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On April 30, 2017, shsenior commented on Magic Leap: Reimagining Virtual Vision (and more) :

Thanks for the post Afaf! I think it would be premature for Magic Leap to go straight to the commoditized product route. For one, I’m not sure that AR is at the place where anyone is ready to start commoditizing their hardware and software development since it is still so new and they’re all trying to figure out what actually works. Even though the platform route will take a lot more work it seems like it’s worth the risk since this is a play for future viability as well. I worry that if they just sell the hardware someone else will enter the market and in a few years they’ll just be a low cost component supplier with no pricing power.

On April 30, 2017, shsenior commented on Augmented Reality Is Here To Save Your Job! :

This is pretty cool but it seems like an intermediate step to full automation, and in fact does pretty little when it comes to addressing the large numbers of people that are going to find themselves unemployed when we get to that stage. In fact, I wonder if this company may be prolonging the pain by retraining workers in more complex tasks until it can finally dis-intermediate them completely and then their new skills are pretty useless.

Very cool product. It seems like right now they are most focused on the hardware component but I wonder if down the line they plan on collecting data such as how a surgeon uses the machine for a particular surgery to eventually try to replace the human element.

On April 7, 2017, shsenior commented on FiveThirtyEight and the Big Data Fail: Election 2016 :

Great post Ellen! I agree that Silver would benefit from trying to collect his own data since we now know that there are many issues with the other polling sources etc. However, I wonder if this is also a cautionary tale for how data analytics can have negative implications as well – especially when its wrong. For example – how many people didn’t vote because they believed the statistics and media that Trump was just a flash in the pan? I think this extends from politics to business as well – what is the danger of becoming overly reliant on our data models and do we have ways to intervene early if they’re leading us astray?

On April 7, 2017, shsenior commented on Freebird: Using data to get you out of a jam and onto a plane :

Thanks for the post – there are so many opportunities in the airline industry but mostly through ancillary services like this one and not necessarily at the airlines. I think an interesting expansion strategy for them may be to try partnering with an airline GDS (like Sabre or Amadeus) to (1) gain access to more data and (2) more seamlessly link to the airline websites. The risks here though are that the airlines don’t want a third party provider allowing customers to rebook onto other airlines and / or it gets lost in a clunky bureaucratic infrastructure.

On April 7, 2017, shsenior commented on Crisis Text Line: Saving Lives Through Data :

This is so fascinating and such a great cause. I just wonder if they have or will encounter any regulatory hurdles since they’re essentially entering the mental health space and there could be a huge liability risk. I’m also curious how they think about “post crisis care” – if someone is struggling with depression or an eating disorder etc, it’s one thing to walk them away from the brink and another to really help them through recovery or guide them to those resources. Do they have any metrics on post-intervention “success” rates? I know that this is something a lot of mental health providers and rehab centers struggle to quantify.

Thanks for sharing Ellen. I’m would think that if Drift focuses on customer service it can get closer to have a smarter chatbot for that particular use case since it will be getting so much repetitive data. However, I wonder if Facebook, Google and the other bigger companies that collect way more data from all different contexts could end up pushing Drift out of their own niche just by getting smarter faster.

On March 21, 2017, shsenior commented on Crowdsourcing the Boeing 787 :

My first reaction after reading the beginning of this post was that crowdsourcing design was a bad idea since it could be seen as giving away their competitive advantage, but I think your perspective is very interesting. If their strength really is in managing complex processes then I think this could be a huge step towards lowering the costs of airplanes. However, I’m still skeptical given the post-launch issues that the Dreamliner encountered (batteries that caught fire, etc). I don’t know if the cause was directly or indirectly related to the design process but I think it’s worth Boeing taking pause to consider the downstream implications of a shorter, more dispersed design process.

On March 21, 2017, shsenior commented on Amazon Studios: Crowdsourcing Content and Feedback :

I had no idea that Amazon did this and I think it’s super interesting. This seems like a clever way to take advantage of their huge customer base of potential viewers to reduce the risk of producing a flop. I also think it’s a great promotion strategy to attract more customers to Prime which is in line with Amazon’s strategy of looking at every new product as a way to drive multiple parts of the flywheel.

On February 28, 2017, shsenior commented on Li & Fung – The Downfall of a Platform :

The platform perspective is a valuable lens to analyze this company especially since we just did a case on this company in a strategy class and the analysis was significantly different. I wonder if the answer for them would’ve been to keep expanding their supply chain expertise globally ahead of the rise of costs in China etc or if their downfall was inevitable.

On February 28, 2017, shsenior commented on Amazon Music – Is Value Capture Enough? :

I’ve used Prime Music on my Echo but normally I use Spotify because of the greater selection AND because I have all my playlists on there. I almost signed up for Unlimited but I didn’t want to go through the process of finding and creating new playlists. I wonder if the answer for Amazon is to (1) attract non-consumers of streaming music, which is possible considering the demographics of Echo owners and (2) find a way to differentiate themselves enough from Spotify that that consumers are willing to undertake the perceived switching costs of changing platforms. Since it’s Amazon, I also wonder if they have other goals for Unlimited that go towards driving some of their other flywheels…

On February 28, 2017, shsenior commented on From Product to Platform: John Deere Revolutionizes Farming :

This is incredibly interesting and a great example of a legacy equipment provider actually being ahead of the technology / software game. I’m curious about how they internally managing resource allocation between the software and equipment tech teams and how they went about building this platform in the first place.

On February 2, 2017, shsenior commented on Nest: Falling Into The Chasm :

This really gives me something to think about with regards to crossing the chasm in the Smart Home market at large. B2B is an interesting idea for Nest but I think until they get their prices down they’ll have trouble convincing cost-conscious contractors to install them. I wonder if the answer is a change in business model to SaaS or more outcomes based which would appeal to a hotel operator or building manager. I also wonder if the introduction of Google Home may be able to pull in more customers as platforms such as that one and Alexa start managing everything in a customers’ house.

On February 2, 2017, shsenior commented on Social Robot Stuck in Traffic :

Super interesting product Gil. It’s too bad this still hasn’t gotten to market since the technology at least looks great in theory, but I think you’re right that Amazon and Google are now way ahead and have the benefit of strong brands and deep pockets to continue iterating on their respective devices. I think there’s also an interesting difference in strategy here between Jibo which looks like it wants multiple Jibo 1P devices in one home, versus Amazon at least that cares more about Alexa-enabled devices being in the home regardless of who makes the hardware. Alexa can then benefit not only from 3P skills development but also from the distribution networks, marketing and sales teams of other hardware manufacturers.

On February 2, 2017, shsenior commented on Fire Phone- Amazon’s $170 million Summer Fiasco :

The Fire Phone would make a super interesting case study. I completely agree with you that Amazon focused way too much here on the end revenue goal and its competition and lost sight of its most important leadership principle – customer obsession. Furthermore, I think that this goes beyond the Fire Phone OS vs iOS, I think they made a big mistake by using FireOS and not Android which is on ~80% of phones worldwide. I wonder how much of this failure though informed their latest venture into mobile with the super low cost Android-based phones that are only available to Prime subscribers.