Jack Ma

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On November 15, 2018, Jack Ma commented on Open Innovation in L’Oreal :

Ariel, thank you very much for your essay! Very interesting!
I wonder whether it is possible to expand internal systems driving innovation. As I understand from the essay, currently employees are only engaged in brainstorming marketing campaigns. I would suggest management to create a platform on which employees are also encouraged to come up with ideas covering other topics. The range of involvement should be as broad as possible: from ideas on website improvements to ideas on new product development (for example exploiting new market niche). Driving internal innovation in a broader sense will result in a better pipeline of ideas, higher employee engagement and satisfaction.

On November 15, 2018, Jack Ma commented on The Free Hand of Mickey Mouse & The Hobbyist Printer :

Great essay!
Although the situation is quite problematic for Disney, the company should not fight against trends, but try to exploit them. One way, as you and Nicholas mentioned, is to sell IP rights for printing. I would put a very low price for each type of a toy to make it affordable hence decreasing customers’ motivation of producing the design by themselves. Additionally, I would make a public claim that the IP rights will be issued, for example, 6 months after the release of a certain movie. Many children will not wait 6 months and would “demand” a toy right now, which can protect part of physical toys’ sales. Moreover, a sustainable competitive advantage of a physical toy is that it can be designed in a more sophisticated way. For example, a toy may have a rifle, which can shoot, or a cotton dress. These things are impossible to replicate on a home 3-D printer, so Disney needs to make the toy range more “technologically advanced” and appealing to customers.

Same as Melcolm and Hunter, I absolutely loved the topic! Children are increasingly turning away from physical toys to Internet games, which makes me really sad, as I believe playing Lego can significantly increase kid’s creativity and has a strong social component (I loved doing “Lego sessions” with my friend when I was a kid). I really hope that the initiative will continue to driving interest in Lego. There are two things I would recommend management: 1. To diversify incentive structure for the competition with much more people (not only #1 place) receiving recognition or financial remuneration. 2. To design a special tool which will make easier and funnier for people to present their ideas and share with the company and public (e.g a web application, a physical kit of templates to work, etc.).

Thank you for the essay! ICON has a great mission, enormous market to address and technology which seems to work. I would be very happy to see this company succeeding. ICON has already started being engaged in a real project in El Salvador which is very inspiring. However, I see the biggest value of the project in rebuilding already existing slums, not building houses in areas which are empty of buildings. In order to do so effectively, I believe the company needs to know not only how to build and but also how to demolish quickly. Given that I would advise the management to think about developing a product or cooperating with existing players who specialize in demolishing buildings in order to decrease the time needed to renovate slums and, as a result, magnify the impact.

Thank you very much for such an interesting topic for HBS students – frequent users of airlines services. From a customer perspective unbundling of services is very convenient, as a customer can select a set of services that specifically represent his/her needs. However, what is the impact of “unbundling” on the airline companies, specifically on their financials? In my understanding, additional services generate high margins. Given that consumers increasingly treat airline services as a commodity, most of them will often go for the lowest possible price which will negatively impact over revenue and profitability of the airline industry. I clearly see how unbundling creates value for the customers, however, I would be curious to know how specifically airline companies navigate unbundling with the help of AI in such a way that creates not only value for a customer but also increase in revenues and profitability for the airlines.

On November 15, 2018, Jack Ma commented on Predictive Policing: Promoting Peace or Perpetuating Prejudice? :

Holly, thank you very much for such an interesting essay! In my opinion, the algorithm intends to solve very important problems in society and is likely to have a great future ahead. Nevertheless, like you, I struggle to understand the ethical implications of the project. Past crimes, race or place of living is not a 100% predictor of future crimes and I think approaching people at “high risk” category may be unfair and frustrating. People are labeled because of certain criteria that algorithm decides important, which have nothing to do with an individual’s intention of committing a crime in the future. As you noted in the essay, it is a direct violation of liberty and presumption of innocence. In order to make algorithm less inclined to “label” innocent people, I would suggest developers alter the algorithm in the way it focuses only on people who are at risk of being victims, not on potential perpetrators. Although it may limit the effectiveness of the program, it will not have undesired side effects that may hinder liberty.