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On November 20, 2016, FCF commented on Going Once… Going Twice… Sold to Technology! :

This is really interesting, especially as a former Christie’s intern. There is huge competition between these two auction houses, and they tend to be neck to neck in terms of all new developments. Online bidding has been key in expanding access to different geographical audiences: it used to be that devoted collectors would travel all over the world to see different showrooms. For example, Hong Kong is a big center for Asian art, both traditional and contemporary, so if an American collector really wanted to expand their collection, they would have to make a trip. Now with online bidding, they don’t have to do that. (There is no real substitute for seeing pieces in person, especially to evaluate their legitimacy, but often big collectors can send representatives to do that for them.)

In terms of brand equity, I’m not sure that Sotheby’s is at risk through an eBay partnership. In order to bid, you have to register and demonstrate proof of liquid assets (the exact range depends on the type of auction you’re at). This is to prevent people from coming in to an auction, bidding, and then not being able to pay. Just because Sotheby’s is partnering with eBay does not mean that the same clientele will not be interested, or that other “low-class” clientele will come onto the platform: they will simply not be allowed onto it unless they can demonstrate they have a lot of money.

On November 20, 2016, FCF commented on Skootar: Transforming the Messenger Service in Bangkok :

Uber actually launched a motorbike service this year in Bangkok (http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/24/11104394/uber-motorcycle-service-bangkok-ubermoto). If Skootar was thinking of moving from SMEs into the direct consumer market, they’ll have some competition.

On November 20, 2016, FCF commented on Is EZ Pass Poised to Take a Toll on Your Privacy Rights? :

Wow. This is eye-opening and terrifying, especially since we can’t turn our EZ Pass off. At least with Internet browsing or the GPS systems on our phones, we have a way of limiting tracking or turning it off entirely. That being said, I think that we’re moving more and more into a world with no privacy. Even security cameras on the street can pick up our movements. When you think about the amount of recording and photography that goes on, it’s no wonder that the police were able to identify the Boston bombing suspects through crowdsourcing. The question now is whether the benefits of the technology outweigh the costs.

On November 20, 2016, FCF commented on Will Telemedicine Re-shape Our Healthcare Industry? :

Fascinating article. Thanks! I actually used to work for a medical device company that was working on this very issue: Telcare makes a glucometer for people with diabetes that is connected to the cell network. Every time that individual takes a blood sugar measurement, the data is automatically recorded in a database and can also be sent immediately to a pre-designated doctor’s office, to concerned parents (if it’s a child) or to concerned children (if it’s an aging parent). The whole purpose is to do exactly what you pointed out: identify trends in blood surgar levels early on to prevent future expensive complications. But to reinforce your point about the network required to make this technology get into more hands, we spent a long time approaching three groups of people: insurance companies, doctors, and patients. This multi-pronged approach was fairly resource-intensive and was not particularly successful (at least when I worked for the company). The end goal was great — and would save a ton of lives — but the operational challenge was definitely in the execution of the roll-out.

On November 20, 2016, FCF commented on Macy’s: A Beacon of Technology :

I’d never heard about department stores using beacon technology. We have talked in class about grocery stores using similar technology to push customers coupons for products based on their location and past purchases. But I think there’s a big difference between grocery shopping patterns and clothes / home goods shopping patterns. For the most part, groceries are a more frequent and more consistent set of purchases because they’re consumables. This means that even if the coupons are not incredibly precise in the geotargeting, they’re more likely to be relevant. Since very few people buy more than one KitchenAid stand mixer and since beacon geotargeting isn’t perfect, I would be more concerned that customers were getting information about products that they are NOT looking for. For example, what if they’re in the KitchenAid area and are looking at spoons but get a video about a stand mixer? Furthermore, KitchenAid stand mixers are probably one of the few consistent products in the store: most other fashion items turn over pretty quickly. Compound this with frequently-changing displays, and it makes me wonder how Macys will handle coding each dress / accessory / sweater to a location in the store. In theory, this technology should be helpful, but I’m concerned about the actual implementation and customer experience of it. I’m not surprised that the beacon rollout was not successful.

On November 5, 2016, FCF commented on THE REFORMATION OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY :

It’s interesting reading this post in parallel to posts about H&M’s sustainability efforts. It seems like Reformation is one step farther along the line than H&M since it uses vintage fabrics and has a recycling program. Including customer education as part of its brand also differentiates it from H&M and many other fashion companies. I would be interested to hear in more detail what the “carbon neutral shipping program” in the US actually entails, especially given Gabrielle’s comment above.

Crystal Cruises just commissioned a new megayacht specifically for polar trips. One way they could position themselves as “greener” is to make sure the new yacht is as sustainable as possible – both in terms of its fuel and in terms of its materials: I imagine there’s a lot that could be done with the wood, metal, leather, etc that goes into building and decorating a luxury yacht.

On November 5, 2016, FCF commented on Impossible Foods: How a Burger Will Save the World :

I never thought about the meat industry as contributing to climate change, but duh — they do. All those cows and their methane… Thanks for this. One thing this prompted me to think about was USDA’s dietary recommendations. Up until recently, they pushed protein pretty heavily as a key component of an adult male’s diet. Now they realize that men are consuming TOO MUCH meat, and have scaled down their recommendations for daily protein consumption. I wonder if Impossible Foods were to partner in some way with the USDA, they might be able to get at the consumer behavior question you brought up in the last paragraph.

This was very interesting because I didn’t think of H&M as sustainable in any way. Much like IKEA, I consider them to be contributing to the problem rather than solving it. They are, after all, encouraging high consumption through low prices and a fast turnaround of styles copied from runways. I think the next steps you alluded to in your conclusion of finding some recycling program could be greatly beneficial to them, and would go a long way to convincing me that they are sustainable. I’m imagining a donation program or a recycling program located in-store. That being said, the sustainability initiatives you described are a good start.

Fascinating piece. I didn’t realize that DC charged all of this to credit cards! And that JP Morgan cut off their credit. That sentence definitely caught my eye. (“Without adequate budgetary resources to pay the bill, city officials made over $24 million in illegal credit card payments before J.P. Morgan turned off the city’s credit.”) I did want to clarify one component of it, however: the credit card payments they made were not illegal. Based on the Washington Post story you cited, they were just 20 times over their usual limit. They had access to the credit but were not accustomed to using it. JP Morgan, to play it safe, cut them off after that point.