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On November 20, 2016, G commented on Otto Set to Disrupt the Freight Industry :

This is an amazing piece of technology and I’m really excited about the work that Otto is doing in this area. The trucking industry is facing a shortage of drivers and if current trends continue, the shortage is expected to rise to 174,500 drivers by 2024.[1] With a shortage of drivers, transportation costs have steadily increased and the ability to do just-in-time and last minute shipments has decreased. Truck carriers hold significant leverage over companies’ supply chains and are able to more strongly dictate terms of service and payment. Large companies are able to weather this by a combination of passing costs on and adjusting their supply chain but smaller companies will inevitably suffer.

I think what companies like Otto should do is not only pitch this to the traditional truck carrier company, but also pitch this to companies with large supply chains (and maybe their own truck fleet). By making this part of the supply chain autonomous, companies that traditionally may have outsourced this operation to truck carriers, would possibly now be interested in investing in the capital to own and more directly control this aspect of their supply chain.

[1] http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/10%206%2015%20ATAs%20Driver%20Shortage%20Report%202015.pdf

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

I love the EZ Pass as it really does simplify going through toll booths and in other states taking toll lanes/highways for me. It makes the experience so seamless, sometimes I forget that I’m paying a toll. I am however relatively surprised at the fact that this device is being used to track vehicles around cities. While I think the application of it is great as I too do not like traffic, I am concerned about the privacy implications. You mentioned that the data is scrambled but what I’m concerned about is how truly scrambled it is and if it really is anonymous. After all, our names and credit card are attached the EZ Pass so it draws the question of at what point is the data scrambled. Tying this to our recent class discussion, I’m wondering if the safe driving trackers that insurance companies are issuing in exchange for a discount are doing the same thing. What I would like to see for this is the ability for users to opt-in to share their data with the city.

This sounds like a really cool option to watch Broadway shows! I do agree with your concerns that streaming Broadway shows at the same time runs a very high risk of cannibalizing the ticket sales for the show itself, but I think what it does is give people who normally are apprehensive about paying to watch Broadway shows a chance to watch. I believe that people who really enjoy the show will still buy tickets to see the live performance in order to get the whole experience.

What I’m interesting in seeing is more of a partnership between BroadwayHD and Broadway shows themselves. It would be interesting to see if BroadwayHD could not only track which shows people stream, but also which shows people attend live. With this data, it could create a recommendation of what show a person should stream or watch live similar to Netflix. I would also be interested in seeing a higher recording quality so that viewers at home could watch the show using virtual reality. This would give the home consumer the closest theater like experience they could get without leaving the comfort of home.

On November 20, 2016, G commented on RFID Technology: Key to Success for La Tavola :

This is an interesting application of RFID technology. While I’ve heard of this being used to track hotel towels (and I presume hotel towel thieves) and uniforms, I wouldn’t have thought about this being used in the fine linen rental industry.[1][2] My natural assumption would have been that the margins on fine linen rentals would have been significant enough that it wouldn’t have made sense to invest in this technology. I think it’s amazing how RFID is being used in this particular application not just to track and count where all the linens are, but also used to speed up their overall operations thereby creating more value for the consumer.

I think what makes this even more impressive other than being able to track the location of their linens so precisely is the amount of data they have on every single piece of linen. With RFID tracking, the company knows how many times each piece of linen has been used and from that, can better determine the lifespan of the linen and whether it needs to be replaced. In addition to on the truck scanning you mentioned above, I think I would like to see the company expand their tracking and start tracking their delivery trucks. One of the biggest value propositions for me is their ability to delivery at scale in minimal amount of time for last minute events. I know if I was managing a last minute event, the ability to track where their delivery truck is in relation to my event would level set expectations for me on how much scrambling I’m going to have to do.

[1] http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/04/18/want-to-steal-a-hotel-towel-check-for-a-new-tracking-chip-first/
[2] http://www.whitewaycleaners.com/Uniform-Services/RFID-Garment-Tracking/

On November 20, 2016, G commented on Disney: Both Embracing Digital and Being Disrupted :

I haven’t had the chance to use the MagicBands yet as they haven’t quite expanded the roll out to their Disneyland property, however I am very excited and eagerly anticipate it to come in the near future. I think the integration of the band and the overall MyMagic+ initiative is amazing. It really works to address some of the pain points your casual visitor encounters as well as your more frequent annual pass holders.

One of the biggest pain points is finding a nice restaurant to eat at only to discover that the wait is over an hour long. It sounds like the MyMagic+ program helps alleviate this by pushing more guests to use reservations. Another pain point are the long waits in line coupled with potentially losing that FastPass ticket – not to mention rushing the park entrance early in the morning to get that FastPass ticket for Radiator Springs Racers or Space Mountain. It’s so exciting to hear about the ability to reserve FastPass tickets in advance.

What I’m interested in seeing and hearing more about is how Disney is using and capturing additional data from these bands. I see these bands as essentially low-tech version of trackers that we see in the Hunger Games movie series. I can picture some park director sitting behind a screen watching a sea of dots move around the park in real time. It’d be interesting to see if Disney is able to capture crowd movement data in addition to ride usage data and use it to adjust overall park operations. I’m also interested in seeing if these work as virtual tethers for parents with small kids. Inevitably, at a park like Disneyland kids get lost and it takes time to track them down. It would be interesting to see if there’s any work being done in this space with the MagicBands.

Very interesting post and I’m most impressed by Everlane’s transparent pricing. This transparent pricing also gives Everlane an opportunity to tack on if it wanted to additional “climate change support” fees whereby it would add a couple dollars to each product cost and pass those fees directly onto NGO’s that are working to combat climate change. I do agree that this transparent pricing is Everlane’s edge and is a great motivator for them to reduce their costs as their consumers can see it.

What I’m interested in is what Everlane is doing in terms of sustainable sourcing. While they may be auditing their suppliers it would be nice to see along with their transparent pricing, a sort of supplier scorecard for each product. The Higg Index was created by a coalition fashion, manufacturing, and retailing companies and measures the sustainability of a product/company. [1] Showing a score like this for each product would just like the transparent pricing, motivate Everlane to push for more sustainable suppliers.

[1] – http://apparelcoalition.org/the-higg-index/

This was a very enjoyable read. While I’ve heard in passing of this project before, I didn’t know about all the negative implications the project had in terms of impacting the way & quality of life for Venice. What I find even more interesting after reading this is the fact that after so much time, energy, and effort was put into planning and developing MOSE, climate change is happening at such a rapid pace that its useful life will be much shorter than originally intended.

With that in mind, while I do agree with your argument that they should have planned more for resilience, I also wonder if they should take a more active role in combating climate change in general. Islands in the Pacific are facing similar issues as Venice but with less resources. They have accepted the fact that building seawalls is a reactionary measure and will only do so much to save their coastal cities short of moving them entirely [1]. Their plea to the rest of the world is to step up, take responsibility, and take meaningful action and with Italy in the EU, it’s in a unique position to help make that influence in the EU.

[1] – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/02/pacific-islands-make-last-ditch-plea-to-world-before-paris-climate-change-talks

This was a great read and it’s nice to learn that Pepsi is doing something to help combat climate change. After reading articles about beer companies and Coca-Cola, what I’d be interested in learning more about is what water usage ratio Pepsi is targeting. Both beer companies like MillerCoors [1] and their primary competitor, Coca-Cola [2] not only state the amount of water usage they want to reduce, but also the ratio of water to product needed.

Also, with the amount of food products that PepsiCo is involved in, it would be interesting to learn more about what PepsiCo is doing to help farmers in general. Without a doubt climate change is affecting them as well and this is a major part of PepsiCo’s raw material requirements.

[1] – http://www.millercoors.com/av?url=http://www.millercoors.com/sustainability/environmental-stewardship
[2] – http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/setting-a-new-goal-for-water-efficiency

On November 7, 2016, G commented on Anything but my beer :

This was a great read and it was interesting to learn about the differences in profit per acre for barley and corn/soybeans – it really puts farmers in a tough position of choosing which to produce. At the end of the day though, it sounds like there will be a shortage and while MillerCoors may be able to temporarily shoulder the price increase and the in the long-term pass the cost on to consumers, smaller breweries which are on the rise will be the most impacted. In this regard, I’d like to see MillerCoors support smaller brewers like Sam Adams through a hop sharing program [1]. I think doing so sends a two-fold message: 1) the industry as a whole is feeling an impact by climate change and 2) we have the resources to not only help combat climate change, but we’ll help those most impacted by it out.

Water (and the unique mineral makeup of it based on location) plays an important role in the taste of beer. It’s good to hear that MillerCoors is making a huge effort to reduce its water usage ratio, but it’d be also interesting to learn what they and others in the industry are going to do to combat lower groundwater levels and changing water sources. The recent drought had small California breweries about the taste change with a water source change [2] and for a large company like MillerCoors, it’d be interesting to see how they plan on keeping taste consistent across the country with this rising issue.

[1] – http://blog.samueladams.com/hop-sharing-program/
[2] – http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/02/19/279627234/california-brewers-fear-drought-could-leave-bad-taste-in-your-beer

This was a great read and I didn’t realize how much emphasis Target put on its suppliers for apparel to be more sustainable. Another big piece of products is packaging and your article motivated me to find out what Target was doing to minimize product packaging as that is also a major source of waste. What I learned was that Target has improved the packaging on 153 of its own Brand packages. [1] Like you, I do agree that Target should do more. Along the same lines of your recommendation that Target push its suppliers to improve water management, I would argue that they should also push their suppliers to reduce the use of packaging material.

While not entirely sourcing related, I think another way Target can reduce its footprint is to have the right amount of product in the right place at the right time. That is to say, don’t overstock stores with apparel and clearance it out at the end of the season. If their sourcing can be more JIT, there’s opportunity for waste reduction in terms of reducing shipments needed and excess product created.

[1] https://corporate.target.com/_media/TargetCorp/csr/pdf/2015-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-Report.pdf#page=6