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On November 15, 2018, mac2020 commented on Taste the Future: 3D Printing Chocolate at Hershey :

I want one of these chocolate printers in my house! Such a cool idea, but I’m struggling to think of how or why Hershey would want to scale this at a mass level. The culinary/special occasion applications are definitely feasible; however, is there any manufacturing advantage to using AM over traditional techniques for the mass production of chocolate? Right now, the largest benefit appears to be in just creating elaborate shapes and designs for PR events or special catering occasions.

Very interesting topic! I agree that vending machines are in need of a technological and aesthetic refresh, especially in urban areas where space comes at a premium. I wonder if there is opportunity for keeping one modular “shell” and just using 3D printing for the interior fixture that would be perfectly customized to the product. This would allow for frequent changes in product assortment since the fixtures could be relatively easily updated via 3D printing. This way, different companies could also rent out the machines for a limited time, only needing to supply their interior fixture and their product.

This was interesting; I’m surprised that it is such a challenge to automate warehouse picking and packing. I wonder if the use of RFID coupled with basic product dimensions would help in analyzing size of box to use and determining location of SKUs in the warehouse. I think this is the most high-tech example of crowd-sourcing that I have heard of so far. I am interested to see how the digital grid works out for Ocado.

On November 15, 2018, mac2020 commented on Airbnb: Utilizing Machine Learning to Optimize Travel :

So cool! I loved reading this. I always wondered how Airbnb did their price recommendations, and am impressed to learn that there are over 70 factors that they have incorporated into their algorithm. I often notice that different Airbnb listings come up for me vs for a friend when we are both searching for a place to stay, and now I know why! What fascinates me the most is the idea of potentially linking house preferences to Experience preferences and using that data to cross-sell. It would be interesting to see if people who prefer a certain type of accommodation (or even decor, as mentioned in your essay) would also gravitate towards similar Experiences.

On November 15, 2018, mac2020 commented on Crowdsourcing snack food trends at PepsiCo :

Cool topic! I love that Pepsi is building engagement with their customers through crowd-sourcing. You mentioned that most crowd-sourced flavors have been discontinued… were their life cycles shorter than usual compared to the average for Pepsi? I’m wondering if they are meant to be “limited edition” in order to drive excitement and make way for constant inflow of new items, or if they are truly looking for a new flavor to permanently add into their portfolio. I’d love to see sales information to see which flavors have been successful. I agree that Pepsi could bring customers even further into the R&D process, although I don’t know if crowd-sourcing recipes would be feasible. I think it would be great if Pepsi let customers sample multiple recipes for the winning flavors and choose which one tastes best before they go to market with a final recipe.

On November 15, 2018, mac2020 commented on ZOZO’S AMBITION: CAN YOU QUANTIFY “COOL”? :

Interesting article, I’ve never heard of Zozo and I enjoyed learning about them. I’m curious about Zozo Research and how they plan to use machine learning to recognize patterns and predict trends. In this space, would Zozo plan to be more of a fast-follower like H&M and Zara, or would they try to be a trend leader? I feel like their ability to be a trend leader might be limited with just machine learning, but if machine learning is paired with designers, it could really be powerful in getting new trends to market quickly.