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Interesting article! As I read through this, I couldn’t help but wonder if the cost-benefit trade-offs of 3D printing will ever truly make sense for these frames that are essentially made of commodity resins and I would assume result in fairly low inventory holding costs. While I agree the consumer experience could be completely revolutionized by having more custom lenses, I wonder if the Warby approach of selling cheap frames so you can have ~5 pairs at home and mix & match isn’t a more elegant solution to similar consumer issues. Overall, this technology sounds really cool but I am a bit skeptical that it will ever be used at scale in the glasses industry, particularly given Luxottica’s monopoly-like market position.
This was a great post! To your first question, I think that social media companies should be forced to report out exactly what information they are sharing with advertisers, political parties, etc. across all of their platforms. As you highlight in your case, machine learning is a very powerful tool that can be used to target those most susceptible to “fake news” and inflammatory stories. All social media companies have a responsibility to our country and the political system which has allowed them to even come into existence so I don’t think it is an unreasonable request to have them be transparent about how they are using our data and who they are selling it to. As it relates to Machine Learning, I think we must be thoughtful about whether mining consumer data to sell more products and spread political messages is really the best use of this revolutionary technology (vs. using it to cure diseases, support military operations, etc.).
Great post! While I think Adidas, like many other companies, can leverage 3D printing for prototyping, I certainly agree with your point that this is likely not a viable production method beyond very high end shoes. Candidly, even in that case, I am not sure there is much of a use for the technology given production costs are already extremely low and 3D printing is only starting to gain some traction as a manufacturing tool in higher ticket items (e.g. Airplane parts) where the longer lead times are less of an issue. Overall, I’m not sure it makes a ton of sense for Adidas to invest heavily in its 3D capabilities but it will be interesting to watch this evolve!
Great post! In reading this, I thought it was really interesting to see how Netflix has successfully leveraged machine learning to suggest and create content. Though these were major successes for the company, as TV purist, I think the “choose your own ending format” gets a little dangerous and really removes most of the “art” from television. In thinking about some of the greatest TV shows of all time (e.g. Sopranos, Breaking Bad… Gossip Girl), part of what made them so interesting was the creative choices the directors took in developing characters and ending story lines. By removing the element of surprise, I fear TV will suffer and Netflix’s content library could be increasingly viewed as “gimmicky.” Further, I wonder how changes like this could impact of creative control they give their creators and how that may impact their ability to attract talent which has historically been a real differentiator for the company.
Natasha Romanoff – Lego’s use of crowdsourcing in product development is a fantastic example of how to react to consumer trends and make your customers feel personally invested in your brand. Despite, the attractiveness of this proposition, it seems to me that the majority of the products that come out of this experiment will be shorter run, limited edition toys particularly in the brick and mortar channel which likely imposes SKU proliferation controls on Lego.
That said, the shift to online sales could actually help the company in this way given they will have greater control of their supply chain and greater ability to fully own their product set (though they will also have to hold the inventory themselves). Overall, crowdsourcing seems like an exciting opportunity to complement R&D at Lego.