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On April 23, 2017, David commented on Immersive VR Edcucation :

Great post. I think the value potential for VR in education is huge, but I wonder about the cost of developing content for these platforms. It seems like the amount of time required to generate a teaching plan is much higher, and unless Immersive VR can really find a way reduce the time it takes to develop content, adoption will be slow.

On April 23, 2017, David commented on Niantic Labs and Pokemon Go: Bringing AR to the Masses :

Great post. I remember seeing to many people wandering around with the their smartphones out when this app was first released looking for Pokemon! It makes me wonder how much of the allure of AR/VR is mostly about novelty rather than genuine value to the consumer, and whether a lot of AR applications will experience extreme peaks in demand that then fall off sharply, especially early on in the development of the technology. It seems like the AR/VR revolution is has been just around the corner for years now!

Great post Alice!

It makes me wonder about the future of GoPro as a whole, since it seems like the ordinary camera segment will eventually be eroded as the quality if smartphone-based camera reaches higher and higher levels. If GoPro wants to continue to sell hardware, it seems like it will need a differentiator in order to survive, and selling cameras that can capture VR content seems like a great path forward.

On April 5, 2017, David commented on OpenDoor: applying big data to home selling :

Great post! Real Estate is such a challenging space because there are so many factors that are hard to quantify and have a big impact on selling price. I wonder which variables OpenDoor has found to be the most important. I also wonder to what extent OpenDoor has been focusing on “homogenous” housing markets like Las Vegas or Arizona, and avoiding markets like New York and Boston, where there is much more heterogeneity in the housing stock.

I really enjoyed this post James. I’m very curious though about Palantir’s ability to scale. They are really more of a consulting agency than a software company, because the types of contracts they pursue are so disparate is seems hards to have any overlap where they can do the next project for cheaper. They seem to have a huge edge in recruiting top people from math and statistics fields, but ultimately every project they will pursue will be hugely labor intensive.

On April 5, 2017, David commented on Google Maps – the most expansive data machine :

Great post Anish. It seems like Google’s use of analytics and increasing accuracy is going to be key to their efforts in self driving cars, and they will continue to invest heavily in this. Seems like they are gaining so much of an edge over even well heeled competitors in the maps space like Apple, which anecdotally still seems vastly inferior. Their ability to do traffic and intelligent routing based on their more sophisticated analytics is key to this advantage.

I really enjoyed this post. I think this is definitely a worthwhile endeavor for democracy.

My biggest concern for this potential platform however would be one around cyber security. Given the alleged recent involvement of Russia in US elections through hacking, I wonder if there is much of an appetite for this in US government, or even of the people. With a dramatic increase in the number of electronically administered votes, the opportunity for fraud or foreign meddling seems exceedingly high. While I think this is practical issue rather than a theoretical argument, it may be the largest single barrier to adoption of this kind of technology.

On March 19, 2017, David commented on Vetr: Crowdsourcing Stock Ratings :

Great post James.

I agree that this model does seem fraught with problems. I’m also very curious what the effects might be of systematic bias from companies. Because almost anyone can create these stock ratings, it would be relatively easy for publicly traded company to pose as analysts and post fake ratings, much the same way Yelp suffers from fake reviews by companies themselves. There may be simply too many misaligned incentives in this space to allow the crowds to work effectively. Combating this type of fake activity might end up being more expensive than simply producing verified stock ratings on a pay-per-rating basis.

Great post!

I am curious how the interplay between 3rd party application developers and in-house Salesforce developers will play out. Because the engineering team at Salesforce works off of the product suggestions on IdeaExchange, I wonder to what extent this actually suppresses some 3rd party development, since those developers will always fear Salesforce offering that product themselves. While it serves as a great way to validate ideas, I wonder if it can in fact suppress development in certain situations.

On February 25, 2017, David commented on Turo: Airbnb of Auto :

I really enjoyed this post. I’m curious what Turo will look like in the future of self driving cars, and what they are doing to prepare. Once Uber offers self-driving rides at an extremely low cost, and car owners can rent out their own self-driving cars on the Turo platform, this will essentially put the two companies in direct competition. I would be interested to know what niche they believe they can continue to occur when this huge shift occurs.

On February 25, 2017, David commented on In Airbnb We Trust :

Great post Micah! I’m very curious about the open question about whether or not Airbnb will continue to steal market share in the business traveler segment. I imagine Airbnb will struggle due to the fact that business oriented travelers prefer the services associated with traditional hotel models, and it will be very difficult for Airbnb to complete on the services side without a dramatic shift in strategy. It is a highly lucrative market however, so it will be interesting to see what they do to continue to grab wallet share.

On February 25, 2017, David commented on Upwork: Connecting Freelancers to Gigs On-Demand :

Upwork is a really interesting business are the economy increasing moves towards the “gig economy”. I wonder how the platform can continue to monitor the quality on both sides of the market, especially for new users and businesses alike. It seems like eventually, for some types of work, Upwork will need to do a better job of monitoring the activity of users to verify that they are working as expected, and keeping the quality high. I wonder what kind of privacy implications this would have however.

I’m still curious what the key differentiator is between Taobao and eBay, and why it won so easily in the Chinese market. What did eBay fail to understand about this market that led to their irrelevance? What are the key differentiators between the two platforms? Why is it that Taobao hasn’t spread into the US? It’s interesting how two platforms which very similar features could have such dramatically different outcomes.

I wonder weather the funds recent decline in average returns over the past few years (2013 and onward) is here to stay, or just a brief period of lower returns. Returns in the quantitative trading hedge fund sector are down precipitously over the past few years and endless competitors seem to pile into equities and foreign exchange. As barriers to accessing huge computational power decline, the edge that Renaissance has had historically may dull permanently.

On February 1, 2017, David commented on Nay on Waymo: A Prediction for the Self-Driving Car Race :

One point you didn’t cover in much depth is the competitive advantage Google may have in developing safe, effective autonomous driving software. Ultimately, self-driving cars require a feat of software engineering, an area Google has clear dominance in, and rivals such as Uber and Tesla come up far short. If Google can be the first to develop a fully featured self-driving software system, then perhaps all of the other advantages of Google’s rivals will quickly fall away, and will win this race.