RobD

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On April 10, 2018, RobD commented on The Golden State Warriors – Data & Talent = Heart!  :

Interesting post. The Warriors are a model franchise and an exemplar of how to build a team in today’s NBA. They have used advanced analysis to better inform in-game and out-of-game strategies. However, they have also aggregated the best starting 5 in NBA history, largely through timing, good drafting, and fortuitous contracts (Steph curry being on cheap deal after his ankle injuries, Draymond Green in the second round, Durant becoming a free agent during the one year the salary cap jumped).

With a roster that possesses an unprecedented level of talent, it is unclear how much the other things they do matter, and how much of what they do was built around the talent they aggregated. For example, the Warriors take a lot of threes and were one of the main catalysts for the 3-pointer becoming the weapon it is in the NBA today. However, they also drafted the best shooter in NBA history (Steph Curry), and a few years later one of the best ever in Klay Thompson. Curry was picked by the previous ownership, and no one knew he’d be the player he was. Many might ask, did the Warriors initiate the move towards high dependence on 3-pointers, or did they simply adjust to the talents of their best players? Either way, they get a lot of credit. However, I do not think they have intentionally used data to drive the strategy of a franchise as much as others like Daryl Morey has in Houston.

On March 28, 2018, RobD commented on ReCaptchuring Value :

This is really cool.

Always been annoyed by the CAPTCHA, but I guess we dealt with it because it served a security purpose. Knowing that it is at least re purposing my wasted effort on the back end makes it a little less annoying. I wonder what other applications there are? Someone wrote a post on DuoLingo and how they were using their language learning app to crowdsource translations, maybe there is a similar extension here?

On March 28, 2018, RobD commented on Learning New Lessons at Duolingo :

Great Post. Duolingo has a really interesting story, and its amazing how they have continued to adapt off of their initial insights.

One thing I’ve noticed is Duolingo has started offering in-app text conversations. The conversations are limited, but it is a pretty engaging way to learn a language. I wonder if they can leverage the crowd (with AI) to develop this offering. This could be really compelling – especially for a generation of learners who prefer to learn on their phone rather than in person.

On March 28, 2018, RobD commented on Show me the Waze to go home :

Really enjoyed the post. The Waze Carpool is an interesting development. On the one hand, it’s clear that they aren’t entering this business to win it. As it is, its unclear whether this is a business you can make money in in the U.S. (and that includes Uber and Lyft). However, I’d assume Waze and Google are looking at second and third order goals for this initiative. Its likely that this is some precursor to their driverless vehicles plans and will be a source for gathering route data, etc. As of now, Google has as many pieces as anyone in the race for autonomous ride sharing, except the actual ride sharing service.

On March 7, 2018, RobD commented on Apple’s App Store Strategy: Quality over Quantity :

Anton brings up a good point. Up until now, Apple has seemed content to take a smaller and smaller piece of the user pie, because that piece was so lucrative. But at what point will their growth needs force them to start to lower their standards?

Really interesting post – the app store is another example of Apple’s brilliance. They turn everything into a cash machine, all the while maintaining the elegance and prestige of the brand. I wonder if the move to curate more in depth app coverage on the app store is an intentional play to continue making the developer ecosystem more selective and prestigious, but you’re right, it could discourage participation.

On March 7, 2018, RobD commented on Grubhub: Delivering a Valuable Platform :

As you said, it is very difficult to create a sustainable competitive advantage in this market, as switching costs are so low. Grubhub and it’s European counterpart DeliveryHero have responded by acquiring as many local players as they can to gain scale advantages in certain markets. The big challenge is going to come when restaurants start to demand better terms and squeeze profit margins, which will make competition even more fierce. Traditionally, delivery orders have represented incremental revenue for restaurants, so they have not had an issue with fees being charged. As this starts to change and delivery starts to become a more integral part of the restaurants business (cannibalizing some in store sales), the delivery platforms will have a tougher time making money. In cases where this already exists, they pass these costs on to the consumers. This will also be challenging in an increasingly competitive environment.

On March 7, 2018, RobD commented on How Open is Too Open? :

Really interesting how this story has developed. I wonder how the market would have evolved differently had Apple adopted a more neutral position from the start. It seems like Apple’s decisions triggered Google’s reactions. The other interesting part about this market is that it hasn’t tipped. While Android has a dominant market share, iOS has maintained a healthy position.

On February 5, 2018, RobD commented on Amazon: The Worldwide Leader In Sports :

Super relevant and interesting take. In addition to the traditional networks and distributors, some of the actual sports leagues are also scrambling to figure out how best to distribute content to today’s consumer. The NFL’s ratings have been on a major slide (albeit from a dominant position at the top). I think this is because the way football is traditionally consumed (3 hour games on weekends) is at odds with the way people consume stuff these days. The NBA seems to be ahead of the curve, pushing league pass directly to consumer’s phones so they can watch sporadically. I think the NFL is hoping this Amazon partnership will be a good segue into that kind of consumption.

On February 5, 2018, RobD commented on Nvidia – a #winner by choice or by stroke of luck? :

Really great topic. I like how you framed the story, because even if they wont admit it there certainly a luck/opportunistic component to their success. However, the NVIDIA CEO does appear to be a visionary who has always seen great things for his company’s technology. He was one of the first CEO’s (if not the first) of major tech companies to predict the future irrelevance of Moore’s law, saying GPU computing will dramatically outpace CPU power. Looks like they have a chance to be the Intel of the next 15-20 years.

On February 5, 2018, RobD commented on Instagram: Social Media’s Big Winner :

Interesting thoughts. Outside of the broader societal impact that Instagram has (which is a huge issue in its own right), what type of regulations do you think they are going to be subject to. I also wonder how Instagram manages to maintain its edge or coolness factor in the dynamic social media environment. It seems like Facebook’s time as a growing channel was only about 5 years, and Snapchat is decelerating. How does Instagram settle in as a social media powerhouse once its insane user growth starts to slow down? Will it become more integrated into the FB platform?