David W

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On December 9, 2015, David W commented on JetBlue Mint: Disrupting the Equilibrium for a Low Cost Carrier :

Ah…airlines. I was actually not aware of the transformation taking place at JetBlue, so thank you for posting. I am not surprised that Wall Street has rewarded these decisions; investors love new sources of revenue and higher margins. However, this strikes me as a very serious change in the operating model and a significant long-term risk. It reminds me of the Starbucks case we did in Marketing. We learned that businesses have to constantly ask which customer they want to serve as their business evolves. I think that most customers willing to pay more for their flight experience are professionals, who may not be well-served by JetBlue’s existing routes. I do recognize, however, the structural disadvantage JetBlue is trying to close compared to its peers. It will be interesting to see if JetBlue can tilt its focus without leaving its original customer base behind.

I was very interested to read this post since my career has included time spent at a legacy player in the wealth management space. I think it is very interesting that Wealthfront’s customer base is primarily millenials. I can think of two reasons this may be. First, perhaps millenials don’t know the difference between good advice and less-good advice when it comes to wealth management (not passing any judgment on the quality of Wealthfront’s advice). Their discernment may be driven more by anti-Wall Street sentiment and higher inclination towards services delivered through technology. Second, millenials are only just beginning their careers and so are more homogeneous as far as their wealth management needs go. As they age, they will all need a different set of advice and services and will require much more customization. Furthermore, with more wealth to lose, trust becomes an increasingly important factor. Can the customization that exists today be emulated by software? After emerging from the “invincible” stage of their lives, will people trust their life savings to a technology company with 100 employees? I do not know the answer. We could be witnessing disruptive innovation right in front of our eyes.

On December 9, 2015, David W commented on Chick-Fil-A: The Top-Performing Fast-Food Chain :

This is a great overview of Chick-fil-A’s unique way of doing business. Isn’t it amazing that Chick-fil-A tops the QSR industry despite only being open 6 days per week? I recently had the chance to ask an executive at the company if they believe it is a competitive advantage or disadvantage to be closed on Sundays. He said it was certainly a competitive advantage, because it gives their employees a chance to rejuvenate and creates a lot of public relations buzz that they don’t have to pay for. Interestingly, the policy was industry norm several decades ago, but as the QSR industry evolved, Chick-fil-A chose to hold fast to its values. I think this level of commitment sets the company up for success and is the foundation for all of the operating strategies you reviewed. Nice analysis!