TOM Petty

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This is interesting. What are the patents for if not to protect Align’s rights to the technology? 3D printing technology may be more and more ubiquitous, but I would’ve assumed that the true value of the technology is (1) the dental scanning technology and (2) the technology that shapes the teeth into the desired outcome one brace at a time. This is less to do with its hardware but its software. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see what Align is doing to maintain its competitive edge. The fact that startups and even adventurous individuals are considered viable competition makes me wonder if this space is adequately regulated. After all, inappropriate dentures are a surefire way to cause lasting damage to one’s teeth.

On November 15, 2018, TOM Petty commented on Open Innovation at Tesla – Time for a Change? :

Two thoughts. What does Tesla mean by “in good faith”? This is very vague language and potentially malicious. For example, would Tesla still avoid reinforcing its right to its patents if it starts being beat out by a competitor? Tesla might paint this as an altruistic attempt to spur the electric vehicle industry, but it could at any time pull the plug on this. As a conservative competitor, you can never be too sure of where Tesla falls.
This leads me to my second thought. All of the more successful electric carmakers today are all traditional carmakers, who first started cranking out hybrids, but are increasingly turning to fully electric vehicles. This seems to show that Tesla was ultimately not successful in generating more competition in the electric vehicle space; otherwise, more boutique electric car manufacturers would probably have emerged on the scene. Perhaps these traditional behemoths would not have been able to do so without Tesla’s open innovation philosophy. But it is noteworthy that it is only the same companies with all the resources in the world who have been able to develop competitive electric vehicles.

On November 13, 2018, TOM Petty commented on Will 3-D Printing Take Us to Mars? Relativity Space Thinks So. :

This is a very cool application of additive manufacturing, and I am keen to see whether the company will be successful in its venture. Even if its rockets don’t work, however, the successful development of the largest metal 3D printer could in and of itself become the company’s main product, so there may be potential for Relativity outside of space travel too.
It’s worth pointing out that it isn’t clear from the article whether Relativity’s 100-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide rocket is intended for orbital or suborbital launches, though obviously the company’s ambitions for interplanetary transport implies an eventual goal for the former. For reference, SpaceX’s current orbital launcher is the 233-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide Falcon 9, while Blue Origin’s still in development orbital launcher is the 313-foot-tall, 23-foot-wide New Glenn. SpaceX’s Falcon 1 was a much smaller orbital launcher that was scrapped in favour of the Falcon 9 due to the former offering worse economics to the company than the latter. (On the other hand, Blue Origin’s much smaller New Shepard is meant for suborbital launches.) It will be interesting to see how and whether the economics of the business of space will permit such a launcher size in the market.

One interesting issue that was brought up in this article is why ridership doubled in the course of a decade, when the population of Singapore rose just ~20%. Is car ownership declining? Are alternate forms of transport becoming less popular? Are people just taking more trips per person? If so, why? Of course, knowing the answer to these questions will not be enough for the SMRT to correct its problems; its use of machine learning technology to do so sounds fascinating, and seems like a great way to optimize the system. That said, public transit is a bigger problem than any individual form of transportation, and the government of Singapore may wish to think of the movement of people in a broader context as it ponders what to do with SMRT.

This is an interesting take on the opportunities and risks underlying Airbnb’s open innovation strategy. Despite the warnings in the last paragraph, Airbnb does not – to my knowledge – have any truly formidable foes in the short-term housing marketplace for the time being, even in the absence of any further innovations coming out of Airbnb. It will be interesting to see if Airbnb will be able to sustain that lead, or if something as yet unthought of will disrupt both Airbnb and the industry that Airbnb disrupted into existence.

On November 13, 2018, TOM Petty commented on Earth to everyone: we need your help! (Open innovation at NASA) :

I would have liked to see a couple of specific examples of things that NASA has accomplished from open innovation. Nevertheless, the discussion on the impact of open innovation on NASA’s own organization is very interesting. Ultimately, NASA’s awkward positioning between scientific dreamer of humanity’s future and bureaucratic department limited by taxpayer funding and national security puts it in a difficult situation when it comes to any sort of innovation. It will be interesting to see if these different incentive structures between NASA and the commercial space industry lead to very different types of innovation.

On November 13, 2018, TOM Petty commented on The London bus is dead. Long live the London bus. :

This is an interesting article about the interplay between a public good – transportation – and its regulator-cum-operator, and the private sector, as represented by CityMapper. To your point on the profitability of routes, what’s interesting here is that the demand for transport and the supply for transport are in some ways mutually reinforcing: Real estate prices tend to be higher in better-connected areas. However, traditionally, transport infrastructure has been much less flexible than real estate pricing effects. If transportation addresses this issue and becomes more malleable, conceivably it could allow a better equilibrium to develop between accessibility and affordability. As you’ve noted, however, there are many factors at play that will frustrate this effort.

This is a really interesting summary of the different ways that Activision has utilized machine learning in its games. You’ve also given some interesting suggestions for how Activision can continue utilizing this technology in future endeavours.

I’m not sure what you mean by “microtransactions” in the context of this article, as paid-for additions to video games (such as character skins, extra features, or entire new levels) are already commonplace in the industry. What may be interesting is the way that the industry measures to what extent such additional content is acceptable to the consumer before there is backlash. However, I don’t know that this is a machine learning question per se.