Kabir Melwani

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Thanks for your post, this was very interesting and I learned a lot reading this. I think that soft robotics are an interesting way to overcome some of the limitations of automated processes today. In addition to the practical applications, the reduction in the product development cycle is another major positive for this type of technology. In response to your question, I actually have a different point of view than some of the comments above and I think they should focus on a niche application. I think ABB should have a very strong commercial application for its product that it can bring to market. Once it gains credibility, the Company will be able to leverage its existing knowledge to hopefully produce solutions to a broader array of problems. However, I do believe that it is better to take the IBM Watson approach and make sure that they can solve one problem really well before trying to tackle a variety of different things.

I think this post is very interesting and captures some key issues we’ve talked about in marketing class. Can this technology, while increasing output and decreasing cost, actually have a negative impact on the brand? My initial thought is that additive manufacturing will be a net positive for Adidas. Firstly, it does appear that the Company can carefully walk the line between mass production and mass customization as a result of the batch processes. More importantly, I think that the fact that the Company can now get shoes to the end consumer more quickly will prove to be a big competitive advantage. Other questions I might have are: can Adidas use additive manufacturing to reduce costs in a way that flows through to the consumer, thereby making their products more competitive? How much have competitors invested in this technology– is Adidas a pioneer in the industry or trying to keep up with the competition?

On November 15, 2018, Kabir Melwani commented on The government wants you…to hack it? :

This was really interesting. I think that it is a brilliant strategy for the U.S. government to adopt crowdsourcing as a means to improve their network security. I actually don’t see that much inherent risk in this process. Firstly, I would assume that the people within this crowdsourcing models are not “bad actors”. Those trying to hack the U.S. government are probably trying to do so separately, and inviting the public to try this is probably not inviting bad actors. With that said, the government should obviously (and probably does) monitor exactly who is attempting the hack and understand if that person could at all be a potential threat. On your point on whether the government, as a result of crowdsourcing, is diluting its own internal capabilities, I would suggest that they could even try to hire some of the best hackers as a means to further improve their network security.

On November 15, 2018, Kabir Melwani commented on PayPal – Bringing Down the Bad Guys, One Transaction at a Time :

Thanks for the post! I think this is a very important topic and I specifically clicked on it because I got an email earlier this week saying there might have been a security breach with my PayPal account. I think investing in machine learning capabilities is particularly important for financial services firms. One significant data breach and you will have an almost impossible time retaining customers once they have lost faith in you. I also agree that PayPal could use these capabilities for its own commercial purposes, understanding consumer behavior and potentially using that information to attract advertisers. On your question on whether PayPal should develop in-house, I think that is probably circumstantial. I imagine that they most likely have the right personnel from a tech standpoint to build out these types of algorithms. However, they also have their own core operations to focus on (e.g. transaction processing) and it could make sense from a time and cost perspective to continue to pursue M&A.

On November 15, 2018, Kabir Melwani commented on Building the Worlds You Want To See: Lego Calls on You To Co-create :

Thanks for the post! I agree with your recommendations with a particular emphasis on the “continued interest” piece. While this crowdsourcing ideas helps them with product development, it also serves as a great marketing tool. However, there is a risk that over time this type of activity becomes stale. I think the key for LEGO will be to drive strong brand engagement with their target consumers. Can they form partnerships with schools (and use schools as a source of crowdsourcing)? Another more radical strategy would be to try to embrace the internet trend: although LEGO has always been a physical toy, perhaps they could allow kids to build virtual LEGO sets. This could create some cannibalization issues, but something to consider given the increasing shift away from physical toys.

On November 15, 2018, Kabir Melwani commented on Machine Learning at Yelp :

Thanks for your essay, very interesting! Two things that struck me were the data deluge and the balance between advertiser/consumer interests. On data deluge, it’s not surprising to me that people tend to focus only on one important quality aspect rather than long lists of information. When I use yelp, I often only look at the popular dish feature or the proximity relative to the highest “star” ratings. Rarely do I deep dive into this and I think Yelp should continue to focus on these types of visually appealing attributes. Yelp also needs to balance generating advertising revenue versus maintaining consumer confidence. Establishing clear parameters could help, but they could also establish short-term partnerships with restaurants and see how consumers rank them (assuming it drives more demand). If the restaurant sees high ratings, then a long-term partnership could form but if not then Yelp could potentially end the partnership to maintain consumer trust. Lastly, I do agree with your point on investing internally to monitor fake reviews. While these reviews may not have the same detrimental affect that we have seen on Facebook and Twitter recently, they still can erode the brand long-term if not addressed.