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On November 20, 2016, Gregor commented on Topps Baseball Cards: A 25-Year Digital Rollercoaster :

Nice post, Brian. I am interested to know what the MLB thinks of the digital cards? Linked to Kevin’s comment about declining baseball participation, why hasn’t the MLB teamed up with Topps to increase awareness and cross-selling? People who like baseball cards (presumably play / watch baseball), so imagine a situation where if you buy Topps cards, you get a ticket to a game (and vice versa). Hopefully this partnership (should it ever happen) would increase awareness and interest in the sport, which in turn, could increase baseball card usage.
That said, it is great to see Topps adapt to digital trends, allowing many to relive the glory days as a child.

On November 20, 2016, Gregor commented on e-Finding Your Valentine :

I am on the same page as Ybouks – that first chart is truly fascinating. It is ironic that the place you go (most of the time) to get married, is the least likely channel to meet your romantic partner. I am surprised there has not been more ‘marriage’ in the industry to reduce the numbers of players but I can understand why that is the case. If Match bought Tinder, for example, there would be few synergies – the deal would be to acquire customers. That said, having different platforms with different niches could help consumers have a more efficient process.

Interesting article, Jess. I wonder if Walmart has thought about providing the technology to consumers directly in the store? I am in the group of people who wouldn’t want to purchase my fresh produce through an app / have someone else select my cuts of meat or the size of my broccoli. It would be neat to get to the store, have a iPad like device in the trolley/basket, and scan your own items (and potentially pay without having human interaction, but as you note, 85% pay in cash or cash equivalents so that may be less useful). The device could also provide recommendations for other items. For example, if you buy some Tostito chips, the device could recommend avocadoes and some refreshing Bud Light as complementary items, and provide the pricing and location (and maybe discounts / coupons) of those products. This would benefit the customer experience and make some money for Walmart – they could generate revenue from product placements like my Bud Light example above. The only issue here though, is that increased technology use could lead to job cuts, which you point out, would not go down well publicly.

On November 20, 2016, Gregor commented on Emirates: Data and the Future of Air Travel :

Great post. Building on Sam’s point, I wonder if Emirates’ work can be replicated in other countries? As a state-owned airline, Emirates and the government go hand in hand, so it is in both parties’ best interests to collaborate (Also, I assume that Emirates has significant influence on the airport in Dubai). How easy, cost-effective or feasible would these efforts be for someone like JetBlue, a non-government backed publicly listed airline with limited clout over multiple airports?

Sam, you are the master of the TOM challenges – 2 for 2 on scintillating posts. I’m fascinated to know how many worksites are currently using Rhumbix, and how the company is raising awareness. I would also like to learn how the construction workers themselves like/dislike the platform. As the proverb goes, a bad workman blames his tools, so it will be fascinating to see how Rhumbix gains traction with the workers. After all, I assume you need a smartphone to be able to activate the geo-location services – who will pay for equipping all the workers with technology, and training them?

On November 6, 2016, Gregor commented on Climate Change & Whisky: The Sobering Realities :

Thanks for your comment Eric, you raise a really interesting point about Diageo’s export chain. I am sure it’s an issue that most global CPG companies face, and I would be fascinated to learn more myself. As I research this topic, I will share my findings with you…maybe over a Scotch!

Sam, this is a very well written and thoughtful piece. As the third largest producer, Southwestern has every incentive to avoid addressing the issues laid out in the post. Southwestern could be complacent, and argue that if the number 1 producer is not operating in a sustainable manner, then why should they? Understandably, this approach is short-sighted and it is admirable that Southwestern has decided to address the issues and to spearhead the ONE Future initiative. I agree with you that “the effort is not entirely selfless” but acknowledging the changes and understanding the impacts of fugitive emissions is far more selfless than denying their existence. Hopefully more “startups like Multi-Sensor Scientific and Rebellion Photonics ” emerge who can truly make this energy source sustainable and responsible.

On November 6, 2016, Gregor commented on You Can’t Ski Without Snow :

MH, the struggle is real for ski resorts across the world, and there is only so much that these resorts can do. Skiing is already an expensive pastime, and if these resorts were to increase prices (lifts, tickets, accommodation, etc.) to offset the lost volume, one can assume that volumes will continue to decrease, contributing to the “downward economic pressure” you mention in the post.
One of the methods to combat the effects of climate change that you mention is to increase ski-able terrain – do you know if that involves clearing trees / forests to do so? If so, that would seem counterintuitive to improving its sustainability; short-sightedness at best.
Although methane-powered snow guns are innovative, skiing on “snow” from these machines does not compare to the real thing. I do not know what the solution is – I think that ski resorts probably have it the toughest when it comes to climate change – but more needs to be done to protect these incredible destinations. Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

On November 6, 2016, Gregor commented on Exxon Mobil and the Future of Climate Change :

Sam, I could not agree with you more when you say “I think Exxon’s current strategy does not adequately address the threats its business lines face, particularly in the medium- and long-term”. It is ironic that the company that benefits from contributing to climate change is struggling to deal with its consequences. The disclosure the company gives around the “medium term” and the “long term” is incredibly vague and almost seems like the company is including it to appease those who want them to include something about climate change. Your inclusion of The Innovator’s Dilemma phenomenon is also very interesting – there have been several industry leaders, for example, Kodak and Nokia to name a couple, who did not embrace new technologies – it would be a shame if one of the world’s largest companies by market capitalization lost its way because of its lack of desire to embrace environmental shifts.

This is a fascinating piece of work, and it appears that true benefits could come from LM’s environmental projects. I wonder how much these R&D projects are hindered by the fact that LM is a public company. You mention the Ocean Power Technologies project off the coast of Australia – do you think that if LM did not have to report quarterly results, the company would inject more capital into these projects that could potential yield longer term results despite short term losses? It would be a shame if all of this innovation was being shelved because the company feared the backlash of investors with short-sighted interests.

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

I struggle to comprehend how anyone can deny the impact and severity of climate change when we are seeing an incredible, beautiful collection of islands disappear before our eyes. Having been fortunate enough to have visited the Maldives, it is simply shocking that few understand their plight. Christin correctly raises the “whose fault is it?” question, but I think that we need to focus on fixing the problem instead of assigning blame.
From my understanding, the Maldives asks tourists for a voluntary “tax” to help the country fight climate change – why doesn’t the Maldives enforce a mandatory tax on tourists and on the airlines bringing in the tourists? I understand that tourism is the main money-maker for the Maldives, but when islands continue to be consumed by rising sea levels, there won’t be a tourism industry. I think that the Maldives needs to be more aggressive in taxing tourists; let’s face it, the vast majority of tourists presumably can afford an incremental $20 on top of the many thousands of dollars spent on airfare, accommodation, and discretionary expenses.
Maybe the Maldives should implement a very large tourist tax – hopefully the tax would gain international attention and more people would enter the discussion and become aware of the situation. Who knows, maybe a very large tax could encourage tourism?