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On November 15, 2018, Leo commented on American Express has Struck Gold with Machine Learning :

Representing the unpopular opinion, I believe that personalization is an incredible value add of the digital age. No one likes advertisements but if I have to watch them, I prefer for them to be about products and topics that I care about. In the context of AMEX, I believe that consumers will equally appreciate a personal ‘concierge’ like service, as long as they can explicitly opt into the service and they don’t become the product themselves. AMEX needs to resists to follow advertising giants like Google and Facebook and put the interests of the consumer first. If they can accomplish a clear partnership with consumers in the mind of the end-user personalized recommendations will unlock incredible transaction revenues.

On November 15, 2018, Leo commented on The future of energy: forecasting the weather? :

Thanks for the interesting read, Lori! I’m heavily in the camp of focusing on improving today’s storage options over changing customer behavior. When I think about which specific behavior the consumer needs to change, I am coming up with a host of them (e.g. turn off the AC, run the washing machine in the early morning) and to add fossil fuel to the fire (lol) there is more than one protagonist per household that needs to change their ways. Currently, the price of energy is not even close to high enough for consumers to feel the pain of their poor consumption choices.

Interesting read! I agree that additive manufacturing will increase in market share over time as initial kinks get ironed out (e.g. poor tactility, slow manufacturing speed, currently high cost) and I am pretty bullish on it eventually reaching full market potential. While it may take decades for speed and cost to drop to equivalent levels of mass manufactured goods, it will inherently offer higher value for the customer than an non-customized shoe. There can be arguments be made for some consumers not wanting high degrees of personalization(e.g. people are buying specific brands for a reason and value their recognizability). But as additive manufacturing can keep designs consistent AND offer more comfortable footbeds or shoes that feel worn in on day one, there is little reason for a consumer to choose a good that has not been personalized for them. It will be a long especially when considering that the speed of production needs to be almost equivalent to picking up a pair of shoes off the rack.

I love the idea of reducing cost and being able to provide more affordable housing. But as others have already pointed out, the mayor cost items in the construction of a home are relation to foundation setting, infrastructure connections such as sewage, clean water, and power, and depending on the region, insulation and finishing. Hence, if New Story were to pursue their own R&D team, it should not focus on pushing 3D printing technologies for constructing the building frame, but work on integrations and solutions that lower the cost of subsequent steps by integrating effectively with the printed frame.

Thanks for your thoughts, Ali! As a long time user, I love SoundCloud for finding ‘new and hidden gems’. I enjoy the act of crawling from one artist to the next, clicking through other users playlist, adding arcane new mixes to my favorites. I may be offering me-search here, but I value the lack of great recommendations from SoundCloud. The treasure-hunt makes makes every great find even so much more worth it.

Assuming many users are like me (and that’s a bad habit) I believe that SoundCloud is in a particularly bad place to monetize on the consumer side. The moment I hit a paywall for exclusive tracks, I turn to google, find the artist’s .com and listen to their track there.

On November 15, 2018, Leo commented on Steam-powered ideas: a market for open innovation :

While I am generally a huge fan of Valve and their attempt to democratize game development, I am somewhat weary of their attempt at higher monetization, specifically their culture of extreme discounts. Steam has trained their user-base to wait for season sales and expect deep discounts on any type of game (not only classics or other cash cow equivalents). This further stifles the gamers lack of appreciation for content creators and, in the long run, hurts the community of independent devs. To provide an anecdote: A good friend studied game development at UCLA and is a avid producer for indie games. His ability to push sales on full priced games is equivalent to zero. His ‘personalized recommendation’ from the Steam customer success team is to apply 50% or more discounts to games that have an original price tag of $10. I am worried that steam perpetuated a culture of price dumping that in the long run will hurt the independent developer community.