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On November 20, 2016, Walter commented on What is the way forward for Coursera? :

I’m a big fan of Coursera and other MOOC providers. While I was at AWS we were constantly working closely with Coursera and some of the other providers like HBX to drive their storage and distribution costs down for their IT infrastructure backbone. The goal of this was to help them better focus their time and funding on the courses and other programs they were offering. I used to use some of the early versions of these back in the day with MITX and some other offerings that Stanford used to provide. Generally I aimed for the free content and structure that the course syllabuses would provide, and then would augment these studies with additional research online. Their transition to a paid model in return for certifications is an interesting and positive move as it provides a return on the investment (time and money) for following through with the course, while at the same time providing tangible legitimacy to the program. I like the idea that you note of partnering with more universities, like they did with Antioch and see this as a great avenue for them to really invest into. The wider the depth and breadth of the services that they can provide, the better. Furthermore, more legitimate and deeper certifications and possibly degrees they can provide might also be helpful for drawing in other users.

Interesting article. I remember reading a lot about this as an undergrad looking at big data and its application in sports. It was early on when Morey was still implementing the idea of accurately tracking information and developing ways to use the data on the court. The articles I read mentioned how Shane Battier (a player for the Rockets) would get a packet of information on the behavior patterns of his opponents, particularly focused on his primary match up for the game. I remember thinking that data like this, while very useful for baseball as was seen with Moneyball, seemed less useful in more fluid sports like Basketball, Hockey, or Soccer. After reading more about how Battier would use the information my mind was largely changed. I think there are limits to the data, but understanding the tendencies of opponents and their overall behavior patterns can help you get a small leg up on them. I’m curious how you see information like this being used in the future and if players might shift toward receiving more regular in game feedback on their performance and that of their opponents.

On November 20, 2016, Walter commented on How to become the next Leo Messi :

Interesting article Cristina. It sounds like an awesome technology that would certainly help draw viewers into the games. I’m curious about the other applications of the technology in sports. As Rob noted above, could it be used for referees to help make better calls? Could it also be integrated as a package with other technologies and sensors to provide a more expanded understanding of the players performance? It’s this second idea that I was particularly intrigued by. With soccer in particular, most athletes prefer to be as light and lean as possible, so has the technology become light enough so as to basically not be noticeable. To this end, if they are already committed to wearing the cameras, could they integrate other sensors showing position on the field, speed, range, and other factors that could allow coaches to get real-time game performance and feedback. The last thing I was considering was how the images might look. With soccer and other similar sports, where the body is looking or moving isn’t always as good of a depiction of what is happening. With racing, attaching the camera to a racers head makes sense as they are often looking in the same direction they are traveling. If they could create a camera to attach to a soccer players head this might help more, as long as it wasn’t too intrusive as to impact performance.

On November 20, 2016, Walter commented on Salesforce is Stealing Einstein’s Thunder :

Great post overall and it raises some interesting issues with Salesforce’s approach to the market. Salesforce has undergone a number of transformations since its launch, but has seemingly followed the same process of many of the other major “as-a-service” providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Like the others, it began as a SaaS offering, eventually offering access to APIs that allowed it connect to other programs, furthering this by offering access to the underlying systems/code that composed the platform itself. It was this last jump that really opened the doors and seems to have come concurrently with its exploration of other possible sales avenues and service capabilities. By opening the platform and allowing others to develop solutions, they also opened up a marketplace for others to sell offerings on top of their platform. I think this move allowed them to more easily tap into these other new offerings like IOT and machine learning, as other developers and communities can help augment some of the research and analysis on that front.

On November 20, 2016, Walter commented on REDFIN: USING DIGITIZATION TO FLIP THE HOUSING MARKET :

Great post and I agree that it’s a very interesting and disruptive business model. The focus on making the home buying process easier and easier by digitizing aspects of the process and minimizing the pain of having to visit home after home is very useful. I’m curious if they have been looking at integrating other statistics and analyses into the process either on the buyer side or seller side. For buyers have the considered gathering more data about the buyer in terms of their preferences, backgrounds, or tolerances related to schools in the area, crime, or other publicly available information. From sellers have they also considered gathering information on the owners history and experience with the home? As you note, it seems like there are a lot of opportunities to continue exploring the digitization of the home buying process so I’m interested to see how Redfin will continue to grow.

Thanks for the posting, Brian. It’s interesting learning about McDonald’s efforts to be more efficient, particularly given the 1986 discovery about their products. It seems that even despite their efforts to be more efficient though, that they could be doing more in other areas. As Adam notes above, transportation costs among others might yield greater efficiencies. Have they pursued alternative menu items or new campaigns in this area that might help minimize the consumption of meat? Kelly touches on this in her response and it sounds like a great avenue for them to pursue.

On November 7, 2016, Walter commented on Samsung Electronics : Green & Eco Management :

Thanks for the posting, Christian. It’s interesting learning about the initiatives and steps Samsung has put into place to try and cut down on emissions and drive other efficiencies. I’m a bit surprised that they would focus on the energy intensity, rather than the actual consumption rate. Are they taking measures in this direction concurrently with their intensity efforts? The second part I find interesting is that they were looking at the e-waste side. I wonder if they could pursue something like what Ikea is doing in terms of recycling and reusing parts in the same way. It seems like there would be a lot of opportunity on this side that they could also pursue as it will also address some of the upfront consumption parts as well.

On November 7, 2016, Walter commented on TESLA: THE CHANGE IS…NOW? :

Thanks for the post. It’s a very interesting subject and it seems like fertile ground for a lot of improvement. Is their more information around the amount of electricity needed per mile compared to gas consumed broken out by CO2 production? It seems like this will be a critical part of the debate as things move forward. It would also be interesting to see how this number has changed over time. As I understand it, Tesla’s newer cars have onboard computers that allow the company to send updates and other optimizations. Theoretically this might allow them to create more efficiency in the operations of their cars.

Thanks for the great post. It’s very thorough with a lot of supporting evidence. I’m curious to hear more about Emma and Andrew’s comments about the “solar as a service” model compared to buying the panels outright. I wonder how the economics of the two options would compare. If it’s anything like Cloud Computing or the way most “as a service” IT providers operate, it sounds like a promising model. Are other solar tax incentives being considered as well, or will they consistently dissipate over the coming years? It sounds like that is one of the most promising parts about their endeavors.

Thanks for the post and appreciate the tables and diagrams that you included. It sounds like Mars is making the right moves to focus on cutting emissions related to the supply of the cocoa. I think the replanting idea sounds very interesting, particularly if they could balance the consumption with the growth. Further, the increasing the efficiency of their consumption processes also seems like a valuable approach and seems like it would have increased short term positive impacts. I’m curious whether they have done anything else to make their output and production side more efficient as well.