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On November 20, 2016, IG commented on American Express and The Shift To Digital Payments :

It seems that Amex is successfully managing threats against fraud, which is a big virus in the industry. As provided in the referred Forbes article, Amex claims to have one of the lowest fraud loss rates in the industry. I agree with Andy that mobile payment apps like Venmo presents threat not only for Amex but for all of its peers. Amex should consider penetrating mobile payment space in future.

Very interesting article. I remember we were advising management of McDonalds in one of the countries to install terminals that would enable customers making orders without engaging with servers. The major concern the management had was that customers could find it more confusing. At the beginning this might be an issue, but I agree with you that by providing trained customer service representatives, you can educate customers and improve the efficiency.

On November 20, 2016, IG commented on OpenTable and the Restaurant Revolution :

Great article, Ross. I agree that OpenTable should try to use the data and offer more services to customers. For example, some upscale restaurants have a special person dedicated to advice on wine selection, because it takes special knowledge and taste to understand the difference. Some research shows that most customers are not able to even differentiate between the highest quality and lowest quality wine. On the other hand, if OpenTable provides wine descriptions, it might be a lot of information to digest at once and customers might not extract the full value. One way or another, I fully agree that it is definitely worth exploring.

I really enjoyed reading this article. From Robo advisors to crypto currencies to online lending, emerging technology is truly disrupting the way banks create the value. I fully support the pathos of the article that the only way forward is to embrace and aggressively invest in emerging tech.

Thank you for posting an interesting article. It is indeed fascinating how many applications blockchain can have that are already being exploited by large corporates.

I understand the skepticism stated by Katherine and Andrew. Average customer will not be able to directly translate what blockchain might offer in terms of the transparency and safety. Walmart will need to invest tons of money to educate customers how they are using blockchain to monitor the supply chain. In the short term, the resources needed to do so might not bring significantly different results if Walmart invested in educating customers how stringently they monitor supply chain without even mentioning or using blockchain technology. However, blockchain will enable Walmart to create a long term value by ensuring product quality and sustainability in the supply chain, which will provide significant competitive advantage in future.

On November 7, 2016, Ilia commented on A Coffee-less world :

Hi Krishna, very interesting overview of the problem in question. I am a coffee drinker (medium level) and the topic immediately captured my attention. All agricultural products including coffee beans face certain limitations how much we can supply now or at a given point in future. Climate change is indeed affecting the coffee bean production and there are many other factors that also negatively affect agricultural production in general. With high population growth trends and negative pressure on global agricultural production, shortage of supply of agricultural products seems to be a major risk that we might be facing in future and indeed coffee bean supply shortage is under risk too. However, as in case of all sorts of agricultural products, the major solution I think of is to invest in R&D to develop new seeds that will adapt to the new climate conditions and that’s what Starbucks seems to be doing when they opened a new lab in Costa Rica. As long as there is a demand and in case of coffee the demand is clearly substantial in a global scale, it will drive investments, which will in turn drive innovation.

On November 7, 2016, Ilia commented on Burger King’s sustainability efforts: barely trying :

Great article, which highlights important points how Burger King can overcome some of its current challenges. I agree that Burger King should care about the environment and source all inputs from suppliers with sustainable practices. Many research studies show a trend that people are shifting to more healthier food; however, I think it will be challenging for Burger King to change its business model and focus on healthier food – Burger King is differentiated by and known for being a junk fast food restaurant. If Burger King decides to take into account the changes in consumer behavior towards healthier food, it might be better to acquire a healthier fast food restaurant chain and operate it separately under a different name, rather than change the business model from junk to healthy fast food restaurant.

I enjoyed reading the post. I agree that Unilever should take more proactive approach to promote sustainable practices. First of all, there is a risk and uncertainty of regulations that might be enacted in future to promote sustainability. Such regulations might affect the Unilever’s suppliers with non-environmental practices, which would in turn affect Unilever’s supply chain. That is why, it is in Unilever’s best interest to decrease the risk of input supply shortage by way of promoting more sustainable practices across its supply chain. Moreover, consumer behavior is indeed becoming more environmentally friendly and companies are challenged to think new ways to adapt to the changing environment, otherwise their reputation might get damaged. One good example is Nestle, which faced reputation risk after it was found that Nestle was importing hazelnuts from certain producers in Turkey, which did use child labor. They had to invest substantially to solve this problem. Therefore, it is in the best interest of companies to take a proactive role and invest in sustainable practices as well as educate their consumers on this matter.

Thanks for the article, very interesting. Veolia actually plans to invest 750 million pounds in recycling. Please, see the article below:


I fully agree with you that they recycling seems to be a good solution.

I really liked the article. You mentioned that some individual cruise lines became eco-friendlier. This is the trend in many industries, because awareness about climate change, its causes and problems have risen recently, making customers more conscious about the environmental issues. If climate change increases opportunities for cruise line industry, as you mentioned in the article, this will increase competition as well, which will in turn increase the pressure on the cruise line industry to become more environmentally friendly, because customers are becoming more environmentally conscious. I agree that stricter regulations and enforcements are necessary elements to fight against climate change and pollution, but increasing global awareness about the climate change is very important as well, because customers will eventually drive how the cruise line businesses operate in future.