Nathan Nemon

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On November 15, 2018, Nathan Nemon commented on Closed Innovation at Facebook :

Very well written piece on a highly relevant topic! It’s clear you’ve offered some nuanced insight based on personal knowledge and experience. Some questions: when you say Facebook is “commoditizing content creation and completely controlling consumption” such that they get the whole pie, I wonder to which pie you refer? The content Facebook owns is certainly highly valued by 3rd parties, but Facebook is not the only source of this information (Google’s search analytics is arguably more valuable when matched with generally available user demographic data) nor does it own hardware; I found it to be a stretch to compare to Apple’s app platform to which companies really do need access to execute their digital strategies. Secondly, I find it a little difficult to understand the balance between desiring to protect user data and still seeking valuable business development opportunities — if integration slows, how will Facebook grow in the future? If it plans to deliver all services and value itself by building new applications on its platform, I think experience becomes critical. I agree that user share may be more important than delivering CX excellence, but the threat of new entrants looms (e.g., from large platforms used in different countries) if you’re not customer obsessed. I will say that as customer experiences become even more invasive in peoples’ lives (e.g., VR, increased data sharing / over longer duration), the need for control and oversight is increasingly more significant (both from security / legal and moral perspectives). As for blockchain, do you view the speculative nature of the underlying protocol’s value as an indicator that it could go the route of the widely used protocols of today? In other words, as blockchain and its application become more ubiquitous and a few winners emerge, will the true value generators be the applications or, as you suggest, will the value of the currencies themselves be most substantial?

On November 15, 2018, Nathan Nemon commented on Printing: Speed :

Super cool tech and well-written article! I’m left with a couple questions: 1. what is the path toward cost-parity with existing manufacturing techniques? I understand drivers are advanced technical labor and limited output rate of the machines, but I’m curious when the million shoe capacity level will be achieved? 2. I know it’s still early, but I’m curious if Adidas has a plan to support the communities in which its labor force currently work as this manufacturing innovation takes hold. Ultimately, this type of 3D printing will provide not only enhanced customizability but also cost savings as the price of inputs (e.g., labor) are driven down. When that happens, many manual laborers that Adidas has employed will be laid off. As a larger societal challenge, how can we redistribute the increased economic profits to Adidas from lower costs to communities to avoid the worse detriments of job displacement? This certainly is a challenge extending beyond Adidas (and arguably its responsibilities), but I’ll be curious to see if / how Adidas chooses to address this reality as it approaches.

On November 15, 2018, Nathan Nemon commented on Open Innovation in Pharma R&D :

To build on Liz’s point about management, I wonder if CO-ADD’s founder and team have the right skillset to make CO-ADD most valuable as in addition to having technical expertise relevant to screening for anti-biotics. In other words, given CO-ADDs unique and collaborative approach, are there lessons to be applied from other industries about idea gathering, prototyping, testing, etc. with which the current team may have minimal experience. If this is the case, they might be able to bring in outside help with less knowledge of the drug industry but with ideas about how to streamline the ideation and product development process. This could ultimately facilitate stronger partnerships with big pharmaceuticals and improve the long-term viability of CO-ADD.

On November 15, 2018, Nathan Nemon commented on Waymo: The future of (not) driving :

I do think it will take a while before we can expect an all-AV scenario, Brian, however I do think that we will get to a high level of adoption (~90%) by 2050. This is namely for the safety this technology brings. Although lacking in many ways, there are gun control regulations that reduce the prevalence in society; I think we can expect the same due to the risks to human life. Similar to guns, I think there will be dedicated spaces for car enthusiasts willing to pay for their opportunity to drive in public areas (and drive internal combustion cars as long as they’re willing to pay for the cost of emissions).

@ssingayapally did you encounter discussion on the need for Lidar technology and its role in providing data for Waymo’s ML algorithms? I know other companies such as Tesla don’t view this technology as necessary so am curious to learn more about why Waymo and others believe the extra visibility it provides is necessary / worth the extra cost and physical impact to vehicle design. Also, does the fact that Waymo is partnering with FCA and Jaguar to obtain vehicles as opposed to manufacturing themselves pose any risks to long term development of their product?

On November 15, 2018, Nathan Nemon commented on Organovo: bioprinting tissue to speed up drug development :

Fascinating stuff! Did you get a sense for what are the largest barriers to profitability? Are they the technical challenges or are they demand-based? A few years back, I attended on a talk on biomedical 3-D printing in which the company was using collagen protein to print organic structures — is Organovo utilizing this? Also, I’m really glad you brought up the ethical concerns question. It seems to me in the near term, it is a positive outcome to use Organovo product for testing instead of animals, however, as they and other companies become more proficient at creating tissue, we will certainly have to reckon with the implications of artificial biology. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari examines these developments as well as the growth of artificial intelligence and what impact the two trends will have on different classes in society (the wealthy more-so in the near-term).

Nice piece about a topic I’ve been curious about! The recommendation engine at Spotify, namely with respect to the Discover Weekly playlist, has been a great source for new music and consistently offers songs I like. Somewhat related to what Ian was asking, I’m very curious how Spotify can use its insight to provide value to artists. I understand Netflix has used its ML and user data heavily to create original content; if not possible to create music or hire artists themselves, I’m wondering if Spotify could at least provide insights. Maybe they can develop a new revenue stream by supplying music labels with music insights? One concern I’ve had is if the learning algorithms and listener grouping will ultimately make more unique, original music less available. In other words, will we just listen to music that other groups of folks are also listening to? How do we remain open to new music that others may not have found yet?