Leonardo Leal

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I recently had an interview with Linkedin, and I was tested using Pymetrics. It was the very first time I had ever taken this sort of interview and I loved it! I thought it was much more engaging than the typical surveys that make you pick specific choices, and it felt more natural. I’m curious to see how the company connects the tests for “honesty” or “equity” with the metrics that I provide them, because the results do not seem to be based on a typical numerical basis.

Cool application! Even though I worked briefly (1 year) at Shell, I learned first hand that the data available to them is sometimes “lost in translation” because the right IoT devices are not there to capture and/or “clean” the data available on-site. Aside from the huge opportunity of capturing that data, I think that the AI analysis would come in handy, especially because mechanical processes produce a lot of big data that needs to be analyzed on the spot (otherwise it gets stale), such as precision drilling/pressure testing/surface testing etc. Would be interesting if Uptake is working on “computing at the edge” applications to rapidly analyze such amounts of data. If not, that would be a great opportunity for a startup to take over!

On December 2, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on IntelligentX: Changing the world, one beer at a time :

As a beer lover myself, I’m always curious about trying new beers when I visit a new city. Sadly, a lot of good local beers are limited to their distribution networks and the experience is limited. I would love know if this AI system would be able to grab a sample of beer and recreate the same flavor profile based on my experiences and/or the actual composition of the beer. I know that some perfume brands precisely tailor their products using a similar technology, but it would be even better if I could brew my own beer at home. Let’s start a startup @Matthieu!

On December 2, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Watson: IBM’s AI as a Service :

Great article Sarkis, when I worked at Walmart I was an early participant of “company-wide hackathons” that promoted the use of new tech to improve the customer experience. My team and I had an idea that would leverage Watson to create instant search results (like Google’s search bar) for the Walmart.com website. While we were not selected to move to the final round, we learned that Watson’s API is actually pretty easy to implement with the right foundations in place. Because a lot of Walmart’s code was written in Cobol we had some trouble trying to marrying the API with the source data, but our result was a very rudimentary “AI” embedded search bar. If you are interested in building that on campus at Hi Labs let me know!

On November 13, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Wayfair – The E-Commerce Challenger :

While I like the fact that Wayfair is using big data to automate some of its processes, I’m not convinced about their ability to leverage big data to improve its operations. As most recent financial analysts show, the company has been unsuccessful in growing its consumer base as the market for furniture is extremely cyclical and vulnerable to economic cycles. After working at Walmart Labs’s strategy team, I quickly learned that last-mile delivery and operations in ecommerce are incredibly expensive, and that the unit economics are hard to make profitable. Maybe Wayfair should focus on adding more value-added services to abate the costs of sending its furniture, and use big data analytics to offer personalized solutions?

On November 13, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Devil in data. Monsanto :

Love the title of this article! As you have alluded in the content, Monsanto is widely criticized for its involvement in the Agent Orange chemical production and its monopolistic practices in developing countries. While I agree with Paxton that companies will need to use big data to grow more food, I’m concerned by the ethical implications of growing food in pure output but not in quality. Could big data actually allow Monsanto to maintain its leading position and lead to more future criticism?

On November 13, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Big Data Behind Disney Magic :

Disney is one of my favorite American brands and I’m happy to see that they are making improvements through the use of magic bands and AI. However, as the question of privacy starts to show up in the public space, how can Disney assure parents that their children’s data will be protected? Do you see a future where some parents may want to exempt their children from facial recognition technologies?

On October 17, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on TikTok: Transforming Video-Sharing :

As an occasional user of Tik Tok, I was very excited when you featured this platform for your assignment. While at first, I thought that Tik Tok was yet another “gimmicky” app, it seems to have significant benefits for companies as it can be used for marketing and advertising purposes. At the same time, I’m concerned about the business viability of this company as a stand-alone product, as it seems “attached” to other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, rather than a source of incoming traffic. If their only revenue stream is advertising for other brands, then where else can the company expand to capture revenues?

On October 17, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Kaggle: How a Platform Democratizes AI :

Linking this directly to one of our NASA case, Kaggle offers the ability of a large volume of inputs to gradually converge towards the best solution to a problem. Now, while I think that this solution could help researchers find excellent inputs, I’m concerned about the consistency of the output quality, as well as the fit to certain business questions. While this platform might be equipped to optimize problems in the AI space, would it also be useful to find solutions to reduce child poverty, or is this platform a hermetic system that only solves problems in the tech space?

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

This post reminded me of a case that we had in our BSSE class about Homeaway, a home-rental platform for longer-term renters. While both platforms leverage their locations and inventories as a main competitive advantage, it is interesting to see that lower prices are no longer their customer promise. For example, one of the recent trends in this space is the curation of “added experiences” to the rentals, such as a visit to a CEO’s home in Palo Alto or a home-cooked meal in Paris. However, I’m curious to see if these offerings will continue to be a competitive edge, or if the Airbnb platform will end up reaching a usage plateau in the long run.

On September 24, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Invisalign – 9/10 dentists recommend additive manufacturing :

As a current user of braces, I can attest to the difference in customer experiences between using a 3D printed Invisalign(current) and my former traditional metal braces. Not only is Invisalign more discreet and light-weight, but I love the fact that I get a new prescription every few months. The main reason, as alluded here, is that teeth are not fixed, but rather they are allowed to move with a higher degree of freedom to their desired location. This allows the patient to provide constant feedback during the process, and raise any irregularities in teeth direction, whereas traditional braces are less flexible to adaptable to sudden requests. At the same time, as someone mentioned earlier, I am concerned that competitor companies like Smile Direct Club might cling on to Invisalign’s success by offering a lower quality product that mimics the benefits of Invisalign without providing the assurance that the final result of the procedure will be the desired result. I know some people that have “messed up” their teeth by using these products, as they are not provided by trained orthodontists, but rather are cheaply mailed to end-user. Beauty is pain, and its expensive too, so watch out for lower quality products!

On September 24, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on MoNBAll :

While I am a huge fan of the Dubs (Golden State Warriors), I did not know how advanced sports analytics had moved on from the early attempts featured in Moneyball. Some of the technologies applied here remind me of my first internship at Prism Skylabs in San Francisco my sophomore year of college, where I marketed a “heat map video app” that would create visual roadmaps of how consumers moved about a store. I learned early on that the value of data analytics comes from the application of the technology in strategic decisions, rather than just a half-hearted attempt to be more “innovative”. You have showcased how even the market of sports can benefit from trying new things and directly telling players that their movement on the field is as relevant as their presence on the field. It would be interesting to know if other teams would think that using enhanced data programs would be an unfair “advantage”, or if these sorts of technologies are the standard across other teams/sports. For example, it would be interesting to know if you can predict a player’s performance using ML tech that tracks his/her every move.

On September 24, 2019, Leonardo Leal commented on Nubank: Digital Banking :

Such an interesting read that connects to my first-hand experience at FGI Brazil! Playing the side of the incumbent, I was tasked to help Itaù “create a digital offering that would allow its millennial users gain the full benefits of a large bank, while also giving them ample opportunity to experiment”. What my team and I found out is that most users had already “made the switch” by using NU Bank and other digital competitors, while Itau was relegated to a “safety option” if they were looking to make large transactions. Overall, we discovered that over 60% of the users we interviewed preferred digital banks because they are open 24/7, they helped users save time and reduce stress, as well as obtain fast payment options. Not only that, but the digital team at Itaù was not very open to the idea of “disrupting their business model” with new ideas, even when we had spent 10 days researching the best ways to create digital products for them.