• Alumni

Activity Feed

This was very entertaining and informative – thanks for writing! It was interesting to think about the point you raised regarding demographics of people who match. It feels like there are two classes of dating apps out there – apps like Match and eHarmony where users have to invest a fair bit in profiles/personality assessments that generate matches vs. apps like Hinge and Tinder that operate more on a swipe basis and have more of a game-based feel with likely lower personal investment per match. It’d be interesting to hear how the outcomes and go-forward potentials different between these classes of apps. Like Mundo’s point above, Aziz Ansari writes in “Modern Romance” that in the early 20th century, a huge majority of marriages in the US happened between people from the same neighborhood, even the same block or building. Since many neighborhoods were divided along ethnic lines, this led to a lot of demographically similar unions. It does feel like there’s more opportunity for this to change with online dating, although maybe matching algorithms aren’t set up to make this happen.

On November 20, 2016, Ellen commented on DLSH.com – Bringing Deliciousness To Your Doorstep! :

I love the idea of this marketplace – thanks so much for sharing! I’m a big fan of farmers’ markets and love the concept of helping create an online marketplace for their products and extend their selling season beyond the spring/summer months.

To Kimberly’s point above, I think the locally-sourced/small farmer aspect of the products needs to be highlighted for the product to feel different than what consumers could alternatively buy from Amazon/Whole Foods/etc. It feels like this is a marketplace that consumers will be driven to because they loved a product they tried at a physical market and want to get more of it, which hopefully will lead to more browsing on the DLSH marketplace and subsequent purchases of other products. It seems key to get the consumer hooked at the in-person point of purchase – having a physical presence at local farmers’ markets will be a good way to initially catch the consumer. I wonder if advertising could be expanded to other places that use farmers’ market products but don’t sell them per se – e.g., farm-to-table restaurants that use products sold by vendors on the platform could also be places to build awareness of and advocacy for the marketplace.

On November 20, 2016, Ellen commented on AccorHotels: Battling against Online Travel Agents :

This was really interesting to read – thanks for writing, Piriya! I’ve done a little work in the travel and tourism space, and the issue of how to deal with online platforms that provide valuable information for the customer but take a cut of the profits for the provider is something that all of the traditional players are trying to deal with. Metasearch companies and OTAs offer a perceived level of impartiality, which drives travelers to consult them before booking anywhere. I like the idea of what Accor Hotels is trying to do with its website to offer more of a one-stop-shop across hotel chains and independents, but I worry that it still will have trouble competing with sites that consumers view as more unbiased/impartial. In the airline industry, Southwest has held off on listing on most of the OTAs, and its value proposition is strong enough to still drive consumers to its independent site. It’s interesting to think about whether or not the same thing is possible with hotels – I think it’d be much more challenging to retain a competitive position without listing on OTAs, which makes it seem like hotels need to find a way to get back more margin from the OTAs.

On November 20, 2016, Ellen commented on Capturing the Fashion Unicorn: A Not-so Far-fetched Story :

This was super interesting to read – thanks for writing, Mary! A lot of retailers talk about omnichannel strategies, but it’s cool to read about a company that is getting it right for boutiques that normally would have a hard time executing omnichannel. There’s clearly a premium placed on the consistency and high level of customer service given, from the product images and retouching to the way returns and exchanges are managed. Reading your article made me wonder – how do the various boutiques that list their products on Farfetch think about the other boutiques that list on the site? There’s a level of interdependency between various boutiques in the network to enable the return/exchange model, but some of them likely also view each other as competitors. Is this a tension that needs to be mitigated as Farfetch continues to grows, or does the online channel present such a large opportunity for boutiques that any competitive risk is overshadowed?

Thanks for writing this – definitely an interesting read! I agree with the others who have commented above – I have had a great experience with Airbnb as a user, but I would feel differently about it if it became a large presence in a neighborhood I lived in, and governments may take action to limit its usage.

It’d also be interesting to hear more about other competitors in the accommodations market that are also able to offer lower rates than average by leveraging a digital platform. From other members of the sharing economy like CouchSurfing and HomeAway to businesses like HotelTonight that offer last-minute deals on hotels with vacancies, it’d be interesting to hear how Airbnb is positioned relative to its competitors and how those dynamics are shifting. I’d imagine that the barriers to entry are relatively low as digitalization continues, but Airbnb’s network should give it some advantages from a scale perspective.

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

Thanks for writing – fun to read about a CPG trying to take steps to improve its environmental impact! I thought the point you raised about millennials’ willingness to pay more for sustainable products was an interesting one to think about, especially in light of some of the class discussions we’ve had about Nike’s approach to advertising its sustainable products. In the case of cereal or other grocery products, consumers do develop affinity towards certain brands but also are actively comparing products based on price point, coupons, promotions, etc. I’d advise against increasing grocery products’ prices significantly more than relevant peers and/or historical prices based on consumers’ buying patterns. I liked the points you raised about the areas where General Mills is currently trying to focus in terms of improving its sustainability. It would be interesting to hear about whether they have set any specific targets or if this could be construed as ‘greenwashing’ in any way.

This was super interesting – thanks for writing, Corina! I agree with your general sentiment that the Catholic Church, led by Pope Francis, has the potential to generate more awareness and momentum to take action regarding climate change – Pope Francis has generated more enthusiasm across a wider range of people than his predecessors through some of his statements and actions – from driving a 20-year old car to disguising himself to minister to the homeless without drawing too much attention to himself, he both ‘talks the talk’ and ‘walks the walk’ that he is one of the people. I think this is exactly the kind of issue that religious institutions have the opportunity to have a great impact on by taking an active stance, although I would like to think that such a rallying cry would be driven more by concern for what is right than a focus on membership or affiliation.

On November 6, 2016, Ellen commented on As the Maldives sinks, the world plays the fiddle :

Thanks for writing, Alex – this was really interesting to read. As others in the section have noted in their comments, the predicament facing the Maldives highlights the asymmetrical impact of climate change. Given the Maldives’ small geographic footprint, their culpability for climate change and ability to make a meaningful impact to shift its current trajectory are limited, but they stand to face some of the most severe consequences. I know that the Maldives are one of several geographies facing similar consequences of global warming, such as the Solomon Islands, Fiji, etc – it would be interesting to hear if any of the other geographies have made any more headway in calling other global players to action or what effort is being made to coordinate across them.

On November 6, 2016, Ellen commented on A Melting World: Ben & Jerry’s in the Age of Climate Change :

Thanks for writing – I spent a summer scooping ice cream for a competitor of Ben & Jerry’s, so this is a topic that was really fun to read about! It was really interesting to see how proactively Ben & Jerry’s is thinking about ingredients likely to be impacted by climate change with their ‘Endangered Pints’ list. Beyond their lobbying and ‘Caring Dairy’ program, I’d love to hear more about Ben & Jerry’s production process and materials – how do they think about the sustainability of the materials they use to manufacture and serve ice cream? Are there more active steps they should be taking?

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

This was super interesting to read – thanks for sharing! It seems like H&M is taking a lot of logical steps to try to be more sustainable, but the whole concept of fast fashion and pushing high volume sales over short sale cycles might be fundamentally at odds with truly being sustainable. I wonder if there’s more H&M can do to set concrete targets for the percentage of clothing they produce with recycled materials, organic cotton, etc. Similarly to what we saw with IKEA, it’d be interesting to see what H&M’s mix of recycled material inputs would be if they drove to specific targets focused on the environmental impact as opposed to volume or profit.