HBS Rules

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On November 30, 2017, HBS Rules commented on Ford’s Global Supply Chain Hits a Bumpy Road :

Great article, CranberryCo. I absolutely agree with you that Ford and others should continue developing plants abroad as the proposed isolationist trade policies may have a number of unintended consequences, namely retaliation from other countries leading to an increase in the tax rate for vehicles imported from the US. While companies like Ford can hope that “Mr. Trump will not follow through such policies to their conclusion,” I would strongly recommend that companies begin investing in lobbying against these isolationist trade policies; there are several strong arguments against implementing these policies and lobbying may be a worthwhile investment in ensuring the policies don’t pass.

On November 29, 2017, HBS Rules commented on Ambitious Sustainability Goals at Coca-Cola :

Thank you, Kenya, for writing this piece! You’ve highlighted several ways that one of the most famous food and beverage brands in the world is looking to make the world a safer place by being more conscious about its business practices. My hope is Coca-Cola will set an example for smaller or emerging brands and take similar actions as Coca-Cola early on if they have not done so already; hopefully these practices will transcend industries as we have seen in several case throughout the semester, most notably in the Ikea case. The work that Coca-Cola is doing reminds me of what Ikea is doing in that it is absolutely possible to make the world a better place and still be profitable. While I agree with Mike that there may be some incremental or unforeseeable costs associated with being a first mover in this space, I believe the benefits outweigh the costs for two primary reasons: first, according to a report by nonprofit CDP, there is evidence to suggest that there is a strong link between a business’ actions to combat climate change and the business’ profitability. Secondly, by investing in these learning early on, Coca-Cola demonstrates its commitment to making the world a better place to its consumers; if the company waits until PlantBottle costs reach parity, it may show that Coca-Cola is not genuinely interested in being a leader in innovative sustainability (which I believe serves as a significant competitive advantage).

On November 20, 2017, HBS Rules commented on Is Amazon Prime Driving Unrealistic Customer Expectations? :

Great article, Kimberly! I absolutely agree with you that it is critical for Amazon’s long term success to more strongly consider the benefits (and risks / shortcomings) of automation. After some on our section mates attended the fieldtrip to connect with Richard Cohen, the CEO of C&S wholesale grocers, and shared what they learned, I automatically thought that Amazon could benefit from these consequences of automation. For instance, while one of the more obvious cost savings of warehouse automation is a decrease in manual labor costs, another critical cost saving component is with automation, there is no need for electricity (since robots don’t need light to operate).

To answer your question, I have noticed that because of faster shipping program, my consumption has steadily increased. However, I am not a Amazon Prime member yet I still receive my packages fairly quickly. This may be part of the reason why Amazon is experiencing churn with their prime customers: why pay $99 a year when Amazon is generally know for great customer service regardless of whether the customer is a Prime member or not. Now that Amazon has set this stand, I will generally not shop at a retailer that does not provide the same customer service.

On November 20, 2017, HBS Rules commented on Taking a Bite out of Apple: Fighting the Tides of Isolationism :

I wanted to thank you, Chris, for making the point that “apple has both the social responsibility and long-term incentives to help bridges that skill gap through investing in education and vocational training. Many of Apple’s competitors understand and accept this responsibility. Dell is a great example of this: through a partnership with Girls Who Code, the company has committed strengthening and expanding after-school programs in computer science education for an estimate 15,000 girls in grade 6-12 across the US through a combination of financial, technical and mentorship support. This serves as a perfect example of what you described which is it is very possible for a company to do good while it does well. What is most jarring is that Apple executives explicitly believe that there is a lack of sufficient skilled labor in the United States. You asked a very powerful question: “at what, and more importantly, whose expense?” Instead of making a decision to improve the landscape, educate people domestically (many of which who will never be given such opportunities) and create jobs in the states, they inconsiderately decided to maximized profits in the short term. I’m not sure companies like Apple will ever change. I believe it is the responsibility of consumers to not buy the products of companies that fail to accept their corporate social responsibilities.

On November 19, 2017, HBS Rules commented on The Bees are Dying! :

Great article, Jonathan! I think all of your proposed solutions, namely making a commitment to add more than 100,00 acres of bee and butterly habitat on or near existing crop land, is a great solution. Based on my research, there is also another solution: Chipotle and other key stakeholders and work with researchers and explore and eventually important foreign bee populations. As you mentioned, while the northern hemisphere is suffering from a shrinking bee population, honey bee populations in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Benin are very healthy. Is it possible that introducing a foreign honeybee to the northern hemisphere may help our the significant decline in bees? Similarly, could genetically altering either African bees or European local bees be beneficial in extending the lifespans and durability of bees in the Northern Hemisphere?


On November 17, 2017, HBS Rules commented on Digitalisation at Nordea – Time to Cash Out? :

Great article, Simon! I absolutely agree that the development of the Swish app was a great first step. However, I worry that the (Nordic) banking industry may struggle with innovating quickly enough to meet the needs of consumers and stay competitive. With the emergence if bitcoin and other crypto-currencies as well as roboadvisors like Acorns and Betterment, banks are become less and less relevant as you mentioned. While I agree recruiting top talent is an essential focus on Nordea and others, the industry may be better off patterning with or acquiring companies that are already established in this innovative, fintech space. With the EUR250m they will be saving by closing down several branches, these cashflows may suffice in acquiring companies that are at the cutting edge of fintech. If Nordea and the broader banking industry take this approach, a challenge they will need to overcome is allowing the acquired companies to stay true to their culture and innovative roots. That being said, this is a trend that is just beginning as “Betterment has joined forces with Goldmans Sachs and Blackrock.” Only time will tell if this will be a successful collaboration.