Catherine Brown

  • Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 20, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Treasure-hunting in a digital era: TJX’s next find? :

Thank you Fay for this post! I am an treasurer hunter myself and would love to see more of these stores online, maybe to even shop between classes.

Here’s a thought: just as they have a different business model for retail, maybe they can differentiate in the online space too. Would it be possible for them to release control over publications or to start bidding processes online following the ‘traseure hunting’ approach?

For example, customers could earn ‘Marshall’s points’ by uploading photos of current products with their price tag, or when informing that a product is no longer available. Similar to what Waze does to get police or traffic reports, TJXs could update products status by using costumers as their main source of information.

Also, they could add a treasure hunt section were the company posts items that can be highly valued by consumers and, for a limited amount of time, let them bet for them.

On November 20, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Mobile Payment in Tencent China :

Hi Fangfang! Thank you so much for this post. It is very interesting to see how dynamic the tech market is in China were a giant like Alibaba can loose market share on their Alipay so drastically. I have 3 questions moving forward for Tencent that I would love to have your opinion on
1) Do you think that the mobile payment market will consolidate in the future? (ex. either Alipay or Tenpay buy each other or a big telecom acquiring one of them?)
2) Do you think that mobile operators will enter the market maybe offering a very secure system embedded in their systems?
3) Were do you see the highest value option for the data they have ? I don’t know exactly how the technology works, but if you can relate transactions to clients, stores, items, and temporary metadata (ex. day and time of purchase) I believe there could be a lot of insights that can be extracted and that can be monetize just as Catalina did with their coupon business. I also see that once you have consumers and businesses contacts in all China, any business you want to start has the potential to become an instant success as your access cost to consumers is very very low. Maybe it would make sense for them not to charge for the service at and build services around the payment business.

Thank you Crystal for this post! It was very fun and interesting to read — I had no idea that these guys were so big. My main concern with this type of insurance is the possibility of people outsmarting the system, which can lead to unintended consequences that make honest people pay more.

There are many tested and proven ways to cheat systems like these. For example, this Frotune article shows how people can be very creative I believe that similar problems could threaten Discovery’s app. Do you know if Discovery has faced such issues, and how they have reacted to them?

On November 20, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on From physical to digital – Magic: the Gathering :

Thank you Brandon for this post. It brought a lot of memories of my friends gathering at public places to compete and trade cards with one another!

Based on your article, I believe that there are 2 additional benefits that the digital space brings to card games, such as Magic:

1) Reduced frontiers, allowing people from all skill levels and geographic locations to virtually meet and play. Beyond the enhanced community experiences that this model provides, it also allow players to improve their skills faster, as people from all over the world can comment the output and decisions made during the game.

2) Huge advertisement platform, as people all over the world are drawn to watch matches, both live and in re-runs. Companies that target demographics that play games such as Magic can take advantage and promote their products in places that are close to their consumers hearts.

Looking into the future, I would like to know if you think that virtual reality can generate a new disruption in the industry. Imagine playing with cards and actually seeing the card’s characters moving and doing an enchantment. I believe this can even be extremely fun for non-heavy players like me. If I could join the game just by using my ‘Oculus’ and see everything that is happening while my husband or friends play, it would be better than going to Disney.

On November 20, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Using digitalization to eliminate the unbanked in Colombia :

Thank you JDG for this post!

It is very interesting to see that, after Davivienda lunched this new product, other banks such as BBVA followed by introducing the same system to reach this new market segment. [1]

Also, it is remarkable how we can use technology to increase opportunities for all. Based on an expert interview to the General Manager of a leading online retailer site in Colombia, e-commerce sales growth is driven in part by increases in penetration of banking services. This means that Davivienda is not only expanding the benefits of financial services, but also increasing the general population’s access to online goods and services, which used to be a privilege reserved to more affluent Colombians.

My main question for Davivienda’s future is how to leverage this technology to educate people on financial services. Having access to financial services is important, but if people are not well educated on the costs and responsibilities that are linked to the financial service they have, this can become a problem in the long-term through misuse of a complex service.


On November 8, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on NIKE combats Global Warming: “Just Do It” for the Planet :

Thank you J.E.S. for your post!
My first impression when reading this was Wow Nike ! they have certainly improved a lot in their sustainability efforts since their sweat shop scandals in the 90s.
As for your last questions I believe that Nike has been benefited by all these sustainable practices. First, they have been able to reduce water and energy consumption hence reducing costs. Also, with their suppliers program they have been able to help suppliers to produce more and in a more sustainable ensuring supplies for the future. I believe that both of these things can become a competitive advantage in the future.

When thinking about quality, I don’t think that Nike will reduce product quality in order to increase sustainability. By increasing the use of plastic in the building of their products they are also innovating in new ways that could improve performance. For example T-shirts made of recycled water bottles can be dry-fit and last for longer time than the cotton shirts. Check out this video on how nike is building T-shirts out of water bottles….…. I do believe though that a lot of people after watching this video will believe that their Tshirts are overvalued that can produce a drop in revenues.. Maybe this is the reason why Nike hasn’t put that much money (at least in developing countries) into advertising this new way of making products.

On November 7, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Turbulence ahead :

Great article Vicente !

While I agree with your plan proposed, I checked online about shocks that could impact the industry in a dramatic way. I found a group of silicon valley people that are developing a ” new way to move people or things anywhere in the world quickly, safely, efficiently, on-demand and with minimal impact to the environment” called Hyperloop (1). Considering this possible threat it might make sense for International Airline Group to use its size to diversify and try to build Hyperloop technology in Europe, or at least to keep the technology closely before they become a problem even worst than climate change.


On November 7, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s Water Woes :

Michael 1 thank you very much for opening this debate !

I never thought that highly purified water was needed to manufacture semiconductors. I agree with RYR that the water restriction might be something that could be an issue industry wide and hence increase the price in the market not damaging Taiwan’s companies. This is probably an opportunity for the industry to innovate in new ways to recycle water, or invent new materials that when applied as a coat they can prevent particles to getting into the semiconductor (ex. super water repelents

On November 7, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on A Disappearing Great Barrier Reef: Rebranding As We Lose a Global Treasure :

Just as yz2236 was mentioning, maybe a good option for the Hotel would be to reduce the number of visitors. As Machu Pichu is controlling the number of visitors per day to protect this world heritage site (1), hotels from the Great Barrier Reef could join to ask for the same type of legislation. A limit in the number of visitors can be a an opportunity for the hotel. The Hotel could outbalance revenues loss due to lower demand, with an increase in price generated for the exclusivity this can bring to future visitors.


On November 7, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Will Climate Change Take Away Your Venti Mocha Frappuccino? :

Really interesting post!

I believe that Starbucks efforts to help coffee been farmers to adapt to climate change could be extrapolated to so many other industries. Big corporations have not only the money, but also the human capital that suppliers in developing economies need to design and deploy plans to combat these changes.

Also, it would be interesting to see if Starbucks could generate coffee bean sustainable purchasing best practices for other coffee stores to follow, similar to what Nike does with their raw materials suppliers.

On November 7, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on Alevo: Swimming Against the Current :

Thank you for your article, Charles!

It is really exciting to see that there is a new technology to store energy. As you mention, efficient storing is the missing key element to diffuse renewable energies. One question that remains for me… Will the solution be, on net effect, better for the environment? I am worried about the damage to the environment done from extracting lithium, necessary to build the batteries, and when disposing the batteries after their intended life cycle.

85% of Lithium world reserves are located in the salt lakes in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina (1). These salt lakes are unique and, as the only water sources in the most arid desert in the world, they host wild life specimens that can’t be found anywhere else. Lithium extraction is already generating environmental damage, and thus species count has steadily decreased. Considering lithium’s current high prices, with a potential of even higher prices if demand grows due to batteries required to store renewable energy, will developing economies privilege the environment over their economic and social growth?

In addition to lithium extraction environmental damage, I don’t know how many years it takes for a disposed lithium battery to decompose. Thus, I wonder whether the net effect for the planet is positive…


On November 7, 2016, Catherine Brown commented on State-owned copper mining: climate change vs. country development :

Excellent point Sander! I too agree that considering current prices, the recycling business is not as profitable as the primary mining business, neither for Codelco nor for the Chilean Government . Nevertheless, with raising extraction costs, and better technology for the recycling processes, it is fair to think that recycling copper could become an attractive business in the future. If Chile and Codelco start developing capabilities today, maybe in the future Chile could be exporting its recycling copper and who nows even its technology.