I first heard about Betabrand years ago…and I’ve barely heard about them since. It doesn’t seem like their brand has gotten bigger, but I am happy to see that they are still very much alive and kicking. They were an early adopter of this crowdsourced product development process and I really like it. However, I don’t think they’re big enough to compete with fast fashion brands like Zara. They just don’t have the scale to match, and to be honest the crowdsource model seems slow in comparison to Zara copying the latest trend off the runway and producing it out of their factories barely a couple weeks later. I do think they strike a chord with a particular niche of millennials who do appreciate getting to give input on their product line and it is those millennials who form their loyal customer base and will keep them alive in the long run.. or until the next cool crowdsourcing company comes along!
I love Lego’s approach to creating new sets by crowdsourcing ideas from their biggest fans that receive the most support. As a purchaser of several of Lego’s Star Wars-themed sets, I am also a huge fan. However, I’m also actually deeply saddened by the direction Lego has gone.
When I was a kid, there were no sets. There was just a giant box with 500+ pieces and it was up to you to build whatever you wanted. Nowadays, the only things you see in Lego stores are shelves and shelves of sets. These sets have specific pieces and can only be assembled in one way — to create the design pictured on the outside of the box. Where is the creativity in that? There is none in the building process and as an engineer — that’s where I want to be able to be creative!
So while I am a fan of these sets and love how engaged Lego has been with their customers, I think they also need to innovate and find a way to get back to a place where kids see Legos not as finite, discrete sets but boxes of endless, boundless opportunities to create.
It’s incredible to see how revolutionary 3d printing has been for Shell and the industry as a whole. How expensive would it be to roll out these 3d printers on a company-wide scale, and how intensive is the training necessary to program and operate these? If it’s relatively easy to learn, why hasn’t everyone started adopting this into their project management processes? I’m also interested in the integrity of the material used in 3d printing. I can see that it’s great for printing out prototypes but can we take it to the next level and 3d print actual parts that get used? I’m also interested to see how much this spreads throughout other related industries with high capital costs like construction.
It is incredible to see that teeth aligners can now be custom 3d printed for every patient! I also appreciate how Align has a strong relationship with orthodontists and the medical community, unlike other direct to consumer companies like SmileDirectClub. I think they can use this relationship to further strengthen their brand and position themselves as THE custom, high-quality, speedy solution for teeth alignment and even work with dental insurers to lower the costs of this process. Traditional braces cost thousands of dollars even with insurance, and based off this essay it seems like the production costs of Align should be far lower and thus this should be way more affordable for the masses. I’m interested to see how long this company can maintain its dominant market share!
I’ve actually been using Hinge for a few weeks now, and have gotten a bunch of these “most compatible” recommendations. I’ve actually been pretty disappointed in almost all of them, so I’m wondering what’s going on with their algorithm! From what I can tell, the people they are suggesting to me are not like the people whose profiles I’ve been liking, so I am very curious to know what factors they’re basing these recommendations on. I think it’d be fascinating to see what the algorithm thinks is “my type”, and to see if what they think I like differs drastically from what I think I like.
This essay also does a great job bringing up the fact that there is a lot of bias in this process — self-reported information is definitely more likely to portray oneself in a positive light, and people may be swiping on what they think they like but is actually not the case. I’m interested to see what the next evolution of these dating apps will be!
This article really has me grappling with the concept and definition of creativity. If we are able to use machines to help us generate music, especially in helping composers get past writer’s block, then are they really composing? Isn’t the machine just generating an iteration of a pattern, based off previous patterns, and now the composer is claiming it as their own?
I think a lot of people have always had the thought that nothing is truly original — you could argue that everything is inspired by or based off something that exists, and this really lends itself to that argument. And if machines can generate songs as well as any composer or music producer (which they can — we’re already generating new Christmas carols with them!), I’m not sure if the latter will have jobs in the near future! I’m very interested to see where the music industry goes over the next decade.