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On November 20, 2016, abaybars commented on Is The New York Times on its way to becoming old news? :

Thanks for writing! Completely agree with Mary here. VR seems to be a very fertile ground for engaging customers and maintaining their journalistic integrity. I do think it’s a problem to ask or expect writers to balance coverage with reader demands; news reporting is not about giving the customer what they “want” (which should be neutral news about current event, but is often infotainment because we all need escape and leisure), but about bringing forth the truth in current events and increasing knowledge of the complexity of issues surrounding the world and us, its inhabitants. BuzzFeed is actually a really interesting contrast case because even though its (perhaps original) goal is to increase shares and they really snag customers with their quizzes and lists, they’ve done quite well with their long-form news reporting (and they actually announced a goal of breaking news domination last April). So, perhaps there’s an interesting link here between the entry point to the news source (quizzes/lists/”fun” things to read) and the actual meant (long-form content). Thus, VR integration seems like a good way to parallel the “fun hooks” that BuzzFeed has going for it, but I really would stray from even discussing reader demands with reporters. Lest we only have images of cute puppies all over the NYT.


On November 20, 2016, abaybars commented on Burberry is Bringing Tech-xy Back :

Thanks for writing! Agree with LR’s ultimate point. Burberry has done a pretty great job of using digital marketing to raise brand awareness and to target millennials. In addition to what you’ve listed, in 2010, Burberry also started the “Burberry Acoustic Sessions” that were meant mostly to “showcase young British bands that Burberry believes in” by recording sessions with emerging British artists dressed in select Burberry products. Theses videos are available on the Burberry website and on Burberry Acoustic playlist on YouTube. They succeed in reaching young millennials and in crossing the “classic” boundary into something cooler, more niche, and ultimately English in the selection of the musicians. It’s a pretty brilliant way to leverage the ease of musical recording and accessibility with old school editorialization of fashion. The consumer reaction has been wildly positive, creating a lot of positive buzz for the brand and the musicians. Ultimately, Burberry has done very well to use digital products to increase brand awareness, but I would recommend that they make some of their product line, perhaps Prorsum, unavailable online, to regain some of the exclusivity they may have lost. Although, they announced last year that they were unifying all their brands under one, so maybe they’re really not on the right track with the product exclusivity here…


Thanks for writing! Want to respond to this comment. I’m also unsure about the dilution effect that luxury brands experience when they become so widely available on the internet. So I wonder if they should be leveraging their own proprietary apps to further the experience. But instead of a free/highly accessible app, it becomes something that requires an invite and then has multiple tiers. Perhaps it would be a way for the sales people of old fashion houses to interact with their clientele in an up-to-date high-tech manner. There could be a browsing/interaction platform, and special releases through parts of this app specifically, and ways to get special items (like the Chanel WOC that is frequently on waitlists). That would be a good way for these clients to experience the luxury brands on mobile and online but without devaluing their exclusivity.

Thank you for writing! I’m curious to know what specifically the Met is working on with Oculus and other VR/AR companies. It’s not uncommon at this point for academics and museum curators alike, especially in more historical contexts, to leverage 3D models and technologies to recreate a certain time period (for example, the Karnak Project, which captures over 100 years’ analyses of the architectural styles of the Karnak Temple and acts as an interactive tool : http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/03/dimensions-of-ancient-egypt/), and I wonder where more interactive AR/VR can play into 3D models that already exist. In this way, museums can become even more experiential outings…something similar to the curatorial decision to build in the objects into the space to recreate history, as the Louvre chose to do with the Mesopotamian human-headed winged bulls that were guardians and gatekeepers of certain cities (http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/winged-human-headed-bull), but elevated with high tech to match millennials.

On November 20, 2016, abaybars commented on Just Do It: The Swoosh Goes Digital :

Thanks for writing this! Want to respond to Sairah’s comment…you pick up on a really important dilemma that wearables is facing right now: items like bracelets/watches/rings can only take you so far without disrupting someone’s everyday life. There are actually a bunch of folks working on something called “smart fabrics”: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/smart-fabrics-beat-smart-devices. Google, in particular, in cahoots with Levi’s is working on Project Jacquard (https://atap.google.com/jacquard/), which will enable everyday fabrics to have touch and gesture interactivity literally woven in. So anything from your jean pockets to your placemats can actually become digital surfaces. For me the question is: where do we go from the smart fabrics to needing a screen to view/keep a pulse on whatever our smart products are tracking? How do I see the Nike+ mobile app display if I’m only wearing my smart clothes, but don’t have something with a screen nearby? When will we get to projecting numbers and data onto the air?

On November 7, 2016, abaybars commented on Marriott’s Take on Climate Change :

I’m really curious about any data surrounding guests and whether their behavior has actually changed following Marriott’s implementation of their “save the earth, reuse your towels” plan. It brings up the issue of StickK: do people change their behavior to react to something good (look how we’re saving the earth!) or do they react to the threat of punitive action (having to pay to get new towels everyday, for example, which would be a little extreme). Just curious to know what results Marriott has seen so far.

On November 7, 2016, abaybars commented on Levi Strauss – Taking the Water Out of Jeans :

So interesting! I hadn’t even realized that the CEO had made that statement about not washing his jeans for a year. Even if Levi’s manages to integrate antimicrobial fabrics into their denim, I’m skeptical about the likelihood that the average consumer would actually not wash their jeans for a year. The main reason is fabric recovery! Maybe this a female-specific problem, but jeans tend to sag/stretch after several (if not just one) wears, resulting to the infamous “diaper butt” phenomenon. So, I find it hard to believe women wearing Levi’s would do this, unless Levi’s does some amazing R&D work on making sure their new antimicrobial fabric (I assume the easiest way would be to go the silver/silverescent route a la Lululemon) has excellent recovery.

Also, I think there’s something to be said for the true cost of going green as a leader in the space with Levi’s sharing their Water<Less technology. Are they trying to make money off of sharing it with other brands or are they doing a good deed and assuming this as part of the "going green" cost? And really, what *should* they do?

On November 7, 2016, abaybars commented on Tesla: Profitable? It depends on the climate. :

Zach — this is awesome! Thank you for bringing Musk into the conversation. I want to address Anthony’s comment in relation to your great post:

I am somewhere in between your extreme view of the results of low gas prices and the greatness of Tesla. Design-wise and in terms of “visionary-ness”, I’d say Tesla is the clear leader; it’s not hard to be with Musk at the helm. Especially for consumers who tend to buy the gas guzzlers in terms of very high performing cars, Tesla is really one of the only options on the market. One potential competitor is the BMW i8 (http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/bmwi/i8.html), but it’s MSPR is almost twofold a basic Tesla model S. But adoption will be difficult until they figure out the solar panel/charging problem: plug-in charging only gets us so far. And Tesla is pushing to solve this problem with a partnership with SolarCity (http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i44/Tesla-launch-solar-roofs.html). Agreed with Zach re increasing ZEV standards as a way to increase the pie size and incentivize the industry to get moving, but I think a large part of Tesla’s success and profitability will come when the solar panel/charging issue is solved in a way that’s functional on a mass level.

On November 7, 2016, abaybars commented on To boycott or not to boycott Nutella :

Yay, Nutella! I understand the cost reasons that so many food producers have switched to palm oil, but I think this has been detrimental to Nutella on the whole, beyond just the environmental concerns. Up until 2005 or 2006, the US mix of Nutella did not even use palm oil. And the flavor (specifically, the hazelnuttiness) of the spread has definitely changed. Even though Ferrero has come far in terms of incorporating sustainable palm oil practices into its production, I still have trouble with the inclusion of palm oil in the ingredients mix. And to echo Farhaneh’s comment, palm oil is actually quite unhealthy.

(Plus deforestation is doubly bad, because in addition to air pollution, it is also killing the orangutans.)


On November 7, 2016, abaybars commented on Riding the Heat Wave – Will WhiteWave Survive? :

Thank you writing. One of the biggest sustainability issues a company like WhiteWave that dabbles in packaged goods faces is the emissions levels of its packaging. There’s a good deal of progress made by WhiteWave here that is worthy of note.

One of WhiteWave’s subsidiaries, Vega, had identified the usage of virgin high-density polyethylene plastic containers as the largest source of the brand’s carbon dioxide emissions. Under WhiteWave’s guidance, since 2012, Vega bottles are 96% post-consumer recycled plastic. In addition, another of WhiteWave’s brands, Earthbound Farm, a packaged salad brand, has been using 100% post-consumer recycled plastic for packaging since 2009.

Given its product mix, I’d say WhiteWave is doing a pretty decent job of changing with the climate times.

http://www.whitewave.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/WhiteWave-CSR-2014_2015-Full-Report.pdf (pg 28)