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My undergraduate college classmate is one of the founders of this firm. I have a vague memory that one of the missions of this company is to reduce the burden of educational debts by offering better terms to students. While I think that the value add is a net positive, I do wonder if the company is ultimately expanding funding to individuals that wouldn’t have had access to it otherwise. From the look of it, basing risk on college GPA, college name, company name, etc might just be giving better priced loans to those who already have access to loans.

On December 4, 2019, MAO commented on Hello, Barbie? NLP and the first conversational doll :

I am a bit surprised that the doll was as controversial as it seems to be. While data privacy is a more sensitive topic when it comes to children, electronic devices such as games are likely capturing children’s data and may also be susceptible to hacks. I understand the argument of stifling children’s creativity. However, one could argue that iphones and ipads are also stifling children’s creativity and social connections by capturing their attention instead of motivating to play outside. Where should we draw the line with children and technology?

I like the fact that Pymetrics focuses on measuring intrinsic traits, as I feel like these are unlikely to be evaluated in an interview process even though they are very important. Since Pymetrics focuses on traits that were likely to be taken into account (since they couldn’t be measured), I wonder how seriously firms will take this evaluation. What weight will they assign to experience versus intrinsic traits?

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

Wow! As a 23andMe user I would be disappointed if the company sold my data to third parties, even if the data could not be traced directly to me. In fact, I don’t recall what the product says about the privacy of a customer’s genetic information (I probably should have looked more carefully). I think genetic data is more sensitive than my searches on google or my activity on Facebook. It is much more personal. If customers are in fact handing their genetic data to the company forever, I do think they should be paying us. Data of that type is very valuable precisely because it is very personal.

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

The example that I found most interesting was the MagicBands. I can see an added convenience for the consumer, by being able to use one device to gain access and pay at all of Disney’s venues. What caught most of my attention, however, is that Disney does not yet have a use case for the data. Was one of the objectives behind the MagicBands creation to generate data? I see the value in starting to create database, even if the company does not yet have a use case for the data. However, I have the impression that a lot of companies don’t yet know what to do with the data they are collecting. I would think that you would first want to find a problem and then see what type of data you should capture to solve that problem.

My first thought upon reading this post is that the $25/user subscription and $7,000 per site charge appears significantly cheaper than what I have paid for a class (or my education) in the United States. What I really like about this product, however, is that it is designed to combine online learning with in person teaching. In addition to using data to cater to the individual needs of students. it also uses data to make teachers more effective. As a result, it seems to be more of an additional tool than a substitute to in person teaching. Why isn’t the product used as a substitute to in person teaching? What is missing to make that possible?

On October 16, 2019, MAO commented on StockX – Trading Exchange for Sneakers :

How and where do you buy limited edition shoes, if not on this webpage. It seems like there is a potential business opportunity of buying as many of these limited edition shoes and posting them on this site.

It is interesting that Aribnb is no longer necessarily cheaper than hotels, specially in the United States. In other geographies, however, I have found that part of Airbnb’s value creation is one of providing high quality and affordable lodging.

How is the company addressing quality in the healthcare service. Can customers provide reviews?

Moreover, can customers choose the doctor they want? This would seem to be an industry where individuals might feel more comfortable choosing their service provider as opposed to being automatically matched to one.

On September 24, 2019, MAO commented on Lemonade – Renters and Home Insurance For Urban Dwellers :

Is Lemonade a non-profit company? How does it make money if it is paying all unused claims to charity? I would be curios to know more about their financial strategy.

On September 24, 2019, MAO commented on Peloton’s Fast Clip :

I had heard about Peloton, but didn’t quite know what their product offering was. Thank you for the post.

Digital channels have their limits. One of the appeals of Soul Cycle is that the classes also form a community of students and trainers. I wonder if Peloton also has a feature that seeks to promote a community across its members. If so, I would be curios to know if it is less effective at creating this community than Soul Cycle.

I find it interesting that Walmart’s Achilles heel is less its ability to effectively manage digital channels, but high unit economics spanning from an extensive distribution network. If Amazon has been able to make their unit economics work by using third party supply chain operators, why hasn’t Walmart chosen to do the same? It would appear that working with third parties in e-commerce is an easier change to make than establishing its own distribution network.