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I think this is where pedagogy comes into the model. It doesn’t work if you only have beginning-level users who have a narrow range of linguistic abilities translating simple words like “red,” “horse,” or “bicycle.” Translation involves nuance and judgment and those skills can only be developed over time and with practice. Certainly, on a per-person basis, if you’re crowdsourcing translations you need less judgment and skill, but, in aggregate you still need users with a wider range of abilities, especially as the concepts being translated move further and further away from the introductory material. It might be interesting to see how Duolingo could reconfigure their lessons to cover the materials they need translated though. It might fit into their adaptive strategy.

Thanks, Shiv! The folks who invented Captcha and who also work on ReCaptcha are the same people behind Duolingo!

On November 20, 2016, cmw commented on Capturing the Fashion Unicorn: A Not-so Far-fetched Story :

Great post, Mary! I had a similar thought as Ellen: how exactly do these different boutiques think of each other? I think Ellen is right that, oftentimes, these boutiques could see each other as competition while still relying on the network for the Click-and-Collect service. However, it also strikes me that they might be incentivized to treat the FarFetch customers as an opportunity for an upsell. Now, these boutiques are bringing in a new customer who’s likely in the same demographic as their existing clientele (higher income, discerning sense of fashion etc). Why not use FarFetch as an opportunity to make a new sale?

Really interesting post! For me, Kinsa raises a big question about privacy. The data is theoretically anonymized, but I wonder how well Kinsa protects the data of its users and what kinds of privacy risks users are exposed to. As we willingly offer up more and more information about ourselves, including our very own biological condition, I begin to suspect that we are making less and less informed decisions about privacy and where our data goes. Are we comfortable in a world where Kinsa is the safeguard between the world and our personal medical history? How do we protect ourselves as consumers from giving away too much information? Essentially, do we have a right to digital privacy, and, if so, how do we ensure it while simultaneously benefiting from tools like Kinsa?

On November 20, 2016, cmw commented on Technology in Transit :

The struggles facing WMATA should concern all of us! As someone who is consistently alarmed by both the neglect of our public transportation infrastructure and the over-reliance we have in private and for-profit on-demand transportation solutions (Uber), I worry that the bench at WMATA is not deep enough to solve their problems. Public transportation works because a community collectively agrees that it’s a public good, usually worth subsidizing with taxes and other investments. As wealthier residents of cities like DC, NYC, and Boston move away from aging, under-funded and under-performing public transit systems, the voices and revenues of these commuters disappear from the conversation about what happens with public transit. Boston has faced this problem as well. Recently, Boston attempted to implement a late-night service on weekends, primarily aimed at young urban commuters. The system proved to be too expensive and didn’t attract enough riders (perhaps in part because of the reliance on companies like Uber) . It worries me because when higher-income people can afford private taxi services (Uber is not ridehsaring, we seem pretty comfortable leaving lower-income folks out to make do without public transit.

On November 20, 2016, cmw commented on Fujifilm: Transformation from a photographic film maker :

I would never have guessed Fujifilm got into the cosmetics game! That’s wild! As several other commenters have mentioned, it’s fascinating to think about how adaptive the company has been in the wake of industry-wide disruption. I wonder though if there’s a risk in moving so far outside of your company’s core competency? At some point, when you’re competing with other cosmetic companies, how do you reconfigure your marketing, R&D, and technology teams to adapt? How do you prepare a company’s (non-digital) culture to shift focus so intently? These feel like questions we’ll be asking ourselves more and more often as we move further into the digital future.

Interesting post, and, especially in the context of the recent election, it’s interesting to consider the role of new sources such as NYT in how Americans develop perspectives. With the advent of digital, it’s easy to see the blurring of the lines between journalism, advertising, and editorial. I’m particularly interested in how NYT will be able to compete with established Spanish-language news sources. Developing a strategy for this new market reminds me a bit of the IDEO case, as the NYT staff seems to have spent a solid amount of time learning first-hand how Spanish speakers across the Americas consume their news. Despite the relative ease of building a platform in a new language, there’s still an analog angle.

On November 6, 2016, cmw commented on The Mining Industry: An Architect of its Own Downfall? :

Really cool article and one that poses some difficult questions. In reading through all the (expensive) ways the mining industry has figured out how to get water from Point A to Point B, I kept asking myself: but why are we mining in the first place and why is our mining, if necessary, so energy-intensive? I can’t help but wonder if BHP Billition could have invested its $3 billion in alternative technologies to find greener ways of extracting minerals. Or, better yet, develop initiatives to reduce our overall demand for mined materials in favor for synthesized materials, the processes for which companies like BHP could still own and profit from.

Really interesting post; definitely not a topic I’d heard much about before reading. Thinking through all this, I wonder if, at its heart, J&J is confronting a strategy question, a technology/innovation question, or a leadership question. While you mention that competitors are beginning to look at the climate change from the adaptation side, I think we’re still in the very early stages. Do you think companies like J&J are struggling to identify exactly how they can assist consumers with adaptation strategies or is it just a lack of initiative? Is this not the same as industries across the spectrum, from aviation to construction, to government? At its heart, I think it might boil down to something scarier: perhaps we’re seeing so little innovation in the adaptation category (from J&J and others) because we fundamentally just don’t know how to adapt to our own, man-made climate change?

Excellent post, and I think you’re right on by doubting Monsanto’s intentions. One look at Monsanto’s business practices towards small farmers to see that they’re anything but sustainable. At the very least, farmers using Monsanto seeds are required to throw away any (perfectly useable) extra seeds after planting. Then there’s Monsanto’s long history of producing incredibly dangerous chemicals, all in the name of a more perfect lawn. As a 2008 Vanity Fair exposé points out: “Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth” . With such a company on our hands, is it any surprise “sustainable” and Monsanto make strange bedfellows?

Fascinating post, and what an interesting example at the start! This post really makes me think about two things. The first is the huge impact aviation has on global carbon emissions. The second is the number of constraints involved in improving how airlines such as Delta operate their business such that they mitigate their overall emissions. The technology question you explore is complicated, but, at least looking at your exhibits, seems to have the greatest potential impact. However, I’m most interested in improvements to operations. I’d wager that there are several tactics that haven’t been fully explored that would lead to serious carbon emissions reductions. For example, is there a way to plan routes such that planes are flying most optimally most of the time? Additionally, is there a way to market a more eco-friendly flight? Is there a way to convince a customer to arrive a bit later if it means having less of an impact on the environment?

On November 6, 2016, cmw commented on Hospitality in an increasingly inhospitable world :

Great post; such a fun read! Like the commenter above, I find the loyalty points in exchange for guests acting greener to be particularly interesting. From a marketing angle, I wonder about efforts in the hospitality industry to brand and sell customers on eco-friendly practices. Do hotels face the same challenges that we saw in the Nike case, where sustainable and eco-friendly products were seen as being inferior? If so, how can we position Starwood and its competitors such that customers seek out the most eco-friendly hotels and resorts?