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On November 20, 2016, Brandon commented on Disney – Hakuna Matata! Digital ain’t no passing craze :

Thanks for the well-written article and great topic Shray. You’ve noted myriad opportunities that Disney is taking advantage of in the digital space – perhaps augmented by their young consumer base more willing to adopt new technologies. What do you believe to be the major obstacles facing Disney during the upcoming years and continued shift from physical to digital? Are there any key competitors that may prove better positioned to take advantage of the shifting media consumption behaviors of consumers in years to come?

On November 20, 2016, Brandon commented on Digitization in Video Games: Taking Advantage of Gamers :

Thank you for the supremely interesting topic and well-written article. This is a genre dear to my heart, with No Man’s Sky increasingly emblematic of a growing problem with game releases and marketing: The divergence between expectations (often set by marketing teams) and the reality of a games evolution.

While I truly believe that ongoing patches and updates provided by better software connected games, this has proved a double edged sword – providing studios with more confidence that their games need not be ‘polished’ to the same extend they have in the past – which is dropping consumer confidence in their products in turn. I’m sincerely excited to see how this evolves.

On November 20, 2016, Brandon commented on Can you do your taxes faster than you prepare for a FIN 1 case? :

Wonderful topic and marvelously written article Ken. I agree with you with much of the opportunity still left to be captured by Turbo Tax (acquiring younger consumers, proving to older consumers the value and credibility of the product) but also have fears akin to those of Daniel (what barriers to entry, if any, exist in this space – will margins ultimately degrade to nothing?) and Reilly (is it morose that it may be in Turbo Tax’s best interests to keep taxes as complicated a system as possible?).

With both of these I wonder about the true necessity of complex tax systems in America. If we come to the conclusion that complex systems typically benefit those at scale with capabilities to best traverse and advantage (typically the wealthy and large corporations), how do we move away from a system buttressed by the interest of so many parties on America?

Marvelous topic and well-written article Kristina. Additionally a company near and dear to my heart. I believe that I’m one of those who almost exclusively orders online – utilizing Dominos’ online tracking system (akin to those utilized by Caviar and other food delivery services these days – where you can see your food in the process and understand how close it is to delivery) to set my own expectations. With an inundation of new competitors (both in the delivery space – e.g., Seamless/Caviar/Push for Pizza as well as the creation space – including healthier alternatives) – where do you believe that the future of Dominos’ lies? Who is its core future demographic?

On November 20, 2016, Brandon commented on Too Much Data Strikes a Blow to Tableau :

Truly interesting topic and well-written article Michael. In particular I’m sincerely drawn to how firms are now competing to host data of third parties in order to leverage the network effects of ‘data-gravity’ [1]. It appears as though Google, IBM, and Microsoft have been luring companies away from Amazon – with Apple and Spotify recent converts for Google. With increasingly analogous tools and analytics platforms, how do you believe that these and other firms will begin to differentiate themselves in the space?


On November 7, 2016, Brandon commented on Thinking Outside the Box :

Marvelously researched and well-written article. I find this type of ‘enlightened capitalism’ to be truly inspiring – with this particular example proving very analogous to IKEA utilizing their massive size, influence and supply chain to support industry trends that not only benefit themselves but also the environment/our planet.

I’m curious to why, in conclusion, you’ve written that PCA should fully commit its sustainability initiative, sourcing 100% of its new fiber through managed forestry et al. Do you believe that this is in the best interest of the firm, the environment, or a mix of both? If only the environment, are there other thoughts you have of how to push the mix more towards the latter (a mix of both) to make this economically and morally responsible?

On November 7, 2016, Brandon commented on Coca-Cola: Survival in an Era of Climate Change :

Ward – wonderfully researched and well-written article. I greatly appreciate how you link Coca-cola’s largest weakness to that of influencing entities over which it has no direct control. To me this is very analogous to IKEAs position in which by its massive size, power and supply chain it is able to exert influence upon others who will (more or less) bend to its will to gain large and long-term contracts. Can you speak more about areas where Coca-cola is doing this, or thinking about utilizing these tactics to do so? Additionally are there other companies (beyond Coca-cola and IKEA) that exemplify this type of behavior with successful results?

Ana – wonderfully written and researched article. I’ve quite an affinity for these types of projects that I would loosely categorize as forms of ‘enlightened capitalism’ – in that they are espousing both attributes of moral goals and those of traditional capitalistic institutions. It is interesting that based on your article I leave with the feeling that at this point in time much of the activity is represented in LEED Silver Certified projects – sans the one large LEED Platinum Certified tower which may be more of a ‘for show’ or exemplary piece. Why do you believe that silver is currently dominating the market, if it is? Is the price-benefit ratio at equilibrium right there are this current moment, and if so, how can we help to push it towards platinum (with the assumption that that will be better for the environment and our planet in the long run)?

Kristina – this is a marvelously researched post and well-written article. I absolutely adore how this is a pristine example of an effect we’ve seen dominate numerous conversations in class: predicting the future with statistical data is only realistic when the future looks like the past. While I believe that many actuaries do incorporate some fundamental analysis in their current models (to account for changing trends), it appears as though significant research will be required to allocate a higher proportion of the insurance model towards fundamental analysis as opposed to statistical. This is incredibly interesting and is it a significantly harder problem to solve. I greatly look forward to how Allianz and its competitors fare in the coming decades.

On November 7, 2016, Brandon commented on Quicksilver and The Fight for the Great Barrier Reef :

Anita – this is a wonderfully written and researched article. It is incredibly somber that the Australian government itself is acting as a ‘barrier’ to the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef. That said, it is marvelous to see enlightened capitalism at work – where ‘moral’ values and ‘capitalism’ overlap in a way that benefits all (most) parties involved. I believe that Quicksilver may be able to look to myriad entities around the world (such as the National Wildlife Federation) for role models exemplifying partnerships between governments, NGOs, and for profit representatives of ‘enlightened capitalism’.