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On November 20, 2016, AC commented on Are schools going to disappear in the future? :

D – thanks for this post. I’m a big proponent of democratizing education. However, I think there are several challenges that will make it difficult for online learning platforms to replace traditional education. First, given the shorter history of online learning platforms, they have yet to figure out how to accommodate different students. For example, EdX settled with the Justice Department over allegations that their digital content was not accessible to individuals with disabilities, in violation of federal law. (1) Second, as a student at HBS, I have found the case method to be incredibly value, debating and learning from peers in real time. While online platforms may have peer discussion forums, use video, and other tools for live conversations, I can’t stress enough how valuable real life conversations are to learning.


On November 20, 2016, AC commented on Venmo – Should Banks be Worried? :

Thanks for this post, Gabrielle.

As a user of Venmo, I certainly agree that peer-to-peer money transfer apps are a threat to traditional financial institutions. However, I’m skeptical of the degree to which these apps will threaten the traditional firms for a few reasons. First, banks are taking measures to build their own apps / programs or work together to provide the peer-to-peer money transfer function. J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp and Capital One Financial Corp have joined forces on clearXchange, a bank-owned platform that would allow immediate transfers. (1)

Second, these new companies will have to navigate regulatory and legal environments. For example, companies like Venmo are not a bank taking institution, meaning user balances are not insured by the government. (2) For users to use sites like Venmo, they would have to be comfortable with this risk. I also wonder if companies like Venmo with their shorter history have all of the necessary compliance practices in place such as anti-money laundering considerations.


On November 20, 2016, AC commented on Delta’s Baggage Claim Digital Transformation :

Thanks for sharing, ASP. I applaud Delta’s work on this front but would suggest individual airlines aren’t the best players to handle lost baggage. Digital transformation is certainly the key to lost luggage but airports may be in the best position to solve this problem.

Individual airlines don’t seem to be the solutions for two reasons. First, the R&D and implementation of these programs are large commitments from a capital and time perspective. Instead, if one entity could take on this responsibility, we’d reduce duplicative efforts. (1) The second argument for an airport-wide system is the case of multiple legs operated by different carriers. Unless there is a global RFID tag that can be used across airlines, a bag will still need to be tagged in traditional ways if it needs to handled by another airline for a leg. (2) A uniform system across airlines may be the most efficient solution from both a time and capital perspective.


Thanks for this post, Erik. As a huge fan of Whole Foods, it’s helpful to think about how digitization has and will continue to impact everyday life.

In terms of suggestions to Whole Foods, I appreciate that you don’t suggest using self-checkout lines for two business reasons. First, according to Tensator, “one out of every three British shoppers polled had walked out of a store without the goods they intended to buy, simply because of a bad experience with a self-service checkout.” (1) This certainly suggests lost business. Second, self-checkout doesn’t account for theft. To avoid theft, super markets have to conduct random audits, which means use of an employee’s time ($$$). Similarly, while I appreciate your smart phone suggestion, I fear a similar theft problem.

Instead, a suggestion from the inventor of the self-checkout line himself – Dr. Howard Schneider – is no check out at all. He suggest using cameras to identify when items have been taken off a shelf and charge customers then. (2) While this sounds like an idea for the far future, I like this idea because it also makes ordering inventory more efficient.


On November 20, 2016, AC commented on Just Like Derek Zoolander, UPS Drivers Can’t Turn Left :

Thanks for sharing the technology used to deliver packages to us. It seems that drivers still have some skepticism around ORION. From doing a bit of research online, it sounds like drivers don’t always follow ORION once the deployment team left a site (1). By tracking the percent of adherence versus miles and time saved (rather than drivers using past history as a reference), this could help UPS underscore the impact of the program.

Not sure if they already do but UPS should also highlight the impact of ORION on sustainability. “When ORION is fully implemented throughout the U.S. in 2016, UPS expects to see annual reductions of 100 million miles driven and fuel savings of 10 million gallons per year. These add up to 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided every year.” (1) These facts, married with the business gains, would be pretty compelling to me as a driver to do my part in using ORION, in addition to use my common sense.


On November 7, 2016, AC commented on A World without Hershey Kisses? :

Parker – this was one of the first blog posts I read and was very impressed by the level of knowledge you have on this topic. I also appreciate this post since chocolate is a product we all consume and love. I’ve always been mindful of climate change but this post made it even more real. I like the suggestions you have for Hershey. Around the topic of genetically modified cacao seeds, I have two questions.

First, I personally am fine with GMO food items but know the broader public isn’t. How would you propose we get the public comfortable? Second, what is the ETA on having a version of the cacao seed that can be used for commercial use? Hope it’s soon!

On November 7, 2016, AC commented on INDITEX: FROM “LOOK GOOD” TO “DO GOOD” :

Thanks for this incredibly helpful post. I wrote my blog post on H&M so it’s very interesting to read how Inditex / Zara is approaching this topic. You suggest that Inditex / Zara works on improving transportation efficiency. I agree with this evaluation given the carbon footprint from transporting products around the globe from global manufacturers. I would suggest changes from trucks to rail. H&M has done some work in this space and even partners with agencies like the US Environmental Protection agency. I would think for these measures to take place, there needs to be a coordinated effort amongst apparel manufacturers / retailers, and without an economic incentive or governmental regulation, very difficult to do

As a former vegetarian, I really appreciate this post. If only, Impossible Foods was around then, I may not have had to revert back!

I agree with you that the traditional meat industry may push back on these changes. For example, we know that billions of dollars subsidize the corn industry. Any ideas for how we could prevent lobbyists from doing the same in this industry?

What else can Impossible Foods be doing to improve their sustainability practices? I would assume they audit their own facilities to be energy efficient, improve transportation to reduce carbon footprint, etc, but I suspect there is something more they can be doing.

On November 7, 2016, AC commented on TOO HOT FOR YOUR TEA TO BREW? :

As a prolific drinker of tea, this post really resonates with me. It seems like Kayonza is trying to mitigate the effects of and on climate change but it doesn’t seem like they’re doing enough / through the right channels. For example, I understand the point about family planning but it seems to be addressing a symptom rather than addressing the cause. As such, I appreciate your ideas for what more Kayonza can do. I don’t quite follow how having more workers fetch water will help in a meaningful way? Auditing for energy efficient practices seems like a no-brainer as well as good agricultural practices. If only we can implement! Thanks for the interesting read

On November 7, 2016, AC commented on Let Them Eat Lobster! :

This was an eye-opening post as I didn’t realize how the climate change directly affected my intake of seafood.

You suggest that lobster companies should collaborate and communicate sustainability best practices? However, who will take the lead in terms of doing the necessary R&D? I also wonder if companies will share best practices with each other if their success depends on their being more successful than their competitors? Are there currently any government regulations or incentives that promote collaboration?

On November 7, 2016, AC commented on Stella McCartney: Making faux leather a luxury :

You highlight a critical point – that consumers shouldn’t be differentiating on sustainability but rather design and quality. In my mind, this is how we integrate sustainability into everyday life rather than a fad or novelty. I’d be curious to see if Stella McCartney or the parent company receives any government subsidies or benefits for their practices. Again, while I believe in good intentions, I also believe that economic incentives will be critical to driving behavior of companies.

Would also like to understand what measures Stella McCartney takes with its suppliers to improve its carbon footprint.