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On November 15, 2018, EL commented on Open Innovation for League of Legends :

Insightful piece that explains the growth and appeal of e-sports. Very creative to compare the e-sports industry to other traditional sports leagues to illustrate the relative viewership and significance of the industry. I find your thesis of breaking open innovation into two parts: tangential ecosystem & actual game design to be a great framework of thinking about Riot’s future strategy. You make a strong point that while Riot doesn’t profit directly from open innovation happening in the League surrounding ecosystem (streaming, subscriptions..ec), there are indirect benefits for sustaining the relevance of the game. I wonder however, of the side effects of opening up game design decisions to an crowdsourced model. In that case, how will Riot sustain its competitive advantage given all of its nuanced design decisions are made in full transparency to competing game design firms?

On November 15, 2018, EL commented on Additive Manufacturing at Porsche :

Very informative piece on how 3D printing is affecting the automobile industry. I believe the analysis hits on several key points, such as hollowing parts to reduce part weights and solving the service parts longevity issue. Coming from an industrial hardware background, I understand that by eliminating the service parts issue, this would free up Porsche to make more sourcing & design decisions without worrying about part support.

This piece brings up some creative ideas which I wanted to provide a few counterpoints to facillate a more well-rounded discussion.

First, Figure 2 suggests that the breakeven point for casting vs. 3D printing is in the 6-digit (hundred thousands) order of magnitude. I wonder if this actually makes sense for Porsche, given that their car unit sales in 2016 alone were 237,778 units [1]. There may also be some parts that are used more than once in a single car, multiplying the part demand as well. In this case, the cost by using a traditional manufacturing technique seems to be lower. Would there be other qualitative reasons to using 3D printing?

Second, I think the idea of distributing Porsche’s .cad files to distributors to be an idea that may backfire in business terms. To me, the biggest reason to purchase a manufacturer branded replacement part is the trust in the quality, given that it was the original manufacturer. Furthermore, I wonder if there will be reverse-engineering concerns if Porsche distributed the .cad files since there may be nuanced design decisions that can be picked up more easily in a digital file than trying to reverse engineer a physical part by competitors.

Finally, I agree that heading forwrad 3D printing could provide tremendous value in terms of customization. This makes even more sense given that Porsche focuses on the high end automobile market. However, I am not sure if 3D printing would actually allow for Just-in-time manufacturing. It would be interesting to explore the actual printing time for some of the car’s parts. Based on personal experince, I would expect the difference in cycle time between casting and 3D printing to be more than 50x. I think it would be interesting to explore how 3D printing speeds are accelerating over time as well.

[1] “Porsche Sets New Sales Record.” Porsche Newsroom, 10 Jan. 2017, newsroom.porsche.com/default/en/company/porsche-deliveries-2016-sales-record-13310.html.

On November 15, 2018, EL commented on SpaceX – Surviving Enrico’s Paradox :

Very informative piece detailing how 3D printing will bring us closer to becoming a multi-planetary species. You do a great job balancing the key technical details without confusing the audience with technical jargon. I’m very fascinated by the benefits 3D printing offers in terms of product quality, development timeframe, and cost. However, wish there could have been more discussion on the limitations of 3D printing that has proven to be slower to replace traditional casting processes (ex. size, shape limitations, material limitations, cost). Further, given that earlier in the piece you mention cost being the primary barrier to sending humans to mars, I would be curious to hear how much closer in terms of the “five million percent” gap we have come, in order to imagine how many more drastically new innovations like 3D printing we would need to discover in order to fully reach our goal of reaching mars.

Regarding your open question, I think you bring up a good point to look at the differences in 3D printing versus traditional manufacturing when it comes to economies of scale. I imagine 3D printing will only be cost-beneficial in the low volume case, which probably explains why a rocket engine was chosen by Elon Musk as a part to be 3D printed.

On November 15, 2018, EL commented on Straight to the Source: Open Innovation at Buzzfeed :

Enjoyed reading your piece on how Buzzfeed aligns open innovation in their company strategy and how they executed it. I find that this piece hit a key point that is the frictionless signup process Buzzfeed has created in order to encourage more users to join the platform and contribute to sourcing their content. I found it fascinating to see how Buzzfeed’s self-created Open lab had failed, really reinforcing how integral open innovation is to Buzzfeed.

You spend a lot of time discussing Buzzfeed as a journalism source comparable to Vox and The Guardian. From my personal experience, I sitll very much consider Buzzfeed an informal, entertainment focused site rather than a journalistic source. I would be very intrigued to read more about this tradeoff between open-sourcing content and jouranlistic integrity. While open innovation does define Buzzfeed’s creative and fun content, I wonder how they will go about managing quality of their content as they strive to become a more credible news source.

Regarding how much Buzzfeed can leverage its community for more crowdsourcing efforts, I think it would be interesting to also analyze the dependency of this strategy on third-party platforms. For example, a lot of content on Buzzfeed is actually sourced from Facebook, Twitter, or other blogs. From a legal standpoint, I would be curious to see how these third-party platforms choose to interact with Buzzfeed, whether free usage of content from their sites is allowed, charged for a fee, or downright banned.

Insightful analysis of Google’s strategic shift to becoming an AI-first company. I completely agree with you in recognizing the motivation for Google to re-design one of its most popular products, Gmail, is to prevent major disruption from happening from a smaller, more agile startup that realizes the value ML has to impact existing industries. I very much appreciated the broad approach you took looking at how Google on a company-wide perspective also is looking to infuse machine learning in the rest of the company.

You spend some time discussing the new machine learning enabled features in GMail. It would be interesting to hear more about how Google will evaluate the performance of these features, given that there is most likely a learning period where the features are not giving the most accurate predictions and detract from the user experience.

Finally, I would be curious to hear Google’s perspective regarding your open question of the transferrability of the technologies used in gmail. Personally, I imagine that since Gmail is one of the few billion user products at Google, they would actually be fine investing in technologies that just cater to this large customer base.

On November 15, 2018, EL commented on AI Comes to the Magic Kingdom :

Enjoyed reading your analysis on the broad AI efforts Disney is launching in each of its different product segments. You touch on this briefly, but in this age of machine learning, I believe having proprietary data to develop your algorithms is a key competitive advantage. This is actually Disney’s biggest strength in that it owns its own theme parks and are on the way to owning their own streaming platform (which will be attractive because they have their own content).

You brought up some open-ended questions that I think are valid concerns. In the short term, I believe consumers will find the incremental benefit they get from theme park convenience, enhanced movie graphics, and better targetted content to be worth the privacy sacrifices they make, given that these seem like less personal traits that Disney is collecting on its consumers.