Rift in 2014 and I recently came across this article https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/08/facebook-debuts-its-first-dedicated-virtual-reality-app-facebook-360/ that highlights a FB app dedicated for 360 degree pictures and video. Going forward, for Instagram, my guess is that it may adopt 360 degree photos before the video

On May 3, 2017, Rahul commented on Wevr – the Netflix of Virtual Reality :

Great post Megan! For content creation, on the hardware side there is also a need for affordable VR cameras (current offerings are in the thousands of dollars). In comparing Wevr and Netflix, I think a lot of users got onto the Netflix platform since they found it easier (compared to other video sharing companies) to access movies and documentaries they already wanted – however for Wevr it seems this will not be the case as the company first needs to figure out how to build a user base and only then focus on creating its own content. Are there any other ways Wevr is considering to entice users onto the platform?

On May 3, 2017, Rahul commented on Playstation VR :

Andrew, nice read on the Playstation VR. For PS, I feel there could be a lot of value in creating AR headset/ games in addition to VR – is there any consideration for this within the company? Mixed reality could also address some of the social problems you mentioned associated with VR.
Also you noted that the hardware of the PS VR is not as sophisticated as others due to a single camera – what favorable differentiating attributes on the content (games) or platform side does PS have to stand out from competitors then?

On May 3, 2017, Rahul commented on Jaunt :

Cool post on Jaunt! A few questions – what is the price that Jaunt is charging for the camera and the suite of software applications? And is it comparable to others in the market and reasonable to attract a sizable community of content creators? I agree with your recommendation of going from product to platform but I think if the hardware and software technology of Jaunt is superior to others in the market, they could continue to focus on creating content first to really create a brand for themselves and then proceed to build the platform.
To your point on concentrating on gaming now, do you think that is too hard of a pivot considering the company was founded to create high quality cinematic experiences? It will be exciting to see where this company goes but its great that they offer a full range of VR services

On April 8, 2017, Rahul commented on One Robot to Rule Them All :

Really enjoyed your post Bansi – I’m wondering how Datarobots will be able to make better decisions when it comes to companies/organizations that need to evoke the emotional side of humans. My sister is running a pet accessories store and a lot of the products sold are not rational purchases (scarves/bow ties/clothes etc for dogs) and hence I feel there is a need for a human who can interpret data given the context on a case by case basis. It will be interesting to see how this field evolves and when, if ever, data robots can actually replace the scientists.

On April 8, 2017, Rahul commented on Stitchfix: The Data-Driven Stylist :

Interesting post Meghana – I would imagine that trust in the system to curate the right clothes is crucial for users to sign up for the first time since the $20 fee to send the goods back seems quite high. Is there anything in particular they do well to gain the confidence of customers to sign up? Also I feel that at stores customers can sometimes get confused with the range of styles / fits and hence are better convinced via a data driven selection process – in some ways a placebo.

On April 8, 2017, Rahul commented on VIBE – Analyzing Morale in the Modern Age :

Cool post Andrew. I’m wondering how VIBE is able to determine whether the data being interpreted is accurate. Do you think they need to take pulse checks / feedback on morale from employees directly to compare with the interpreted data? I also feel if top managers start relying too much on these tools, they may reduce interaction with lower level employees which may negatively impact sentiment and morale since it creates more of a power divide in the organization.

On March 25, 2017, Rahul commented on Gym Rat: Crowdsourcing Personal Trainers :

Interesting thoughts Ravneet – I agree with the points you made above regarding risks. To add to that I feel there are a lot of gyms now that offer group classes for various routines which can be a great starting point for new comers since they are much cheaper (sometimes including in the membership) than personal trainers and are also more inclusive which can be a motivating factor. Other than that do you think individual gyms could also set up their own portals to connect their users who can coordinate with one another to form work out buddies based on time and level?

On March 25, 2017, Rahul commented on Transforming Governments via Citizensourcing :

Nice post Chun. To your points on participation, I suppose the platform could also prompt voters to justify their votes either in a subjective and/or objective manner to better understand why voters are choosing a specific project. Also is there a way for the governments to incentivize participation of crowds for projects that are not in their neighborhoods / districts?

Interesting thoughts Brandon. Surely regulations will play a dominating role when it comes to making changes in airplanes but I agree with your point about selling tickets in 4 person or larger groups – in fact Qatar airways recently launched their Qsuite business class (http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/03/08/new-qatar-airways-new-business-class/) which is doing just that. Also with competition from low cost airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet and Norwegian air (transatlantic options too) there seems to be a greater need to provide differentiated options

On March 23, 2017, Rahul commented on Codeacademy: Crowdsourcing Code Tutorials :

Thanks for your comment Brandon – Codeacademy creates value for the third party content creators by providing them with exposure on its platform and giving them recognition. Though the genuine intent of these authors is to provide valuable lessons for the users your point regarding poaching users to their own platforms is well taken and is a possibility. I do think though given the 25 m user base there are strong network effects in that there is a strong community that is engaged and even organizes face to face meet ups.
Regarding the price for a class – The only way to monetize for now is Codeacademy Pro ($20 / month) that has better more structured content and advisors to help you along the way but they will likely come up with additional ways to further monetize in the future

On March 23, 2017, Rahul commented on Codeacademy: Crowdsourcing Code Tutorials :

Thanks for the post Ellen – I agree it can be difficult to screen a lot of the content but there are also incentives put in to develop great content (you get exposure on the website) and the genuine intent of third party authors is to provide valuable lessons for the users. In general it seems that usage for third party content is lower than that for Codeacademys content but its also difficult for Codeacademy to create all the content itself. Another challenge is that since a lot of the users of the platform are absolute beginners, many times Codeacademy doesn’t know what the learner should learn and the learner doesn’t know either. I think they may need to provide stronger incentives over time for to ensure better outside content

On March 23, 2017, Rahul commented on Codeacademy: Crowdsourcing Code Tutorials :

Thanks for your comment Alice. It’s difficult to say if their content is always better than the crowdsourced lessons but I would also think its better in most cases. Having said that though I don’t think they will monetize off their own content with the mainstream users since the site was founded with the intent of democratizing code and will continue to be free. They recently launched Codeacademy Pro ($20 / month) that has better more structured content and that seems to be doing great for now

Thanks for the post Lidya – I use Fitbit as well since I prefer the style and functionality to some of the others in the market. Do you think aligning themselves as a health care brand vs a fitness brand may negatively impact the amount current customers share online (which seems to be their main attractive factor)? I imagine people to be more competitive and willing to share on social when they know they are comparing “fitness” parameters vs “health” (as a perception)? Also as you pointed out there is a lot of competition coming up in this space so they may need to spend a substantial amount of marketing dollars to gain customers if they are unable to create a platform that has really strong network effects.

On March 2, 2017, Rahul commented on Li & Fung – The Downfall of a Platform :

Nice post Jack. It seems that this was more of an execution issue than a strategy one on the supplier side since as you mentioned L&F was providing substantial value add to the factories. I imagine the level of inefficiencies in factories of Bangladesh and Vietnam was much more than they anticipated and hence were unable to improve the operations – the uncertain and unknown economic environments added to the complexity.
In the long run however I do think the platform has enough merits – for both sides to stay on – due to the vertical integration on client side services, sheer size of the supply chain, supplier network and years of experience

On March 2, 2017, Rahul commented on Upwork: Connecting Freelancers to Gigs On-Demand :

Great post Alice! I feel given the number of two sided platforms connecting employers to free lancers now, royalties may naturally come down from the 10-20% range. Also with additional users on either side, the underlying technology has to better match needs with skills to make the platform more efficient. In terms of scale, I wonder how Upwork can make its platform sticky to avoid multihoming by both parties since the value add currently is limited

On February 3, 2017, Rahul commented on Rarejob: Disruption in English learning segment :

Nice post Tomo. As you mentioned this seems easy to replicate and hence may face threats from competitors in the short run. Is the brand equity the main differentiation feature from its competitors currently? If they need to source teachers from other countries, will they still be able to maintain a price point of $5 / hour for the lessons?

On February 3, 2017, Rahul commented on Nay on Waymo: A Prediction for the Self-Driving Car Race :

Great post Alice. I agree on the point you raised about Waymo starting off by targetting safer rides for families since, to Felix’s point, there are still a lot of concerns regarding safety when it comes fully autonomous cars especially in urban settings which are a lot more unpredictable. They may consider starting with just cargo transport over high ways as a possibility. Having said that, I do feel confident Google has the capability to provide software which they can integrate with external hardware (sensors and cameras) and provide this offering either directly to auto manufacturers or to ride sharing services such as Uber.
In general I think fully autonomous driving cars will arrive on the roads later than generally predicted however since there are significant risks regarding software reliability, security (hacking) and also ethical issues such as whether the car while crashing should hit a person or another car with multiple passengers in case it has just these two options.

On February 3, 2017, Rahul commented on BlaBlaCar – Disrupting road travel by Trusted carpooling :

Nice post Mohit. To add to Siddharths point regarding safety, I think it maybe fine in more developed countries but as I understand the company is trying to expand in emerging markets such as India and Brazil where safety is a much bigger concern. Given that fake Facebook accounts and email addresses can be obtained, does Bla bla car need to have a more exhaustive process to verify drivers before they sign on in these countries? I also feel since the rides via Bla bla are significantly longer than in Uber, just relying on the ratings of the driver may not be enough to give customers, especially women, confidence to ride with strangers.
Also what is their policy regarding insurance in case an accident happens on the ride? I would imagine this is left for the driver and rider to figure out between themselves?