C. Xu

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On March 23, 2020, C. Xu commented on Palantir Technologies: Intelligence as a Service :

Interest read!

I guess in my mind, the very obvious counter to the sustainability of the model is regulation. Will the U.S. government allow a private institution to hold that much power? I would err on the no side. Does that mean Palantir will get nationalized? I don’t think so either, but I can envision a world in which it gets turned into a public private partnership, with capped profits and stringent operating restrictions. Along a similar vain, the company has been rumored to go public for a while now. But can a company of such national interest be governed by a select number of large private shareholders who might have very different incentives that are not in the best interest of the country at large? Would be a very interesting proposition to see, but maybe that is part of the reason why the IPO has still not happened to this day.

On March 23, 2020, C. Xu commented on Instacart – A Platform Thriving in a Pandemic :

Interesting read!

Agree that a key risk to Instacart is big grocery retailers doing it on their own. I don’t see a world in which that doesn’t happen to be honest, and what could then happen on Instacart is adverse selection, where the large, at scale retailers that have enough volume to warrant their own online delivery do it on their own and Instacart is left with smaller, less known retailers that don’t have the necessary volume to warrant their own investment. Unfortunately, that would also mean fewer economies of scale for Instacart and a much more complex supply chain, which could mean the effective end of the business.

On March 23, 2020, C. Xu commented on MasterClass – Mastering Scale as Edutainment Platform? :

Super interesting read!

I do question the sustainability of the model. Firstly, I don’t know how many ongoing master class users there are, as most classes as you point out are not going deeper into one topic, but rather broader across different topics. So from that perspective, are there really that many users that look at one cooking class, then jump to a class on basketball, then to a class on movies etc.? If these users do not necessarily exist at scale, the subscription value proposition is not as clear to me. An alternative beneficiary of the subscription model would be someone who repeatedly watches the same classes over and over. But again I wonder if that is realistic – unlike TV shows or even movies that can be re-watched many times, I doubt that online classes have a similar kind of appeal. So if there are limited repeat watchers out there, and also limited people that continuously watch a number of different videos on Masterclass, who really benefits from the subscription model’s value proposition?

On February 10, 2020, C. Xu commented on DJI: Winning in consumer drones :

Interesting read! I think another big question the Company will inevitably have to consider as it scales is around regulation. I am just thinking about the examples of airports shutting down due to flying drones. As with many disruptive technologies, once you reach significant scale, a superior product itself might not be enough anymore to sustain yourself (an extreme case would be Juul). In particular because drones are leveraging a public good (i.e. air space), they might have to be prepared for stricter regulations around when and where drones can be flown, which could impact their growth trajectory.

On February 10, 2020, C. Xu commented on Please Buy Our Paper, Anyone But Wall Streeters :

Very interesting read! I think another very important point is that local news probably have a disproportionate impact on many people’s broader opinions – i.e. something happening at national scale might impact an individual’s perspective on a political party or an individual politician, but if the factory next door closes its doors and the local news reporting is either biased or straight up incorrect, it can have a much more drastic impact on that individual. Hence, the stakes are very high to keep high quality local journalism alive!

On February 10, 2020, C. Xu commented on The Louvre: Winning at Digital Engagement :

Really interesting read! In particular the point on interactive website and mobile app reminds me of an initiative that Google has started called Google Arts & Culture, which is basically a platform on which you can play around with various pieces of art. It’s really meant to increase the younger generation’s engagement with the art world, which I think is a key value add that technology can bring to the table. In particular for a museum like the Louvre, where there are so many pieces of art, any software / technology solution that can help in the individualized discovery of pieces that a visitor might like could be a big help in boosting visitor numbers.