Derek R.

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Thanks Sean, it is interesting to consider how additive manufacturing can be a differentiator for Danko Arlington in the short term, but ultimately weaken their competitive positioning in the long term. I agree with your suggestion that Danko Arlington could attempt to maintain customer loyalty in the long term by developing expertise and capabilities in additive manufacturing above and beyond what its competitors can offer to customers or what customers could develop on their own. And if this expertise that will be necessary in the future, it seems like being an early mover would make a lot of sense. In retail, as we have seen a shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce, the companies that stuck to the traditional ways of doing things were left behind. If a substantial part of the industry will be moving to additive manufacturing over the next 20 years, Danko Arlington may want to ask themselves how a pure-play additive manufacturing business would structure its costs and processes, and begin making adjustments today to be ready to compete.

This was a very thought-provoking piece, there must be opportunities for this type of data collection in almost every industry. In investment management, I could imagine many firms being willing to pay for a unique, nonpublic set of data on companies or industries of interest in order to gain an information advantage on the market. Although some bias may still exist, I imagine this data would be much more representative than current sources like social media, where individual sentiment or emotion can impact the willingness to provide data and/or distort the reality.

Tatiana, thank you for your insights on this topic! With their current size and marketplace model, I’m sure they are able to attract many partners through open source innovation and the risk of a competitor using available data to replicate their model is relatively low. There are also clear cost and growth rate benefits to the open source innovation and partnership approach that Alibaba has taken so far. However, I wonder if there is a limit to this approach as the firm continues to grow larger and more complex. As primarily a software platform, maybe they are uniquely positioned to find these smaller developers and scale their technology across the Alibaba business, while a more capital-intensive business would find it much more difficult to work with many small partners.

On November 15, 2018, Derek R. commented on Will the Sport of Football Survive? VICIS Says Yes. :

This was a very interesting piece and VICIS is addressing an issue that certainly demands a lot of attention today. In my opinion, the price is the most concerning barrier to adoption. Within that 7% decline in the number of high school football players over the past decade, the declines are much greater in higher income areas which would have a greater ability to pay for these helmets. As the sport continues to skew towards lower income communities at the youth and high school level, affordability will become an increasingly important issue. I am definitely encouraged by the early cost improvements that VICIS has realized, and I hope that we continue to see those come down in the future.

Thanks for bringing important issues like this one to our attention. Your piece raises the critical problem in using policing data for forward-looking predictions: the sampling of crimes that police departments detect and/or uncover is not necessarily representative of the crimes committed in the entire population. However, if utilized correctly, I do see ways that a larger, more in-depth set of data could lead to fairer policing over time. In the past we have only worked with quantity metrics like number of arrests in a community, without taking into account the number of patrol minutes per arrest or the average number of cars pulled over per arrest. If this data is properly tracked, these types of efficiency metrics could encourage departments to move away from heavy police presences in communities of color or other forms of overpolicing if they show poor returns. Achieving this outcome would also require that police officers are not incentivized or evaluated based on these efficiency metrics, but that they are only reviewed for insights and strategic decision-making.

On November 14, 2018, Derek R. commented on Data and Machine Learning: The New Grocery Battle Ground :

Great insights here, the entrance of Amazon into grocery is sure to shake things up in an already very competitive industry with low margins. To compete with Amazon, Kroger and other traditional grocers will truly be forced to raise their games, which will ultimately (hopefully) improve the shopping experience for consumers. Kroger’s investment and partnership with British online grocer Ocado will be another item to watch, as they work together to build out a delivery distribution network in the US.

I enjoyed reading this piece. It really highlights the question of how much information we as consumers are willing to share with brands, and what value we will get in return for sharing that information. Would a consumer be willing to let Glossier track their brand interactions across channels if they felt that it created a better overall shopping and/or lifestyle experience? I would think yes, but how many brands would they be willing to provide this access to before it starts to feel intrusive? I think Glossier is definitely helping its chances at being one of the few brands that will get this type of holistic access to its consumers if it continues to build out its brand ecosystem and focus on customer loyalty.