Leo Li

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Thanks for sharing this really interesting AI start-up, Riddhi! I have similar concerns and questions as Kate, Kemi and Tommy pointed out in their comments. I think the idea is very creative, and definitely has significant potential to help companies have a less biased, less haphazard and more effective recruiting process. But they really need to gather a large enough pool of data to make the algorithm more accurate and precise. Plus, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on customization for the client companies by industry, company size, stage of company development, geography and other things the recruiting companies want to factor in. And to achieve such high level of customization, I believe the upfront investment would be significant.

On December 4, 2019, Leo Li commented on Hopper: Using AI to Plan Your Next Vacation :

Hey Tommy thanks for sharing this. I plan to travel a lot next year, and will download Hopper to my phone now I guess 🙂
I do see that they have a very strong CVP, and am confident that they’d be able to attract a good number of users who are price sensitive and always try to secure the best deals possible. At the same time, I also think there’s so much potential for them to penetrate into other travel-related areas, such as lodging as you mentioned. Plus they can also make the platform more social-oriented by creating an in-App community of like-minded travelers, matching them using big data for purposes such as group travels, hotel booking etc. Given all the opportunities they can explore down the road, I believe that Hopper could be a very attractive acquisition target for larger platforms such as the big OTAs.

On December 4, 2019, Leo Li commented on IntelligentX: Changing the world, one beer at a time :

A very fun read! Thanks for sharing this, Matthieu. I’m not a heavy drink of beer but after reading this, I became tempted to give it a try and see if this time I can finally say: Beer is delicious 🙂

While I think it a creative business idea, I do feel a bit concerned about cost control for this young company. After all, a key element in its CVP would be AI-powered and highly customized beer. And this would imply a much higher average production cost than conventional brewers, who normally have a fairly standardized and large-scale production process with fixed ingredients and everything. Will this company be able to sustain or will it only end up being a fad? That remains a question mark to me.

Also I’d think this company should really try to market via social media. The customer engagement aspect of its business looks very Instagrammable, and if viral marketing can take off, they should be able to attract a good number of initial customers who are curious and willing to try. But whether those customers will stay, ultimately, would still depend on whether the beer tastes good and make them think it worthwhile to pay extra for the customization component. Cheers.

On November 13, 2019, Leo Li commented on Big Data Behind Disney Magic :

Thanks for sharing about Disney’s latest big data initiatives! Out of the three programs discussed here, I personally like the MagicBands idea the best because waiting in long lines – sometimes for hours – is a shared painful memories amongst millions of Disney fans worldwide, and MagicBands can definitely help alleviate this problem by redirecting visitors to less congested areas. The wait time has been hurting customer experiences, and may lead to safety concerns as seniors and little children simply can’t stand and wait for too long especially during summer and winter times. Echoing the previous comments on privacy, I would also feel uncomfortable watching movies in a cinema when a camera is constantly monitoring my facial reactions. That’s just not the way movies shall be enjoyed. And this trade-off makes me wonder to what extent do we want state-of-the-art technologies to enter into our daily activities? Does more tech mean better life? Not necessarily.

On November 13, 2019, Leo Li commented on 23andMe, who does it profit? :

Thanks for sharing about 23andMe, Corine! I actually did this saliva test two years ago with the Chinese equivalent of 23andMe. Based on what I just read here about 23andMe, I think both companies have pretty much the same testing methodology. Admittedly when I paid for the test I didn’t expect to get highly accurate results from them because the way the company marketed itself is, I would say, half “scientifically rigorous” and half entertaining/fun. And I’d guess that a lot of consumers would have a similar mindset – maybe just try it out and see if I can get some surprising results? Surprisingly though, I think the results from the first report they sent back to me were 80-90% accurate already – my parents come from different parts of China and their parents are also from different areas and ethnicities. So I’m very impressed to see that the test identified all “elements” of my ancestry correctly with precise numbers. Over the past two years I’ve received minor updates on my results – mostly on potential health risks etc., and I think such updates were due to their ever-increasing database and hence more accurate testing out of a growing sample. So I agree that network effect is critically important for this company to deliver better “product quality”.

I do see Short Apple’s concerns about the accuracy or even the way they do test (wow if they do run random tests irresponsibly as you speculated, I’m afraid the company will face significant backlash and huge legal penalties lol). I actually think your friend’s result of “5% North African” might be reflecting a hidden fact he wasn’t aware of, because the Arabs from North Africa once ruled part of the Spanish territory didn’t they? And so some North Africans did move up to Spain, settled there, and became Spanish afterwards – some of them further migrating to the Americas 🙂

On November 13, 2019, Leo Li commented on The Met’s Goldmine of Data Assets :

Thanks for sharing this, Keagan! I completely agree with you that by democratizing the masterpieces via the power of digital tools, the Met would not cannibalize museum visits but probably only increase visitor traffic. It’s a truly smart marketing strategy empowered by social media. It just opens more possibilities for people – including those who weren’t museum goers – to engage with fine art in a more interactive way. I’m actually wondering if other top museums in the world are doing something similar now, or is it just the Met at the moment?

On October 17, 2019, Leo Li commented on Tentrr – Your Private Camping Experience :

I’ve never heard of Tentrr until reading this blog post, and will definitely try it out some time in the future! Although everything seems great about this platform, I do feel a little concerned about the commission rate it charges land owners. Do you think their average commission rate at 35% is a bit too high for land owners, who may be incentivized to dis-intermediate the next time they rent camping area to the same customers? And on the scalability point, I agree that they might not become a unicorn because the market it serves is limited. But I also think there could be an opportunity for Tentrr to be acquired by a much bigger player such as Airbnb.

On October 17, 2019, Leo Li commented on Airbnb – Stay in a home away from home wherever you travel :

Thanks for the interesting post! I’m a heavy traveler and have used Airbnb many times in different geographies in the past. My primary reasons why I chose Airbnb sometimes are a) authenticity, especially when I go to some really exotic places I would want to travel and live like a local for several days. Most hotels wouldn’t serve this purpose. and b) Airbnb housing provides a better place for social with friends/travel buddies. When I’m traveling with more than two friends we’re naturally leaning towards booking a house or spacious apartment so that we could cook, watch TV, play video games and chat together.

I also find it interesting that over the years, some house owners have become full-time Airbnb housing providers and that the platform gave birth to many professional lodging management companies which have multiple properties listed on Airbnb. They try to provide clean, authentic and cozy housing, but are also charging a rate pretty similar to hotels.

On October 17, 2019, Leo Li commented on TikTok: Transforming Video-Sharing :

Hey EKEA, thanks for the post! I’ve been a frequent user of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. I have to say that this APP is super addictive and I sometimes could end up spending an hour browsing through the short videos. I really like your point on democratization of content creation, as both TikTok and Douyin are largely UGC- based platforms that have enabled everyone to make and post videos. I actually have a friend who was able to amass more than four million followers on Douyin within half a year, and became a top-tier influencer. Since earlier this year he also started monetizing from his follower base by selling products directly on Douyin and making commercial endorsements. I’m curious to see how TikTok and Douyin evolve and if they can become more known to a wider audience.

Hi Rocco, thanks for sharing the latest go-digital movement of McDonald’s! The company’s APP and mobile order particularly resonated with me, as whenever I visited McDonald’s stores in China, there would always be a lot of people waiting in line to order food. Having the self-help kiosk and the mobile ordering service is super helpful to speed up and simplify the ordering process. And I’m sure McDonald’s will roll out the mobile-based digital innovations to more geographies as people everywhere in the world are becoming increasingly reliant on and accustomed to using their mobile phones.

In addition to the idea of having digital innovations help streamline and optimize the logistics & supply chain management of McDonald’s, I also think there exists tremendous opportunities for the company to leverage the power of digital technologies to better track customer feedbacks and further improve customer satisfaction rates. For instance, a digital-empowered McDonald’s will be able to better understand customers’ reaction to new product releases by age, gender and geography. With such data on hand, McDonald’s will be able to adjust its menu accordingly to better cater to the tastes of its customers.

On September 24, 2019, Leo Li commented on Mirror: The Future of Fitness? :

Thanks for sharing this innovative idea of working out, KO! I actually am very tempted to purchase one for my apartment, and just visited their website to look at the equipment options available. I very much agree that Mirror will particularly appeal to those who don’t feel comfortable working with a group of people in a public fitness center, and those who have a generally busy schedule and hence unable to attend fitness training sessions and classes at gym on a regular basis. At the same time, though, I also agree with Matthieu’s point that the current pricing could be adjust downward a little bit to make the product more affordable to a larger group of customers.
I believe Mirror will be able to do that as it continues to optimize the manufacturing process and ultimately achieve economies of scale. I am also very curious about the company’s plans to expand overseas. The addressable fitness market in the U.S. is surely big already, but it is the rest of the world -especially emerging markets with huge populations such as China and India – that can provide Mirror with immense opportunities to grow and scale.

On September 24, 2019, Leo Li commented on How Booking.com Became Hotels’ Biggest Enemy :

Hi Peter, thanks for sharing your view on the OTA industry and its threat to the old-fashioned hotel & lodging industry. As a frequent traveler, I’ve had pretty similar experience with hotel booking as you described in the post. The reasons why I’m so used to visiting OTA sites such as booking.com whenever I need to make a hotel reservation is precisely that the process is much faster, easier, and leaves an impression on me that the rates would be cheaper (although often times that’s not the case). The only exception is that I also use the website of Marriott (former SPG) to book hotels because I’m a loyal SPG/Marriott-Bonvoy member, and I won’t be able to accumulate points from their membership program if I use an OTA. I do believe that one potentially effective measure for the hotel chains to prevent OTAs from further stealing market shares is to strengthen their loyalty & rewards programs, which will incentivize customers to use their own reservation portals more often – just like what Marriott is doing. However, I’m also a little pessimistic about the general prospect for individual hotel operators in the battle with OTA, as they are much smaller in scale than OTAs and without a powerful network effect, and also because they don’t have the “tech” gene which would enable them to win in today’s digitized world.