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On November 19, 2016, EM commented on Transferwise: No kiosks needed :

This is a very interesting idea. One risk this company faces is the 3-5 days it takes Transferwise to complete a transaction. Given that many ATMs can dispense money in the desired currency on demand and credit cards also operate on an on demand model, Transferwise should aim to reduce the turnaround time so that it is competitive with these platforms. While it may currently appeal to foreigners living abroad who can plan around the transfer time, this will pose an issue as they look to grow their consumer base. They should invest in technologies that simplify the verification process and the matching process so that they are more competitive with the other methods of exchanging currencies.

On November 19, 2016, EM commented on Otto Set to Disrupt the Freight Industry :

While I agree that there are many benefits of self-driving trucks, including improved road safety, one concern I have is the impact this transition will have on current employees. An NPR article last year indicated that truck driving is the most common profession in a majority of states (http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/02/05/382664837/map-the-most-common-job-in-every-state). Eliminating this profession will exacerbate the economic pressures on low to middle income workers. As evident with the presidential election, many workers are already feeling under threat as their jobs are being eliminated. In parallel with developing this technology, companies should be considering how they are going to transition their employees to new jobs either inside or outside the company. By developing necessary skills now, they can smooth the impact self-driving trucks will have on the broader economy.

On November 19, 2016, EM commented on Will Telemedicine Re-shape Our Healthcare Industry? :

I think telemedicine has a lot of potential to address some of the issues facing health care, but faces many significant challenges including those noted above. I see two areas where telemedicine can be particularly useful. The first is for rural areas that lack the necessary supply of medical professionals. Telemedicine offers people the opportunity to access care without requiring transportation to a larger city and is convenient by offering people 24/7 access to care. Second, telemedicine can help reduce the demand on health care providers for ailments that are easily treated, such as cold/flu, or that can be easily screened, such as whether an injury requires medical attention. In order to ensure people receive the same quality of treatment as an in-person visit though, telemedicine must demonstrate it offers highly trained professionals who are just as committed to their patients. In order to reduce the one-off treatments, telemedicine services such as Teladoc can partner with insurance providers or health care providers to integrate their services into the existing standard of care.

On November 19, 2016, EM commented on Future of Clothing = Renting? :

As Rent the Runway becomes more popular, one risk is scaling the dress inventory to align with demand. A concern for women renting through the site is getting a unique dress, which poses a challenge when many people are using Rent the Runway for events like proms, weddings, or formals. One way around this is to provide details on the dresses such as how many have been rented to people in your zip code or how many dresses are available. Given the uniqueness of many of the dresses, I could see people paying a premium to ensure they are getting a one-of-a-kind dress for a special occasion.

On November 19, 2016, EM commented on Can Searching for Apartments Online Be Luxurious? :

This is the first I’ve heard of Bozzuto but I feel that there could be sufficient demand for this type of apartment community within specific markets. I agree that they need to focus on building their brand awareness. One way to drive traffic to their website is to focus their advertising on a specific market, such as Boston, rather than scaling across multiple cities. By focusing their energy on one area, they can quickly pilot new ideas to understand which marketing campaigns are the most effective and which value propositions appeal most to consumers before scaling nationally. An approach to improve their listings on aggregators such as Zillow and Trulia is to change their pricing model. They can separate additional amenities into fees rather than including them in rent so that these results are not excluded when people limit the rent price range.

On November 7, 2016, EM commented on Say goodbye to skiing as we know it? :

You raise a good point that Vail should be doing more to drive the conversation on the impact of climate change on skiing and improving their own environmental footprint. Producing artificial snow is a short-term solution, as it’s not cost effective to produce artificial snow in increasing volumes each season and skiers will not have the same experience as with fresh powder. This could translate into a lower willingness to pay, further straining the ski resorts. Additionally, expanding into different geographic locations spreads the risk for Vail Resorts but does not reduce the impact of the shortened ski season on Colorado communities or resorts. Although summer in Vail can help offset the loss in winter revenue, Vail has an opportunity to develop a market for winter activities that are less dependent on snowfall and offer an alternative to skiing.

On November 7, 2016, EM commented on Camposol: Growing fresh produce or concern? :

Very interesting! I am a big fan of Peruvian cuisine and have seen an increased presence of fruits and vegetables from Peru at grocery stores in the US. While it’s interesting that Camposol has continued to see record sales despite the lower yields, I think a main driver of this is the increased price. This poses a risk though, as many consumers will not be willing to consistently pay the higher prices and will shift to products that are more budget-friendly. As Camposol seeks to grow, it becomes more important that they do so in a sustainable and diversified way.

Great article! This raises awareness of the urgency of responding to climate change, which I think a lot of companies are only starting to realize. Many companies have sustainability programs to support public relations efforts and have started to do work to analyze the effects of climate change, but remain exposed to the business risks. By experiencing something so drastic as the India water shortage, Coca Cola had a strategic imperative to address its water usage. I wonder if this event had not occurred whether Coca Cola would have remained committed to this effort and achieved its targets ahead of schedule. Coca Cola’s success has driven its competitors to focus on water conservation and I think there is an opportunity for other companies to learn from Coca Cola’s experiences. Although they have hit their 2020 goal, you raise an important point that they need to remain committed to further improvements.

On November 7, 2016, EM commented on Is flood relief pouring into all the wrong places? :

Very interesting! I expected the Red Cross to struggle more with the increased frequency of disasters rather than the unpredictability since there has always been a degree of uncertainty with natural disasters. There have also been encouraging research and technological advances in predicting natural disasters. For example, in CA they have starting using an early warning system to notify people before an earthquake hits (http://www.cisn.org/eew/). While it currently only gives advance notice of tens of seconds, it’s an encouraging start. As the IFRC struggles to anticipate what new areas are at risk given climate change, it would be helpful for them to do regular assessments based on clear evaluation criteria. For example, what temperatures are associated with higher than average rates of infectious diseases, what levels of environmental degradation identify an at-risk location? Quantifying these metrics can improve the accuracy of the first step in disaster management and lead to improved response in risk reduction as well as recovery.

Great post Sarah! Hospitals aren’t the first to come to mind when thinking of businesses impacted by climate change, but it’s clear that there are a number of concerns that relate to global health and patient care. While it’s encouraging that companies like Partners have considered risks of flood and natural ventilation, many hospitals do not have the capital to invest in retrofitting their hospitals. This is particularly concerning in low income areas. These areas typically have less investment in infrastructure and are thus more impacted by natural disasters. In addition, hospitals serving low income populations have less money to invest in improvements, particularly projects that are important but not critical such as climate-proofing. As hospitals struggle with the shift to measuring outcomes and reducing costs, I am concerned that the US health system is not well positioned for addressing the impacts of climate change in the years to come.