Alexander Levinskiy

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On May 2, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on Valve and Steam – A Gamer’s Dream :

Great post and interesting insights! It’d interesting to see the how quickly the quality of virtual headsets improve and how strong would be the network effects on the same platform. If history of consoles repeats then, as noted in our Prof’s HBR article, a small incremental change by Oculus and just a few hit games on it would be enough to make customers switch VR headset. Additionally, I wonder what are your thoughts on expanding set of active gamers that could remain active even after the end of lockdowns – e.g. how many people might realize that CS:GO experience is actually more fulfilling and cheaper than Dave&Busters arcades?

On May 2, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on Practo: Climbing the pandemic ladder :

Interesting article and very relevant to the current events! I wonder if telemedicine in India may also solve the problem of relatively expensive “branded generic” drugs that are being de-facto promoted by traditional local doctors. This of course will predicate on the possibility of online prescriptions being allowed by the regulation. With regards to Practo it would be interesting to see if the subscription-based model and network effects would be enough to protect the platform from multi-homing on both sides. I presume the doctors might want to increase their utilization, while patients will likely want to shop around for better-quality doctors/lower cost of health service.

On May 2, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on A24 and the Digital Democratization of Independent Films During COVID :

Interesting post! I am curious how the studios are even able to shoot the movies in the current environment so there probably could be disruption on the supply side as well. If it is the case, I wonder if streaming platforms unaffiliated with particular studios like Hulu or AppleTV would be actually more interested in indie movies as supply of high-quality movies from the larger studios will likely be scarce for another year or two.

On April 21, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on How to be UBER successful at enterprise scale AI :

Great overview.
I wonder if Uber can leverage its existing technological capabilities and organizational infrastructure/culture to move aggressively into adjacent sectors like personal finance, sport/diet recommendations, etc. Alternatively, could they lend their AI/ML capabilities and know-hows to other tech players?
On top of that I wonder if scaling computational power needs (especially AVs take off) would require Uber to venture into its own data centers or they could still outsource it to the cloud providers.

On April 21, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on The Next Rembrandt :

Fun post, I liked the embedded media gifs!
I wonder if they can monetize/capture value by creating a digital super-archive of all masterpieces to protect cultural legacy from any accidents (I bet the Great Library of Alexandria would pay a lot for this service if only it existed in 48 BC). National governments and/or culturally-oriented endowments could be interested in such a project.
Another interesting venture could be trying to untangle those masterstrokes’ patterns and use them to better explain Rembrandt’s genius or actually try to create a new original art “a la Rembrandt”. Although the value of such art could be low per se it would be an interesting proposition for mass market applications (e.g. Threadless’ prints).

On April 21, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on TOMRA – Potatoes to the Right, Rocks to the Left :

Interesting post! I worked in mining before HBS and appreciate the details on sorting applications you mentioned here.
The challenge I saw was that the value creation could be unclear for the mining customer as it has to commit somewhat significant capex before being sure in the end-results. Since sorting is only one element of a complex processing chain it is very difficult to foresee whether it will be successfully integrated into production line. For this reason I wonder if TOMRA could integrate vertically (at least with its software) to provide more comprehensive solutions.
Another source of worry for the mining company could be a lack of comfort with sharing its operating data with a third party. For example, the company could be afraid to lose its competitive advantage for operating a certain type of mines if TOMRA makes this know-how widespread.

On April 21, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on NVIDIA’s Winning Platform Strategy with CUDA :

Interesting. Thanks for the reply!

On March 25, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on NVIDIA’s Winning Platform Strategy with CUDA :

Great post, I have never come across such a succinct explanation of NVIDIA moat.
The platform seems to be well protected for the moment, but longer-term I wonder if the performance eventually reaches the plateau (i.e. becomes “good enough”), NVIDIA’s hardware architecture standardizes to bring down costs from larger scale while faster roll-out cycles lose the significance. If that happens, then the competitors should be able to quickly reverse-engineer the most advanced and popular CUDA-GPU integrative solution, copy CUDA syntax, make it all open-source and let the competitive market forces to lower the costs even further to win the competition with NVIDIA. Although this IBM-to-PC scenario happened to other industries multiple times I am curious if you have any understanding what is the runaway for current NVIDIA’s advantage and whether they could establish new moats utilizing their ample cash flows.

On March 24, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on Haven – A safe and steady logistics platform :

Neat post!
I am curious if Haven could leverage their data/expertise and customs/banks relationship to provide higher value-add service to the clients like advising on the most cost-efficient logistics, reducing freight times by optimizing schedule, etc. The management of a similar company, Flexport (https://www.flexport.com/our-vision/), has been talking about general inefficiencies in the antiquated (e.g. paper work is still the most popular way of communication/logging the data) and consolidated (i.e. low incentives to innovate) industry that could be optimized to draw more customers to the tech-savvy platform.

On March 24, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on Alphasights: Purveyors of Knowledge :

Interesting note, thanks for sharing!
I would be interested to see if Alphasight eventually moves into digitizing/archiving all the information that experts provide and then cross-sell it as an additional product – e.g. now it would be interested to read how politics/economists thought about Spanish flu in the beginning of the past century. That would effectively leverage the commoditization of information (commodities like gold could be indeed appreciate with the passage of time) to prevent clients from leaving the platform.

On February 12, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on Wealthsimple – A Winner in Investment Management :

Thanks for your post, Russell. I wonder how you estimate the chances of survival for Wealthsimple in the event of market downturn or subdued returns – do you think their investors are sophisticated enough to stay rational and keep money in the system or they would be disappointed by returns lower than the numbers shown on their landing page (9% for the US stocks)? Subsequently, if there is a decrease in their AUM, would they have to increase fees for those who remained loyal? On top of that, I would be interested to see if tech-giants like Apple (likely in partnership with big financial incumbents) could create similar product with more sophisticated questionnaires and superior functionality all at zero fees (due to their scale).

On February 11, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on GoodRx: Winning in the Prescription Drug Market :

Interesting post. It seems that although the TAM in the US might be relatively small – it’d be interesting to see the numbers on mobile-savvy price-conscious customers among those with high-deductible or no insurance plans? – they can grow internationally, for example, in India where over 80% of generics purchases are out-of-pocket. In addition, it’d even more exciting opportunity (in the US) if they could do the same trick with insurance plan choice optimizer. On the flip side, I see the challenge for GoodRx in their use of private data and potential risks of security related to that – basically they have a digital database of, say, insulin-consumers which can be sought after by advertisers, etc.

On February 11, 2020, Alexander Levinskiy commented on Garmin – Getting lost in the changing navigation maze :

Interesting article. I wonder if Garmin can repeat its unfortunate story of failure in auto segment with their dominance in fitness now. It seems that Apple Watch is going to win the competition for sophisticated users by leveraging iOS as a platform for the apps and tight integration with their phones, not saying about healthcare tracking where Apple may win just because of the scale. Moreover, Garmin fitness trackers are also attacked from the low-end of the spectrum with much more cheaper Fitbits, etc. Further, I’d say that outdoor segment may also face a threat from ever-increasing quality of other smartphone-navigators and trackers.