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Yash, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thoughtful article on Brexit’s impact on JLR. The ramifications of Brexit and the resulting regulatory changes are clearly extremely challenging for these companies to set prices, hire employees, and reduce costs. If I were JLR, I would be less concerned on the price considering our luxury buyers may be able to stomach the impact of the 10% tariff better than other automotive companies which cater to more price sensitive buyers. In terms of talent, I completely agree this is a large issue for JLR. Especially considering luxury buyers expect the latest, cutting-edge developments and technology in their automobiles. Perhaps JLR should work with or lobby the British government to make the visa application process for foreigners simpler. In addition, JLR could hire more remote workers and relay more on digital solutions such as teleconferencing. This way the company could ensure that it continues to hire the best workers and might even expand its pool of high quality talent. This solution could also help JLR protect itself against further isolationism in the US or others. This is a challenging situation for JLR indeed and hopefully one that does not stifle intuition.

Francois, this was a fantastic article on a very important topic. Throughout the 20th century, we saw the damaging effects of isolationism in the form of the two World Wars and, in response, saw how the United Nations and other multi-national organizations were set up to ensure this never happened again. It is troubling to see the UK and the US among others sliding back into this dangerous territory of isolationism and the unintended negative impacts it can have as we see at Oxford. Based on this history, it makes me wonder what duty Oxford as an academic institution has to teach its students this history and ensure that history does not repeat itself? I recognize that Oxford likely teaches some of its students (perhaps History majors?) this background, but could it ensure that all of its students learn this history regardless of their concentration? Could Oxford help educate even those outside its university by offering digital courses as HBX does or by hosting historical lectures open to the public? Perhaps if US and UK citizens were more aware of lessons in history, they could make better-informed voting decisions and ensure that we do not have to relearn these painful lessons.

On December 1, 2017, CR commented on Kisses Good-bye….Chocolate shortage by 2030? :

Cocoawhat, first of all, what an alarming prospect – A time without chocolate is too dreadful to even imagine! For this reason, but more importantly for the workers at Hersheys and the suppliers who rely on Hersheys to buy their products, we must develop a solution to this encroaching problem. My concern however is how can Hershey’s simultaneously solve this problem and help farmers, while maintaining their competitive advantage? If Hersheys distributes these new trees to farmers and provides them with this education program are they also ensuring that the farmers continue to only sell to Hersheys? Could competitors copy-cat this strategy and steal it from Hersheys to give to their farmers? I could imagine a scenario in which Hersheys invests a lot of money in this solution only to have these farmers and their innovative techniques poached by another chocolate company. Perhaps this would only happen at a one-off level, but it does lend support to your idea of Hershey spearheading partnerships with other companies, governments, and non-profits to help avert this disaster. I feel that Hersheys is partially responsible for solving this problem but needs the support of other stakeholders.

I enjoyed reading this post as it was a thoughtful and innovative solution to a very pressing problem. While I do not feel that vertical farming really addresses the core issue of climate change, I agree that it is seemingly a more efficient means to grow agriculture. I appreciated that the article cited a 95% decrease in water usage and transportation costs, but I would love to see a price breakdown on electricity and infrastructure required as those would appear to be higher costs. On a total basis, is the cost of vertical farming feasible and profitable for companies? In addition, is the quality of food that companies are able to grow the same? As the article states vertical farming stops pesticides, diseases, and other crop ailments so I would assume that vertical farming has the potential to produce even higher quality agriculture. However, as we’ve seen with Indigo, consumers can be dubious of new agricultural technology and customer education can be pricey and time-consuming for companies. Your article has me convinced that vertical farming holds a lot of promise, but I am looking forward to seeing this technology develop and answer some of these open questions.

On November 28, 2017, CR commented on Flywheel Anywhere: The Digitalization of Flywheel Sports :

HeidiRoizensUncleHoward, as a spin fan in general and Flywheel fan specifically, I really enjoyed reading this article. Before reading this, I assumed that you would be discussing Flywheel’s digitized customer experience in the in-class scoreboard and on-bike metrics. However, while Flywheel was clearly a leader in comparison to SoulCycle in this in-studio digitization, your article astutely points out that Flywheel has lagged Peloton in the at-home digitization of the workout experience. First, I wonder how Flywheel missed this opportunity? Did they perhaps become complacent with their in-studio leadership and forget to really speak to their customers? If they had, perhaps they would have recognized the opportunity for a truly great at-home workout experience. As we saw in our IDEO case, it is critical for companies to constantly rejuvenate and reassess their customer needs so as to not be disintermediated. That being said, I do not think it is too late for Flywheel. While Peloton leads at-home workout experiences, Flywheel Anywhere can still leverage the Flywheel competitive advantage of using data to track your personal scores and compete against others. Perhaps Flywheel customers want targeted feedback for improvement based on their personal data or they want to be able to race friends with Flywheel Anywhere bikes. Flywheel also should take the IDEO approach of looking outside their industry for innovative uses of data that can be applied to the home workout space. Furthermore, why stop at spin and barre? The data tracking concept could be easily applied to treadmills, rowing and beyond. Looking forward to seeing how Flywheel Anywhere expands in the future!