Dwight K Schrute

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On November 15, 2018, Dwight K Schrute commented on Window into the soul?: Machine learning for song recommendations at Spotify :

So interesting! I converted from Apple over to Spotify because I actually think their predictive technology for which songs I would like is so much better than Apple’s (sorry Karishma). I don’t really think Netflix is a great comparable in the sense that I don’t really see Spotify getting into the music production business. I think live studio recordings of existing artists is one thing but actually managing artists is a completely different business altogether.

I think generally it’s such a hard question to determine why someone likes a particular song. I mean, I can’t even tell you why I like certain songs, I just do. Certain artists just have a sound to them that I enjoy. That’s what’s so cool about Spotify. I actually feel like they know what I like better than I do sometimes.

On November 15, 2018, Dwight K Schrute commented on Machine learning ruined baseball. Machine learning will save baseball. :

Hmm Billy, interesting opinions here. I think baseball has a number of challenges which are addressed in the other (better) baseball article on this website but you certainly raise some good points about the impact of data on the sport. I do think that despite the impact on game duration, the use of data across the sport has made it better and more competitive. We are seeing pretty good parity in the sport with small market teams competing well with big markets (even if the big markets still typically win it all, see: Red Sox).

While I can definitely understand the use of data in manager decision-making, I think we’d be taking things too far if we used data to affect scheduling since there is an important element of tradition and rivalries which are reflected in the current division setup. Similarly, the second we allow fans to impact manager decision making we start to lose the legitimacy of the sport in terms of the competition element. The coaches and players should decide and determine what happens on the field, not the fans. Now, where I do see potential on this type of voting you brought up is in sports betting which is another story altogether.

Baseball has a big challenge ahead of it in that its US audience is considerably older and typically whiter than other sports. With changing demographics in the US, it’s interesting to think about what impact the use of data will have on the popularity of the sport. Will it bring in younger and more diverse fans or just alienate them even further?

Go check out the better baseball article here to see how data is used in baseball ticket pricing!


I had similar thoughts to what you raised in this article when we did the IDEO case. A lot of times with design consultancy firms they seem to have a goal in mind of providing the most radical, creative, innovative ideas without enough consideration to the practicality of actual implementation of these ideas. It doesn’t matter if you have the best idea in the world, if the business either can’t or doesn’t want to implement it, it will all be for naught. I think ultimately it’s critical for IDEO to get buy-in from clients on their ideas in order for the whole exercise of open innovation to be worthwhile. Your question also raises an interesting point about internal versus external ideation. It’s certainly nice to get an “outside” perspective but if the other party doesn’t fully understand the business they are advising, that might contribute to the challenges of implementation that I have described.

On November 15, 2018, Dwight K Schrute commented on The Rise of 3D Manufacturing in Footwear: What it Means for Nike :

I agree with the comments above that it seems to be somewhat of a no brainer to use this technology on something where customization is so valuable like shoes. Ultimately shoes are judged on comfort, style/ look and performance. My assumption would be that if Nike isn’t already doing this then they might have some concerns about 3D printing’s ability to replicate their current process in terms of delivering on those three objectives. But as long as the tech actually works (and it seems to), to me 3D printing offers much more customization potential than the current process for shoe design which ultimately should lead to better comfort and performance due to better fit. I would assume style/ look would be basically the same.

On November 15, 2018, Dwight K Schrute commented on Open Innovation in the NFL: Player Safety :

This reminds me of the Will Smith movie on Concussions and the research of Bennett Omalu on this disturbing trend in the NFL. It’s certainly an issue that warrants open innovation since it’s of critical importance to the future of the NFL. In terms of your question, there are only so many sports that are similarly violent with which the NFL could actually compare itself. They could partner with the NHL since there are some parallels there. Both sports are trying to eliminate hits to the head to protect the players. I think the biggest difference though with the NHL versus the NFL is that in football you have more frequent collisions and typically more dangerous ones as well. It’s such a hard issue because we are talking about something (hits) that is a huge driver of the popularity of these sports and the more you take that out of the game, the less the sport resembles what it once was which can cause bottom line ripple effects if fans aren’t enjoying the game as much. Having said all this, it doesn’t matter the effect on the bottom line because we are talking about player health and safety in the long term. Head injuries are terrible and the sports have a responsibility to protect the players which in turn protects the future of the sport.

On November 15, 2018, Dwight K Schrute commented on A Tactical Advantage? Additive Manufacturing in the US Military :

Lieutenant Dan (guess you’re a captain now), nicely done on this article. I think you raise some interesting questions about the use of 3d printing here as a substitute measure in military operations. I definitely see how it can provide some benefits as you described in terms of using machines instead of real people in highly dangerous situations (perhaps detecting IEDs) or even efficiencies on costs for replacement parts. Military spending is so high that anything that can be done to make those costs more reasonable I think would be a good thing. I think the biggest question outstanding on the use of these 3d printing outputs is how reliable are they? Are they actually the same quality as what we currently use? I’d never want to endanger our troops with inferior equipment just because they cost less but as long as they have the same or similar quality, it seems like a great use case for it.

Interesting article! I particularly enjoyed your description of the natural disadvantages a “small market team” like Benfica faces in acquiring and retaining its top players and almost seeing them as investments. Getting them cheap, developing them and selling them for a profit. I think you raise some valid concerns about the future of Benfica’s edge. You know that the bigger market teams will eventually catch on to what Benfica is doing and replicate it, similar to how the Oakland A’s Moneyball model was copied and now used by most baseball teams. Also it’s hard to know how reliable the data will be if the data set isn’t large enough.