Leah Kaplow

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On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Improving care for those who cared for us :

So interesting! I wonder simultaneously what this data could be used for (constant data on heart rate, etc. seems like it could have tremendous applications in health care, insurance, etc.) and the extent to which people will feel as though this is overly intrusive, thus preventing further applications. Sensing what is going on in your body at every moment you are home seems like a fairly large step from what most of us are OK with now. I can imagine that this feels different when installing in your elderly grandmother’s apartment, but could our privacy concerns prevent this from taking off?

On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Good Guys Protecting the Internet, From Pornhub To The Pentagon :

I had a very similar thought when reading this post. To add to it, I would imagine that certain organizations (e.g., the US Government) might view this as a way to recruit: have people work on these projects, feel a sense of mission, and get pulled into the internal team that works on even bigger issues. I wonder how HackerOne can retain talent, especially if a lot of the most critical projects are still done internally (which may not be the case for many organizations, in which case, being a HackerOne employee could have high value in the diversity it provides, a la consulting).

On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Water Innovation – Shedding Light on Big Underground Market :

Very cool post! I am wondering whether the same technology could be used for other applications as well. In particular, I am thinking of the tremendous issues Nigeria has with its oil pipelines, both because of faulty infrastructure and theft from the pipelines themselves. Are there applications in that vein that this could be used for? I echo others’ concerns around cost, but given how expensive it is to find and fix issues currently, it would be interesting to see the NPV of this kind of investment over time!

On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on e-Governments vs. Corruption. The case of Estonia :

Hi Eugeniu! This is a very hopeful post on a very sobering topic!

I can definitely appreciate how the interventions you listed can help reduce corruptions in lower levels of the value chain (e.g., removing middlemen), and, for certain items (e.g., voting), at the highest levels of the value chain. But what about day-to-day activities (government contract awards, provision of government offices, etc.)? I can imagine a lot of extensions of eGovernment in these areas, but how easily can those at the top manipulate what is being fed into the system? What incentives do those at the top have to ensure the system works well?


On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Supporting the Good You Do. Online. :

Very cool company! As someone who manages a small nonprofit and is well versed in the annoyance of paypal + putting everything into excel myself, my first question would be around how this would save me overhead costs. Obviously, if I were paying staff to do these things today, I could calculate savings as a % of that person’s time that I would no longer need or could be re-routed into other value-generating tasks. As it is, I’m mostly concerned with payment processing fees. The PayPal fees are currently just over 2.9% of the donated amount, which is a big drag for me. A key reason I use PayPal is because most of my donors have accounts, which reduces friction in the “customer decision-making journey”. I couldn’t find easy figures on FrontStream’s donation transaction processing fees. Do you have a sense of how they compare to what smaller nonprofits traditionally use? And how does FrontStream overcome the additional friction to donations they would impose over just using PayPal?

Thanks so much!

Source: https://www.paypal.com/us/selfhelp/article/What-are-the-fees-for-PayPal-accounts-FAQ690

On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Bringing the solar system home… and making it smarter :

Hi Andrew,

I totally agree – we see a lot of other companies playing in this space today. I do think there is some first-mover advantage here, as a lot of distribution comes from word of mouth and community trust. However, it is even more localized than Uber’s network – so even if one company is doing great in one district, it may have little first-mover advantage in another district, let alone in another country. The other advantage of moving quickly at the beginning for these types of companies is the data they’re collecting, which they use to enhance their products and offer other services to particular areas. As long as that data is held privately, this is harder to replicate for someone coming in later.


On November 20, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Bringing the solar system home… and making it smarter :

Hi Molly,

Thanks so much for your comment. Re-reading my original post, I realize I didn’t make it clear that the appeal of BBOXX is that it’s auto shut-off, shut-on makes it easy for it *not* to require the customer to pay $330 upfront. In fact, the way it works is that a customer pays a monthly fee that is only $10-20, depending on what they’ve purchased. As a result, the product is much more affordable for the consumer and BBOXX increases its likelihood of getting paid I apologize that my post wasn’t clear on this!


On November 7, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on A longer-term view on saving lives :

Like many who commented, I had no idea the scale of impact from hospitals. Given how much other aspects of hospital operations are regulated nationally in the US, is there a space for regulation here? Are there solutions to some of these issues already, or will suppliers / operations need to be completely revamped?

Like Philip, I wonder how much room there is to move on some of these, but I also would be that some of the ways hospitals can cut down are actually great for operational efficiency overall (e.g., moving to a model we’ve seen in FRC with more efficient use of operating rooms).

Finally, does Cleveland Clinic have an incentive to help other hopsitals? If this would help other hospitals have better PR and reduce costs, might the Clinic hope to keep some of their efforts more secret to keep the benefits for themselves? Again, I wonder if there is a role for a third party (government or otherwise) to help incentivize the dissemination of information.

On November 7, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Hello Tokyo: A Model Sustainable City :

Thank you for sharing this – I learned a lot!

I wonder if you have a perspective on any potential downsides to the “Tokyo as architect *and* beacon” role you hope the city will play in the 2020 Olympics. Specifically, there are a number of initiatives TMG has undertaken that are likely great examples for other cities to adapt to their own context, but is Tokyo’s experience and reaction to the use of nuclear energy a good thing for the rest of the world to focus on? In places where the risks are lower, shouldn’t some resources be devoted to promoting this efficient and cheap energy resource as a much better alternative to coal? I wonder how much the promotion during the Olympics will focus on avoiding nuclear energy versus emphasizing all of the other exciting initiatives.

This is a very interesting post! I am curious to understand the role you think state ownership plays in dictating COFCO’s response to climate change. Do you have any sense of whether this improves the outcome (e.g., the company has to do what the state dictates and therefore may respond more quickly or respond using larger up-front investments for a longer-term view) or makes it harder (e.g., the interventions chosen may be less efficient or effective than those that would have been chosen if the company was public)?

How is COFCO prioritizing between reducing emissions on one hand and making sure they are producing enough to maintain output to feed the country on the other? Do you see these as being a tension, or areas that can improve together?

In light of your response about the limited steps that smallholder farmers are taking, I’d be interested in better understanding your recommendation that Toleza transition processing BUs to using goods that are purchased from farmers, rather than grown by the company. If Toleza’s efforts help its own crops prosper despite worsening climate conditions, doesn’t shifting to purchasing from farmers that do not use these techniques open Toleza’s processors to substantially more risk that, in a bad year, there could be insufficient crop available (or that input prices would skyrocket)? Or is there a reason why separating the value chain is actual advantageous to Toleza’s processors that I’m not seeing?

I also wonder if any of Toleza’s understanding of best practices can/should be translated to nation-wide government-funded (or externally-funded) efforts to protect farmers overall, beyond the existing subsidy program?

Thank you for writing about this!

On November 7, 2016, Leah Kaplow commented on Answering Climate Change with a Meaty Disruption :

As a many-year vegetarian (for a combination of ethical / environmental / animal rights reasons), I find these types of innovations extremely exciting. As Nicole brought up, I’m fairly skeptical of the assumption that the big names in the meat industry will have an incentive to partner with Memphis Meats for the foreseeable future. Their current model is highly profitable and has thus far flexed its lobbying might to avoid a tremendous amount of needed regulation. Furthermore, an acceptance of Memphis is basically an admission that their normal model is problematic, probably not a concept they want to promote.

My other concern, as others have brought up, is customer perception. Even beyond the issue of “artificiality”, I’m worried about driving consumer demand toward this concept and away from traditional meat sources in general. For years, we have had access to large volumes of written, photographic, and video evidence of the horrors of factory meat farming in the US, and the vast majority of people seem not to care. I hope you are right, and that adding on the environmental impact will sway people in ways that the traditional dialogue couldn’t, and it seems that much of their marketing efforts should focus here, as you have said.

Thank you so much for bringing this company to our attention, and for highlighting the meat industry’s huge impact on climate change.