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On April 30, 2018, RM commented on NBCUniversal: A Path to Going D2C :

Great post. I definitely agree that companies like Disney and Universal should adopt a more direct to consumer strategy and leverage AI and machine learning to develop content that will appeal to audiences across different geographies and reduce the time it takes to develop original content. This may require a giant overhaul of the current business and operating model and will most likely cause a lot of resistance from talent these creative companies may not be able to afford to lose which in my opinion will be the biggest pain-point of digitally transforming (not to mention the heavy spending on infrastructure).

I loved the title of this post and found the content to be extremely interesting. I agree that talent development is the main constraint. In an age of information abundance and as more and more companies are truly integrating digital technologies into their operations in order to improve production and reduce costs and make more effective decisions, I can’t help but also wonder how relevant consulting firms will be in the near future. I truly believe that data scientists and talented strategic visionaries will be to businesses what consultants are to them today.

Great post, I really enjoyed learning more about Disney’s technological and digital transformation journey. While I find it important, I believe owning the character development and relationship between customers has been Disney’s advantage and has protected it for many years. I am curious to hear more about which channels Disney could leverage to integrate AI and machine learning to develop content that appeals to a wider audience across different markets similar to what Netflix has been doing.

On April 9, 2018, RM commented on Netflix: Your Data, Your Show, Your Experience :

I really enjoyed this article. I wonder if too much data my steer Netflix the wrong way as it looks to grow its business and expand into different markets. I absolutely love what they are doing, especially in terms of their geographic diversification strategy, and think there are clear values that are captured by both the company and the subscribers. I have however witnessed a decline in customer engagement and interface improvements. More data provides the company with more opportunity, but as it grows perhaps Netflix should consider separating its production units. I also believe there is a myriad of different factors that contribute to the success of a movie, so I wonder how useful the data is with time as the creative/human aspect of production decreases and ideas narrow in to similar categories.

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

This post was great, I really enjoyed reading it. I have always been fascinated by the “cities of the future” concept but always wondered how the transition would take place. This article addressed those issues clearly. As I get ready to move back and work in the merging market, I often wonder if new infrastructure developments by governments in those economies e.g. Dubai, with focus bigger focus on sustainable, clean, connected cities would allow countries to leap-frog through and mitigate the pain points mentioned.

On April 9, 2018, RM commented on Spotify may know you better than you realize :

Great post! I have become a heavier Spotify user with time, but have yet to turn into a paid subscriber. Many people I know including myself still pay for Apple Music, despite knowing that Spotify’s music variety far exceeds that of Apple Music’s. I believe Spotify has a huge opportunity for growth and can’t help but wonder what their strategy will be moving forward. Perhaps it should focus on communicating its differentiating factors more effectively to the customers, such as the mentioned “leader for music recommendations”, variety and interface.

I like this idea and truly believe there is a huge untapped ed-tech market with clear value to be captured. However, I was left wondering how quality was ensured through this platform i.e. is it a self-regulating platform or is there a moderator that ensures correctness of answers? while self-regulation is easier to manage it poses a lot of quality and credibility risk for the company, which could fundamentally make or break it. Additionally, it would be interesting to explore ways by which the company could increase the stickiness of their solvers since they are the major driver of users.

On March 26, 2018, RM commented on Google Voice Search :

I really enjoyed this article and love the motivation behind Google’s vision “access and technology for everyone”. I believe the ecosystem that Google has been trying hard to build is finally shaping up. With the input received from Google’s Voice Search, Translator App and hardware (Google Assist), the company can become the leader in machine learning and engagement accuracy. I believe by increasing interactiveness with direct Google products (assist) and indirect products sold through its companies like Nest, the company will be able to promote and manage the ecosystem more efficiently. The key challenge I see in the short-term will be how quickly Google will be able to outcompete Amazon with its products (alexa vs google assist) as there is a fundamental first-mover advantage that is to be gained from entering the smart-home market in terms of promoting related products that are connected through the ecosystem.

On March 26, 2018, RM commented on Quantopian – Crowdsourcing the Alpha! :

While I like the Quantopian model and find their ability to bridge the gap between trader talents and investors’ capital quite important, there are key fundamental questions that come to mind. First, Quantopian should be able to capture value from the developers early in the process (during the initial years) of proven algorithm development through exclusivity agreements for a specific period of time e.g. 2-3 years. This value capture can be justified depending on how easy disintermediation is and based on the true value provided by the company in terms of how easy/difficult it is for traders to purchase their own software/hardware to develop and test these algorithms. Secondly, I believe the company needs to ask itself an important question as it considers scaling the business: are they alpha buyers or a platform for talent discovery? Clarity on this fundamental question will have obvious implications on its business model and the way it retains and attracts traders moving forward.

On March 5, 2018, RM commented on Tile: Dude, where are my keys? :

I really enjoyed reading this blog post. This has been an ongoing issue of mine and I never realized there was a company with the technology to help address this issue. I wonder if they have invested enough in advertising the product to extract more value and agree with your statement that in an easy to enter the market like this one with very little technological hurdles the key path to success will be through partnerships.

On March 5, 2018, RM commented on ZocDoc: Finding a doctor when you need one! :

Great article! I have always been a fan of efficient/fast healthcare and feel like there is a lot of value that can be captured in the process as illustrated in this article. While in college, I used a similar platform called ZoomCare which essentially is an on-demand urgent care, primary, and specialty care clinics that made it quick and easy to find and book appointments online. As new incumbents enter the market it will be interesting to see how sticky patients actually are. I am assuming platforms will have to compete on quality doctors (reviews), availability, and convenience. The more small clinics they are able to establish the more market share they will be able to gain.

On March 5, 2018, RM commented on Mastercard: The Best Kept Platform Secret :

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It is evident that Master Card and Visa have both done quite well in the past and I agree that data processing and security makes it difficult for incumbents to disrupt players with such big market global market shares. While it may seem to many that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will dominate the 21st-century financial markets, I am a bit skeptical due to the processing power required and KYCs. Also, it is worth noting that neither Mastercard nor Visa have lost market value despite the anticipated disruption. It will be interesting to see how the G20 crypto regulatory talks turn out.

On February 1, 2018, RM commented on Venmo: What’s Cash? :

I am addicted to this app!! To your point, it has revolutionized the peer-to-peer payment world in ways that PayPal was unable to do. Despite PayPal’s global reach, in my opinion, it missed the mark on the “ease of payment” factor. Venmo took that extra step to make it more convenient and “fun” for people to find each other and pay (the social factor). After acquiring Venmo for $800 million, I am still surprised to see that it has yet to launch its application (or a similar one) into international markets. I believe this has much to do with the restrictive regulatory landscape in different countries and the liability that comes at a cost of convenience. There are many fintech start-ups that are trying to penetrate the P2P space, my guess is that once these small companies manage to navigate the regulatory hurdles, there may be room for acquisition opportunities, especially in emerging markets where mobile penetration is significant.

As an ex-Nike employee, I have always admired the culture that they have built around their brand and thus the associated experience that comes through their in-store engagements (the “if you have a body you are an athlete” experience). It was particularly interesting to learn about Nike’s strategy and its ability to maintain and improve its retail operations and customer experience.I am curious to see how much more innovative Nike will embark on to increase in-store sales. While NikeFuelband was an ultimate failure, the consumer data made available through its app could prove useful in terms of targeted sales and customized/individualized in-store experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. To move or not to move (into e-commerce)? – this has been a concept many retailers have been struggling with. While I too am convinced that retail stores are not dead (yet), I often wonder if they are leading to their own demise. There have been so many instances were “you can find your size online” is the response I get when while a retail store. This makes me wonder how much breathing space retail stores will have as they continue to decrease their costs (through lower inventory etc.) in this age of logistical convenience enabled by stores like Amazon. Are they even incentivizing us to go into stores anymore? relating back to your article, I’m curious to see how malls will (if ever) re-think their operational/profit model to stay relevant in the face of digitization or how they will incentives stores to maintain their physical presence and at what cost.