Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003


I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags (online): ThredUp Changes the Way People Thrift

Changing consumer trends towards more cost-conscious spending has enabled companies to carve a space for themselves in the sharing economy. ThredUp in particular aims to change the way that buyers shop for second-hand clothing. It has grown to become the largest online thrift/consignment shop in the country. ThredUp doesn’t utilize peer to peer transactions to sell items. Instead, ThredUp collects and organizes the clothing it receives then photographs, sells, and delivers the items on their site. ThredUp is a new market innovation because it changes the process of shopping for second-hand clothing and makes it more convenient. Instead of spending hours sifting through racks of unorganized clothing, users can simply search for an item or brand they’re looking for, and all relevant items will populate their screen. Users can benefit from the cost savings of buying second-hand clothing, without having to spend a lot of time searching for desired items. Creating an easy to use, online platform for thrifting makes it more appealing and could attract customers who wouldn’t be keen to try it otherwise. Do you think that ThredUp will gain more popularity over traditional thrift/consignment shops? Do you see it being a different type of innovation when applying a different incumbent, like eBay? Are there any other retail innovators you can think of?

Click Here to Read More about ThredUp

Ride-Hailing Business Now Better Than Ever

Since Uber and Lyft have come into play, a lot of people have started utilizing these means of transportation rather than driving their own car. The automobile industry believes that personal car ownership will be plummeting in the upcoming years. Due to this belief, companies, like Sony, Bosch, and Avis, are partnering with automotive, ride-sharing companies. The percentage of personal use of cars has fallen below because it is more convenient now to use ride-sharing sources. Consumers are looking for a quick way to get from point A to point B. With parking as the biggest issue, they choose to not utilize their own vehicle, ultimately leading to the question of ownership of one. Uber, Lyft, and other means can be considered a disruptive innovation due to this. It has caused and will continue to cause a change in the automobile industry, as well as transportation industry. 


Google Glass Created a New Market For Eye-Wearable AR

Rick Osterloh, Head of Google’s Hardware Division, said to The Telegraph that hi-tech glasses are “very interesting to [Google]… we’re trying to determine what the best future will look like for other kinds of ways to experience AR than just phones.” Google Glass was introduced to the public in 2014 in open beta, where “Glass Explorers” in the US could purchase a pair for $1,500. Google Glass is an optical head-mounted display developed with the mission of producing a ubiquitous computer. The announcement of Glass was met with high excitement, creating demand among non-consumers. In 2013, there was a lot of buzz going around about the potential of augmented reality, as AR was not easily accessible to consumers through a mainstream product. Google Glass was a hit in the healthcare industry, where it helped doctors, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics save lives, especially in the spaces of surgery and radiology. With all of the excitement about Google Glass, there were a number of safety, health, and privacy concerns, which caused Google to withdraw the device from the market in 2015. Consumers within the new market of eye-wearable AR have been eagerly awaiting Google’s next move in the space of AR. After successfully creating a market for AR, Google hasn’t released much information about their next moves in the space, but there is a good amount of speculation and excitement about what the future of AR has to bring. What can Google do to mitigate privacy and safety concerns about the Google Glass? How else can Google capture demand among non-consumers within the space of AR, potentially outside of Google Glass?

Information Sources: X, Y, Z

Image Source: X

Is Amazon Capable of Transforming Healthcare?

healthcare photo

Many companies have attempted to immerse themselves into the healthcare industry in the past, although few have been successful in reducing healthcare costs. Amazon recently announced its healthcare alliance with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, and it is argued that Amazon is the key component of this partnership, due to the company’s foundation of efficient operational procedures, strong customer focus, and technological integration. Chunka Mui’s Here’s How Amazon Could Disrupt Healthcare emphasizes several capabilities that Amazon has brought to the retail industry that will enable the company to disrupt the healthcare industry. Mui makes the interesting point \that if integrated into healthcare, Amazon’s comprehensive customer records, personalized user experience, price choice and transparency, and reliable reviews will lead the company to a future of vast amounts of patient health data to analyze, personalized health pages, cost options, and trustworthy ratings of healthcare providers. However, do you think that this is enough to make Amazon stand out as a player in healthcare? What roadblocks might arise for the future of this healthcare alliance?



Will self driving cars be safer?

In the future self driving cars will take over the automotive industry. Many car companies have been developing self driving cars for many years. The goal for creating self driving car is to lower the risk of accidents, allow travelers to avoid long boring trips, and etc. However will the self driving cars be more safer? Self driving cars right now are easily able to be hacked. In order to create self driving cars companies need to spend $10k on sensors that able cars to drive on their own. But it has been found that a low cost laser pointer can confuse and defeat the sensors. Self driving cars will always be  vulnerable to hacking attacks. Once self driving car become a popular trend and everyone uses them all people inside a car maybe in danger. So will self driving cars be a safer alternative to driving today?

3 CEOs plan to disrupt the healthcare industry

Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase have a plan that could disrupt the entire healthcare industry. The CEOs of these companies hope to lower heath care costs for the companies’ employees and deliver significant advancements for all patients. This is a monumental challenge being that the health care spending represented 17.9% of the U.S. economy in 2016 and continues to rise. Many skeptics say that health care costs cannot be meaningfully lowered by three companies and that the sector will not change without government action. However; this would not be the first time Amazon has disrupted an entire industry. Amazon’s success has been based on removing entire layers of product sales and distribution, adopting new ways of thinking, and pursuing technological innovation. The new company these CEOs plan to establish will not seek to profit off of health care, but instead offer it at the lowest cost possible. One way to lower costs is to cut the number of people in the industry by moving toward more automation and adopting artificial intelligence in areas such as data input, automated health care tests, lab work and food preparation. Another way to lower health costs is by expanding telemedicine so health care providers could sharephysicians and nurse practitioners. Do you think this is something people will become more comfortable with or will the majority of people still want to physically go into a doctor’s office? With Amazon entering into health care do you think it has a long term goal of entering drug sales by launching an online pharmacy? This would also lower costs by cutting out the middleman. The last way this new company would reshape the industry is by tying payment to quality of care, so consumers would pay a fee based of the value of the care they received. Do you think these three CEOs will be able to create this new health care company and to what extent will it transform the healthcare industry?


Artificial Intelligence: A Growing Disruption

Intelligence photoArtificial (AI) is becoming the new “it” thing to invest in among technologies, and it has caused several disruptions to the technology industry. AI is a human-like computer tool that enables them to run large sets of data and self-learn different algorithms. They can also help companies make decisions in quicker time with higher levels of confidence. AI has become so popular of the past couple years due to a few reasons. All algorithms live in cloud based environments, something all companies have been switching over to. The cost of data has decreased 38% over the past few years, allowing companies to buy more and collect more data. The final reason why AI has become so popular is because investors are throwing billions of dollars in startup companies that focus on AI. All of this has started to see some true disruptions to the technology industry. We have seen AI implemented in sustainable updates, like YouTube and Netflix, to help give us more personalized recommendations. Both companies have reported an increase in viewer watch times. Perhaps the most prominent area we have seen AI take place is in a completely new market. AI has led to the creation of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google which in turn have created products like Echo and Google Home. There is money behind these new speakers too, Amazon, creator of echo, currently holds around a 70% market share in what is soon to be a $25 billion market. AI isn’t going to stop at software updates and digital assistants it is starting to take over the marketing and health industries as well. What do you think is next for AI? Do you think AI is here to stay or just waiting to be phased out by the next innovation? Where would you like to see AI go in the next few years?



A new era: Artificial intelligence is now the biggest tech disrupter

Disruptive Innovation in Education

classroom photo

Disruptive innovation refers to a new idea or product that drastically changes the way things were previously done. This is something that is very common in many industries, but is much needed within the education industry. Clayton Christensen’s Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, highlights the difficulties with innovation in education, and how computers and technology could be just the type of digital innovation needed within the educational system. This topic was particularly interesting for me, because I have been working for a company in the EdTech industry for the past year, who’s goal is to enhance the value of K-12 education through the use of innovative technology. One of the main ways personal technology can create disruptive innovation is through its ability to provide for a more individualized education for students. Often times the education system generalizes lesson plans due to a lack of resources or finances, and students who do not learn in the traditional way are the ones who suffer. Online learning presents and alternative solution to this problem, and can allow for the development of child-specific lesson plans. Such a level of individualized instruction would be impossible in the traditional classroom setting. Students with any learning style preferences can benefit from this type of disruptive innovation in the education system, by being presented with the opportunity to take additional classes not offered in the traditional classroom, work at his or her own pace, and focus on what learning styles work best for him/her individually. A question I have is, other than the obvious costs, what other factors are limiting disruptive innovation in education? In what other ways can personal technology create disruptive innovation in education?



Taking a Piece of the PC Pi(e)

raspberry pi logo photo

Photo by Gijs Peijs

In 2012, the Raspberry Pi Foundation developed a credit card sized, Linux operated computer that cost between $25 – $35 and was meant to be a cheap tool to teach computer literacy for educational institutions. However, it expanded out of it’s initial target market and was soon adopted by techies as a means to build web servers, routers, arcade machines, and other projects. By 2014 the Raspberry Pi Foundation sold over 4.5 million units as well as disrupted the personal computing (PC) industry. The reason for it’s massive popularity is rooted in the fact that there is a segment of overshot customers in the personal computing market. In 2010, the average price of a desktop personal computer was between $500 – $600 and brought with it a huge portfolio of specs and features. However, there were customers that were looking for a stripped down product to work on small projects such as data collection and server monitoring, where the Raspberry Pi fit in nicely. The Raspberry Pi Foundation continues to innovate in the low end segment releasing new iterations of the Raspberry Pi, some with more functionality and some with less but all fall in a price range between $5 and $35.

Do you think that incumbent PC producers should feel threatened by the Raspberry Pi? What do you think the next strategic step is for the Raspberry Pi foundation?


Amazon: IT “Is” One of Many Businesses

When thinking of technology companies, traditional players such as Apple, IBM, or Microsoft first come to mind, with overlapping and non-overlapping product offerings between them. Amazon, however, has carved a space for itself within this industry throughout recent years. At its inception, Amazon’s IT organization likely served as a necessary utility while also providing business value in maximizing the efficiency of its supply chain which the internet retailer leveraged to associate its brand with quick purchasing and delivery. As Amazon furthers what appears to be a jack-of-all-trades strategy in terms of its business, the firm has produced its own IT-reliant products such as the Echo device and has begun offering IT infrastructure services to both enterprise and non-enterprise clients with Amazon Web Services. By doing this, Amazon transformed its IT Organization into one that more directly generates revenue for the firm (IT ”is” the Business). What makes the firm unique in comparison to the above mentioned competitors, however, is the diversity of its lines of business that also require its resources. Can Amazon compete with other technology companies in the long term while maintaining a competitive edge in its other businesses?

Where and when do we meet?
Alter Hall 603
12:30-1:50 Tuesdays and Thursdays
Office Hours
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:00 PM