Florence the Machine

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On November 14, 2018, Florence the Machine commented on Machine Learning: Dating’s Saving Grace? :

This is really interesting, thank you for sharing! To answer your question about privacy concerns, I definitely think that is a potential issue, especially given today’s climate. However, I think they can use any data provided to them by users as a result of using the apps. The issue with privacy seems to really arise when data is sold to third parties or is used for marketing purposes.

Part of me wonders if machine learning will truly be able to improve the quality of dating app matches. In addition to your point that the quality of the app is only as good as the quality of the people on it, I question how different real humans are from who they appear to be on their profiles. When constructing a profile and engaging in conversations on a dating app, people have access to time – time to craft responses as well as time to edit and carefully curate the photos used on a profile. This likely differs meaningfully from who most people are in real life – how will a machine be able to account for that discrepancy when creating matches?

On November 14, 2018, Florence the Machine commented on Spotify: Music Discovery in a World of Discover Weekly :

Thanks for sharing! Like Ennis, I also had not heard of this problem in Spotify’s recommendations and am surprised at how large the gender imbalance in the music industry is. It seems like a problem that machine learning cannot necessarily tackle, at least in this context. Perhaps machine learning can begin to be used by record labels to predict whether new/emerging artists will be successful, but since there is already a gender imbalance I’m not sure that would help. I think an appropriate next step for Spotify could be to create more playlists featuring female artists so that listeners are conditioned to listen and enjoy more female voices, eventually generating more demand for female vocals.

On November 13, 2018, Florence the Machine commented on Ford Races Ahead in Additive Manufacturing :

TOM199, this was a very insightful essay – thank you for sharing! I couldn’t help but think back to the Toyota case we did and wonder how manufacturers will need to pivot the way they identify and fix errors as 3D printing becomes a larger part of the manufacturing process. Since the process is essentially digitized, it may be easier to attribute errors to a specific point in time, but I’m not sure if the errors would be easier or more complicated to fix – especially in the instance of defective parts that need to be recalled from the market. Perhaps as Ford continues to invest in 3D printing, they should also invest in software detection that allows them to identify and fix errors in real-time.

I see the investment in 3D printing as a crucial piece of any future investments Ford makes. You mentioned autonomous driving; cutting edge 3D printing technology could allow Ford to roll this out to the market before all brands are mass producing self-driving cars since it cuts down the production lead time significantly. I think splitting R&D costs of 3D printing across future innovation projects would also be a good way to financially account for the technology since it is really a lever that can be used to drive down future costs of all innovation projects.

I didn’t know Amazon was doing this, LLovegood – thanks for sharing! It’s very interesting that Amazon does not host this competition as a blank slate. I wonder what the costs would be of renovating their warehouse designs, and whether that sort of project would be NPV positive for the company (my guess is it would be, but who knows!). Perhaps once they find functioning robots, they can work with the winning engineers to test some scenarios outside of Amazon’s pre-existing warehouses to improve the robots’ functionality and ability to pick & pack quickly.

I wonder why you say, “Amazon is unlikely to find the best approach among employees it has already hired and removed from the world of research.” Though I agree that opening the competition to non-employees is imperative toward ensuring that fresh, out of the box ideas are brought to the table, I disagree that those types of ideas cannot come from Amazon employees, especially junior ones who are not yet set in their ways and are eager to take on new challenges. Is it truly open innovation if the contest is not fully open? It would be interesting if anyone, employee or not, could form a “self managed team” similar to the ones we learned about in LEAD, to determine solutions to this problem!

On November 13, 2018, Florence the Machine commented on The Merging of Sports and Technology – Nike and Additive Manufacturing :

This was a pleasure to read – great job Robert! Like you, I too wonder what implications using 3D printing for mass manufacturing and mass customization would have for Nike’s brand. Quartz reported that Nike COO Erik Sprunk noted “the ability for consumers to 3D print a pair of sneakers is close at hand,” [1]. Though Nike may save by reducing lead times and the labor needed to produce shoes, I wonder if the company may be in danger of going too far with 3D printing. If consumers are able to print their own products, will Nike’s brand equity be damaged as a result? How will they maintain a design standard and look if customization goes too far? Further, how will they prevent consumers from recreating the exclusive lines (like Jordans) they sell at a premium and release in small quantities? This likely wouldn’t be an issue for many years, but as Nike moves in the direction of allowing 3D printing and customization for the masses, it is something they will need to consider.

[1] Marc Bain, “Nike’s COO thinks we could soon 3D print Nike sneakers at home,” Quartz (October 2016). https://qz.com/518073/nikes-coo-thinks-we-could-soon-3d-print-nike-sneakers-at-home/, accessed November 2018.

On November 13, 2018, Florence the Machine commented on Grupo Aval: Utilizing open innovation to build a new business model :

It’s very interesting that you mentioned using open innovation to source ideas that may digitalizing manual tasks, thus reducing operating costs for Grupo Aval. Though I think Grupo Aval has a great idea, it is a little ironic to recruit entrepreneurs (for free) then pay a few of them to create solutions that reduce the need for labor! I hope that they can continue using their open innovation model to discover ways to generate more revenue for the firm rather than simply finding ways to cut jobs.

To answer your question, I do think this open innovation model will allow Grupo Aval to sustain its leadership position, as long as it is willing to invest in risks rather than only focusing attention only on safe or inexpensive solutions. Employees at Grupo Aval may have trouble thinking outside the box, and it probably is outsiders who will have a crazy idea that changes the game in FinTech. If the million dollar idea comes from someone disconnected to the firm, it is likely that their leadership position could be usurped. This is exactly Clayton Christensen’s theory in “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” He says managers must “simultaneously do what is right for the near-term health of their established businesses, while focusing adequate resources on the disruptive technologies that ultimately could lead to their downfall,” [1].

[1] Clayton Christensen, “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997), PDF E-book, [10], file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Clayton%20M.%20Christensen%20-%20The%20Innovators%20Dilemma.pdf, accessed November 2018.