Wilson – great post. Really interesting company – my portfolio company at my last job was looking to partner with them to provide chairs for all of their new builds. They are continuing to grow at an alarming rate. I have some serious doubts about their valuation, which appears to place a pretty sizable premium on the “community”. Communities can be fickle, especially among the generation of millennials that are most attracted to this shared workspace. I am really worried that the market will be flooded with hundreds of copycats that may target different types of people as opposed to a generalist model.
How has the Washington Post been able to overtake The New York Times in terms of readership? Is it simply the Freemium model or does it have something to do with the content (maybe due to the increased news room staff)? I understand they are pursuing growth over profitability (seems to be the Amazon way) but I am just a bit skeptical of their plan for actually doing that.
Loved the post. I spent a little time about a year ago looking at the in-store advertising market and the shift away from traditional print promotion (think signage at the end of the aisle) to digital. The toughest component of the adoption (which I agree is a “when” not “if”) I think is the customer. I think it will be hard to convince customers to download the app and treat it as something other than an annoyance when they are already walking around the store likely using their phone anyway. I think the technology will need to evolve in such a way that it materially improves the experience in order to overcome the annoyance factor while still giving the customer the perception of control (not being forced around the store based on pricing gimmicks).
Really interesting post. I didn’t realize companies of this nature were already using RFID technology to track all of their inventory (which in this case is table cloths and napkins). I imagine the raw data they are now collecting on a continuous basis will really allow them to optimize their inventory (both selection and turns), lower costs and better manage the customer experience. Are they able to pass on lower prices to the consumer? I am trying to think about the ability of this company to differentiate itself from its peers and I imagine inventory selection and cost reduction from being the largest provider are the biggest differentiating factors.
Really great post! I didn’t realize there was a company out there that was already tracking its environmental impact and sharing it with its consumers. I wonder where the “industry standard” data comes from? I also wonder if they will institute some sort of continuous improvement model to show their customers that they are continuing to make improvements on all of these statistics. It was really interesting to think about how the fast fashion concept has changed the frequency with which people buy and dispose of clothing. I wonder if it is possible to shift back to “investing in staples” mentality in order to have a positive impact on the environment.
It has been incredible for me to see that real estate development along the coast of Manhattan didn’t skip a beat following hurricane Sandy (especially in the South Street Seaport area). My intuition is that people are discounting the potential that another Hurricane Sandy will strike Manhattan again. It would have been very helpful to see if Hoboken housing prices are increasing at the same rate as other inland properties or if time is allowing homeowners to forget the devastating impact of these natural disasters.
What do you believe are the risks associated with switching to genetically modified cocoa beans? My understanding is this may be quite risky given the public perception that they are an “untested science experiment” and the movement of companies such as Whole Foods to ban genetically modified ingredients.
Very interesting post, Bhargav. I do think it is important to consider the alternatives – dairy or soy. My understanding is that cows are very inefficient animals in that they require significantly more inputs (food, water) than what we get out of them (meat, milk), so I do not think you should be so hard on yourself for choosing Almond milk. I do think incremental research around the optimal growing climates for almonds and the minimum water required will be helpful in making sure we are using our resources sustainably in order to provide ourselves with the nutrients we require.
I also have developed a fondness for scuba diving and snorkeling, and like Cathal was completely blown away by the Great Barrier Reef when I visited Australia two summers ago. I challenge you to think about the impact of snorkeling / scuba diving and the damage participants can have on the environment around them, from unintentionally kicking the very sensitive reefs to wearing toxic sunscreens which alter the ecosystem. How can virtual reality change the scuba driving experience to preserve the reefs where they currently stand?