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On November 20, 2016, Gregorio commented on Starbucks, mobile payments underdog, takes gold :

Great post, it is very interesting to analyze Starbucks success in mobile payment sector and try to understand its key elements. The post mentioned the convenience aspect and the importance of the reward program.

One point that was not touched was the correlation between the typical Starbucks customer and the adoption of this new technology, and I believe this was a critical factor to explain such a quick ramp-up in adoption. Starbucks’ customer are (or like to see themselves) as tech savvy and early-adopter. Furthermore, they are is high loyalty to the brand. This is why, I think, the Starbucks model will be hard to replicate for other companies.

On the other hand, the threat from standardize payments is not one to be ignored. It fascinating to observe the tension in the app world between the proliferation of app with specific functions in all services (messaging, photography, dating, airlines) and other app that try to consolidate by creating a all-in-one platform (Apple wallet, Facebook). I think big firms will end up taking the majority of the pie while smaller and specific ones will struggle. Starbucks was a first-mover itself, maintaining its success is only one tap away… will the coffeecaramelskimmacchiatograndewithdoubleshotofespresso users be willing to endure a separete platform? The reward system is a great idea but I am not sure if it will last.

On November 20, 2016, Gregorio commented on Start your engines… via your smart phone. :

Thanks for the post Ty. I have never heard of Lynk & Co (and maybe there is a reason). I read some skepticism between the lines regarding the potential for success of Lynk’s plan, and definitely agree with your lack of faith. Lynk is trying to enter a very crowded market and offering minimal differentiation, or better easy-to-replicate differentiation. Tesla is managing to move the needle in the auto maker industry (did not quite disrupt yet) by introducing a revolutionary feature. Lynk value proposition of a “connected” car does not look too revolutionary to justify the huge risk associated with capital investment to put together and scale up a car manufacturer.

All the three selling points (Full connectivity, Direct to consumer supply chain A sharing and monetization platform) are either existing or in the pipeline for big players (Uber, Tesla, pretty much all automakers). Additionally, car purchasing remains somewhat an emotional purchase, brands are extremely valued and with little brand recognition and no let-go-green hipe factor, it’ll be very hard for Lynk to succeed. Best of luck to them, I will stick to an unconnected V12 made in Maranello!

xoxo back!

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

Great post! I have never been to Disney (shame on me) but have experienced some competitors’ parks and I definitely agree with your analysis of opportunities to enhance the experience. Long lines are a big deterrent to enjoyment and the idea that Disney can use the bracelet also to smooth out demand for its ride is quite brilliant. Some classmates mentioned concerns about the “tracking” implications, I think that the improved level of service greatly offsets the drawbacks of the park knowing where you are.

At the same time I agree with your concerns, last year parks were 30% of the revenue for Disney and should definitely be an area of focus however, I am not sure how much the wristband can improve revenue stream. Media Network on the other end is the biggest revenue stream $21B (43%) and it’s the one facing the biggest competitive threat due to market dynamics. With a market growing more and more fragmented I am really curious about Disney’s next move, going directly to consumer seems a stretch since out of the company core competency. Could reaching agreement with streaming companies and aimed at customer data sharing agreement be a good short-term solution?

On November 20, 2016, Gregorio commented on No More Dashing Out To The Store :

Great post, I have been always intrigued by the Dash Buttons even though I have never used them. I am curious of how the initiative is performing, who is the target customer and what is the penetration. It looks like a great initiative for the reasons you mentioned but most the product associated with Dash Buttons are almost-commodities, therefore more savvy customers might not want to commit in the hope of future promotions on other brands. Also, is the price locked? and how does Amazon communicate price change?
Finally, interesting consideration on the increase amount of trucks on the road to move goods. I think it could be a subject to a different study. My counterargument is that instead of 100 cars going to the supermarket you can have 1 truck doing delivery to 100 houses in the same ZIP code area therefore reducing traffic. The process could be even further improved with self-driving vehicles or drones.

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

Thanks for the article Brad. I believe this is yet another example of technology becoming invasive under the flagship of “additional services to customer” while exploiting grey areas in regulations. It is clear that privacy concerns are growing among users, in spite of the extra convenience that certain services provide. I often think about where the balance is, who would be responsible for enforcing it and what would be the implication of the business? Europe is much more regulated than US regarding privacy law and companies such as Google and Facebook have been adapting and repercussions on usability appear minimal. I think that starting to regulate a currently “far-west” market should be the first step.

See below post on Privacy Law in US versus Europe

Thanks for the post, I enjoyed your critical evaluation of Hilton’s initiatives. I must say I am in agreement with your thoughts that Hilton is only doing the bare minimum to showcase its initiatives to customer and shareholders. Fitting the framework of the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (or any other similar initiative in different industries) must be only considered the first step. I believe Hilton should put together a much more thoughtful and forward looking strategy to approach its sustainability plan, if the company is serious about it.

You mentioned the design of new buildings, I am curious about your thoughts on current ones. What initiatives would you look at and what tools would you use to evaluate their business impact? Finally, do you think that Hilton or its competitors would be willing to take a financial hit to step up their sustainability plan if restrictions are not imposed by government? I would say no, I believe that governments hold the ultimate responsibility to put (thoughtful and harmonized) regulation in place. I am excited to discuss this topic further with you.

On November 7, 2016, Gregorio commented on Would you pay for the environmental impact of your jeans? :

Fantastic article Claire, I never heard of Everlane before and I am definitely interested in knowing more about it now.

As I was reading the article I was thinking about the marketing implication of such a radical shift in the clothing industry. A company like TOMS has been extremely successful in capturing their value proposition and delivering a message that was received by their customers. TOMS was able to turn its social effort into revenue. What do you think are the key of TOMS success and do could Everlane achieve the same? Going back to the title of your article, what would be the market size of the ones who are willing to pay for the environmental impact of their jeans? And what would be your marketing strategy to increase the market size and customer awareness of your brand? Another concern I have is about customer in the clothing industry react to low price, would it be perceived as low quality?

Thank you for the post, I enjoyed learning about the challenges in the chocolate industry and the direct efforts that Mars in putting into solving the problem. This is a clear example of alignment of business goals and positive social impact, which I believe is the most effective and sustainable way to address social/environmental issues.

To your article, I would be interested in knowing the results that the program has generated so far and what the return has been for both Mars and its supplier. I am concerned that Mars might be too optimistic and in lack of a plan B the suppliers might soon find themselves in a non-recoverable situation and therefore unavoidably without Mars’ support. You proposed Mars alternative plan to produce an alternative to cocoa. Should Mars also help its supplier through its research to find alternative plantation that can survive the climate changes, and what would be in it for Mars?

On November 7, 2016, Gregorio commented on Bare Slopes: The Profitability of Ski Resorts in a Warming World :

Great article thanks. In Italy, especially in the Apennine mountain chain, we are experiencing similar challenges. Skiing season is shrinking and the decreas in available capital is causing an aging of hotels and lifts that are not regularly upgraded. Unfortunately, the ski industry in the Apennine seems to be headed down a death spiral.

Your plan is very well laid out, but I would challenge the assumption that minimal capital investment would be needed to turn around the resort from a winter one to an all-season one. Setting up hiking trails, mountain bike paths and facilities to take full advantage of the existing body of water might need substantial capital investment. Additionally, I would be concerned about regulatory restriction and permits required to put the plan in place. Finally, I would be interesting in learning more about your marketing strategy. What is your value proposition, who are you customers etc.? That being said, with a proper risk assessment your plan looks very solid and possibly the only way to save the resort.

On November 7, 2016, Gregorio commented on … Still Got Milk? :

Thanks for the article, great insights in the Indian milk industry. Producer’s fragmentation seems like a huge challenge to overcome along with logistic issues. I was wondering what you think of the possibility of companies such as Maitree Fresh to seek vertical integration and take the leap into the milk production industry. Barriers to enter the market appear limited and the advantages in term of decreased logistics’ cost and complexity compelling. Finally, the company could gain control over breeding and product mix.