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On November 16, 2016, 1928502 commented on Under Armour: The Business of Sweat Goes Digital :

Interesting article on a potentially transformative technology. It would be interesting to see how Under Armor thinks about commercializing such apparel. Beyond the obvious attractiveness of the product, one could argue this provides a great way to know the customer better and suggest other products and services. Under Armor could provide these themselves or also allow other companies to access this data and sell such products. This WSJ article examines this concept both for Under Armor and other apparel companies, as well. http://www.wsj.com/articles/under-armour-looks-to-get-you-wired-with-its-apparel-1425061081

Fascinating article on a company that seems to be valued almost as much as Uber (http://qz.com/670303/alibabas-spinoff-financial-service-company-is-now-worth-as-much-as-uber/)
To what extent do you think Alipay’s model is the result of its relationship with Alibaba? As the competitors highlighted in the Alibaba Group Report slide suggest, there seems to be other competition across financial verticals from established players moving to digital. Can they further be threat? Or is the relationship with the ecommerce enough to keep them ahead?

On November 16, 2016, 1928502 commented on A Smarter P&G :

Thanks for sharing this. Fascinating to see how traditional brands see themselves as evolving beyond products, i.e. rather in their relationship with the customer.
It would be interesting to examine the extent to which there is one “right” way to go about developing this relationship. Success with the Amazon seems varied, with claims that less than half of buyers of the Dash buttons are actually pressing them.

On November 16, 2016, 1928502 commented on Why VR could mean the end of Art museums :

Fascinating article. It would be interesting to explore further what the customer motivations behind going to museums are. If, as you mentioned, the lines are so long and the experience so poor, are they really going for the educational experience? Perhaps it is the attraction of seeing the Mona Lisa, for example, in real life, with their own eyes.
The attached piece by the American Alliance of Museums suggests some motivations which may not be replaced by digital – surely, as you point out, they are only one part of the story.

On November 16, 2016, 1928502 commented on “We are not dead yet!” – The Parable of the New York Times :

Interesting article on a nationally important publication. To what extent do you think NYT can survive the next wave of consumer interaction with content? It would seem that mobile is the most important shift; is NYT able to provide a similarly competitive experience on e.g. an iPhone versus other sources? Such sources could include Twitter and Facebook, which seem to have been used as proxy news sources increasingly over the past year. A recent survey suggests that a majority of US adults are getting at least some of their news from social media (http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/07/09/is-twitter-falling-behind-as-a-news-source.aspx).

On November 6, 2016, 1928502 commented on The Death of the Gas Station? :

Fascinating article and case study into diversification of a long-standing business model.

To what extent do you think that the shift into a wider array of products (e.g. convenience products, food-to-go) stemmed from climate change concerns versus simply an opportunity for revenue growth? If their business model depends first and foremost on fuel pump traffic, which BFS can then translate into larger revenue per transaction by offering more products, then their goal might become several fold:

A) Maximize roadside stops at their locations by offering fuel (either in gasoline or possible electric charging in the future)
B) Continue to expand and update assortment of additional products (e.g. food, convenience)

If, however, the data suggests that customers stop for non-fuel reasons (i.e. they are attracted by the food, bathroom, need to buy cigarettes, etc.) they perhaps the strategy could be to:

A) Renovate locations to use space for revenue generating activities (e.g. restaurant or cafe)
B) Ensure sufficient distance from rest areas that could offer same services

Judging from the company’s partnership with fast food locations in addition to convenience stores (http://www.bfscompanies.com/about.php), it might seem that the answer is a combination of both.

On November 6, 2016, 1928502 commented on Climate Change: Is it All Downhill for Vail Resorts? :

Great article! Vail’s acquisition of Whistler poses the question of to what extent is this a pure downside protection diversification strategy versus a product diversification?

> To expand on the former, as is quoted, it is unlikely that snow will be lacking in all three mountainous areas of North America at once, hence at least one region should product revenues and subsidize the other two)
> To expand on the latter, could it be there is capture upside from bad-year in one or two of the regions? For example, if the Rockies do poorly, will customers switch to the Sierra Nevadas? While geographic distance and buying behavior (i.e. early booking) suggest it is not easy to change plans at the last minute, it is worth noting that Whistler Blackcomb posted record earnings despite lowest snowfall in 36 years this past season. (see http://www.seattletimes.com/business/climate-change-currency-swings-spur-vails-decision-to-buy-whistler/)

On November 6, 2016, 1928502 commented on Nutella, Why U No Last Forever? :

Fascinating and tragic! Would option 2 be sufficient to curb the impact of climate change on key supply chain inputs: cocoa and hazelnut?
Although Ferrero sits as both a contributor and sufferer of climate change, it may need to intervene across the entirety to mitigate product impact.

In addition, therefore, to producing more sustainable palm oil (or finding a chemical alternative, as is mentioned above), could Ferrero consider locking supply contracts in the future for cocoa and hazelnut? Nestle seems to offer a parallel, having set up its in house commodity price analysis teams (http://www.plasticstoday.com/content/hedging-corner-smart-chocolate/44411889815957).

It is not clear whether there might be the possibility of locking in such contracts so far in advance, but could represent an additional option if new regions are not able to bring new supply to the market.

On November 6, 2016, 1928502 commented on Power Struggles at Amazon Web Services :

Fascinating issue – thank you for writing on it!
Is power mix the most important metric in analyzing AWS’s environment sustainability? The following blog post from AWS (https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/cloud-computing-server-utilization-the-environment/) seems to suggest that, in evaluating the climate impact of data center service provision, one should include:

1) number of servers running
2) the energy efficiency of such servers
3) energy sources (i.e. the power mix discussed above)

AWS’s post suggests (as you mentioned above) that switching from on-premise data centers to cloud centers already creates significant energy savings due to improvements across all three metrics. Would be curious to know where AWS sits on the other two metrics versus their cloud provider competitors.

On November 6, 2016, 1928502 commented on Hershey’s Chocolate: Has Climate Change Made It Bittersweet? :

Fascinating article and worrying for us chocolate lovers!

Given Hershey’s buys its cocoa beans on exchanges, could the company consider hedging to limit input risk? The following article seems to suggest that Mars has been heding cocoa for several years: https://www.ft.com/content/e197cf1c-6c81-11dd-96dc-0000779fd18c

It would seem that if:
a) Production truly will fall
b) Consumers are not willing to spend more on Hershey’s
c) Competitors are hedging
d) Hershey’s does not already hedge
…then Hershey’s may not have a choice but to follow?