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On December 1, 2017, JJ commented on Let’s Get Digital, Digital! :


Great article. Thank you for the thoughtful work.

After reading this and considering the future state of the world that you alluded to, I could not help but think that there could also be a strong counter movement away from the very trend you described above. There are already those bringing into question the negative effects that overuse of technology has on child development, such as attention, sleep, and mental health, amongst others (1). And it’s early days. I wonder what the future will bring in terms of scientific discovery as it relates to kids using technology, and how that might effect the toy industry as a whole.

So if I am Mattel, would I ignore the trend altogether? Perhaps. If I did so, I would anchor my brand, communication strategy, supply chain, and organization around the concept of child health, natural products, and living in a world free of technology where kids can use their imaginations to enjoy the wonders of play.

(1) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/technology-children-negative-impact_b_3343245.html

Dear Helen,

Thank you for a wonderfully appetizing article (in my opinion, far more enjoyable than the Marmite product itself).

Interestingly, in the week after this pricing dispute was settled Marmite, sales grew nearly 61% from the prior year. Undoubtedly due to the heavy amount of media coverage around the issue serving as a sort of blitz-advertising campaign (1). So, it would appear that this particular story has a happy ending for now. However, I think your article sheds light on the breadth of complexities that the growing trend of isolationism could have on a country’s economy, and some of the ways in which citizens could be effected by the consequences on an everyday basis.

(1) https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/724672/Marmite-sales-rise-high-profile-price-war-unilever-tesco-brexit-Marmitegate


Nicely done – thoughtful, well written, and compelling.

Upon reading this I reflected on some of our discussions around the Navy, and more broadly the U.S. Military, often leveraging the worldwide facilities that you described above to provide help during certain natural disasters. If climate change does lead to the flooding of major cities in both the developed and developing world, and in turn more powerful natural disasters, I wonder how much demand there will be for the Navy to come to their aid. Furthermore, I wonder whether we, as a nation, will be prepared both in terms of our resources, and our commitment to helping, to respond effectively. Certainly an off-shoot of your main argument, but one that could bring us some serious economic and moral considerations in the future.

On November 26, 2017, JJ commented on Will Climate Change Lead to an Independent Greenland? :

Wonderful article, Matt. As you have beautifully laid out above, there is an extremely compelling economic case to be made for both the positive effects climate change could have on Greenland (oil, tourism, etc.) and the corresponding push for independence. Undoubtedly both strong forces. As you alluded to above, while all of this would be good for Iceland, raising temperatures and more melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet would not be good for the world. If the Greenland Ice Sheet were to melt completely, the sea level would rise by an estimated 20 feet (1). If Greenland is at the heart of a dramatic and potentially catastrophic change in our planet, and the country itself is exacerbating that problem for economic gain, it may bring about a number of adverse effects to both its public image, and its economy as a result. I also wonder how it’s citizens would react should the country be on the front lines of a problem of this magnitude.

Thanks for the thoughtful article.

(1) https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/quickfacts/icesheets.html

On November 25, 2017, JJ commented on How can VR & AR technologies affect IKEA’s supply chain? :


Wonderful article on a very interesting topic. Extremely thought provoking.

You hit the nail on the head that AR/VR will have a particularly powerful effect on the furniture industry, as the shopping experience today is challenged by the inability to view different furniture options in your home. In terms of IKEA’s ability to execute and lead this transformation, I have two questions marks. The first is their ability to design the right AR/VR experience, given the size of their company, and the innovation required in a new technology space like this. The second, and perhaps more pressing, is whether shoppers will want to limit themselves to just IKEA products when looking for furniture on an AR/VR platform, or would prefer a 3rd party to aggregate a variety of brands to mix and match as they design. Houzz, one such company, is similarly exploring AR/VR and it’s possibilities (1). I am excited to see how it plays out because as you wonderfully described above, change is coming.

(1) https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/3/15526478/houzz-3d-ar-home-renovation-furniture-shopping-app-update

On November 25, 2017, JJ commented on Arsenal Football Club: The Accidental Victim? :


Thoroughly enjoyable read (though undoubtedly the article would have packed more of a punch if written about Liverpool).

I was surprised to see how many of the Premier League’s current starts would be effected by the work permit descriptions you described above, such as Juan Mata and Ander Herrera of Manchester United, amongst others. However, given the influence that football holds in the UK, both in terms of it’s economic and social value, I do believe the Football Association will ensure that there is not a major disruption to teams like Arsenal, and to the EPL as a whole, as a consequence of these restrictions. Though, that is not to say that there will be no effect here as a result. There is certainly evidence to support that there will be an impact to the clubs’ ability to source international players without restriction. Greg Clark, the chairman of the Football Association, recently said when asked about the situation “It won’t be an open-door policy, it won’t be no foreigners. It will be, ‘Let’s let world-class Premier League teams bring in world-class players but not average international players’.”(1) I guess we will have to wait and see how this plays out (pun intended).