• Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 19, 2016, SU commented on Stopping a Heart Attack Before It Happens :

Thanks for sharing this. I’m really excited about the shift towards more preventative healthcare and think there are opportunities for all stakeholders including the general population, healthcare providers, governments, and insurance providers to benefit. I’m curious though how we’ll get over some key hurdles. Firstly, It seems like many of these predictive technologies get better with larger and more comprehensive data sets. However, I’m curious what it takes to have patients comfortable with having extensive amounts of data on them tracked and available for analysis. Data can definitely be obfuscated and evaluated at non-personal level for predictive use; however, the storage of it still leaves it at risk for data breaches. Beyond that, I’m curious how those in more difficult socio-economic classes can equally (1) provide their data (e.g., through their smartphones or fitness trackers), and (2) subsequently accessing their data and relevant insights? Lastly, I’m curious how the various data sources all come together to paint a comprehensive picture of a patient – not just medical markers but data on behaviours and consumption (e.g., fitness, nutrition, etc.). There appears to be different apps and interventions that are collecting data on specific things but I wonder how this all comes together – especially since some of the gatherers of this data might have different interests (e.g., MyFitnessPal collecting data on what you eat).

This is really exciting, Georgia! This data is a competitive advantage for LinkedIn so I’m curious how it utilizes it moving forward. If it was to make it more openly accessible to third-party developers and governments it could create a significant amount of value overall as these players could find creative applications and uses for it. However, if LinkedIn prices access to the data too high or decides to keep it all to itself it may capture more value for itself but likely also generate less value for others. I also wonder if there are notable gaps in the dataset, specifically for more blue-collar workers or industries (e.g., construction) that are less likely to utilize the platform, and if LinkedIn has any intentions on filling in these gaps. Would love to hear your thoughts on these topics!

Thanks for sharing! Robo-advisors are a positive development for investors as they put more pressure on banks and wealth management experts to actually provide value to justify their fees. That said, these upstarts are definitely facing obstacles in widespread adopting. Through their success, many of these upstarts have appeared to encourage incumbents to get into the ring with their own robo-advisor offerings (created in-house or through acquisition) [1]. What’s even more difficult is that some industry experts project that standalone “robo-advisors need between $16 billion and $40 billion in assets under management to break even” [2]. Incumbents can offer robo-advisors at a loss to cross-sell customers on a variety of other financial products whereas most robo-advisor startups lack the breadth of financial products and existing customer base to remain competitive and survive without large rounds of funding. I’m curious to see how this plays out!


This is an exciting development and I hope they are successful! I’m curious though how the government is going about competing for top tech talent against tech employers. Many technology employers are fighting over technical talent and competing through sizable base compensation, lucrative equity packages, attractive perks (e.g., onsite massages, free lunch and dinner, etc.). I also wonder how the government can adapt to ensure that the type of culture that these employees have become used to can be replicated, at least the positive parts, while still working harmoniously with the standards that the government is used to. There definitely is room for friction between the two cultures and their respective approaches – for instance the technologists may lean more towards moving quickly and learning from efforts that are live while the traditional public sector employees may lean towards extensive discussion, planning, and seeking buy-in, resulting in ultimately slower roll-outs. In case you haven’t read it, President Obama raised some interesting points about how government even differs from the business world in its approach and considerations ( – this sentiment likely extends further towards the technology sector in particular.

On November 19, 2016, SU commented on Digitizing the Diabetes Prevention Program :

Thanks for sharing this! Omada Health’s work is laudable and inspiring. I’m curious though how they assist patients, especially those that are older or from difficult socio-economic situations, which lack the necessary tools/infrastructure to be digitally connected (i.e., they have no smartphone or internet at home)? I’m also curious if they’ve been able to take a similar preventative approach and apply it to different interventions (e.g., heart disease, mental health, etc.). I agree that taking a preventative approach to many health issues can avoid significant distress for those effected while bringing down costs for governments, employers, and insurance providers. I’m excited to see what best practices emerge in encouraging behavioral change.

Hi Joanna – it’s great to see that there are districts attempting to tackle such large problems as climate change and integrating this into the way they operate. I never thought of districts and subsequently schools serving as a platform to start shaping how students think of climate change but it makes a lot of sense. I’m a big fan of experiential learning and can see how students can be both educated, inspired, and empowered to try to think of solutions to environmental issues. Surprisingly “electricity makes up about 80 percent of the district’s utility bill” which is roughly $130 million [1]. Considering this I wonder if the district should move even faster to invest in energy efficiency. Especially since they are so susceptible to increases in utility prices, for instance the most recent increase is leading to LAUSD paying $24 million more over 5 years [1]. Additionally, they may be able to benefit from having students and staff try to reduce resource consumption in school facilities.


On November 6, 2016, Saksham commented on The Education of a Reluctant Businessman :

Hey Chris – thanks for sharing this. I never knew that Patagonia was so environmentally forward and has been so before it became trendy! Personally, I can see how knowing this would motivate a certain group of consumers, including myself, to purchase from the brand even if prices were higher. I wonder though whether there is more reputational risk for a company that starts from the position that they are environmentally forward but then is exposed to have some faults, which you raised, versus a company that makes no such claims and on occasion engages in green initiatives that might have an immediate financial return (e.g., energy efficiency efforts). It’s also interesting to observe Patagonia’s recent campaign focused on “degrowth”. Often in society we connote growth with being positive. In reality though, we have finite resources and growth can actually be a bad thing. Patagonia is taking this further and has invested in “Yerdle — a Web startup whose stated mission is to reduce new-product purchases by twenty-five per cent — as a way for people, and even the company itself, to swap or give away used Patagonia gear.” [1] I’m curious if Patagonia was public whether they could still pursue such efforts? Would they be able to make a compelling enough case to shareholders that this was a part of their unique value proposition to customers?

Hey Zack – this is really interesting! I didn’t even think about how rising temperatures would impact atheletes and sports organizations. Beyond just athelete health, it seems that many sporting and entertainment organizations have much to gain (or save) financially in the long-run from turning to green initiatives. For instance, the Pocono Raceway installed 40,000 solar panels at a $15 million expense [1]. Since doing so, “the track’s annual energy bill has been cut by $500,000” and they expect to recoup the cost in up to 10 years [1]. I think another interesting development is that as more attractions such as stadiums and malls shift to sustainable means of power, the large groups of people frequenting them will become more comfortable to this being the norm and more open to doing the same.


On November 6, 2016, Saksham commented on SolarCity: Powering the Climate Change Revolution? :

Thanks for sharing this! I really like how SolarCity and Tesla are collaborating to push the solar industry forward, especially on such attractive consumer applications of the technology. I think what’s really compelling is not any one of the technologies proposed by the two but the combined appeal of the full package of products. For instance, the solar roof in isolation is not overly appealing since often times more power can be generated than is consumable during the day, resulting in some states “abandoning payments for daytime rooftop solar” [1]. That said, when you introduce the Powerwall, which can serve as a battery pack, this becomes appealing since you can store excess power from peak times to use during offpeak hours. I’m curious though how these technologies become mainstream successes. Despite rapidly decreasing technology costs, the upfront costs for solar installations (and likely the Solar Roof) and home batter packs are still very high and this is only from a US perspective. Looking more broadly, you end up with a bit of a chicken and egg situation where you need enough scale to bring prices down but until prices are lower you can’t get sufficient adoption. I wonder how these technologies are brought down to an even lower price point so they can be adopted in developing countries.


On November 6, 2016, Saksham commented on Power Struggles at Amazon Web Services :

Radhika – thanks for sharing this! I wonder if beyond just getting cleaner sources of power Amazon can leverage AI to make its data centers more efficient. Google has been leveraging DeepMind to do so and has reduced energy use for cooling its data centers, which were already fairly efficient, up to 40%.