Alex Fisher

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On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on Shinola: “Where American is made.TM” :

Neat choice. I know this company well and met the founder (also the co-founder of Fossil) – awesome guy and fascinating story. My view is that the authenticity of any company’s story is key, and there is no doubt the Shinola story is an authentic one. Regardless of where the components come from, building the units in the U.S. is unique and they don’t try to hide the sourcing partnership at all. I think they have put together a great marketing story, and it will be interesting to see how/if they can become profitable – my guess is they are investing huge amounts into marketing and opening flagship retail locations and have yet to recoup any initial investments. Worth noting too that they also acquired Filson, which is an iconic made in America outdoor brand. Their vision for owning a portfolio of US iconic brands could be pretty lucrative if they pick the right assets…

On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on How Chipotle Revolutionized Fast Food :

Everything seems so standardized and well-run maybe they should standardize the amount of meat they serve. When you walk in hungry and get a small portion it can really be a day ruiner!!!!!! But in all seriousness I am shocked that they haven’t standardized portions. With food costs where they are today, I bet the numbers would be staggering as to how much a company like this could save annually if they controlled the portions of proteins and other expensive items like cheese and sour cream (would be extremely simple, just need spoons that hold the desired quantity). Instead, employees just pile it on at their own discretion. Portioning would also make the assembly line a tad more efficient since employees don’t need to think about how much of an ingredient to serve. The only downside I can think of is the customer experience. When I go to restaurants that do this or a bar that measures shots before pouring it in a glass it bothers me and to be honest I’m not sure why…

On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on Trader Joe’s: Groceries for the “Overeducated and Underpaid” :

Who is this mysterious M?!?! Love TJs, nice post. They have in essence created a “fancy” private label that consumers love which was genius. To Raj’s point on the vendors – unlike Whole Foods who is buying from large branded companies, TJ’s is sourcing from contract manufacturers who already expect lower margins since most of what they produce is private label. The Annie’s example given is a bit unique, as even Annie’s does not produce the product – they buy from a contract manufacturer and are, in essence, a marketing company. Annie’s doesn’t own production facilities! So a TJ’s buying mac from the same supplier as Annie’s is really just viewed as incremental business; so long as it is profitable the manufacturer doesn’t really care that it is lower margin than the product produced for Annie’s so long as they have capacity. That said, Whole Foods and other retailers are growing their private label offerings and driving price points down – long term, as the consumer continues adopt private label I wonder if TJ’s will struggle to compete against the traditional food retail players as their mix of products/price starts to look like TJ’s.

On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on Athlete. Legend. Warrior. Rockstar. Renegade. SOULCYCLE. :

Shocker that you wrote about Soulcycle, wasn’t sure you had heard of the company before. Positive it’s not publicly available, but would be neat to see stats on the user base (e.g, how much of their revenue comes from the top x% of customers, % of revenue in each year from churned customers vs. existing etc.). Curious how much of the growth they have seen is truly sustainable – are they still in the honeymoon period of people trying the classes since they are still popping up in new locations or will they continue to experience growth and maintain their cult following on “jennys”? You also laid out the demographics well–i wonder how many markets they can enter given their customer profile – fascinating how concentrated the revenue is today I had no idea.

On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on HBS – A Business Model Perspective :

Neat post, great idea. We often talk about businesses sticking to what they are good at and focusing on products for which they have a “right to win.” For me, it seems that the Finance/Consulting realm you talk about will be around forever and that the boom of startup interest is likely cyclical and may disappear for a bit when the next recession hits. I think the iLab and other initiatives HBS has implemented to compete with other schools is great, but I wonder if HBS could lose ground to schools like Wharton or Booth in the more traditional fields if it spends too much time and energy in fields it hasn’t historically focused on. So long as the school retains its focus on the traditional areas and the other initiatives are truly incremental I don’t really see this as an issue, but never really thought about it from a business perspective before reading your post just something interesting to think about…

On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on Yara International: Adapting to a shifting industry :

Cool post. To Yuta’s point above, affordability will be key in some of these emerging markets. In addition, I think education is paramount even if they can get their hands on fertilizer. There is an awesome non profit you should check out:
These guys have had outstanding results increasing yields and productivity and focus on the entire chain from seeds to market facilitation.

On December 14, 2015, Alex Fisher commented on 5-hour Energy: Get your boost for the day :

Interesting post, I didn’t know the full story here and they are literally everywhere. Although I don’t consume energy drinks, I think this is a very cool example of a simple idea/product that seems to have made it big largely due to solid execution and lean operations. Refreshing in a world today where hiring lots of people and losing money for years and years has become the new norm (until another recession hits at least)… Would be curious to understand their manufacturing model (assume it’s produced by a contract manufacturer?) and their distribution model (Marco raised a good point above, would be fascinating to understand how they gained distribution in end markets dominated by multi-billion dollar CPG companies. I also wonder why Red Bull or companies like Monster didn’t make a competing product and push it through their existing distribution channels. If they didn’t try to launch a similar product perhaps they were just sleepy (pun intended!) and were too caught up in the success in their own products…