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Thanks for the great post. It’s so impressive to see how Target was able to capitalize on its recent successes in going digital to weather the Covid-19 storm today. I agree with Lumos that this pandemic accelerates the war between Amazon and traditional retailers. Speaking from personal experience, it’s as convenient (if not more) to order from Target/Walmart online and pick them up as shopping on Amazon now, given mailing as a distribution channel has dramatically slowed due to increased demand for courier service. I also noticed that the prices on Amazon are often more expensive than those in traditional retails. This highlights the importance of having multi-channel distribution for retailers, as well as the benefits of healthy competition in the retail industry from consumers’ perspective.

On April 30, 2020, PZ commented on “Mickey in the Middle of It” :

Thanks Nicholas for the well-written post. I agree Disney should consider frontier technology such as VR to bring the experience to consumers at home in the long run. Even though there’s a chance of a quick economic recovery post Covid-19, consumer behavior may change as people are more used to staying at home to do things, which would be detrimental to Disney’s bottom line. On the execution front, I think Disney could consider partnering with existing VR players such as Google or Facebook rather than building the hardware technology in-house, not just because of the huge R&D expenses associated with VR but also it could allow Disney to focus its resources on what it does best: storytelling.

Thanks for sharing Jona. The failure story of ClassPass Live really shows how failures can provide stepping stones for companies in the future. As we learned in class, there’s a difference between a mistake and a failure. Even though ClassPass’s failure in live classes back in 2018 was discontinued, they learned so much about the process that they can quickly pick up when the time is right. This story stresses the importance of being able to take risks and learning from failures.

On April 20, 2020, PZ commented on Rare Carat: The Kayak of Diamonds :

Thanks for the great post Leah. It’s really interesting that you mentioned Kayak and Expedia because diamonds, like airline tickets, are commodity products. But through ages of branding and marketing by the once-monopoly De Beers, diamond has been positioned as a precious and unique product. You should know about the quality of a diamond based on metrics such as carat, cut, color, clarity, polish and depth. But many people still insist on seeing the diamond in-person because they think that each diamond is so “unique”. Therefore, I think it’s important to educate consumers on what the different metrics means.

Thanks for the great article. It’s such a great initiative and agree that minority representation in the media/entertainment industry is a problem. Biases are often unconscious and may not even surface to the conscious side of the brain if nobody tells us that what we write, say, act may be wrong. This could create a vicious cycle especially in this industry as the less minority there are on TV or in movies, the fewer people in the minority group want want to go into the entertainment space in the first place. It’s great to see that leading players like Universal and Disney are engaging with the institute. I hope that they continue to seek and develop talented individuals regardless of their skin color.

Thanks for the article. I agree that the company technology is very interesting and can be applied to much more than just micromobility/car-sharing space, the potential of which is quite limited given the small number of players in this space. Targeting transportation authorities is a great way for the government to utilize its resources more effectively and cut unnecessary spending.

On March 15, 2020, PZ commented on Gojek – A Motortaxi for Every Need :

Thanks Bastian for the interesting article. Gojek’s success in Indonesia underlines the importance of having deep knowledge of the local market and tailoring its strategy and tactics to suit the context and customers. We often see copycats, transplanting the same business model from one geographical market to another, in an effort to replicate the success of the original company. While this may work some times, especially if two markets are similar, it’s often not the best move to ensure the sustainability of the business. In the case of Gojek, it’s fascinating to see how the company established local partnerships early on, helped clear the hurdles of low banking adoption, and leveraged its core competency in motorbikes to expand into adjacent services.

On March 15, 2020, PZ commented on ASOS: Your one-stop shop for all things fashion :

It’s quite concerning to see that ASOS has expanded into private-label as this move may alienate the existing suppliers. I see this action similar to Amazon moving into private label and undercutting suppliers. It seems that most of the company’s value creation comes from the demand side (i.e. building a strong branding, offering a wide variety of SKUs to consumers), but it’s also important to create values for suppliers to reduce the risk of multi-homing

Thanks for the great post Megan. It’s interesting to see how Drizly found a white space in the spaced entered this space as a niche player. I think through its narrow focus on alcohol, it can escape the radar of other large players who are often constrained by selling alcohol. In addition to offering alcohol, I wonder if Drizly can expand into adjacent products such as tobacco (also heavily regulated category) or complementary products such as cheese and flowers. This way, it an increase its target customers to not only those who are serious alcohol drinkers but also people who wouldn’t mind a glass or two of wine + other products.

On February 10, 2020, PZ commented on DataDog: underdog to cloud monitoring champion :

Thank you for sharing. It is interesting to see DataDog capturing the trend of rising cloud computing and developing a complementary package of tools to help companies better handle their cloud systems. It seems like DataDog has competitive advantage against its competitors and therefore it’s important for them to continuously innovate and develop better products in this rapidly-changing environment. The future for DataDog is uncertain and the questions you posed about its strategic directions going forward are very interesting. I think it’s important for them to focus on their core competencies and don’t spread themselves too thin by wanting to do everything at the same time.

On February 10, 2020, PZ commented on Please Buy Our Paper, Anyone But Wall Streeters :

Thank you for sharing. It’s quite sad to see this industry slowly dying because of digitization. I think the decline of local journalism is inevitable, but the options you listed out are promising. I like the first option the best. The local content players have to join forces, through partnership or M&A activities, to deliver high-quality, real-time content to the local community. I think a consolidation is the best route as this can help local media agencies to achieve cost synergies (i.e. sharing resources, decrease number of headcounts, etc.) to become more financially sustainable in the long run, especially when it is competing with asset-light internet players.

On February 10, 2020, PZ commented on The Louvre: Winning at Digital Engagement :

Thanks for the article Joe. I remember going to the Louvre and had no such technology like this five years ago – how I wish I could have used a Nitendo device for better educating myself on the different artworks. It’s incredible to see that they are embracing technology in such a traditional museum sector. The data that they use to drive decisions is quite interesting. I wonder if they can collect more information about visitors such as their age, occupation, etc. since they may be useful for figuring out trends among a certain demographic group. These trends can then be used for giving more personalized recommendations to visitors as they walk in the Louvre for example.