Sanchali, cool post! While NYT has had successes and failures in digitizing their core business, I think consumer behavior has fundamentally shifted in a couple ways. Firstly, consumers prefer shorter articles, because their phones provide limited space to read (and no one wants to scroll down for 10 minutes); you mentioned NYT has created digestable takeaways, but it’s not enough (as I’m sure you agree). Secondly, other apps (e.g. Snapchat, Facebook) compete for a users’ attention on a mobile device. Whereas people in the olden days had a newspaper on a train for 20+ minutes with limited alternatives, people can now do mobile banking, mobile shopping, mobile sharing- virtually anything- which vies for readers’ time. As you argued, the NYT needs to insert itself in various ways (e.g. through Snapchat, sharing on Facebook) in order to remain relevant.
Hi Joanna, cool post. With digital price labels, I couldn’t help but think how grocery stores could take advantage of “price customization” (i.e. price discrimination). For example, could prices increases late at night when competitors have closed for the day? While prices have increased, it could benefit consumers by having their local grocery store open for, let’s say, 1 hour which was made possible by incremental revenue.
Spencer, cool post! As Zirngibl said, it’s evidenced by the number of comments. Amazon going to bricks-and-mortars demonstrates one important concept: omnichannel retailing. In other words, providing goods and services wherever the customer is. There are two reasons why physical stores will always have a place in the world: goods will always have a physical presence, and customers will appreciate touching and feeling a product; physical stores provide convenience, which some customers will always demand.
Mike, cool post! I know you like home tech, and your post demonstrates how home tech can improve margins and convenience. I question why consumers are slow to adopt space-saving furniture, such as the bed/couch device or the ORI system, for their own home? Why are other hotels slow to adopt luggage robots? Are human staff integral to hospitality? In other words, what is the tradeoff between human interactions that travelers are accustomed to versus efficiency and cost savings?
Clara, great post! What struck me most was that Zalora collects cash from customers. Can it provide discount to customers to incentivize them to pay by credit card or another form of electronic payment? I assume that cash collection from employees (i.e. theft) can be an issue, and maybe paying credit card fees would be less costly than cash management!
Also, I am impressed that Zalora created a private label brand based on customer data. They should definitely continue to do this!
Radhika, thanks for sharing this topic! I hadn’t thought it of it before. My main support argument for Amazon Web Services would be that they are more energy efficient than if each company had their own server. In other words, Amazon has servers at scale. So they save on excess hardware being distributed to independent companies, and they save on aggregate energy costs. However, I believe they can continue to do more to save energy.
Brian, nice post. I hadn’t thought about how Vail is diversifying geographically to hedge against climate change as well as pushing its summer offerings. I think Vail has more opportunity with its summer offerings. As Americans spend more time outdoors, driven by a health & wellness megatrend, Vail Resorts could benefit from the trend. Vail, however, is tasked with changing Americans’ view that ski resorts can be great during the summer!
Lane, I like your piece. You present good points on Patagonia’s efforts to curb climate change and how it’s part of the problem. However, thinking out loud, where does it stop with expectations of companies helping with climate change? Don’t almost all companies contribute to climate change, unless you were in the tree growing business (but cutting them takes CO2)? Doesn’t capitalism in its entirety promote consumption? Are human desires to consume at fault?
Nice piece, George, and I agree with what you’ve said. I would also add a piece about climate change that weather patterns are unpredictable. In effect, some ski seasons receive an outsized amount of snow, while other years receive much less. I believe the unpredictability and large variance in snow pack each year adds to the confusion of the direct impact of climate change, although the impact in the long run is undeniable.
Janick and KC– interesting topic. I also wrote about Florida home insurance. I believe that UIHC helps the competitiveness of Florida’s insurance market. Citizens Insurance (a Florida government owned entity) is one of the largest property insurers in Florida. It was formed as a last-resort property insurer when homeowners can’t get any private insurance (due to perceived riskiness of their coastal homes). Citizens was once the largest state property insurer, insuring $137 billion of residential property, which poses a risk to all Floridians because all Floridians are responsible for Citizens if Citizens incurs a cash deficit due to payouts from a large natural disaster. By UIHC coming into the insurance market and offering insurance to more homeowners, it effectively derisks property insurance from the public sphere to the private market.
Janick– I understand your point if UIHC went bankrupt and was bailed out by the US or another organization after having taken dividend from past profit. However, I think there are insurance companies for insurance companies? That’s a potential backstop to the problem you suggested.
Lastly, I’m unclear on UIHC’s business strategy. Is it reaping financial benefits from Citizen’s “depopulation” initiative, a program which attempts to reduce the number of policy holders covered by Citizens? Is it cherry picking the best risk-adjusted homes from Citizen’s portfolio, leaving Citizens with a portfolio of risky assets? Is UIHC perceived to be helping Citizens by taking more policies, but actually making Citizens more susceptible to bankruptcy and therefore the Florida public?