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Great piece – it’s cool to see how a company sitting thousands of miles away in San Francisco was able to understand the needs of the local market in Bangkok. Having ridden on several Moto-taxis in my day, I can attest to the convenience and low cost pricing. The big drawback is safety. According to a study the NHTSA did in 2013, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be injured than car drivers [1]. The silver lining to Uber being kicked out of Bangkok is that it may have avoided a lot of unwanted liability from injured passengers seeking compensatory damages.


On November 19, 2016, cmaug commented on Stitch Fix – Transforming Retail Through Personalization :

Great piece – I agree with your idea to push further into the Private Label space. This is something that many traditional retailers are doing in order to grow margins. I also think that having more private label clothing would help them further differentiate from the retailers that they are competing against.

On November 19, 2016, cmaug commented on H&R Block: A Taxing Fall from Grace :

Yes! As a customer of Turbo Tax I can lend my personal experience to the notion that H&R block is under threat. Not only is Turbo Tax positioned better from a product offering position, but they can also operate more efficiently since they don’t have to use revenues to pay for real estate. These 2 things give Turbo Tax a clear competitive advantage to H&R block. It will be curious to see how H&R handles the digital threat going forward.

On November 19, 2016, cmaug commented on BMW – Drive now, analyze later? :

Great post. As you mentioned, BMW has a steep hill to climb in order to gain marketshare in the US. Uber and Zip Car have first mover advantage, and unless they mess up I think they’ll continue to dominate in the Ride-Share space. The one clear advantage that I see to Reachnow vs all the other competitors is the BMW brand. According to Statista, BMW is ranked 7th in luxury car Market Share [1]. 7th might seem like a poor spot to be, but as we learned in the longchamp case in marketing – broad dispersion of your brand takes away from the luxury appeal. Time will tell whether driving a BMW will be enough to persuade people to use ReachNow instead of Zip Car.


On November 19, 2016, cmaug commented on A Brief Survey of IoT Solutions for Agriculture :

Great post! I’m happy to see that there are companies continually pushing to increase yields in Agriculture, because at the end of the day that’s what I eat! I’d be curious to see if Kaa has any data around current ROI – I think the big question most farmers will ask is if their yields will increase enough to offset the purchase cost?

On November 7, 2016, cmaug commented on Burger King’s sustainability efforts: barely trying :

Cow flatulence & manure are also contributors to climate change through the release of methane gas into the atmosphere. California has even gone so far as to pass laws to regulate the amount of cow methane released ( Personally, I think this law will have the effect of simply moving dairy production out of state. There are companies, like beyond meat, that could provide interesting solutions to BK’s sustainability problems by creating a nearly identical meat substitute made entirely from vegetables. It will be interesting to see how BK deals with the sustainability issue going forward.

On November 7, 2016, cmaug commented on Chocolate Endangered :

I think that Lindt & Sprungli’s move to work with cocoa farmers in developing countries makes a lot of sense. Vertical integration would be another option, but as we discussed in our IKEA case, it comes with trade offs. Many other multi-national firms have had success working with farmers in developing countries to grow raw materials that meet their specifications. Multi-national specifications are often more stringent than the specs in the developing market, so it can take several years of working with local farmers before the raw materials can be used.

As you illustrated in your article with the incineration example, companies that make a business of sustainability walk a fine line between turning a profit and the public’s perception of their practices. I would be fascinated to know how much impact platinum prices have on Veolia’s willingness to extract platinum from recycled pharmaceuticals. Certainly Veolia is willing to invest in the extraction process when prices are high, but would it be willing to take a loss when prices drop below a point that makes it economical? If Veolia decided to forgo investing in the platinum extraction process when prices were too low, would it suffer reputation risk? Would it be willing to invest in the extraction unprofitably in order to avoid reputation risk? These article raised some fascinating questions for me.

I never even considered the impacts climate change would have on the insurance industry – you did a nice job highlighting how ACE is dealing with them. Ace’s decision to not use historcial data in their models, sounds just like some of the discussions that our section has had in Finance regarding how much historical data to include in financial models. Many of the same trade-offs are present for ACE. Going back further in time gives a model more data points to build off of, but also makes the data less relevant to current conditions.

Very interesting company, with a unique value proposition tailored to the needs of the american west. I would definitely expand the list of impacted states in the article to include Utah. The Great Salt Lake has gone down by 11 feet due to water usage and drought over the last 10 years (See Hopefully drought conditions in the west end sooner than later.