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On November 20, 2016, AlexShirley commented on FitBit: Say You Want a (New Year’s) Resolution :

I agree with you on the two revenue streams you identified. As you pointed out, I wonder if they have the right to play in the center of connected home, given the abundance of competition across other industries. I agree 100% that corporate partnerships are a probably source of future growth that they should continue to explore.

What about going deeper into analytics & measurement? Fitbit started at just counting steps, and has now moved into heart rate, sleep, and active minutes/hour. Can they move ‘up the ladder’ into more sophisticated measurement, say for athletic training? You could imagine something similar to a corporate sponsorship, and partnering with high school/college athletic programs in a similar fashion if they were able to elevate the sophistication of what they measure.

On November 20, 2016, AlexShirley commented on The future of money-transferring :

Very interesting! This is probably more telling of my ignorance than anything else, but I didn’t even realize this was an issue!

I hear our techrep’s point above, but wouldn’t this be geared at a different segment of the market? Bitcoin, at least as I understand it, is not very mainstream. I can’t imagine less technologically inclined people (e.g. myself, my parents, etc.) using bitcoin, whereas this looks more mainstream. How Bitcoin evolves in the future, however, is a very different question.

On November 20, 2016, AlexShirley commented on Why VR could mean the end of Art museums :

Really interesting thesis – I do agree with some of the above comments that personally I hope this does not happen! My theory is that it will cut into attendance, but for some it will always be an experience that going to the real deal will always beat something digital. My support for this is that significant upgrades in television technology has not destroyed the market for attending a sporting event in person. Arguably, watching a football game on TV is just as good, if not better than, attending in person. No annoying lines, inclement weather, and probably even better views of the action.

On how museums should respond – I think you can continue with the sports analogy. In almost every professional sports stadium, there are video boards that show replays, or better angles of a live play if your seats do not give you a great view of the play given where the play is taking place. You point it out in the post, but I think incorporating VR is a great way to enhance the in-person experience and protect against out-of-museum use of the technology.

All of the data suggests that self-driving cars are safer than those driven by humans. Given this, is the hold-up in rolling out self-driving cars the readiness of the technology, or the public/regulators? My intuition is that as we get closer and closer, the ultimate delay will be regulators, given the enormous number of workers self-driven cars will put out of jobs.

I wonder how Uber’s user-base will respond to this issue, when it comes to getting rolled out to the core business. If your driver is speeding, you can tell him to slow down. If he doesn’t, and continues driving in an unsafe manner, there is recourse in that the rider can give him or her a poor rating. How will this work with self-driving cars? I think the issue will be met with enormous resistance, despite data supporting enhanced safety. It will be interesting to see how uber and others address this from a marketing standpoint.

On November 20, 2016, AlexShirley commented on Fidelity vs. the Robots: The War for Millennials :

Interesting article! You pointed out the level of distrust for financial institutions held by millennials – how do you think that will play into this? My concern with traditional institutions, such as Fidelity, entering this space is that while the offering will be competitive with that of a fintech startup, the fact that it comes from a traditional institution may be a limiting factor with the target consumer. On the other hand, it may be that finances are too important to put in the hands of a new company, and even though millennials are wary of traditional financial institutions, they may be the best of a set of bad options.

Austin – great article. My response to your article is similar to Juan’s… I think their investments in more efficient planes is a great start, but they still hold significant commodity risk. Are you aware of any more ‘out there’ work that’s being done to augment (and hopefully one day replace) fossil fuel usage? Given the very long-term nature of an investment like this, I wonder if the way for airlines, and maybe even the broader transportation industry, is to work together on this. Maybe an industry consortium that directs funds to different research organizations.

On November 7, 2016, AlexShirley commented on Coca-Cola: Quenching the Thirst of the Future Sustainably :

I think the question you pose at the end is critical in thinking about addressing climate change. Ideally, incentives would perfectly align, and it would be in both the best interest of shareholders and the planet to make a variety of significant changes to be more sustainable. I would argue that many of the changes they are making will in the long run (if not already) help profitability by increasing resource productivity. In the long term, as demand for water continues to rise, these changes can help to serve as a way of mitigating their exposure. If it were a private company, then incentives would align better… But the pressure for public companies to make quarterly earnings make these types of long term investments imperfectly aligned with shareholder interests.

On November 7, 2016, AlexShirley commented on Waste Management is Cleaning Up its Act :

As I’ve read a lot of the other posts here, as well as the IKEA case, it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that companies like Waste Management play a critical role in the circular economy solution. One great example that you pointed out is filtering scrap metals back into the economy, which replaces metals that would otherwise have to be mined. I imagine one of the biggest issues with this is the actual mechanics of separating materials into the right groupings. The immediate solution that comes to mind is consumers – if we all separated our waste ourselves then that would solve that issue. However, affecting large scale change in consumer behavior is challenging. On the other side of the equation, the sheer volume of waste we generate makes it impossible for companies like Waste Management to do it all.

On November 7, 2016, AlexShirley commented on The same old process, but much cleaner: International Paper :

Great topic – Can’t think of many businesses that have to deal with climate change than a paper company.

Some of the comments so far have addressed it, but I’m very curious as to the potential for reducing the need for ‘virgin’ paper. While clearly constrained by the supply side, it would be interesting to know how much of their paper production they could augment with recycled paper. Is it on the order of magnitude of 1-2%? 10%?

The most challenging thing, for me is that, as you point out, the use of trees makes the production of paper doubly impactful on the environment. Is it a stretch to say the paper industry is inherently at odds with sustainability? This is not a critique of your post as much as a comment on the paper industry overall.

In the sea of examples that people use to tangibly represent the effects of climate change, the one regarding lack of snow in Tahoe in December really stands out to me. I agree with Catherine’s comment that consolidation is a completely non-obvious but logical occurrence.

I’m most interested in your suggestion about diversification into different seasons in Vail. This has already started, as the area has great golf courses and other non-winter activities (e.g. Fly Fishing) that will help this form of diversification. Vail is, in my mind, essentially synonymous with skiing. While this has been great for them as a winter attraction, I wonder if that will serve as a challenge for them in shifting to non-winter months. I agree that marketing is important, but I think they need to employ very creative marketing strategies to help shift dependence away from the winter? Could there be cross-season promotions, maybe linking a ski pass with discounted rates at other season’s activities?

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing.

On November 6, 2016, AlexShirley commented on Levi Strauss – Taking the Water Out of Jeans :

Thanks for the comment! It’s interesting to see multiple people responding to the consumer component.

While I agree that the supply side pieces will have a greater impact, I think you actually highlight why the consumer component is important. This is, as you point out, an issue that the vast majority of consumers are unaware of. A consumer focused initiative is not solely about reducing water usage, it’s also inherently a way to drive awareness. Given this, I actually see it as something that reinforces the other steps, and not at all invalidating as you suggested.

Is anti-microbial clothing the only answer? Of course not, but that was an example of something they can explore to impact consumer behavior.