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On November 20, 2016, CEA commented on Augmedix: Taking a Look at Your Next Visit to the Doctor :

Thanks for this article. Its great to see technology playing a new role in the healthcare space. Aside from the Google-Augmedix relationship risk, privacy is the largest concern on my mind. I’d like to know how this technology gets around our HIPAA laws. Do patients sign away their medical information so that it can be transcribed have way around the world? Are they even being told where their information is being sent? This technology will likely help reduce administrative time, but Augmedix should set larger goals moving forward. Successful transcription services will remove dictation from the patient-doctor encounter. One day, information will be captured through various sensors in the exam room, interpreted, and documented without requiring the doctor to dictate a note. Doctors perceive that EMR systems are for billing purposes- the level of detail required in their notes goes beyond what is required for excellent patient care. While we’re not there yet, this is certainly the first step toward a patient focused future.

Interesting read. Airbnb has certainly been disruptive and I can see why people are concerned about the long-term sustainability of this business model. Many neighbors worry about security when they see random people come in and out of the next door apartment. I too would be worried. As building owners and community norm makers became more savy, new leases and purchase contracts will likely prohibit the use of services like Airbnb. For this reason, I agree that Airbnb should look to diversity its investment portfolio. Though they currently don’t own properties, they may need to consider doing so if government policies continue to threaten their existing business model. Perhaps they can begin to partners with exisitng hotels to make the checkin/out process more efficient? Regardless, if Airbnb does not diversify moving forward, they may find themselves loosing market share.

On November 20, 2016, CEA commented on Government Innovation: Not an Oxymoron? :

I hope that your vision for technological efficiencies in the government plays out in real life. You present a very real impact of failing to update the government technology infrastructure – veterans die without access to benefits. It is appalling that this is happening. But in other areas of government, such as Immigration services, the government may actually benefit from being inefficient. Each time an application is filed, the government charged filing fees. When adjusting one’s immigration status, a person may find themselves submitting the same information over and over again (birth certificates, passport info, photographs, etc) with each step of the process. Its infuriating because you, in effect, have to pay ridiculous amounts for the government to process the same information over an over again. Updating the system may loose the government money, thought it also has the potential to increase revenue by being able to process more applications efficiently.

This is a really interesting article. I too agree that the zoo can better harness technology to ensure it is able to support wildlife preservation for years to come. The zoo seems to be leaving a lot of money on the table by not having a donation button on their PandaCam. Filming the pandas and featuring it on their site is a great way to raise awareness and funds for the zoo. I wonder, however, if introducing technology into the wild is appropriate. Sure, giving an iPad to orangutans is one way to help us realize that they are “just like us.” But, does doing this actually enhance the animal’s quality of life? I would argue not. Instead of creating artificial “connections” to humans via technology, I wonder if the zoo should instead focus more on in-exhibit video content. Helping us engage at the zoo, through narratives and films of the animals in captivity, may be a more appropriate way to get us to see the similarities between our two species.

On November 20, 2016, CEA commented on Is Your Next Burrito an Emoji Away? :

I can see why there would be demand for more efficient ways to purchase a burrito, especially in light of the terribly slow Chip machines used at POS. I like that Chipotle is implementing a new POS system to help predict customer wait times. This tool will help them make smart staffing decisions based on historical trends which may result in lower labor costs. I also like the idea of a burrito delivery service. Though customers may not be used to ordering burritos via delivery, I trust that Chipotle can be one of the first to enter the market and make it a worth while investment. While Chipotle can market to hype up customers to create demand upon initial launch, I’m not convinced that this will be a sustainable business model. Chipotle would have to have a separate production line to deliver to new customers, otherwise current wait time will increase if the cooks at existing stores have to make extra burritos for shipment. Without creating new delivery centers, this concept may actually hurt them deliver on their customer promise. I think Starbucks is experimenting with a similar delivery model. But people drink coffee every day, which is not the case for eating burritos. To make this a viable model, each branch may need to deliver to a large geographic area to aggregate order demand.

On November 6, 2016, CEA commented on Climate Change and the Future of General Mills :

General Mills (GM) makes Cinnamon Toast Crunch (CTC). I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch and if I were to guess, more than 50% of my total calories come from eating this delicious cereal. Though I support the sustainability efforts GM is taking to reduce their impact on the climate, the price of CTC is already too high and I would caution GM if they are considering charging a premium for their efforts to remain committed to a positive social and environmental impact. Perhaps I’m in the 28-34% of people who would not be OK with paying more for what I believe a company like GM should already be doing – running their business in an efficient, thoughtful, and sustainable way.

As a consumer, I’m confident that GM can strategically change to improve their internal operations to meet their sustainability efforts without having to charge me more. Given that they span 13 countries, GM can likely cost cut from within and innovate throughout the supply chain to reduce their carbon footprint. While some consumers may tolerate a price hike, others have been conditioned, through coupons and other promotions aimed at driving sales, to expect to pay a lower price for yummy cereals like CTC. Perhaps by investing in technology focusing on the framers and shrinking their carbon footprint at the supplier level, GM can continue to make progress and serve as an industry leader in corporate sustainability.

On November 6, 2016, CEA commented on It’s Not the Ship That’s Sinking, It’s the Port! :

Like mentioned in the piece, the port of Miami is one of many ports facing similar challenges when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change. While there are many characteristic unique to the Miami port that make engineering design difficult, including the large amount of porous limestone, I’m sure there are lessons that can be taken away if they invested time and capital to learn from other ports facing similar challenges.

I can understand why it may be difficult to design change when its unclear how rapidly climate change will continue to evolve. But, I wonder if ports across the country could benefit from a collaborative where they can bring together their unique experiences to most accurately forecasts sea level changes. By pooling resources, including capital and research personnel, these porst may be able to arrive at “best practices” they, as an industry, can embrace moving forward. Although this approach will take time and money to implement, the large port industry will likely benefit long-term through learning from challenges and successes from around the country.

On November 6, 2016, CEA commented on H&M: Environmental Steward or Greenwashing Marketer? :

As we saw with the IKEA case, its indeed challenging for growing companies to balance sustainability efforts with the impact of their growing business on the health of the Earth. Prior to reading this piece, I didn’t know that fashion garments produce %400 more carbon emissions per item per year compared to garments worn more than 50 times. As someone who rarely buys clothes, this is an alarming number and makes me think twice about buying on a more regular basis.

Its also interesting that consumers rarely know the impact they have based on their purchasing habits. Not until reading this article did I realize the huge influence I can have on climate change. One way I can reduce my footprint would be to buy less clothes, which H&M would not want me to do. On the other hand, H&M could continue to change the way they do business. Understandably, H&M as a business wants to grow into new markets and continue to introduce novel product lines. In addition to meeting these goals, I think they have clear opportunities to push innovation to help them limit their global emissions per year. I love the idea of the recycling program. Like you mentioned, it’s a great way to incentivize customers to return to the store to purchase new products, but it also helps the company deal with the ramifications of the increasingly shorter buying cycles.

I wonder what R&D efforts are going into rethinking the way recycled fibers are being incorporated into new garments. If they are able to incorporate more than 20% without reducing quality, this may be another way for H&M to make strides as industry leaders.

I’ve always been interested in learning more about the flood insurance business. Frankly, I am shocked to learn that premiums have been locked despite there being such a drastic change in the flood risk across the country. From what you wrote, it seems like NFIP finds itself in a very difficult situation: they don’t have the power to change premiums (I’m guessing this power lies at the congressional level given the FEMA connection) but are expected to provide coverage despite the persistant climb in flood risk.

Although it makes sense for the organization to adjust flood maps to reflect risk, it appears that this data doesn’t empower the organization to impact change. As you mentioned, assessing flood risk is a challenging endeavor to take on, but it must be so demoralizing to see that work go to waste. The existing NFIP business model doesn’t seem to be sustainable long-term, in fact, they already have existing debt that they are unlikely to pay. I agree that the NFIP should institute mandatory insurance in flood areas and that premiums should reflect increased regional flood risk. I also agree that mass relocation is impractical, but perhaps insurance plans can have “baked in” incentives to encourage people to move away from high risk areas in the even that their current property gets hit by a major disaster.

Do people continue to rebuild and live along these high risk zones after a major disaster? If so, does the NFIP continue to offer flood insurance? While encouraging mass relocation will certainly have large macroeconomic impacts on the local and regional economy, I wonder if its more devastating to the economy to have to rebuild the same community after each new environmental disaster.

If Hyatt wants to make a lasting, global impact via its sustainability efforts, then I would argue it certainly has a responsibility to push its sustainability efforts on franchised hotels. With respect to competition moving forward, investing in environmental initiatives, and marketing this intention, may help shift hotel demand toward Hyatt away from Marriott. As more and more people become aware of the importance of sustainability, customers are more likely to choose where they stay based on whether the hotel chain’s values and mission aligns with their own.

One thing that concerns me about the heavy reliance on LEED building is that the practice of simply following guidelines does not inspire, encourage, or recognize new innovations. It seems that in accomplishing the Build Smart initiative by meeting LEED expectations, Hyatt could be foregoing opportunities to push the LEED standards further, and thus fail to full embrace is Innovation and Inspire arm. While they are not in the business of establishing LEED standards, there does exist an opportunity for a large, global brand like Hyatt to pressure the construction industry to adopt modern, more cost-effective measures that can make even larger impact in the global climate change trends. Using the EcoTrack system is an awesome way to benchmark where they stand with respect to environmental impact, but I wonder if they can harness this and other tools to evaluate areas of new opportunity and growth moving forward.

On the water conservation front, is a 25% reduction enough to help mitigate Hyatt’s impact on the potential risk of a rising sea level? Can Hyatt reach 30, 40, or 50% reduction in water utilization? Perhaps setting such a high goal will bring earned press their way and help them become the leader in sustainability within the hospitality sector. While an asset-light approach will likely help improve cash flow, if Hyatt doesn’t take the lead and become a game changer in the sustainability world, they may see themselves struggling despite adapting their business model.