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On November 20, 2016, rand commented on Tesla: No More Driving :

Great post Atul! It has been fun to watch the strides Telsa has made in self-driving cars. Do you think this is a winner-take-all market (i.e. once Telsa does this, they will license or lease the technology out to other OEMs) or something that is going to become commonplace in the future? It sounds like a lot of companies are racing to perfect this technology – you mentioned Google, Apple, Uber, and BMW among others. While the benefit to a company like Uber or Google is quite obvious – will having an “autonomous” feature for an OEM really move the needle in terms of car sales? I feel like most people want the assurance of being able to drive their own cars and may be hesitant to adopt such technology until it is widespread and endorsed by the government. Speaking of – what role will government regulation play in the future of autonomous cars? Once again, great post and cool topic!

On November 20, 2016, rand commented on Omada: preventing diabetes through digital therapeutics :

Edmundo – great post. I think this is an admirable initiative and a very smart concept. I strong agree with your idea that Omada should also require patients to wear health trackers to monitor resting heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep metrics and other stats on a daily basis. My biggest question is how is Omada motivating people to work out? I appreciate that coaches can provide feedback on diet via the pictures they are sent, but I am curious what measures can be taken to promote daily exercise and fitness. If clients relapse into poor eating habits and less exercise, what can be done? I’d also like to know more about the 155/187 patients that were in the program. Are these patients opting in? If so, is there naturally a higher success rate given that it is a proactive cohort? Once again, terrific idea – I look forward to learning more!

Great post! Awesome to see a start-up focused on using advancements in technology to tackle health related issues. As some of the prior posts have mentioned, I agree that it is key for Kinsa to scale quickly. I imagine this is a highly competitive space. What barriers to entry (if any) does Kinsa have? It seems like the device is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and that thermometer technology has been around for a long time. Wouldn’t it be easy for an established player to release a similar product and take market share? Also are people comfortable with sharing their information, despite it being anonymous – the alternative being a regular thermometer? I am also curious to see what the “user threshold” is in order to start seeing benefits from the data / analytics. Very cool post!

On November 20, 2016, rand commented on Garmin- A Tale of Playing Catch and Copycat :

MC –

Great post! It is interesting to see how Garmin’s share price has evolved over time. I agree that the emergence of the smartphone disrupted Garmin’s hold on the personal navigation device market. With respect to its value proposition, I can’t see why anyone would purchase a portable navigation system when you could use Google Maps or Waze for free. I also think that Garmin’s push into “wearables” may be too little too late. Although, Garmin devices are compelling for athletic enthusiasts, such as triathletes, I think that advances in technology are leaving little room for device differentiation aside from software. Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Jawbone, and other new entrants are making an aggressive push into this space. I am curious to see what this means for the future of Garmin. Nice work!

Alex – very interesting post. We are certainly seeing more and more “smart-home” products enter the market today. Samsung has made a noticeable push into the home appliance sector over the last few years. Although I am not surprised to see the company offer a digitized refrigerator, a price point of $6,000 is extremely difficult to rationalize, especially as technology improves and decreases in price each year. Amazon has recently released its “dash” buttons that cost $4.99. I see this as a much more affordable solution to a similar problem. I’d also challenge the notion that people need their schedules, etc. synced with their refrigerator these days. My guess is that families have already shifted to Apple or Google calendars which can easily be sync’d with multiple smartphone devices. I definitely think there is a play to be made in smart home appliances, although I am not sure the smart refrigerator is a compelling purchase at a $6,000 price point. Regardless, it is very interested to see Samsung offer such a product. Great post!

On November 7, 2016, rand commented on “Fake snow”: longer ski season, but at what cost? :

Karla – this is a great post! Although I love to ski and used to live in SF, I have never been to Squaw Valley. I was really impressed with Squaw Valley’s green initiatives until I saw that Sugar Bowl utilizes 100% green energy! Wow, what a stat! If Sugar Bowl can get there, Squaw Valley should be able to make that happen in short order. I wonder if Tesla’s new solar roofs and super batteries can help the solar energy contribution you highlight in your table able. The new roofs made by Tesla are almost identical to current roofing styles so they wouldn’t be an issue to use on the ski resort and are supposedly much more efficient . In addition, the super batteries can store massive amounts of energy so that the resort’s facilities can rely on solar energy even if the sun isn’t out!

Really cool post!

Eunji – this is a AWESOME post. Sounds like a VERY cool company. I was blown away by some of the facts – satellites the size of a shoe box circulating the globe every 90 minutes – holy cow!! I think that data analytics will play a massive role in the future of this company. I think it is an incredible effort and am impressed by how they photograph the earth on a daily basis. I think the key for this business is how do they maximize the potential of the photos they are taking. I agree that data analytics can help unlock this value. I also had one quick question regarding the number of “shoe box” satellites the company is launching into orbit. You mention the company plants to have 100 in orbit by the end of the year. At what point does the company start worrying about satellite pollution – i.e. too many satellites orbiting the plant / crashing into each other? Is that even a reasonable concern at this stage? Something worth considering going forward? Great work!

On November 7, 2016, rand commented on Southern California Edison: The power to change :

Phil – great post! I spent the past two years living out in CA and I am beyond impressed by the aggressive green initiatives supported by the state. It is a true testament to the eco friendly culture that CA is known for. I really enjoyed reading about the SCE’s two pronged approach to lowering energy consumption in Southern CA. I agree that electricity monitoring is a key component to energy efficiency. I found it particularly interesting how you highlighted that peak energy demands (at least in Southern CA, I am sure it is similar in other states) occurs when (1) people get home from work and use AC and (2) AC used to sleep at night. Tesla is also making massive strides in the energy conservation arena. The company has recently released a series of extremely efficient solar panels that are designed to look identical to a variety of rooftops. What is particularly unique about what Tesla is doing is the fact that they have also designed a home battery pack that can store energy collected during the day via sunlight and then use that energy in the afternoons / evenings when energy demand is at its highest. Very cool stuff and thanks for shedding light on such an interesting topic!

This is a great article. The current situation is Detroit is tragic and needs to be rectified. It is hard to see what was once such an industrious city fall on such hard times. It has been said that the auto industry that helped build Detroit is also what crippled it. The city is extremely widespread and lacks critical infrastructure and accessible forms of public transportation. I applaud the green initiative that Detroit and its citizens have embraced. While I think it is a step in the right direction, is an eco friendly approach really going to save this city or does the government / city of Detroit need to invest (not sure where the money will come from) in the proper infrastructure that will enable the city to prosper? If this infrastructure investment can have an emphasis on eco friendly solutions that would be even better. However, the city really requires basic infrastructure needs in order to survive. If not, it is in a seriously troubled situation. Great post and thanks for bringing attention to such an important issue!

David – this is an extremely interesting blog. I have lived in both South Florida and New York City. I was actually living / working in the southern part of Manhattan when the city was hit by Hurricane Sandy, flooded, and left without power. It was a pretty crazy experience – no power, no open stores, and limited people in one of the world’s greatest cities. The situation in South Florida is even worse, given how much of the state sits below sea level. I was shocked by some of your discoveries re: the insurance industry, especially that the NFIP still owes $24 billion to the US government. It doesn’t seem like there is any near team solution given the NFIP’s funding issues and people’s inability to afford higher insurance premiums on their homes. Is there another alternative or solution that will work going forward? Thanks for bringing attention to this topic!