• Alumni

Activity Feed

Thank you for shedding light on this topic, Kimia! It never would have occurred to me that immigration policies would have such a large impact on Cirque du Soleil’s business operations.

I think that Cirque du Soleil’s strategy depends on its leaders’ convictions. Do Cirque du Soleil’s leaders believe that one of their obligations is to promote pro-immigration laws and policies, not just for the benefit of the company, but also for the world? Or do they believe that their primary obligation is to fulfill the company mission “to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world”?

If the former, Cirque du Soleil should build its immigration services and lobbying efforts. If the latter, I agree with Bepo25 that fighting immigration policy is an uphill battle, and thus Cirque du Soleil should direct its efforts towards creating entertainment products that are less vulnerable to the political climate. By doing so, Cirque du Soleil not only protects itself in the present, but also prepares itself for the future by forcing the company to diversify its entertainment portfolio and think creatively about engaging the public in new ways.

Patagonia’s commitment to fighting climate change is underscored in their mission statement to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, [and] use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” I agree with TS that the most impactful way that Patagonia can encourage more awareness of waste and environmental issues in the fashion industry is to lead by example and look at their own supply chain. Patagonia has a lot of influence over their suppliers and should use this influence to encourage (or force) them to adopt sustainable practices. If Patagonia leads by example, they have more of a leg to stand on and are less vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy.

For change to happen outside of Patagonia, Patagonia needs to continue to be incredibly vocal about the role companies play in combating climate change and band together with like-minded companies, just as they did when the US pulled out of the Paris Climate agreement (https://www.gq.com/story/if-trump-wont-fight-climate-change-clothing-brands-will). Whenever they adopt a sustainable practice (e.g. if they move to solely distributing catalogues via email), they need to make sure that the world knows. Doing so creates goodwill in the eyes of their customers, and in the process, demonstrates to other businesses that being sustainable can be good for both the bottom line and the environment.

I am confident that the wine industry will adapt quickly enough to deal with the changes stemming from climate change. The reason I am so confident is that the industry has no other option but to adapt.

Global warming affects wine-makers indiscriminately, so even those regions like Burgundy, which are incredibly steeped in tradition and heritage and have monopolies over certain types of wine, are at risk. There will probably come a time when the pinot noir grapes required to produce Burgundy wine can no longer be grown in that region.

I think that wineries can adapt by expanding consumer perceptions of what constitutes a “good” wine and cultivating consumer tastes in wines that are less dependent on specific varietals of grapes. My understanding is that there is a great deal of waste currently because many wines require grapes that have been grown in specific conditions. Any time that the conditions diverge from what is “optimal,” these grapes cannot be used. Thus, wineries can help themselves by growing the consumer market and demand for wines that are made from these “suboptimal” grapes or a blend of these grapes.

Diageo is in a tough position. Because no country has exited the EU before, no one really knows what the impact will be, and it is incredibly hard to prepare for the unknown.

I do not think that Diageo should move their packaging operations to Ireland. The investment is considerable, and because there is so much uncertainty about the future, Diageo could potentially make the investment for naught.

I do think that Diageo should split their time and resources between two areas. First, they need to continue to work as closely as possible with officials in the UK and around the world to understand what the future could look like. Doing so will allow them to prepare as best they can and play a part in creating trade agreements. Second, Diageo should look inwards and invest in creating operational efficiencies that will benefit them regardless of the external political climate. In other words, they should find ways to cut costs and streamline their supply chain. By becoming more disciplined about their own business, Diageo will be better prepared for the future, no matter what it brings.

On November 24, 2017, EN commented on Nordstrom and Uber: A Match Made in Heaven? :

I had no idea that Nordstrom had partnered with Uber for customer delivery, so thank you for writing this article!

Initially, I was really impressed by this partnership and thought it was a smart way to leverage Uber’s platform and network of drivers. However, your section titled “Potential Danger Ahead” raises some great points about the challenges of this model. While on the surface it may seem that transporting goods from point A to point B is similar to transporting passengers from point A to point B, I think that these two tasks require very different skills and entail very different risks.

My overall view is that ride-hailing delivery service is not a scalable and sustainable part of Nordstrom’s supply chain. You outline quite a number of challenges with this model. In addition, Uber is still trying to figure out the best way to get people where they want to go. I do not think Uber has the bandwidth or resources to focus on excelling at delivery, as well. In addition, there are very established and innovative companies whose core business is delivery. My bet is that these companies are investing a great deal in making same-day delivery a feasible option, and that they will prove to be a more reliable and scalable partner than Uber in this domain.

I am fascinated by Shake Shack’s experiment with automated ordering kiosks, and I like your questions around 1) whether or not this technology will inhibit Shack Shack’s ability to provide comprehensive quality service to customers, and 2) if Shake Shack has an obligation to retain its customer-facing labor.

In some ways, Shack Shack’s move towards digitalization is a surprising one, especially given Danny Meyer’s strongly held beliefs on the role his restaurants play in his customers’ and employees’ lives. In his book Setting the Table (I highly recommend!), Meyer shares heroic tales about his team providing great hospitality to customers (in one story, one of his restaurant managers tracks down a customer’s lost wallet, which she had left in a taxi, over the course of the meal and gives it back to her at the end of her meal). He also talks about the importance of taking care of his employees and making sure he creates an amazing work environment for them.

On the one hand, putting automated ordering kiosks in Shake Shack seems to run counter to these beliefs. Restaurants, in particular, are places where people go to seek refuge from technology, connect with others over food and conversation, and be cared for by humans. In addition, by having kiosks do the work that employees usually do, Meyer could be taking jobs away from people who really need them.

On the other hand, however, putting automated ordering kiosks in Shack Shack could actually help Meyer better achieve his goals around the customer and employee experience. For those customers who are looking to get in and out as quickly as possible, ordering at a kiosk immediately is preferable to waiting to interact with an employee. In addition, with kiosks carrying out the more basic tasks of taking orders, employees can have more time to do the things only they can do – getting to know their customers and providing that hospitality. And in terms of taking care of its employees, having automated ordering kiosks could ostensibly allow Shake Shack to pay their existing employees more, as there would be less of a need to invest in training new employees.

All in all, I am optimistic about the efficacy of these automated ordering kiosks. Meyer has led the way in changing and innovating restaurant industry practices, and I think this experiment will yield helpful insights.