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I love stories like these! Thank you for the write up, Emily. I do believe it’s much harder for a big company to adjust to the digitization challenge more than smaller companies or start-ups. I agree that one of Deere’s biggest challenges is attracting new talent, but what about retaining old ones? As Deere innovates, I’m curious to know about integrating these new solutions to their existing clients and buyers, educating them, and making sure that the solutions are well received.

Thinking much way ahead, when they have all these clients collecting data together with Deere, how would they analyze the large amounts of data to continue serving the industry? Would these innovations come internally, or through acquisitions?

I came across a medtech company in Singapore that instead of building one app for all hospital partners, customizes its interface, functions, and adds tools based on the company’s needs. Following on GVS’ comment, I wonder if Facebook Workplace will end up adopting a similar service to first the giants, then to smaller and smaller businesses. This is important because the culture and channels of a workplace is different from one place to another, added with international users trying to adopt this product. In the future, should Facebook Workplace be published as a platform for companies to design their own internal communication channel?

Also interested to learn more about the diagram you put on the top of the article!

I think so too, Cameron! I’m amazed at how robust and prolific the company is, which I absolutely admire. I think they’ve struck a gold mine. When everyone else is trying hard to add marginal value to an undefined large population, companies like Lytx brings impact by understanding a niche market comprehensively. Moreover, instead of trying to replace truck drivers (or “disrupt the industry”), they innovate to aid and assist humans, which helps the technology gets adopted faster and better.

I’m interested to learn more about their competition in the current space, and what partnerships they’re fostering to protect its spot in the niche market. Also, as much as I like them focusing on current technologies, how are they hedging their risk of driverless trucks in the future?

On November 20, 2016, levi commented on REDFIN: USING DIGITIZATION TO FLIP THE HOUSING MARKET :

Super interesting model! I think the trend of digitization into real estate is an inevitable one, but will have more focus on certain types of real estate. To my limited knowledge of the industry, certain types of homes are more likely to be sold using its model, where face-to-face interactions are not essential to the value of the home. Price is one factor to differentiate the many models, as SB mentioned, but so is location (suburban vs urban housing) and type of buyer (homes for corporate professionals?), among many others. I wonder where Redfin is focusing its efforts, and where it plans to expand in the future.

Moreover, I wonder if all parts of the process will be digitized- your suggestion on bidding is interesting, but at what cost? There may be benefit in having brokers/intermediaries who help potential buyers how much to bid, and how to prioritize when deciding to buy a house, or ever to suggest similar homes when the ones they initially aimed for wasn’t available.

On November 20, 2016, levi commented on Can Cellphones be the New Bank for the Unbanked? :

Love the article. I believe completely that cell phones can help bank the unbanked! I remember the case of m-pesa, which worked really well in Africa. There are some efforts in making it available in South East Asia, a region I’m more familiar with, but it has been a challenge due to regulations and the undedicated/unfocused projects by big telco companies. Instead of a clear pioneer, there has been many partnerships being made here and there around banks, start-ups, and telco companies. It is especially important to get the banks involved because of their influence in building regulations and outsourcing functions such as credit scoring. I wonder if similar trends are emerging with Millicom and its competitors.

I love Disney, but I agree with you, this platform will be very challenging for them to pull off. I think the biggest value now that they can find from implementing this technology is from increasing efficiency and utilization of rides, ultimately reducing wait times. This information hopefully could give more insight in how to use pricing to regulate demand and spread out visitors. Imagining the future, there would be so many technologies that can enhance the “magic”, and it would be so interesting to see innovation in that space.

On November 9, 2016, levi commented on Autonomous Taxis to Join the Fight Against Global Warming :

Yes, I do think that NuTonomy has a machine learning capability built into the algorithm they’re building, so the more it drives, the more it learns. What I think they should do is to pilot these in different cities, which comes with very different challenges. Just imagine the difference between driving in Boston and Jakarta! (Although I do realize there are bad drivers everywhere, apparently.) Scaling up will be a very interesting challenge to them; it reminds me almost like genetics research, where they need to validate efficacy of a marker in different population to see if that mutation is still significant.

On November 9, 2016, levi commented on Autonomous Taxis to Join the Fight Against Global Warming :

Hi Neighbor, I think you’re right, and you hit a big uncomfortable topic there. Nobody knows the answer, and that’s why adoption is very slow. I do think NuTonomy shouldn’t worry about it so much, as they’re in a different stage of the pipeline of making a driverless taxi. I’m not sure to what degree NuTonomy should be educating their partners about the benefits of driverless vs normal taxis, and whether that will be included in their marketing efforts. Personally, I think the fact that they have a potential buyer shows how there is some validation that the benefits outweighs the cost (safety is a big argument, as well as efficiency and revenue), but this may also be a function of their ignorance of the issue.

On November 9, 2016, levi commented on Autonomous Taxis to Join the Fight Against Global Warming :

Iryna, thanks for commenting! You’ll be surprised to know how many of the big auto giants are investing in driverless cars today. They have a different incentive though, which is for luxury and added value proposition to their customer. NuTonomy is smart because once they can optimize their algorithm, they have many buyers for their product; they know these big auto companies do not have the expertise to innovate and test as much as this small start up can. They have regulatory barriers, brand perception, and customer safety to worry about. Start ups rule!

To your second question, you’re absolutely right. A lot of controversy is around adoption of this technology. The challenge curve is almost like a negative exponential curve as time goes. I think this is why the partnership with Grab is so smart, because they have a fleet of cars to operate at once, which comes with both challenges and opportunities at the same time. They can test these fleets in a very controlled area with most of the cars being NuTonomy’s fleet. I was working at One North, the science/research complex in Singapore, and I can imagine that happening, as well as in Google Plex. Moving forward, I hope their algorithm is smart enough to accommodate bad and raging drivers on the road!

On November 9, 2016, levi commented on Autonomous Taxis to Join the Fight Against Global Warming :

I know! Isn’t it super cool? Even more subtle is how they design the look of the car. I’m not a big sports car fan, but the curves on those have major differences in how they split air and move faster. I guess the cars in the future is not just trying to “look” cool, but it has some function in it too.

On November 9, 2016, levi commented on Autonomous Taxis to Join the Fight Against Global Warming :

Hi Daniel! That’s one of the things I really was thinking about, and whether it matters what their incentives really are. The research says that autonomous taxis have potential to reduce green house gas emissions significantly, also with changing cars’ design and energy source. Because there are so many pieces of the puzzle to begin with, I was more interested in the fact that this effort have the potential to help global warming, rather than the companies’ effort to identify with the problem.

Also, I’m not sure whether optimized driving for profit and safety, compared to being more efficient/green are opposites. I’m going to guess that the incentives of their partners (taxi providers, for example), would be to optimize routes and travel for their consumers, and hopefully that will overall make travel more efficient, going by the logic that efficient = more riders going to where they want to be with less energy = green. It’ll also be really interesting to know what they’re going to do with traffic jams- would it be more efficient to wait, or to find a longer route? All these things make NuTonomy, I believe, a key piece to the future of travel.

On November 6, 2016, levi commented on It’s Time to Whine about the Future of Wine :

Grape growing is already so limited to certain regions of the world, which gives wine its unique tastes… I wonder if tasters all over the world could taste the shift due to global warming. Jokes aside, wine growing is a very interesting sector where innovation can happen for the betterment of many other applications, as there’s a lot of enthusiasts and money circulating in the business. I wonder if NVVA and other wine growers are interested in investing in technologies to control temperatures at scale, or new ways of growing grapes in terms of land use (vertical growing?) and location.

What a smart move! When all the glory is being put into the increasing minute percentages of solar panels’ efficiency, Sunrun is focusing on the service and channels aspect of the industry. I’m interested to learn more about what predictions they will have on increasing innovation in the field, in addition to some of the beneficial (maybe in the future mandatory?) regulations by the government. Also to bring Elon Musk to the discussion, as all solar energy discussion would, what strategic partnerships can they strike with solar city and other manufacturers?

Great line of questioning! It’s always a mystery to me how large corporations focusing on fossil fuels adapt to this trend, to what degree, and how fast. Their partnership with ACCIONA seems like a major stride towards actions beyond investing, and I hope to learn more about it! What projects are they doing jointly? Is it going to be a separate entity in the future? How will the current infrastructure support and benefit from it?

On November 6, 2016, levi commented on Coral Reef or Coral DebReef? :

I agree with Shpiro20. I’m glad to hear relevant companies actively trying to fight global warming especially in tourism, but there has been very few examples of eco-tourism sites that I believe are really trying to educate sustainability and offer tourism successfully. One of the sites I’ve experienced that really nailed it was Wakatobi Dive Resorts in Indonesia (https://www.wakatobi.com/).

The founder of the resort is an ecologist, who believed that the specific combinations of wind, temperature, and currents at these specific cluster of islands would be the perfect place to do research in marine biodiversity. Supported by his two brothers, the resort now stands as more of a retreat: all guests are open to join lectures about the sea and its corals. But education is just the cherry on top- the bulk of support you’ll be giving is by the price of the stay. They’re very transparent about where the money goes to, and how you can get involved. There may be a controversy here because of the limited impact due to its exclusivity, but one can also argue they’re highly targeted in their marketing.

On November 6, 2016, levi commented on Cool Power: A Paradigm Shift? :

I’m amazed! The idea is very much revolutionary for the cold chain business and beyond. Since handling liquid nitrogen requires massive training and infrastructure, it’ll be very interesting to know more about what partnerships they will end up doing in realizing their services, or how much of those will be integrated to the core business as well (Tesla?). I’d imagine this would also impact where their target market is, and how limited they are to expanding to unsupported regions, such as in emerging countries.