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On November 19, 2016, DK commented on AccorHotels: Battling against Online Travel Agents :

I’m surprised by the size of the commissions OTAs can command. Given the amount of revenue lost, it seems reasonable for hotels to push into this area. As a consumer, my value is derived almost entirely from the hotel- it’s easy enough for me to find something I will like. Because of this, I want to see my money get to the hotel and contribute to my experience. I worry that, as hotels get squeezed, they will turn into airlines charging fees left and right and cutting amenities at the same time.

Separately, I disagree with MC that “an OTA cannot influence how much visibility a hotel on their website gets”. OTAs can absolutely influence the order of results on their websites. Recommended, or featured, is usually the default sort order, which is another way of saying “whatever we, the OTA, want to show you”. Even if consumers choose to sort by another criterion, star ratings for example, the order within the group of results ranked equally is probably determined by benefit to the OTA. If an OTA is large enough, I imagine even getting listed might require hefty concessions on the part of the hotel.

On November 19, 2016, DK commented on Tesla: No More Driving :

One of the biggest difficulties I foresee is pushing past our bias against machines. Brown’s death is a case in point. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year due to human error in driving and this has become a banal norm. But when a machine error kills one person, it becomes national news. I suspect we’re already at the point that having Google’s technology do most of our driving would make the roads safer, given just how bad people are at driving. What’s needed as self-driving cars improve is probably an awareness campaign to demonstrate just how well a Model S compares to a human in consistency, focus, alertness, reaction time, maneuver precision and all the other crucial aspects of driving. I have faith in the machines- in people, less so.

On November 19, 2016, DK commented on Technology in Transit :

Having watched the system degrade first hand, I am skeptical that this is a technology problem. While digitized monitoring and management of maintenance might help, this seems more of management problem. Years, if not decades, of neglected maintenance have finally caught up with the system. While Wiedefeld’s plan is certainly inconvenient, I hope it’s the first step toward improving the reliability and safety of the whole system. It’s always good to innovate, and given WMATA’s history, it seems likely they will continue to do so. As long as they realize that isn’t a silver bullet and Wiedefeld heralds a new era of proactive management, I look forward to the improvements.

While it’s great that Time isn’t standing still, I can’t help but wonder if this will be enough. It seems like the fundamental operating model hasn’t changed, despite the strong decline in revenue and the general devaluation of information across society. Will improving brand awareness and gaining new customers be enough, or will Time and other publishers need to dramatically change what it means to be a magazine?

On November 19, 2016, DK commented on Slacking – A new way to win? :

I’m a big fan of telework, and platforms such as Slack (we used HipChat at my last job). But as nice of a benefit as it is, developing relationships with coworkers and broad conversations have been crucial for a high functioning team. Slack certainly enables visible, immediate communication and is a necessary component to making telework productive. The problem is, it’s not enough. Mayer’s words ring true to me and I think the really difficult task is to bring people “together” when they’re hundreds of miles apart. Hopefully Slack and others will grow more sophisticated and develop ways to do so.

On November 6, 2016, DK commented on Coal. The Next Big Tobacco? :

Businesses don’t survive by clinging desperately to outdated technology. Whether carbon capture ever works or not, we are moving away from coal. The energy companies that depend on it and their employees should look to the future and figure out what new opportunities are available. If they cannot innovate, they will find themselves in the same position as all those cigarette manufacturers: shadows of their former selves selling a product society has grown to detest. If they push forward, they may find that they can preserve their culture, values, and history, but grow in ways they could hardly have imagined, as Apple did.

On November 6, 2016, DK commented on Nome’s New Race :

While climate change creates many economic opportunities, almost all of them are about suppressing it. It is interesting to see how climate change is actually a benefit to this small town. Given how much cargo is shipping from China to the United States, Nome seems primed to take advantage of perhaps the only tiny benefit of climate change. It will be interesting to see whether the town can raise the capital to establish itself as a commercial port and, more philosophically, if it is prepared to accept what cultural changes will inevitably come with such an influx of activity.

On November 6, 2016, DK commented on Climate Change & Whisky: The Sobering Realities :

Alex, I don’t see it as a marketing effort. I agree that they probably wont be able to sell much more whisky by advertising how much less they pollute than competitors, but that isn’t the point. To really combat climate change, we have to address it as universally as we cause it. Every industry and consumer needs to be aware of it, and be ready to make some sacrifices to prevent it. It’s great to see such a large Scotch producer doing its part. The last thing that comes to mind when I think of Scotch is climate change. Having never seen a distillery, I have a quaint image of old stone buildings in the mossy countryside, filled with copper pot stills. Taking the initiative even when consumers like me don’t recognize the need shows altruistic concern and should be applauded.

Nuclear power plants provide immense amounts of energy, can scale output to match demand, and can sustain us for centuries to come. Many different technologies will be needed to provide clean energy in the future, but nuclear is surely among those. We need to explore the ways in which it can be made safer, cheaper, and longer lasting. It’s great to see another company looking to make its mark and to have the support of Bill Gates. Hopefully, we will continue to develop better plant designs and educate the public about the potential of nuclear power.

It’s great to see the Church take a position on climate change and argue that humans have caused it. While this is ruffling some feathers, the whole point of such an institution is to lead its people. Being willing to upset some of its members to advance an important cause might well broaden its appeal as an organization to turn to for guidance. As science gains popularity and strength, the Church will need to embrace it to survive. This seems like the beginning of such a change. Hopefully, it will be able to balance the truths we continue to unveil with the spiritual guidance for which it is known, leaving neither behind.