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On November 18, 2016, Akyaa commented on Out of print :

This was really good. Thanks for putting together. the NYT is indeed at a very difficult crossroads. The point you brought up about “second-hour” coverage was very interesting. I think its such a fine line though between being taken as a serious newspaper and simply feeding the 24-hour news cycle. Because one of the things i find frustrating about “second-hour” coverage is that there is rarely anything new that wasn’t discussed in the initial breaking coverage. It mostly leads to punditry and “talking heads” arguing back and forth. But then that definitely does drive traffic so i think the NYT will have to decide what it values more…it’s journalistic integrity or generating traffic.

I absolutely agree that they should engage more in social media. Especially in this day when there is so much fake news out there, a trusted voice like the New York times would be welcome. I think the national geographic has done a remarkable job of having an excellent instagram (I think its in the top 20 of most followed) page that is entertaining and informative while staying true to the core values of that publication. While admittedly pictures are easier to work with than news, I am sure the NYT could find a good hire that could help them maximize their social media presence.

On November 18, 2016, Akyaa commented on Cisco and the Internet of Things :

Lane, very nicely written. I agree that Cisco has to make this move or risk becoming irrelevant. The one downside I wonder though is do you believe the company will have to dramatically change its organizational structure (i.e. the makeup of teams, of leadership, of employees). Also, will the new business be able to sustain the fixed costs that comes with the hardware business. Also, do you think it is too late for Cisco or are they doing this at the right time? Finally, what does it mean approach the consumer indirectly as you suggest.

On November 18, 2016, Akyaa commented on 23andMe and You! :

I really believe this company is providing a remarkable service to the world and body of science as a whole. I actually just took part in their efforts to jumpstart genome sequencing for people of African descent (it was free as a result, which i appreciate).

I agree with you that I don’t think they should enter the drug development space. Do you think there is a way for them to partner with research universities and medical experts (not for profit) to make use of the data they collect and the findings they are discovering every day. I know it will be challenging given the sensitivity of customer data but I feel their contribution to science could be so much more valuable without having to go down the drug development space. Perhaps this is one of those areas where the regulation hasn’t yet caught up with science and technology and they could help define and write those laws.

On November 18, 2016, Akyaa commented on Royal Caribbean: Digitization on the High Seas :

Haha, i loved this. It brought back memories of touring cruise ships for work and stuffing my face full of any and every piece of food that was within reach. One of the things I know Royal Caribbean also is investing heavily in is internet connectivity on ships as cruise lines were notorious for having terrible connectivity (but perhaps one of the draws for those who want to totally disconnect).

One of the thing I wonder about for the cruise industry is if they have to change some of their fundamental philosophies about what a vacation means to target younger cruisers. What I mean by this is if say millennials care more about the destination, do they really need these super large ships that cannot get to some of these very remote places? Similarly, do they care more about these add-on all you can eat packages? Do you think the cruise industry needs to take it a step further and think about not only ways that technology can make things better for their current customer but how they can use it to attract the next generation of cruisers who may not have the same tastes?

On November 18, 2016, Akyaa commented on Saving the Physical Bookstore: Barnes & Noble Edition :

This was great Kenzie. As a former frequent visitor of bookstores, it has been so sad to see the demise of all these bookstores. One thing I was curious about, if we look at Amazon’s book’s division (not including text books if that’s possible to break out) is that rising or falling? One thing I was wondering is if the demise of barnes and nobles is emblematic of general consumer disinterest in reading books like before.

I really liked the point you made about mastering discover and I think that is so key. Finding a good book is often done through recommendation. I wonder if Barnes and Nobles could tap into the growing popularity of podcasts where they could have authors (or their librarians) read a chapter of a very good book to give people a taste of that book which could cause them to buy it. Of course the problem then would be how do you get them to buy it at barnes and nobles and not amazon.

This is fascinating to read. It looks like cemex is doing a lot of things right, I had no idea. I think the question you asked at the end is really key. Do you know if they are able to show any improvement in revenues (due to customer goodwill towards the company) as a result of all the sustainability initiatives they are taking? If not, do you think if this doesn’t translate into some benefit the company will be as enthusiastic about sustainability initiatives going forward?

On November 7, 2016, Akyaa commented on How Vail Resorts Plans to Weather the Storm of Climate Change :

I covered Vail Resorts as an equity research analyst and I think you are spot on about Vail recognizing the need to diversify its geographic locations and offerings to consumers in order to reduce the volatility of demand that will come with erratic snowfall patterns. One thing the company has also done extremely effectively is by selling more skiers onto the season pass (prepaid tickets to ski all season). The nice thing about the season pass is that consumers feel like they are getting a deal (pays for itself after 5 visits or so) and also gives them variety. We saw some of this last two seasons when they were able to get some of the customers they lost on the West Coast to ski in Utah and the Rockies more generally.

Going forward though, it will be interesting to see how much they can continue to shift customers around the various locations if overall snowfall is declining across the globe.

On November 7, 2016, Akyaa commented on Only The Resourceful Will Survive :

Wonderful post and wonderful initiative Mark. Kudos on embarking on this journey. One high level thought I wondered about was whether you have thought of empowering the community leaders or adults in the towns/villages you work with to legislate with relevant national and global actors. My view on enacting impactful climate change initiatives is that there needs to be a strong voice or champion speaking for the “weaker voices.” I wonder if there is a way to start some proactive dialogue versus being reactive.

Entertaining read Mike. Thanks for the insight. Two things popped into my mind as I read this, do you know if Marriott is changing any of its standards towards LEED certification as it expands. Because from my recollection, I believe much of that room growth is outside of North America and in emerging markets where standards may not be as stringent. Have they maintained their commitment to these standards even in emerging markets? Second, do you think customers would care more if Marriott made some of these goals towards sustainability a core part of their strategy. If customers do and they book more rooms at Marriott (vote with their dollars) it could speed up the pace of Marriott (and other hotel companies) efforts.

Nice work. Any sense what AIG is doing on the individual/residential homes to be proactive about averting or mitigating the threat of climate change? For instance, do you think punitive measures like rising insurance premiums or rewarding measures like giving credits or reducing premiums to homes that are more energy efficient would also help to alter customer behavior. Also out of curiosity the $12.8bn of exposure in the US, what is the split between companies versus households.